The year was 2000. The “Y2K” bug (ncilink.com/Y2KBug) arrived with much fanfare and little bite. Some called it a hoax and others credit the $300 billion spent to avoid a worldwide system crash of power plants, banks, and even automotive systems.

Tom Turner, Austin Energy

Tom Turner, Austin Energy

Interestingly, that same year two authors’ —Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins — first novel was released as a movie. “Left Behind” (leftbehind.com) was one of 16 books in a series and the first of three films. The movie was a view of global end times and the peril humans would face.

Today, we steal the title and apply it to a popular topic in the air conditioning and heating industry. In place of an “end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it” scenario, we set the stage for our industry and the companies within it that fail to embrace the concepts behind “Home Performance” and “Performance-Based Contracting™.”

Our industry, for the most part, continues down a path of plug-and-play without regard to consequences of underperforming equipment. A soon-to-come reckoning will end that journey for many in the HVAC contracting industry.

Equipment manufactured today is too sophisticated to not be installed properly. When today’s high-end equipment becomes the basic standard, many in our industry will be “Left Behind.”

Lessons from History

As the current crop of baby boomers begins stepping off the contracting stage, significant lessons from industry events are being forgotten. Think about a child on a trip across the country who is too preoccupied with their gaming systems and computers to notice the landmarks and beauty they drive past.

They miss the opportunity to appreciate the significance of the moment. Today we are too busy selling, installing, and repairing equipment to see the landmarks and milestones of the industry.

In those days, we could simply drop new equipment in and experience little pushback from customers or manufacturers. Since we didn’t measure performance, systems limped along with little indication of any problems outside of a high electric bill and marginal comfort.

Current Events

Enter today’s equipment. Many manufacturers include technology that will not allow equipment to run when installed incorrectly. Furnaces and air conditioning units use sensors that monitor airflow, refrigerant levels, and oil distribution, shutting the equipment down prior to damage occurring.

Furthermore, customers are becoming better educated with access to information via the internet and the growing interactive web presence of manufacturers. As a competent contractor, you must be critically aware of the right way to install. You also must be aware of how much information on the internet is not true or is misleading.

Finally, manufacturers won’t sell equipment to just anyone. The expense involved with warranty issues is becoming too great to simply take a hit and pass on the costs. Add these issues together and you can see how a plug-and-play installation approach is soon to be a thing of the past.

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