Do you remember what happened to the housing market in 2008-2011? Think it’s over? Not for HVAC contractors. Let’s refresh on what happened.
The housing market hit its high point in 2005, with 2,068,300 starts. That’s overheated to begin with. A sustainable level is somewhere between 1.5 and 1.8 million starts. The market begins its pre-recession decline in 2006, hitting 1,800,900 starts and then 1,355,000 starts in 2007. Then the market collapses: 900,000 in 2008 and only 554,000 in 2009. Housing starts didn’t top a million again until 2014.
This year’s Comfortech conference and show in Philadelphia on September 20-22 will have a significant focus on new technologies.
You can see the same pattern in the shipments statistics from Air-Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration Institute. Shipments of central air conditioners and heat pumps peaked in 2005 at 8,607,501, and then dropped around 40 percent to a low of 5,157,712 in 2009. When you dive deeper into the AHRI statistics, you can see the declines in the most popular residential sizes from 22,000-38,900 Btuh. Shipments of central air conditioners and heat pumps with capacities of 27,000-32,900 Btuh fell around 45 percent from 2005 to 2010. Shipments of gas warm air furnaces topped 3.5 million in both 2004 and 2005 before bottoming out at 2.17 million in 2009.
That’s an awful lot of equipment that’s not there to repair or replace. Contractors are okay for 2016-2017, but that equipment (that’s not there) will get to replacement age starting in 2018. On top of that, economic whizzes Alan and Brian Beaulieu, ITR Economics, are predicting a recession (an ordinary business cycle, not the crazy kind) in 2018-2019. We’ll get hit twice.
This means that you can’t keep doing the same things that you’ve been doing. You can’t install boxes; everyone else is installing boxes. That’s why this year’s Comfortech conference and show in Philadelphia on September 20-22 will have a significant focus on new technologies.
Residential Technical: Refresh yourself on what you knew and also learn about the newest technologies on the market. We’ll have sessions on basic electricity, and using superheat and sub-cooling to properly charge a system, but we’ll hit a newer market, focusing on proper application of ductless split air conditioners and heat pumps.
Commercial Technical: The industry is changing rapidly (on the refrigerant front alone), so here’s where contractors can keep up with the latest. We’ll cover HFOs, CO2 and hydrocarbons. Another session will cover a market that contractors should jump on, variable refrigerant flow/volume units.
The New Green: Not the old green meant to merely rack up points on a scale but real ways that real contractors are saving energy and improving comfort and IAQ for real customers. We’ll cover home performance contracting and integrating thermal and PV solar into HVAC systems.
Smart and Connected Homes: Our experts will tell you how to get into and make money with the HVAC industry’s hottest new market. Most smart thermostats are sold online or at big box stores. Why? Because homeowners want them and contractors aren’t selling them. It’s time for HVAC contractors to take over this market segment. We’ll tell you how.
Management/Recruiting: Thinking outside of the box in business management and recruiting top industry talent.
Sales/Marketing: Beyond Marketing 101: Learn the many aspects of marketing that can be implemented in your business to increase bottom line, grow company image, and build a great customer base.
We have the heavy hitters for the tracks on management/recruiting and sales/marketing — Charlie Greer, Ruth King, Steve Coscia, Mike Agugliaro, keynote speakers Weldon Long and Kevin Buchholz, Matt Prazenka, Brigham Dickinson, Dave Yates. If you don’t leave Philadelphia knowing a lot more than when you came, then you weren’t paying attention.
And make your plans to be in Philadelphia now. Go online, to bit.ly/Register4Comfortech, and look for the green “Register” link on the right hand side. You can also learn even more about all the great events we have planned (Like sports and beer? We’ve got both). Let’s do it!