HVAC Seasonal Changes

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Seasonal Changes in the Demand for HVAC

The HVAC industry is extremely tied to regional climate and current conditions. Scientific research into energy usage as well as industry guides on profitability all recognize that the busiest seasons include winter and summer while the slow seasons are spring and fall.

Single and multi-family residential central all-air HVAC system operational characteristics in cooling-dominated climate

  • In this article from 2014, scientists studied 189 air-conditioned residential homes in Texas. They found that the highest run time fractions occurred during the peak of summer in August, when air-conditioners were working, and during the winter months, from December-February, when heaters were running. From March to May and October to November, the run time fractions were the lowest, with the least variation among the homes studied.

Cooling and heating equipment in commercial buildings

  • In this article from 1995, it was shown that immense seasonal changes in the use of heating and cooling equipment were not only influenced by the seasonal climate but also the seasonal use, such as a school building that will have extremely low energy use in the summer when operating hours are limited. They also recognized that air conditioning is the segment of the climate control industry that is most affected by environmental factors.

AHRI Releases U.S. Heating and Cooling Equipment Shipment Data

  • According to AHRI, the number of air conditioners/heat pumps shipped is only 460,002 in November while in May that number doubled to 1,005,646 because of the beginning of summer. On the other hand, there were only 270,000 furnace shipments in March, but reach up to 290,000 units in September as Americans prepare for winter. In contrast to environmental studies, these monthly reports show a snapshot of the economic HVAC marketplace.

As Slow Season Looms, HVAC Contractors Prepare to Weather the Storm

  • According to AHRI's article, "HVAC is a seasonal business". The author states that the demand for new installs and repair services spike during the hot summer months and slow down during winter months, which means that contractors must be prepared for seasonal lulls in the spring and fall.
  • The article suggests to build a customer base that can provide ongoing maintenance projects. The article also states that training staff, investing in equipment, and expanding the company's services is extremely important for HVAC companies.

The Reality of HVAC Seasons in Your Region

  • According to this article, HVAC businesses will experience a peak number of requests in May and October because of the steady increases or decreases in ambient temperature.
  • In the northern United States, business is skewed towards preparation for a cold winter, with up to 61% more repair requests than the yearly baseline.
  • In the south, summer brings a high demand for HVAC companies, with a 123% increase in repair requests. Southern businesses also tend to see a much longer slow season with almost half of all HVAC service issues occurring in just 3 months out of the year.

When is the Best Time to Buy an HVAC System?

  • This article focuses on dispelling the popular myth that air-conditioners are cheaper in winter while the furnaces are cheaper in summer due to seasonal sales. Because HVAC businesses are typically much busier during these 2 peak seasons, there are fewer sales or discounts on services.
  • In addition to money savings, there is also a return on comfort as it is easier to wait for an AC installation appointment in May when it's temperate than in August when it's sweltering. There is a clear advantage to both consumers and businesses when taking advantage of these repair/emergency seasonal lulls.

Are You Prepared for the Slow HVAC Season?

  • This article starts by reaffirming that there two seasonal lulls to HVAC demand: the first one starts at the end of summer after Labor Day while the other one starts at the end of winter after the holidays. The article, however, focuses a lot on how an HVAC company can overcome the seasonality of the market by using smart targeted marketing campaigns.
  • The author at Contracting Business also recommends making use of service-technician-gathered data to better target customers' needs and provide better service. By providing specific details about the customer's existing system and how it can be improved, HVAC businesses are more likely to see returns. This data can also be used to target new training opportunities, switching to new software, or improving equipment.
  • They estimate that these approaches can increase off-season sales by as much as $15,000.

Research Strategy

Scientific studies on the performance of HVAC month-to-month or seasonally helped inform how environmental factors dictate demand. Monthly economic reports supplemented the raw data by showing how the industry operates within the confines of customer demand. Although there are not a lot of studies on the demand for HVAC, numerous industry articles show an ingrained understanding and acceptance of the "slow seasons", which show how businesses can best work year-round.
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