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EPA Moves Install Date for Heat Pumps and Air Conditioning Equipment 

The Environmental Protection Agency released the following information with an interim final rule, moving the installation deadline for residential and light commercial heat pumps and air-condition equipment to January 1, 2026, for equipment manufactured before January 1, 2025. Equipment manufactured after January 1, 2025, will be labeled “For servicing existing equipment only” and cannot be used to install a complete system. The rest of the Final Technology Transition Rule remains the same.

  “On December 20, 2023, EPA Administrator Michael S. Reagan signed an interim final rule to address concerns regarding the January 1, 2025, installation compliance date for residential heat pump and air conditioning systems by amending the final regulation to allow for installation of higher-GWP HFC equipment manufactured or imported before January 1, 2025, to be installed until January 1, 2026. Separately, EPA intends timely consideration of industry concerns related to VRF systems. For more information, please reference the interim final rule.”

HARDI will provide a more detailed explanation of the interim final rule in the coming weeks. As we’ve communicated before, HARDI strongly encourages distributors to treat this potential change as an opportunity to reduce or eliminate any remaining inventory using high-GWP refrigerants after the 2024 cooling season. A delay in the system installation deadline is not an opportunity for a full year of high-GWP equipment sales.

7 effective ways to prevent carbon monoxide in the home

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless gas that can be produced by malfunctioning or improperly maintained heating systems, including furnaces and boilers. It’s important to note that CO concerns are related to heating systems rather than air conditioning, so ensuring proper maintenance of heating systems, including regular inspections and maintenance checks, is crucial to prevent the risk of carbon monoxide leaks. If your clients have concerns about carbon monoxide or heating system maintenance, it’s advisable to address these issues promptly and provide appropriate guidance to ensure their safety.

Safeguarding your home from this hidden danger requires a comprehensive understanding of how to detect carbon monoxide leaks. Learn the top 7 effective ways to identify and prevent CO leaks, empowering you with the knowledge to ensure a secure and serene living environment for your customers.

1. Install Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Early Alert System

Carbon monoxide detectors act as a sentinel, constantly monitoring your indoor air for dangerous levels of CO. Strategically placing these detectors in key areas, such as bedrooms and hallways, ensures that you’ll be promptly alerted if CO concentrations rise to hazardous levels.

Find the carbon monoxide detector that best fits your customer’s needs.

2. Prioritize Regular AC System Inspections: Professional Oversight

While your customers may be vigilant about cleaning or changing their air filters, annual inspections will delve into the intricate components of your system, catching potential issues before they escalate and lead to CO leaks.

3. Monitor Flame Color in Furnaces: Visual Clues

If the AC system relies on a furnace, become a flame watcher. A consistent blue flame indicates proper combustion, but a yellow or orange flame is a sign of incomplete combustion, which can produce CO.

4. Thoroughly Check for Visible Rust or Corrosion: Visual and Structural Inspection

Deterioration in the AC system, especially in exhaust and ventilation components, can be a pathway for CO to enter the home. Regularly inspect these parts for signs of rust or corrosion, addressing any concerns promptly.

5. Recognize and Respond to Physical Symptoms: Personal Vigilance

Carbon monoxide poisoning often starts with vague symptoms like headaches, dizziness, or nausea. If these symptoms occur regularly, particularly when you’re at home, consider the possibility of CO exposure and take swift action.

6. Ensure Adequate Ventilation: The Importance of Airflow

Proper ventilation is a powerful defense. Blocked vents can cause CO to accumulate indoors. Regularly check and clean vents, ensuring that gases are effectively directed outside your living spaces.

7. Educate Yourself and Your Household: Knowledge is Safety

Educating your family about carbon monoxide risks and detection methods empowers everyone to respond effectively. Create an emergency plan that includes knowing how to evacuate, seeking medical attention, and contacting professionals.

Air conditioners themselves do not produce carbon monoxide (CO) but, it’s important to note that if the HVAC system includes a furnace, it could potentially produce carbon monoxide. Regular maintenance and proper ventilation of all fuel-burning appliances are essential to prevent carbon monoxide leaks and ensure the safety of the home.

Rheem Heat Pumps Qualify for Federal Tax Credits

Ferguson is here to help your customers take advantage of the Energy Efficient Home Improvement Federal Tax Credit (Tax Section 25C) with the Rheem [Ruud] Split Ducted Heat Pumps.

As part of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 and effective back on January 1, 2023, the Energy Efficient Home Improvement Federal Tax Credit (EEHI) offers homeowners replacing their heating and cooling systems with a high efficiency CEE heat pump system to qualify for up to $2,000 in federal tax credits.

Here are a few things you should know about the EEHI:

  • Effective January 1, 2023, through December 31, 2032
  • No lifetime tax credit cap
  • Not limited to primary residences
  • No income requirements
  • Increases the percentage of the credit from 10% to 30% of equipment and installation cost
  • Up to $2,000 tax credit for eligible heat pumps

Rheem’s RP15AZ is the ideal split ducted heat pump that qualifies for this tax credit. The RP15AZ heat pump from Rheem features two speeds (high and low) of cooling and heating, providing more precise temperature control, lower humidity and greater efficiency when compared to single stage compressors. It has a 7mm condenser copper coil which requires less refrigerant allowing for a smaller and lighter footprint while enhancing reliability. This electric heat pump also offers PlusOne Triple Service Access, a 15″ wide, industry leading corner service access, two fastener, removeable corner and individual louver panels – makes repairs easier and faster.

  • Cooling Efficiency: 15.2 SEER2/11.7 EER2
  • Heating Efficiency: 7.8 HSPF2
  • Nominal Sizes: 2 to 4 Tons [6.68 to 13.36 kW]
  • Cooling Capacities: 13.36 to 45.6 kBTU
  • 10 year warranty

Eligible Rheem Equipment:

  • RP15AZ30
  • RP15AZ36
  • RP15AZ42
  • RP15AZ48
  • RP15AZ60

Ruud Heat Pumps Qualify for Federal Tax Credits

Ferguson is here to help your customers take advantage of the Energy Efficient Home Improvement Federal Tax Credit (Tax Section 25C) with the Ruud Split Ducted Heat Pumps.

As part of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 and effective back on January 1, 2023, the Energy Efficient Home Improvement Federal Tax Credit (EEHI) offers homeowners replacing their heating and cooling systems with a high efficiency CEE heat pump system to qualify for up to $2,000 in federal tax credits.

Here are a few things you should know about the EEHI:

  • Effective January 1, 2023, through December 31, 2032
  • No lifetime tax credit cap
  • Not limited to primary residences
  • No income requirements
  • Increases the percentage of the credit from 10% to 30% of equipment and installation cost
  • Up to $2,000 tax credit for eligible heat pumps

Ruud’s RP15AZ is the ideal split ducted heat pump that qualifies for this tax credit. The RP15AZ heat pump from Ruud features two speeds (high and low) of cooling and heating, providing more precise temperature control, lower humidity and greater efficiency when compared to single stage compressors. It has a 7mm condenser copper coil which requires less refrigerant allowing for a smaller and lighter footprint while enhancing reliability. This electric heat pump also offers PlusOne Triple Service Access, a 15″ wide, industry leading corner service access, two fastener, removeable corner and individual louver panels – makes repairs easier and faster.

  • Cooling Efficiency: 15.2 SEER2/11.7 EER2
  • Heating Efficiency: 7.8 HSPF2
  • Nominal Sizes: 2 to 4 Tons [6.68 to 13.36 kW]
  • Cooling Capacities: 13.36 to 45.6 kBTU
  • 10 year warranty

Eligible Ruud Equipment:

  • RP15AZ30
  • RP15AZ36
  • RP15AZ42
  • RP15AZ48
  • RP15AZ60

Win a POLARIS® ATV!

REGISTER FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN A NEW 2022 POLARIS® SPORTSMAN 570 ATV*

PROMO DATES: MAY 1 – JULY 31, 2023

PLUS get extra entries when you purchase Day & Night® motor bearing units. No purchase necessary. Click here for more details and to obtain claim form for additional entries.

Register for your chance to win here:

https://app.smartsheet.com/b/form/380b7a4e2a6e4bff8c8f50942595a773

For official rules, click here.

*One ATV will be given away for all Colorado locations. $8,655 value. Automatic entry with each purchase of motor-bearing unit qualifies for one entry into the drawing for the ATV. Excludes units purchased under special pricing. Prize will be awarded in August 2023. No purchase necessary. The winner will be responsible for transfer of title and all taxes. Ferguson HVAC, a Ferguson Enterprise complies with IRS reporting requirements for incentive rewards. IRS W-9 form must be completed. Polaris® is not affiliated with this promotion in any way other than being the name make and model of the ATV awarded. The following persons are not eligible to enter the drawings: (a) employees of Ferguson Enterprises, Inc. or its affiliates, subsidiaries or vendors; and (b) immediate family members and persons living in the same household as the persons identified in (a) above. Void outside the United States or where prohibited or restricted by law. ATV photos ©Polaris 2023 and are for illustration purposes only.

2023 Efficiency Standards

The Department of Energy’s increased efficiency standards took effect on Jan. 1, 2023, replacing the industry measures and regional compliance standards HVAC contractors have referenced for years. Seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER), energy efficiency ratio (EER) and heating seasonal performance factor (HSPF) ratings are changing to EER2, SEER2 and HSPF2 ratings.

Key takeaways for installing residential HVAC equipment include:

  • Minimum efficiency standards affect air conditioner condensing units (AC), heat pumps (HP) and single-packaged units (SPP).
  • Compliance guidelines are regionally determined and based on manufacture and install dates. 
  • Installing improper equipment risks steep financial penalties.

Stay on top of 2023 DOE efficiency standards to better serve your customers and protect your business. 

Chick here to see the regional map and get more information.

What's Next? The Inflation Reduction Act

In August, the U.S. Government passed the Inflation Reduction Act, a comprehensive energy policy bill with a record $370 billion in reserved spending for climate and energy initiatives. This legislation offers several tax credits that reward homeowners for purchasing higher efficiency, ENERGY STAR-certified and Consortium for Energy Efficiency-specified equipment.

Most important information for today – 25C Tax Credit
The 25C Tax Credit (The Nonbusiness Energy Property Tax Credit) has been revived and gives homeowners a tax credit for energy efficiency upgrades.

  • Credit revived and made retroactive for 2022 (at original 10%)
  • Starting in 2023, credit increases to 30% of total installation costs through 2032
  • The lifetime cap of $500 will be replaced by a cap of $600 for qualified air conditioners and $600 for qualified furnaces
  • Heat pumps and heat pump water heaters are eligible for a credit of up to $2,000 per year
  • Eligible products have not been finalized

Residential Energy Efficient Property (Section 25D)
This tax credit gives homeowners equal to 30% of installation costs for ENERGY STAR geothermal heat pumps until 2032. Percentages drop in 2033 and 2034.

45L Tax Credit – Energy Efficient Home and Multifamily Credit
This tax credit, available for single-family and multifamily homebuilders, has also been revived and made retroactive in 2022.

  • Starting in 2023, credit increases to $2,500 for single family homes meeting the ENERGY STAR Residential New Construction Program
  • DOE Zero Energy Ready single family homes can earn up to $5,000
  • Credits are also available for Multifamily homes, by dwelling unit eligible

Rebates Available
HVAC is included in two rebate programs. The Home Energy Performance-Based Whole-House Rebate covers whole house improvements to single family and multifamily homes. The High-Efficiency Electric Home Rebate Program covers electrical appliance improvements to low and moderate income single family and multifamily homes. These programs are not yet finalized but will begin in 2023.

More information on HVAC credit can be found on the ENERGY STAR website.

IAQ: It’s a Must-Sell, Not an Upsell

Contractors who coach their teams to offer IAQ solutions to every customer as an upsell have the right idea but the wrong approach.

“I don’t like the word ‘upsell,’” said Bob Bazzoli, a field service supervisor in Baltimore, “because it makes it sound like you’re trying to give somebody something that’s not important. Indoor air quality is extremely important.”

But getting into the market — or staying in it — requires that you become knowledgeable in the field, according to Corey Hickmann, a contractor in the greater Minneapolis area. So let’s take a look at the IAQ technology available today and how its role has changed over the years.

THE EVOLUTION OF IAQ

“The funny history of IAQ is that we as an industry first started filtration … to actually protect the equipment,” Bazzoli said. “Secondary was the air. The filter was designed to save the a/c coil.”

But as homes continue to be built tighter and tighter, with builders boasting energy efficiency and lower bills, homeowners have become more attuned to not having a “sick house,” Bazzoli noted — a term he said was coined in the ‘80s.

“Tighter homes are much more demanding on HVAC professionals, and the mini-split craze is eliminating our ability to filter, humidify, purify,” said Jim Patterson, a contractor in Northampton, Massachusetts. “IAQ has become much more technical over the past five to six years. An electronic air cleaner was once a massive step toward cleaner air. I don’t even offer them anymore. Now, the state-of-the-art filtration systems incorporate HEPA filters, ionization air purifiers, ventilation systems, humidifiers …”

Not only is the technology itself changing, but the way it is relayed to homeowners is evolving too. It’s easy for homeowners to understand why they need a filter — they can physically see that it collects dirt.

“But plants give off mold spores, cooking with grease leaves a film in the air … things you don’t think about,” said Bazzoli.

And those “things” floating around in the air typically can’t be seen by the naked eye. That’s why more and more monitors are coming out that have an app, according to Rob Minnick, a Maryland-based contractor.

“It shows how well or not so well the air quality is in your home,” he said.

Which brings us to the selling part of the equation.

MAKE THE OFFER TO MAKE THE SALE

Hickmann said his company’s philosophy is that IAQ solutions should be offered to every customer.

“Any contractor that doesn’t at least present something additional — beyond the filter — to the customer … if you don’t do that, you get exactly what you’ve been getting,” Bazzoli said. “Why not take advantage? You’re putting the system in.”

There’s nothing more embarrassing than selling a fix that doesn’t work out, though, as Patterson pointed out. Which is why it’s important to be properly educated on both the products and the environments.

“There are so many manufacturers that have amazing training programs,” Hickmann said.

That takes care of the product knowledge. But to really be able to offer the best solution to your customers, you must ask the customers questions to drill down to the root cause of their problems before offering a solution, Minnick cautioned.

“Do not go for the quick product you think … will solve the problem,” he said. “You will spend countless hours trying to make it work and disappoint the customer. Find the source of the problem before installing Band-Aids and hoping for the best.”

Understanding home construction, insulation issues, and ventilation is a must, Patterson said.

“These items are usually in the mix of problems leading to the IAQ issue, and identifying that is critical,” he said. “You really need to make the investment in time and education, starting at the building science level and working into the more advanced HVAC systems that make the IAQ products we offer work better. Becoming a ‘comfort expert’ extends beyond just making a house hot or cold, it has to be comfortable and healthy in order to really make a difference in our homeowners’ lives.”

THE FUTURE OF IAQ

Patterson preaches what he calls “the four factors of comfort.” He believes every system must address temperature, humidification, IAQ, and dehumidification in order to achieve a clean, comfortable, and healthy environment.

“Some systems impact one or more [of these factors], but a quality, well-orchestrated design encompasses all of these features in one way or another to provide the perfect indoor environment.”

Commercial customers have known the value of conditioned air for some time now, Bazzoli said.

“The consumer end is catching up to the commercial end,” he said.

In the future, IAQ technology will only continue to advance, making homes healthier and consumers happier, according to Bazzoli. And as homeowners become more educated, the demand for IAQ solutions will increase as well.

“Contractors need to stop talking about equipment — variable speed, two-stage, modulating, etc.,” said Hickmann. “Customers don’t care about that boring talk. They want to know how you will change the home and provide a clean, healthy, and properly humidified environment.”

Customer satisfaction is achieved when their comfort exceeds the amount they paid.

“Think tires,” Bazzoli said. “You pay $800 for a new set of tires, and that seems like a lot of money at the time. But the first time it rains, you’re thinking about how easily you could stop; you’re not thinking about the $800 you spent.

“If I can keep you from the doctor two less times a year, that’s important,” he continued. “We’re not preying on people with special needs for an upsell; we’re offering a solution.”

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