HVAC systems are the most common home repair, representing 19 percent of service incidents facing homeowners. More than half of homeowners (53%) have faced a home repair emergency of some kind in the past 12 months. Furthermore, about a third of homeowners have US$ 500 or less set aside to pay for emergency home repairs, with some 17 percent having no money at all set aside for emergency home repair work.

10th Edition of the Biannual State of the Home Survey

These are among the results of the 10th Edition of the Biannual State of the Home Survey conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of HomeServe USA Corp., a provider of home repair solutions in the U.S. and Canada.

The survey carried out covered 2,026 U.S. adults (of which 1,454 are US homeowners) was conducted during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. HomeServe’s real-time repair data shows that customers are continuing to require urgent repair help during the COVID-19 pandemic period.

Greater strain on home infrastructure and HVAC systems

More Americans are putting extra strain on their homes’ infrastructure and major systems

More Americans are putting extra strain on their homes’ infrastructure and major systems. As parents are spending more time working from home, and the children are in home schools, the shortcomings of existing systems are becoming more obvious, especially as the summer temperatures rise. In the current uncertain times, comfort is more of a need than a luxury.

Concerns about air quality in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is occurring at the height of the allergy season, are also driving new business for HVAC technicians.   

Technicians using personal protective gear at homes

Service technicians are using proper social distancing protocols and personal protective gear (PPE) while performing maintenance and service tasks at consumers’ homes. Consumers want to know what companies are doing differently to protect their customers during the pandemic.

At the very least, installers should keep contact to a minimum and meet Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local requirements to contain the spread of the coronavirus. 

Following social distancing protocols in repair works

We’re wearing gloves, washing our hands between calls, wearing masks, and we have sanitizers and soaps in our cars, making sure we are maintaining safety,” said Michael Concannon, Repair Technician for Bell Brothers, located in Sacramento, California, USA.

There is also an opportunity for HVAC companies to provide expert advice on subjects that customers are asking about now, such as indoor air quality. In the midst of economic uncertainty, routine maintenance can provide greater peace of mind, as well as extend the life of equipment.

Consumers to foot bill for home repair work

According to the HomeServe survey, many homeowners do not know it is their responsibility to pay for home repairs

According to the HomeServe survey, many homeowners, especially younger ones, do not understand that it is their responsibility to pay for home repairs. Many mistakenly believe repairs will be covered by a city/municipality, a water utility, or a homeowner’s insurance.

The findings of the latest survey clearly show that homeowners, especially younger ones, are unaware of their responsibility when it comes to common home repairs,” said John Kitzie, HomeServe USA Chief Executive Officer (CEO). 

Smart financial planning tools

John adds, “HomeServe seeks to educate homeowners and to provide them with smart financial planning tools so they are prepared when an inevitable home emergency strikes.

HomeServe USA serves more than 4.4 million customers across the U.S. and Canada under the HomeServe, Home Emergency Insurance Solutions, Service Line Warranties of America (SLWA) and Service Line Warranties of Canada (SLWC).

Share with LinkedIn Share with Twitter Share with Facebook Share with Facebook
Download PDF version

Author profile

In case you missed it

What Has Been the Impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic on the HVAC Market?
What Has Been the Impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic on the HVAC Market?

Welcome to our Expert Panel Roundtable, a new feature of HVACInformed.com. We will be asking timely questions about the HVAC market and seeking out experts in the field to provide responses. Our goal is to promote a useful exchange of information on a variety of topics and to create a forum for discussion of important issues facing the industry. Launching this new feature in the middle of a global pandemic made choosing our first question quite easy. We asked our Expert Panel Roundtable: What has been the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the HVAC market?

Study Discovers Novel Coronavirus RNA in Hospital’s HVAC System
Study Discovers Novel Coronavirus RNA in Hospital’s HVAC System

A University of Oregon study has found viral RNA from SARS-CoV-2 in the air handling units (AHUs) of a healthcare facility, thus raising new questions about the possible role of HVAC systems in spreading the novel coronavirus. The study collected 56 samples from three different air handling units at the Oregon Health and Science University hospital in Portland, Ore., on four days in May and June 2020. Three areas along the path of airflow were sampled, including pre-filters, finals filters, and supply air dampers. About 35% of prefilter samples, 17% of final filter samples, and 21% of air damper samples contained viral RNA at detectable levels. Viral genetic material Modern filtration at the highest level of purification in a healthcare environment is still not sufficient Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) causes the illness known as COVID-19. RNA (ribonucleic acid) is present in all living cells, and in this case was identified as originating from SARS-CoV-2. The infectious potential of viral genetic material is unknown. The HVAC system at the buildings studied exceeded ASHRAE Standard 170-2017 Ventilation for Healthcare Facilities guidelines. The pre-filters are rated MERV-10, and the final filters are rated MERV-15. Based on engineering calculations and equipment documentation, the HVAC system is capable of cycling air from the ward, to the AHU, and back to the ward in a time between 90 seconds and five minutes, depending on travel distance to each room location. The study, which has not been peer-reviewed, suggests that modern filtration at the highest level of purification in a healthcare environment is still not sufficient to rule out the passage of viral RNA and possible viral particles through an HVAC system. The researchers did not assess the infectivity of the samples. Transmission via HVAC systems More work is needed to further evaluate the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission via HVAC systems" “The presence of viral RNA in air handlers raises the possibility that viral particles can enter and travel within the air handling system of a hospital, from room return air through high-efficiency MERV-15 filters and into supply air ducts,” reports the study, which was published on the preprint server “medRxiv.” “More work is needed to further evaluate the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission via HVAC systems and to verify effectiveness of building operations mitigation strategies for the protection of building occupants,” according to the study. “Droplet spread,” from one person to another, has been identified as the most common mechanism of transmission of the novel coronavirus, although some studies have suggested that air movement patterns indoors induced through HVAC systems may contribute to transmission through “small particle aerosols.” Negative pressure rooms Negative pressure rooms are used in hospitals and medical centers to prevent cross-contamination Patients with known or suspected COVID-19 should be placed in negative pressure rooms when available, but most hospitals and outpatient clinics do not have enough negative pressure rooms to accommodate all patients. Negative pressure rooms are used in hospitals and medical centers to prevent cross-contamination from room to room. The study results are particularly timely as more indoor spaces begin to reopen and increase in occupant density; more individuals will occupy shared spaces serviced by HVAC units for extended periods of time. As knowledge regarding ventilation during the pandemic continues to expand, it is likely building operations best practices will continue to be updated. Hospitals have higher levels of mechanical filtration and room air exchange than almost any other building. Therefore, the study suggests that even the most extreme filtration practices may not eliminate the passage of SARS-CoV-2 RNA, and potentially viral particles, through HVAC systems and potentially back into the supply air.

Displaced Oil Workers Finding Opportunity in HVAC Trade
Displaced Oil Workers Finding Opportunity in HVAC Trade

Lower prices in the oil and gas industry have led to job losses as the sector has contracted recently, and that was even before the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked additional havoc on the national and world economies. The COVID-19 crisis is accelerating what was already shaping up to be one of the oil industry’s most challenging years. More than a dozen oil companies have declared bankruptcy so far in the United States alone, and widespread industry layoffs are expected to continue. Oil field closures But displaced oil industry employees may provide a benefit to the HVAC industry, which faces struggles to attract sufficient skilled labor to meet customer needs. Might those displaced workers be great candidates for the HVAC industry? Definitely, says Brett Hobson, owner of Perfect Technician Academy, an HVAC technician school in Weatherford, Texas, near Dallas. “Many similarities exist between the oil and HVAC industries,” says Hobson. “That’s largely why [our school] has garnered a variety of new students from oil-heavy states around the U.S. in recent months.” Perfect Technician Academy has paid attention to the turmoil unfolding in the oil industry and is taking steps to mitigate it. Previously, the HVAC trade school has catered to veterans and active-duty military, helping them to transition to civilian life. Lately, the school has expanded the focus to include the men, women and families displaced by oil field closures in and around Texas. Providing stability during pandemic Having your livelihood pulled out from under you and beginning a new career path is an incredibly stressful situation" Perfect Technician Academy offers courses in HVAC Repair Service Technician, Residential Install Technician, Maintenance Service Technician, and installer Assistant Technician. “When people learn about the nature of the HVAC industry, they typically are left wishing they had come to the school sooner,” says Dr. Thomas Moorman, Provost and School Director. “Having your livelihood pulled out from under you and beginning a new career path is an incredibly stressful situation to be in.” Perfect Technician Academy seeks to provide stability to those in need during the pandemic, emphasizing that opportunity exists in the HVAC market for those willing to pursue it. An advantage of an HVAC job over the life of oil company employees is the ability for an employee to sleep in their bed at home, rather than being off in an oil patch for three or six weeks at a time, Hobson says. Climate-Control systems Heath Averitt was laid off after spending 23 years in the oil field. “Oil hit zero dollars a barrel,” he told KOKH-TV Fox25 News in Oklahoma City. “What am I going to do to make it? How am I going to get out to make some money to pay bills the fastest?” With two brothers-in-law working in HVAC in South Texas, Averitt approached Perfect Technician Academy to explore the possibilities of a career change. “We can get them back in the workforce in an accelerated period, in a career that probably has a lot more stability,” says Hobson. Employment of heating, air conditioning and refrigeration technicians and installers was projected to grow 21% from 2012 to 2022 based on U.S. Labor statistics. The growing number of sophisticated climate-control systems is expected to increase demand for qualified HVAC technicians, according to Perfect Technician Academy.

vfd