By: Scott Intagliata, Marketing Director, Unico, Inc.
When it comes to heating and air conditioning, your customers are less concerned with price than you might think. NARI platinum partner Unico, maker of The Unico System small-duct central heating and air conditioning, recently surveyed homeowners regarding their thoughts about their current HVAC systems and what they would like to see from manufacturers, general contractors and HVAC installers when replacing existing or buying new systems.
This survey was sent to homeowners who recently purchased or replaced existing HVAC systems or are considering doing so within the next three years. The survey was un-branded in order to get a sense of homeowners’ thoughts regarding HVAC systems in general and not colored by association with any particular brand name.
When asked to rank the attributes they most want in a new HVAC system, consumers chose:
- Comfort – 62%
- Low energy consumption – 46%
- Better air filtering – 25%
- Low equipment and installation cost – 19%.
Similarly, when asked what attributes should be included in what they would consider the ‘best’ HVAC system, the top three choices were ‘includes the best technology available,’ ‘has a warrantied life cycle of 15 years or more,’ and ‘low operating cost (low energy consumption).’ Additionally, 78% of respondents are aware that local utility providers offer incentives for the purchase of energy efficient products.
Of note to general contractors and HVAC subcontractors, when it comes to specifying a particular HVAC system, over one-third of respondents (35%) indicated that they would direct their GC or HVAC contractor regarding the desired brand while nearly half (48%) would defer to the recommendation of the GC or subcontractor. Regarding referrals for HVAC installers, respondents placed the highest value on friends/family (64%), second highest on referrals from previous customers (46%) and a very near third on other service professionals (e.g. remodeler, electrician, plumber, etc. (43%).
Clearly, consumers put a premium on better comfort, technology and energy efficiency and are willing to pay more for these attributes. This is not surprising and confirms trends from the earlier manufacturer surveys (2015 survey & 2016 survey) that indicate consumers’ high awareness of the energy efficiency aspects of mechanical systems and appliances, such as SEER (seasonal energy efficiency rating) and Energy Star-rated equipment.
While consumers are more aware regarding their options for home comfort systems, general contractors and HVAC subcontractors still play a valuable and trusted role in helping homeowners determine their best solutions based on their needs and desires.
Scott Intagliata is the Marketing Director for Unico, Inc. Learn more about Unico, Inc. here.