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How Standard 221 Will Positively Impact Our Industry’s Image

Jan. 25, 2022
Standard 221 will help contractors significantly improve and measure the quality of the HVAC systems they install and service in homes and buildings.

In case you missed it, a new ANSI/ASHRAE Standard was introduced on July 1, 2020. Standard 221 is a “Test Method To Field-Measure And Score The Cooling And Heating Performance Of An Installed Unitary HVAC System.”

This is the first standard ever written to help HVAC contractors significantly improve and measure the quality of the HVAC systems they install and service in homes and buildings.

This new standard couldn’t come at a better time, as consumers continue to become better educated about how poorly most HVAC systems perform. Standard 221 helps you test and compare a system’s delivered BTUs into the space to the equipment’s capacity. This testing and scoring method enables you to diagnose performance issues better and improve energy efficiency.

When you improve an HVAC system’s performance, you help the home or building become more comfortable - and typically help create a safer and healthier indoor environment.

How 221 Will Help Improve Our Reputation

Much of our industry’s less-than-stellar image in the eyes of consumers stems from the fact that we rarely deliver great indoor comfort systems. Most people have learned to live with poor performance from their home comfort systems, mainly because they’ve been led to believe nothing can be done about it.

As new information is more readily available online, consumers are learning more about what a home with a well-performing HVAC system should feel like. As this happens, they become more dissatisfied with the huge gap between what is promised and usually delivered.

“The ASHRAE 221 committee was blessed with some of the best minds from every sector of our industry, including manufacturers, wholesalers, engineers, utilities, government, and HVAC contractors."

Try as they may, equipment manufacturers cannot design equipment that will overcome the sins of the millions of poor installations out there or the poorly performing systems in newly constructed homes.

Most of the time, the equipment is not the problem. Poor performance usually stems from how all the components work together to deliver indoor comfort. This includes the ductwork, registers, grilles, filters, and more. ANSI/ASHRAE 221 is genuinely the first written standard that addresses this reality.

National Comfort Institute’s (NCI) President, Rob Falke, chaired the 221 committee from its inception. We committed to the industry to share many of the truths and methods that NCI has been refining for the past quarter of a century through the development of this standard.

The committee was also blessed with some of the best minds from every sector of our industry, including manufacturers, wholesalers, engineers, utilities, government, and HVAC contractors. Together we crafted something extraordinary that will influence the HVAC industry for decades to come.

Great News for High-Performance Contractors!

This is positive news for High-Performance contractors who have invested in teaching their technicians how to test, diagnose, and provide solutions to these problems that plague most HVAC systems across North America.

National Comfort Institute’s (NCI) President, Rob Falke, chaired the 221 committee from its inception. We committed to the industry to share many of the truths and methods that NCI has been refining for the past quarter of a century through the development of this standard.

These companies have invested in going above and beyond being typical HVAC tradesmen. They can now point to an official industry standard to convince customers that they are true craftsmen and why they do what they do.

For the last decade, NCI has been refining its cloud-based testing software called ComfortMaxx™ (ncilink.com/CMaxx), which provides a platform and reporting structure to help diagnose systems and share performance information with consumers in easy-to-understand laymen’s terms.

The software closely mirrors ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 221, and it’s available to all industry professionals who have been trained and certified to test and interpret the field data needed to use it.

Much more is coming very shortly to help contractors not just promise performance but prove it. Stay tuned for new developments over the next few months. The future is bright for the High-Performance HVAC industry!

Dominick Guarino is CEO of National Comfort Institute (NCI) (www.nationalcomfortinstitute.com), the nation’s premier High-Performance training, certification, and membership organization focused on helping contractors grow and become more profitable. His e-mail is [email protected]. For more info on Performance-Based Contracting™, go to WhyPBC.com or call NCI at 800/633-7058.