Another cooling season is here. It should be full of customers with systems that need to be replaced. Has that been your experience so far?  This year, instead of simply fixing what you can, or replacing what you can’t repair, are you consulting with your homeowners more?

You may find homeowners more aware of products for their home than they used to be. As mentioned last month, more of your prospective customers are using the Internet than they ever have before.

Are you using the Internet to help sell?  The time is right, and the depth and breadth of information on the Internet, from the product manufacturers, and others, can be of great help to you and your customer.

Does your sales kit include specific sites, and even perhaps downloaded information from those sites that will help you not only replace the broken unit, rather help you and your homeowner build a better indoor environment for them and their family.

As in past American Home Comfort studies, we’ve asked homeowners who have already bought new central equipment to describe the process they went through, and the products they recently bought. We’ve also included information on what they still may want to purchase. 

Here are the results from a series of questions to give you a better sense of the importance of three major homeowner concerns about their comfort system, and the price they would pay to upgrade those systems when they bought their new equipment.

We asked those who had just purchased central equipment how much they would be willing to spend to improve better temperature distribution/control, improve energy efficiency by 25% and/or improve their indoor air quality (IAQ) by 25%.

The 2,460 homeowners we found who had recently purchased HVAC central equipment for their home had these answers:

1. Most important to them based on the price they were willing to pay, was their ability to eliminate hot and cold rooms in their home.  On average, before you discuss the work needed and the cost involved, homeowners will be comfortable spending $727 to accomplish that.

2. Energy efficiency savings was their next need.  When asked how much more they would be willing to pay to improve their energy efficiency by 25% their average response was $534.80.  The separation between those who bought standard efficiency products versus high efficiency products (again, according to the homeowners who bought the equipment) was several hundred dollars below that.  No one should have been buying standard equipment based on this fact.

3. Indoor air quality is still a distant third in the money the homeowner is willing to spend to upgrade, as the price they were willing to spend averaged $362.80.

The time to discuss these key enhancements covering your customer’s quality of home and life is when you are in the home.  Knowing their initial thoughts on what they feel willing to pay will really help you as you try to counsel them about their decisions.  Having the right Internet information, whether from the products’ manufacturers or from other reliable sources, will help you and your homeowner with this season’s “must buy.”

As an industry we’ve gone too long simply “fixing or replacing what’s broke.”  The Internet will replace contractors as the primary consultant, or too valuable a tool for contractors not to use when helping them with their decision of what to buy.  It will help us when consulting with them as we stretch the sale into one that will fix their home environmental problem and enhance the comfort or cost of living in their home at the same time.

Decision Analyst’s American Home Comfort Study of homeowners explores what customers look for in HVAC contractors. To learn more about this study, or to purchase it, contact Garry Upton, at