If so, you’re not alone. Dick Foster, president of Zone First recently talked with The News about the topic of zoning. “Apathy is the biggest challenge facing my company right now. Even with more players in the zoning market, zoning is still a very small percentage of the market. Contractors are still focused on the box and do not take a system approach. Most contractors are order takers and wait for the phone to ring to fix what is broken versus proactively selling systems.” But it doesn’t have to be that way, and zoning manufacturers are taking the initiative to make zoning an attractive option for contractors.
“Education is a key component in making zoning more attractive to contractors. One of the big things manufacturers need to do is show contractors zoning is not as hard as they think, “Foster said. His words were echoed by Ken Barton of Arzel Zoning Technology. “By making contractors more comfortable in the knowledge of zoning, airflow, static pressure and when to use bypass, we can make them more confident that what they are selling is something that will work, not harm the equipment and deliver what they have promised customers,” Barton said.
Equipment manufacturers are responding as well. Kyle Golden of Lennox Industries said it’s iHarmony Zoning System was developed with the installer in mind. Golden said, “It can be so difficult to get the system set up right the first time. This causes many dealers to build in multiple callbacks for zoning installations. With iHarmony, we simplified the entire set up and configuration process. Technicians can configure the heating, cooling, and blower CFM; see how much CFM is available for the system; see how much is assigned for each zone; and start or stop testing all on one screen.” Kevin Graebel of Honeywell said his company continues to develop innovative solutions that improve the installation process to make it faster and reduce callbacks. “Last year, we released the True ZONE Bypass Damper, which dramatically simplifies the setup and provides much more consistent performance compared to the old, weighted arm style bypass damper.
Thomas Jackson of Jackson systems LLC said offering zoning can be a highly profitable option for contractors, which can provide a competitive edge over nearby contractors who don’t offer it. According to Kyle Golden, “homeowners wouldn’t be happy if they were unable to turn the lights off in an unoccupied room or if the lights failed to adequately illuminate certain spaces. HVAC systems account for a much greater portion of residential electricity used in lighting, and as the average home size continues to increase, problems like wasted energy from heating or cooling unused rooms and discomfort from hot or cold spots is becoming more common. With zoning, contractors can offer the perfect solution to these and other problems. And up selling zoning on a system replacement call is a great way to add to the bottom line,” he said.
For more information, see The News May 19 article by Matt Bishop, Knowledge Is Power in HVAC Zoning.