Technical Tip 3: 7 HVAC trends to watch out for

What are the upcoming trends for HVAC for 2024? It's about high tech, going green, HVAC as a service (what?) and more. In this Tech Tip, we're going to highlight the HVAC trends you'll be encountering this year.

We have smart everything these days, from televisions to refrigerators to watches. Why should HVAC be any different? But these tech innovations in the HVAC industry aren't just about talking to your air conditioner. The Internet of Things (IoT) connects HVAC systems to homeowners' networks, allowing for remote monitoring. Smart thermostats and sensors on other HVAC units monitor performance in real time. It means greater control, safety and customization for homeowners and results in greater efficiency, too.

Precision Indoor Climate Control (PICC) takes this to the next level. PICC uses high-tech features like advanced monitoring, data analytics and more to provide the ultimate in heating and cooling control. It's much more than just having a homeowner's bedroom toasty warm while the three guest bedrooms that don't often get used are set to cooler temps. PICC systems automatically monitor and adjust the temperature, humidity and even airflow in any given area. Having a dinner party for 12? A PICC system automatically adjusts itself for those extra bodies.

Do you need a tech degree to recommend, install and service these new smart HVAC units? Not by a long shot. But you should be familiar with the features.

2. Predictive maintenance technology

HVAC pros know all about what can go wrong with HVAC systems — airflow imbalances, malfunctions, leaks, you name it, HVAC pros have fixed it. And usually, that's how it goes — there's a problem, you get a call, and fix what's wrong. New technology in HVAC is turning that process on its head. It's predictive maintenance, and it has been called a game-changer in HVAC. Here's the short version of how it works: Sensors are placed throughout the system. They monitor temperature, vibration, airflow and other factors. Sounds a lot like the smart HVAC we were just explaining, right? It is, but this takes it one step further. It doesn't just monitor climate control. It senses patterns and abnormalities that might be the signal for impending problems. The software sends an alert, and an HVAC tech sees to that problem. It reduces downtime, extends equipment life and improves overall efficiency.

3. Ductless HVAC

Ductless systems, like mini-splits, are growing in popularity for several reasons, including energy efficiency. Mini-split heat pumps are among the most common ductless systems. As we noted above, heat pumps are having a moment because of the new governmental subsidies, and ductless is a way for older homes to get in on these savings. Multi-zone systems allow homeowners greater control of the temperature in different areas of the house, and when integrated with smart technology, they can do it from their phone. Getting up to speed on this new technology is a must!

4. Green HVAC

Every industry, it seems, is going green, and HVAC is no exception. New regulations mean more HVAC equipment will need to meet stricter standards, the heat pump juggernaut brought about by federal subsidies means increased work for HVAC techs installing this equipment, and sustainable design is everywhere. Ensuring clients are using the most energy-efficient equipment possible is a necessity now.

5. Demand is high 

More than 90% of the homes in the U.S. have air conditioning equipment, and homeowners have spent $10 billion last year on HVAC maintenance and repair. So that's the baseline. But now, homeowners are interested in all the technologies we've highlighted above. Smart HVAC. Predictive maintenance technology. Ductless HVAC. More energy-efficient units. Technology is driving this surge in demand.

6. HVAC as a service

You're thinking, "What do you mean? It already is a service." Yes, but here's the distinction. Much like the Saas (software as a service), HVACaaS is an emerging trend, shifting the HVAC business model from one-time transactions, installations, repairs and more to a subscription-based service, in which customers pay monthly for ongoing services like maintenance and upgrades. For your customers, it is attractive because they may get lower upfront costs and the security of knowing you'll always have their back. For you, it means a monthly revenue stream. 

7. Labor shortages

Many trade-based industries are experiencing labor shortages. It's happening because of many factors. Older, more experienced workers, your pros that really know how to get the job done, are reaching retirement age and fewer people are coming up through the ranks to replace them. Couple that with the high demand we mentioned earlier, competition from other trade industries like electrical and plumbing, and HVAC businesses have a real problem. It can translate to higher costs for customers, longer wait times for service and difficulty meeting your customers' demands. The best way to combat this is to offer competitive wages and benefits, team up with trade schools, offer internships to young people and most importantly, invest in training.

All in all, 2024 is shaping up to be a positive year for HVAC, but a few bumps in the road still exist. At Goodin Company, we're your source of HVAC supply and information. We'll be here to help!

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