How the HVAC Market is Gearing up to Leverage the Fourth Industrial Revolution
The year 2020 was a start-stop year for businesses. The COVID-19 pandemic wrecked businesses and threw all growth plans awry. But the HVAC industry is now in the midst of a post-pandemic boom. Here are the top HVAC market trends that you need to look up in 2021.
1. More focus on improving indoor air quality
There is a greater focus on improving the air quality around living and working spaces in the post-pandemic age. Businesses and households look to their HVAC systems to ensure air circulation and clean the air.
Simply ensuring the HVAC systems work properly by itself improves air quality. In 2021, businesses and homes have taken to cleaning and maintaining their HVAC systems more seriously. They prefer the following best practices.
- Sanitizing and disinfecting the air ducts as part of routine maintenance
- Usage of high-efficiency HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air filters) that block even the minutest of particles
- Use of Ultraviolet coil purifiers that prevent the growth of mold and bacteria on the evaporator coil.
- Configuring air conditioners, boosting the exchange rate with fresh air from outside the building, and reducing the air recirculated through the building
- Maintaining equipment to ensure thermal comfort and sound
These preferences have now become part of HVAC market trends.
2. Wider adoption of innovative and energy-efficient solutions
The need to improve air quality prompts many establishments to replace their HVAC systems. Dated HVAC systems cannot offer the air quality expected in today’s environment.
Legacy HVAC systems are energy-intensive as well. On average, HVAC appliances consume almost half of a household’s total energy usage. Commercial buildings with high square footage feel the pinch of high energy costs even more.
The top innovations that have become HVAC industry trends in 2021 are:
- Zoned HVAC systems that heat or cool specific rooms, as needed. These sophisticated systems save about 33% on annual energy usage.
- Gas and solar-powered HVAC systems: Solar energy is free. Natural gas is much cheaper than fossil fuel or coal-based grid electricity.
- Geothermal Systems: Geothermal systems use natural heat energy to heat or cool space. A geothermal heat pump taps into a network of fluid-filled pipes buried underground. These systems are safe, quiet, and up to 65% more efficient than traditional HVAC systems.
The latest generation of smart thermostats uses 410A refrigerant that reduces energy consumption by up to 35%. The improved energy efficiency from such eco-friendly HVAC systems pays back for the high upfront investment in a few years. Installing these systems also future-proofs the business. But installing and maintaining such systems require special expertise. Therefore, HVAC businesses would do well to invest in training their technicians and upgrade their skill-sets.
3. Ductless systems will gain popularity
Many parts of Asia and Europe prefer ductless HVAC systems over ducts. In 2021, this HVAC trend is catching up in the USA as well.
Ductworks come with a heavy price tag and pose architectural challenges. Holes and gaps in ductwork cause air leaks, increasing maintenance hassles. Doing away with the duct saves money. It also makes installations and repairs easy. Homeowners and businesses prefer such low-cost alternatives anyway during tough economic times.
4. Smart HVAC systems will be the customer’s choice
The hype surrounding IoT is finally actualizing in 2021. Smart meters, thermostats, and embedded sensors, connected through robust wi-fi enabled platforms, lower power costs, and improve customer convenience.
- Automated functions: IoT-powered HVAC systems allow building owners to control temperature, humidity, and airflow using their smartphones. Automated systems manage interior temperature and humidity. The sensors placed outside the building track external temperature, humidity, and brightness. Sensors placed at the doorway track people who enter and leave the room. These sensors “talk” to one another and set the optimal temperature.
- Proactive repairs: Service providers now rely less on clients reporting a problem and more on system-triggered alerts. Embedded sensors enable real-time performance monitoring and proactive maintenance. The IoT system triggers a work order automatically when reading falls outside the ideal range. High-end HVAC systems self-diagnose, enabling quick repairs. Field technicians may visit the site and carry out proactive maintenance, pre-empting breakdowns. Regular and proactive maintenance extends the lifetime of the HVAC system. It also reduces the overall lifecycle costs of maintaining the system by 40%.
- Better diagnosis: Connected HVAC systems generate rich data on system health, usage patterns, and past trends. HVAC technicians use such data to diagnose issues faster and accurately. Real-time operational flow data makes it easier to pinpoint the root cause of a problem.
- Informed decisions on upgrades: Data analytics enable business owners to make informed decisions regarding system upgrades. Collating operational data with the age of the HVAC unit and the condition at the property provide accurate pointers on system upgrade or replacement. Business owners no longer need to go by their instincts as they have insightful data in hand.
Maintaining such smart systems require highly skilled and tech-endowed technicians. This gives rise to the related HVAC trend of highly qualified technicians. These technicians operate remotely, guiding novice technicians through video-conferencing and other solutions.
5. Software automation will improve business functions
The days of manual operations are behind the times. Today, HVAC businesses operate through a plethora of digital tools and software.
- Field service software: High-quality field service apps such as ReachOut automate scheduling, optimize dispatching, make inspections easy, enable live tracking of field agents, and automate invoices. Smooth connectors integrate the field service software with enterprise systems such as CRM, ERP, inventory management suite, accounts software, etc. The seamless flow of data among these systems speeds up work and improves the quality of service. Estimates, sales, invoicing, payments, customer service, and communications all become fast and seamless.
- Supply chain management: The pandemic disrupted supply chains. HVAC enterprises now seek to become more resilient through tech adoption. They use technology to find alternative suppliers or workarounds to resolve supply chain bottlenecks.
- Integrated, end-to-end services: HVAC providers also adopt technology to deliver comprehensive end-to-end services. Today’s busy customers prefer providers who manage the entire process, from installation to invoicing, from quotes to reporting, and everything else.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution is well underway. Smart HVAC companies embrace the tech-induced changes to thrive in the new landscape. They upgrade to the latest cutting-edge technology to become more flexible, efficient, and competitive.
ReachOut HVAC service software equips your HVAC technicians and mechanics with the right piece of technology on the field. Manage inspections online, stay organized, and eliminate paperwork headaches with ReachOut. Get started today.
ReachOut: Inspection & Work Order Management Software
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