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How A Customer’s Dirty Air Ducts Can Help Sell IAQ Solutions

Updated December 18, 2020

Have you recently taken on a job where you’ve noticed that your customer’s air ducts were just a little too dirty? This is an important sign that the space has poor indoor air quality. Talking to your customers about their indoor air quality problems and possible solutions can be challenging. Especially if you’re unsure of how to approach the topic with customers. However, indoor air quality is one of the most important HVAC conversations you can have with customers. Mostly because it plays a powerful role in their overall health. 

The health factor is important to emphasize because it takes the conversation beyond a typical upsell. It’s also an incredibly timely topic. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic means that indoor air quality is better understood and more in demand than ever before. Customers are often more willing to discuss and interested in potential solutions.

When you’re out in the field and at homes, make sure to take a look at your customers’ HVAC ducts. This will help you gather a better understanding of the existing air quality of their space. Learn how to diagnose the indoor air quality of a customer’s home or building by looking specifically at the ductwork.

Look for: Debris and Dirt

If you notice lots of dirt and debris in their ducts, a whole-home air purification system is the solution. The excess debris and dust are a collection of pollen, dust particulates, pet dander, and other potentially harmful indoor air pollutants. Most homeowners won’t know that these particles are trapped inside their air ducts. Rather, they’ll notice the effects, such as increased allergies or more dust collecting on furniture. 

When these particulates become trapped inside the HVAC system, it can compromise their airflow. Over time, this will continue to contaminate the air that is flowing into their living and working spaces. Constant exposure to dust can cause allergies or asthma symptoms to worsen. Over time, this results in customers developing serious health conditions and makes them more at risk for respiratory-related diseases.

Look for: Mold or Mildew

If you find mildew or mold growth in or around their HVAC system, humidity control will clearly be the ideal solution. When a home, and thus the dirty air ducts, have too much moisture, it creates the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew growth. Contractors should recommend a whole-home dehumidifier to keep the indoor air drier and healthier for occupants.

Mold and mildew spores can grow and spread rather quickly through the air in the HVAC system. This makes this a particularly important issue to inform customers about. Over time, the mildew and mold growth blows into the home via the heating or air-conditioning unit, constantly circulating the harmful pollutants. This will cause air quality to be severely compromised in the home. This can be extremely dangerous, particularly for those who have extreme sensitivities to mold. Depending on the type of mold or mildew growth, the spores released in the air could contribute to chronic illnesses like pneumonia and bronchitis.

Look for: Clogged Filters

If homeowners don’t change air filters enough, you will likely find clogged filters. Backed-up ducts are a tell-tale sign of old filters. Dust and debris will build up, making it difficult for the filter to efficiently capture pollutants. This means their HVAC system will have to work harder to blow air–a common explanation or problem a client could ask you to solve without understanding the root cause.

Aside from telling them to change the filters more often, you should also suggest upgrading to a better filter. We recommend MERV-13 air filters for residential use. When contractors are able to fully inform customers about the benefits of MERV-13 filters, customers are likely to upgrade. Remind them that it only needs to be replaced every six months or so, making it low maintenance and cost-effective option. Plus, the upgraded filter fits right into their existing return air filter register grille.

Taking Action as an HVAC Contractor

As an HVAC contractor, you can play a vital role in helping homeowners improve their indoor air quality. Be sure to do a thorough inspection of the ductwork to get a better understanding of what the indoor air quality inside the home is. Then, talk with the homeowners or customers to make sure that they are aware of the importance of managing healthy indoor air quality and the solutions you’re able to offer. If interested in learning more or expanding your HVAC business to provide IAQ solutions, KGG offers top-tier online IAQ training that can teach you the many ways to observe indoor air quality problems and provide solutions.

Rob Ambrosetti

Rob Ambrosetti

KGG’s National Training Director and go-to IAQ expert. Rob is a council-certified Indoor Environmental Consultant. He also holds Healthy Home Professional and HVAC Professional certifications from IAQA. Since joining KGG in 2018, Rob has focused on curriculum development and led KGG’s in-house training services. He is also the host of KGG’s industry podcast RepTalk.

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