Who knew indoor air quality (IAQ) could be so interesting? I didn’t realize, for example, that your hardwood floors want humidity in the 30- to 60-percent range to avoid cracking from dryness or warping from dampness.
Home warranties on the wood could be voided if the proper humidity is not maintained, according to Jon Fischer, HVAC automation sales manager for Aprilaire. He has unpaid claims from customers to prove it.
During my conversation with Fischer about CE Pro’s forthcoming Webinar on IAQ, I realized that we probably lost a good $20,000 to $30,000 on a Minnesota home we sold because the wood casings around our giant windows were so damaged from condensation.
Proper ventilation and humidification could have preserved the value of our home and kept us more comfortable to boot. And let’s not even get started on my cigar collection ….
These are the kinds of things Fischer will discuss during a live Webinar on Wed., August 17 at 2:00 pm ET.
Integrators have become strong champions of automated temperature controls, but IAQ is something they should be adding to the conversation with clients and prospects.
“We want dealers to understand that temperature control is only one aspect of indoor air quality,” Fischer says. “They’re selling [cumulatively] tens of thousands of thermostats per year, but they’re just controlling temperature.”
Besides humidification and de-humidification, the IAQ category includes such things as air filtration, circulation and ventilation – important features to reduce dust and allergens.
“Obviously indoor air quality is nothing sexy like 4K TV,” he says. “It’s only the air we breathe.”
IAQ is becoming more critical than ever due to improvements in construction that tighten the barriers around the home.
“My house is very very tight for energy efficiency,” says Fischer, “When you have all that off-gassing of wood floors, paints, stains, carpeting … they get trapped inside.”
What’s an integrator to do? Most respectable home-control systems can communicate two-way with the rich features of HVAC and IAQ systems for accessing functions beyond temperature controls.
The integration with IAQ makes for an easy conversation starter if you notice a customer’s hardwood floors, prized guitars, museum-quality paintings, little children with their vulnerable little lungs … and anything else that might be affected by poor air quality.
Fischer says integrators don’t need to become HVAC contractors themselves. Rather, they should know enough about IAQ to discuss it competently with customers and then partner with local specialists to do the job. Those specialists are doing IAQ all day long, and there's benefits for them to bring an integrator into the job.
“It’s important to make good relationships with HVAC contractors,” he says. “Then there’s no finger-pointing and more business.”