Increase customer satisfaction with efficient, right-sized propane HVAC systems Navigating the world of HVAC systems can be daunting for homeowners. It’s a big reason why homeowners tasked with selecting the right HVAC system — either in a new build or as a replacement to an existing system — will often turn to the pros for Read more
Increase customer satisfaction with efficient, right-sized propane HVAC systems
Navigating the world of HVAC systems can be daunting for homeowners. It’s a big reason why homeowners tasked with selecting the right HVAC system — either in a new build or as a replacement to an existing system — will often turn to the pros for guidance.
Customers often prioritize quality and price, but there’s another component that’s equally important: size. Selecting and installing a right-sized HVAC system is key to keeping customers comfortable and satisfied year-round.
Installing incorrectly-sized systems can underperform, waste energy, and increase utility costs for homeowners. More specifically, a system that’s too small might not be able to regulate the temperature of the home. An oversized unit, on the other hand, will not work as efficiently, may wear out faster, and could have dehumidification problems.
Most importantly for professionals, is that a well-performing HVAC system can ensure a lifetime customer, so knowing what to recommend when homeowners come calling can have lasting benefits for the business.
It’s all in the details
Determining heating and cooling loads plays an essential role in sizing HVAC systems like A/Cs, heat pumps, and furnaces. Many existing homes have over-sized heating oil or propane furnaces, resulting in heating systems that blast warm air, almost too quickly, when the thermostat calls for heat. Furnaces that are properly sized for the home’s heating load, on the other hand, offer greater comfort — often with a smaller, less expensive unit. HVAC contractors can use a load calculator, which considers the home’s climate region, square footage, insulation grade, sun exposure, and more.
Every home is different, which is why it’s important that heating and cooling systems are designed for the correct load. Did you know that the same house, rotated just 90 degrees, could vary in cooling load by 25 percent or more? These calculations take time and require attention to detail, but will greatly impact a home’s performance, a customer’s satisfaction, and potentially your business’ reputation.
Understand and evaluate load size
A home’s heating and cooling loads drive how much an HVAC system needs to operate to keep a home — and your customers — comfortable year-round. It’s important for HVAC contractors to understand the three different types of loads, the amount of heating or cooling a home needs, and how they relate to a unit’s capacity to provide the best HVAC experience for their customers.
Heating load and capacity can often be easily confused. Heating load refers to the amount of heating or cooling a building needs, while heating capacity is the amount of heating or cooling an HVAC appliance can provide. HVAC professionals base the size of the systems they install on their capacity to satisfy three different kinds of loads — design load, extreme load, and part load.
The design load includes the layout of a home, its overall energy efficiency, its insulation levels, and its orientation to the sun. Homes with adequate insulation, thermal windows, and little air infiltration have lower design loads. Conditioning loads will differ between single- and two-story homes. If HVAC professionals size a home’s heating and cooling equipment to meet design loads exactly, they may unintentionally specify and install wrong-size equipment.
The extreme load occurs when experiencing the hottest and coldest temperatures in any given location. This load, unlike the design load, carries little weight when HVAC professionals calculate the appropriate HVAC equipment size. Plus, extreme weather conditions rarely last long enough to significantly impact a home’s overall performance and comfort.
Partial loads are the most common. During much of the day and throughout the year, heating and cooling loads fall between the design load and the extreme load. Properly-sized equipment may cycle on and off, which can impair comfort, energy efficiency, and humidity control. Fortunately, modern HVAC systems often come with variable-speed and level components that allow the equipment to adapt its running speed or level to current conditions.
Consider the energy source
Once an HVAC professional has determined the correct load and unit capacity, they can select which energy source will power the system. Propane has become an increasingly popular choice among homeowners across the U.S. because it delivers energy savings, reduced emissions, and comfort — all at an affordable cost. In fact, in some regions, high-efficiency furnaces are the most commonly installed system for new homes. In regions where an air-source heat pump is specified, pair it with a propane auxiliary unit instead of electric coils and the unit still provides comfort when outside temperatures fall below 45 degrees Fahrenheit.
High-efficiency propane furnaces offer best-in-class efficiency with ratings from 90 to 98 percent and the versatility to provide space heating to both small floor plans and large custom homes — making them a valuable addition to any project.
To learn more about propane HVAC systems, visit Propane.com/Furnaces-Boilers.
Bryan Cordill is the director of residential and commercial business development at the Propane Education & Research Council. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now more than ever, homeowners are looking for alternative ways to safely address seasonal maintenance needs and/or home repairs given changes to standard procedures set in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. From social distancing protocols to mask requirements, home visits provide new challenges. The HVAC industry has worked quickly to adapt to this new Read more
Now more than ever, homeowners are looking for alternative ways to safely address seasonal maintenance needs and/or home repairs given changes to standard procedures set in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. From social distancing protocols to mask requirements, home visits provide new challenges. The HVAC industry has worked quickly to adapt to this new normal. Our professionals continue delivering necessary services to homeowners in a safety-first way, especially as we enter peak cooling season, to ensure HVAC systems operate smoothly and are prepared to withstand the summer heat.
With new precautions in place that impact in-person maintenance appointments, the need for digital dealers with remote solutions has become more urgent. Digital remote technology provides technicians with resources to streamline the service process, which enables an HVAC technician to investigate a system from afar with the safest and most cost-effective strategies. Further, the rise of the digital dealer and remote capabilities reinforces how smart technology can bring homeowners convenience, comfort and peace of mind.
As a trusted HVAC partner, we can share tips for approaching cooling season more efficiently through remote diagnostics.
Stay in tune with the latest remote diagnostic capabilities
- Take advantage of training programs to better understand how the remote diagnostic programs operate. Learn how/when to use these offerings to determine if an in-person visit is necessary, or if the issue can be resolved without having face-to-face contact with the homeowner. These programs offer a more holistic explanation of remote diagnostics, allowing you to add more tools to your virtual toolbox. Also, it’s important to stay in touch with your network to learn about future training opportunities, as well.
Clearly communicate the benefits of digital offerings to the homeowner
- Many homeowners assume that HVAC updates or fixes can only be handled by having a technician physically enter their home. In the era of COVID-19, there is heightened concern as to how safe it is to have someone entering the house, particularly when an immune-compromised person is living in the household. With remote diagnostics and the homeowner’s permission, it’s possible to access the system’s information, diagnose the issue, and sometimes completely address the issue remotely. If the matter cannot be fixed remotely, some diagnostics programs allow the technician to determine what parts will be needed for the in-person repair, let the tech explain the situation by phone and thereby greatly reduce the time spent inside the customer’s home.
- Because remote diagnostics is new to most customers, it’s important to share easy-to-follow infographics, short commercial assets, and other digestible materials that clearly explain the benefits of this new offering. Have these materials readily available on your tablet or online for homeowners to review and build confidence in opting into this service.
Be overly responsive and aware of your customer’s concerns
- Knowing in-person service calls have been halted or delayed due to COVID-19, thorough communication and frequent touch bases with your customers are even more important. Looking ahead to heating season, continue to reinforce the benefits of remote diagnostics and remain ready to inform customers of alternative solutions and safety protocols.
Following these tips and procedures paves the way for sustained growth for digital dealers and provides homeowners another way to make sure their systems are running properly – whether or not in-person visits are an option.
As a homeowner, I know firsthand the fear of experiencing water damage in the place I find the most comfort. But as someone who works in the plumbing technology industry, I know there is a way to receive alerts the moment a pipe bursts or an appliance fails so I can call my plumber before Read more
As a homeowner, I know firsthand the fear of experiencing water damage in the place I find the most comfort. But as someone who works in the plumbing technology industry, I know there is a way to receive alerts the moment a pipe bursts or an appliance fails so I can call my plumber before irreversible damage occurs.
Certainly, you’ve done your fair share of leak repairs as a contractor. They’re so common that Chubb reported 45% of homeowners have experienced a water leak or know someone who has, and, according to the Insurance Information Institute, water damage insurance claims are 3 times more likely than theft and fire claims combined. And with nearly every burst pipe or fixture leak, there’s a frantic call to a local plumber for an emergency repair.
Fortunately, Chubb also found that 93% of all water damage can be prevented, and there’s technology that helps protect your customers against these costly and devastating leaks. Recommending and installing this technology for your customers can help position you as a hero.
Smart Leak Detection Devices: What Are They?
Most leak detectors today are Wi-Fi connected smart home units that track water activity in the home and alert users to potential leaks.
Some devices take leak detection a step further to offer complete protection by:
- Tracking water throughout the home through the main water line.
- Monitoring conditions that lead to plumbing system issues such as freezing temperatures, high and low pressure, and excessive humidity.
- Offering a mode that automatically shuts the water off if a leak is detected while the homeowner is away.
- Alerting users of abnormal water usage while they’re at home.
- Detecting slow drips behind the wall, via a pressure decay test, which can cause mold and property damage if left untreated.
- Integrating with smart home technology such as Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa to make leak detection more convenient.
- Providing the ability to control multiple devices across multiple properties, such as a second home or vacation property, in one app.
Smart home leak detection devices are a must-have for homeowners who want to protect their investment and avoid high water remediation and property replacement costs. And you can be the one to present the solution to them.
Offering Leak Detection Installation Services
Why offer leak detection installation services to your customers? You will add value to your customer and your business with a product every home should have — just like smoke and security alarms. This gives your customers peace of mind, as they know you’re using advanced solutions to keep them protected. You will also build a trusting relationship for callbacks if the device does detect a leak or pressure issue that requires a professional.
Additionally, if customers with installed leak detectors do experience a leak, they can turn off their water before you arrive so you don’t have to find the main water line, turn the water off and trudge through water to get to the leaking pipe. The result is quicker repairs for you and less frustration for them.
Plus, you will save your customers money on water remediation and property restoration services by installing a device that helps protect them against catastrophic leaks and costly water bills.
Building Awareness About Your New Services
Once you decide to offer leak detection device installation as a service, you’ll want to tell your existing and potential customers. Consider these tactics for letting customers know about your new services:
- Promote it online and in-person. Share more about your new offerings through social media, email and in-home sales pitches. Around the holidays, you may even consider promoting a customer referral program where people can get and give a discount on their leak detection device installation.
- Educate customers on leak detection. In your communications about the new leak detection service, include the frequency and cost of leaks and appliance failures. You may also mention the likelihood of another leak happening after the first one, which is 2 to 3.5 times more likely, according to data from American International Group. If the customer’s home contains an older plumbing system or they’re in a part of the country that’s susceptible to freezing temperatures, you may use this to give them a sense of urgency about installing a leak detection system.
- Show, don’t just tell. While most homeowners are aware that leaks can happen any time, they may not realize they can do something to help prevent them. Show videos of how leak detection devices work, and keep a device in your truck in case they want to see what the device looks like in person.
- Emphasize the peace of mind. Unfortunately, homeowners can’t always see the effects of a leak until it has caused permanent damage. Explain that a leak detection device can calm their fears about water damage while they’re home or away at work or on vacation.
- Don’t forget multiple property owners. Have clients that own or manage multiple properties? Emphasize the importance of protecting second homes, vacation rentals, investment properties and aging parents’ homes with smart leak detectors that they can control from one app.
Finding the Right Leak Detection Solution
Your customers need protection against water leaks, and you can be the one to educate them and provide the solution. Learn more about the benefits of offering leak detection services by exploring an installer program, such as StreamLabs, today.
Cindy Welsh is a sales director at RWC – a market leader and manufacturer of water control systems and plumbing solutions for residential and commercial applications.
When looking for a new plumbing product, what’s most important? For many, the decision comes down to whether the product works and is affordable – and rightly so. But to maximize your investment and ensure the job’s success long after you leave the jobsite, it’s important to dig deeper into the products you use and Read more
When looking for a new plumbing product, what’s most important? For many, the decision comes down to whether the product works and is affordable – and rightly so. But to maximize your investment and ensure the job’s success long after you leave the jobsite, it’s important to dig deeper into the products you use and the manufacturer that creates them.
And once you find plumbing manufacturers you trust, you’ll have more confidence in your installs and worry less about customer callbacks. It may sound tedious to research manufacturers, but the payoff — knowing they’re reliable — is worth the extra time.
So, how do you find trustworthy manufacturers? Start by asking the right questions:
Does the manufacturer have a proven track record of reliability?
Having a new product fail after installation isn’t a gamble any contractor wants to take. It should be a given that it was built to last.
When you install a product, you need to know it won’t fail. A reliable manufacturer ensures quality throughout production and creates products to comply with industry codes and standards.
This happens by:
- Choosing quality materials over cheaper materials.Instead of using lower-quality raw materials to save money, the manufacturer should use robust materials that last long after installation. And its product specs should be easy to find online to maintain transparency about the product.
- Performing rigorous independent testing.Each product should undergo months of repetitive and extreme testing to make sure it can be pushed to its limits without failing. Try to find what a manufacturer has to say about their testing process — and if it exceeds minimum testing requirements.
- Helping lead compliance initiatives.Manufacturers shouldn’t just produce products that comply with industry standards. Company leaders should participate in initiatives promoting safer products that are better for the environment, such as the IAPMO WE Stand Committee.
- Owning the manufacturing process. Manufacturers who own the production of their products from raw material to final product have more control over the product quality and when things need to be adjusted.
Does the manufacturer create products that work seamlessly with existing solutions?
As a contractor, it’s a must that new products can work well with the ones you already use. It’s the manufacturer’s responsibility to make sure their solutions complement not only those in the same product line but also ones from different brands and materials.
Does the manufacturer’s leadership spend time on the jobsite?
Manufacturers should constantly seek ways to improve plumbers’ jobs, and the only way to truly do that is to walk alongside them on the jobsite. The manufacturers you partner with should be asking about your biggest pain points and presenting real solutions.
And even if you’re not yet one of their customers, the manufacturer should make it clear how they support and communicate with contractors like yourself. Look for evidence of strong customer relationships by reading online reviews, testimonials, case studies and support pages.
Partnering with the Right Manufacturers
The next time you search for a new plumbing product, take time to consider the reputation and business practices of the manufacturers. You’ll end up with more reliable products that will, in turn, help boost your own reputation with your customers.
Chris Carrier is the Marketing Director, Americas at RWC – a market leader and manufacturer of water control systems and plumbing solutions for residential and commercial applications.
Finding and retaining customers in the plumbing industry is on the forefront of every owner’s mind. The days of expensive television commercials, billboards, and phone book ads are gone, but the idea of growing your business through digital marketing can seem overwhelming. Fortunately, there are many simple strategies you can start today to increase web Read more
Finding and retaining customers in the plumbing industry is on the forefront of every owner’s mind. The days of expensive television commercials, billboards, and phone book ads are gone, but the idea of growing your business through digital marketing can seem overwhelming. Fortunately, there are many simple strategies you can start today to increase web traffic and generate more customers. Read on to learn more about making the most of your digital marketing campaigns.
Why You Should Invest in Digital Marketing
Our industry is constantly shifting. From technology changes like the tankless water heater to aesthetic changes and global initiatives like water conservation. As we move to a more digital society, our approach to finding customers must shift as well. Traditional ads in newspapers, on television, and even direct mailers are expensive, and may no longer be as effective as they once were. In order to find new customers and retain existing customers, then, we must go where they are—online. These tips will help you to grow your business through simple digital marketing strategies.
Optimize Your Website for SEO and Local SEO
Because the majority of customers today look for service providers online, it’s critical that they find your plumbing business in a crowded market. If someone has a plumbing emergency, whether a leaking pipe, a broken water heater, or a clogged toilet, they probably aren’t going to scroll through several pages of results, researching multiple plumbers, so how can your website make it to the top of the list? Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is essential to the process. A strong SEO strategy will help improve your online presence, bring more traffic to your site, and convert clicks to customers.
The ultimate goal of your SEO strategy will be higher rankings on search sites like Google. However, this can only be effective if your site has the content needed for customers to find you. Think about how your customers might search Google to find your business, whether they search “Leaky faucet Charlotte” or “Water heater repair Austin.” Service pages, then, are essential to SEO. Be sure the person in your city searching for help with a leaking faucet will find you through a dedicated service page for faucet repair, and anyone looking for what to do about a broken water heater can be directed to your site as well.
You may also want to increase your local SEO through location pages. Don’t just dedicate your site to the city your business resides, especially if you want to reach customers in surrounding areas. Having unique content for each city, town, or neighborhood you want to target will help generate customers as well. Don’t underestimate the usefulness of blogs either. Short, 1,000-word pieces that can be updated often are another effective way to help customers find you. It might seem intimidating to take on blogging, but it doesn’t need to be. Your team has a wealth of knowledge on a variety of plumbing subjects, from the latest gadgets, to simple repairs, and even seasonal plumbing issues. The increased traffic your blog generates will also help to optimize searches in the future.
Generate Leads with PPC (Pay-Per-Click)
Another cost-effective digital marketing strategy is PPC, or pay-per-click advertising. Unlike print media, where you will pay the same, often hefty, price for ad space regardless of how many people actually see it or act on it, PPC allows you to advertise your business on Google, but you’ll only pay an advertising cost when someone clicks on the ad! People tend to only research plumbing companies when they are in immediate need of service, which means you’ll pay for PPC only when there’s a high likelihood that you’ll generate business through the ad.
Not only is PPC cost effective, it’s extremely targeted. Your ad will only appear when potential customers search for plumbing services in your area. This means you’ll be reaching customers that are looking for service in the very near future, likely today. Unlike other digital marketing tools, you should see the results of your PPC right away, as well.
Humanize Your Business
In the plumbing industry, gaining and retaining customers is based on trust. People want to feel that they know their service providers and can trust them to do honest work. One way to establish trust with the community is to share your story. Every business has one. Use your digital marketing tools to explain how you got into plumbing and what drives your work ethic, as well as information about the team you’ve assembled to represent your brand.
One way to effectively humanize your business is through your blog. Showcase team members with years of experience and write about issues and trends in your service area. Use real photos rather than stock photos when possible, so customers can get to know you and your employees better. Find ways to serve your community as well. Volunteering your time or sponsoring a youth sports league are always beneficial to the neighborhoods you serve, but from a digital marketing perspective, you have options as well. Join local online forums and respond to questions in your skillset. Don’t simply provide your contact information, but add value to the conversation by giving experienced insight into common plumbing issues. When customers see you care about the community you serve, they are likely to remember your name when their own plumbing issue arises.
Establish a Brand Personality across Social Media Platforms
Most people today access at least one social media platform a day, and when utilized effectively, social media can be a great way to get your name out to potential customers. A strong presence on social media will help you get customers today and will keep you in the minds of prospective customers in the future.
These platforms can also be a quick and easy tool for communicated sales, promotions, or important news. Rather than updating your website, which can be time intensive, even for the tech savvy business owner, a simple post about discounts or promotions can be done in a matter of seconds, generating customers quickly. Most people immediately think of Facebook for promotion, but don’t underestimate Twitter, Instagram, and even YouTube. Once you’ve established your business on these platforms, be sure to include links in the footers of your website and emails as well.
Avoid Using Social Media Exclusively for Sales
While social media platforms are great tools for getting customers and promoting your business, it’s important to remember your long-term strategies and goals. You can certainly use your social media to communicate specials, but if that’s the only way you utilize these sites, you will lose the followers you worked hard to attain. Always remember to communicate your story to the community.
Use Facebook, for instance, to show the culture of your work family. It’s a great place to showcase a work anniversary or introduce a new employee. Instagram is the place to feature photos of recent installations, before and after shots, and new trends in the industry. People typically use Twitter to seek and share information, which gives your plumbing business the opportunity to provide general plumbing related tips, like which foods to avoid putting in a garbage disposal or even an article about how flushable wipes may really not be that flushable. Even YouTube can be used to engage the community by demonstrating some simple repairs. Use your customers as a guide. If they are asking the questions, chances are your followers have the same questions or concerns.
Utilize Email Marketing to Stay Top of Mind
Getting new customers is essential, but how can your plumbing business keep customers, especially when services calls are so infrequent? Fortunately, it can be easier, and often less expensive to retain existing customers. In addition to social media, email marketing is an effective strategy for customer retention. There’s no need to blast a customer’s inbox with spam, of course, but a simple monthly newsletter can be enough to keep you in the forefront of your customers’ minds. You can include monthly specials, publish your recent blog post, and even share reviews from satisfied customers. Subscribers will then know just where to go when a plumbing issue arises.
Growing Your Business through Digital Marketing
In today’s online economy, digital marketing is the best way to reach new customers and keep them as well. With so many people heading to the computer or smartphone to find service providers, it’s important to make it easy for them to find you in a crowded field. Utilizing SEO strategies, PPC, social media, and even email marketing will ensure customers find you the first time and return to you every time they need a trustworthy plumber.
Consider implementing some of these digital marketing strategies to grow your plumbing business today and if you’re reading this, connect with the Mechanical Hub team as they are leaders in the industry.
Author Bio: Alan Smith is the Marketing Coordinator of Spartan Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning. Spartan is a leading plumbing / HVAC company that assists all types of businesses and residences throughout the Washington D.C. region and parts of Maryland. Spartan has an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau and was voted Best Plumber in D.C. for four years in a row.