Starting the Conversation with Customers About Refrigerants

As more systems require replacement due to age, or repairs that make it more economical to replace, one of the questions likely to come from a homeowner is about refrigerants.  Homeowners can find a mix of confusing information online so following the guidelines below can help provide clear, concise answers when talking to your customers.

1.       Start with an overview on refrigerants

You don’t need to give a history lesson on refrigerants, but it’s important to convey the main reason for the transition from R-22 to R-410A was environmental and that it was an international effort related to maintaining the ozone layer around the earth.  Using analogies can help customers relate to the information. An example would be saying the transition is similar to better emissions standards in your vehicle.

2.       Talk about the improved efficiency of R-410A

The newer R-410A refrigerant is a more efficient substance and can be used in higher efficiency systems.  Introduce them to SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) ratings and highlight higher efficiency means less energy consumption – which also means lower energy bills.

3.       Highlight higher cost of R-22

While R-22 can still be purchased and installed for repairs, less of it is being manufactured as regulations require the continued phase out. With less supply, the costs will rise making repairs or recharges much more expensive and potentially making it more economical to replace the entire system.  The cost of R-410A is decreasing as more systems are installed and supply increases.

4.       Outline future availability of R-22

It can be helpful to talk about potential future issues, since a new system can last up to 12 years or more. There are some important dates your customers need to be aware of:  As of January 1, 2010, no new systems could be manufactured containing R-22. The U.S. must reduce its use of R-22 by 90% as of January 1, 2015.  Starting in 2020 R-22 companies will no longer be allowed to manufacture R-22 at all.

5.       Don’t just try to sell a new HVAC system

When it comes to talking about refrigerants with your customer it shouldn’t sound like a sales pitch.  This is an opportunity to provide them with value-added information that can help them make a smart decision.  Making sure they understand the information above can help them evaluate the costs/benefits of their decision and ultimately position you as a trustworthy advisor.

Many customers tell us the best experiences they have with contractors is when they feel they are learning something without being sold.  Is this how you approach customer education? What ways do you help them make good decisions?

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