Emerson Survey: Most 10 SEER Inventory Is Now Installed
Nov 7, 2006
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The majority of U.S. 10 SEER air-conditioning inventory has been installed, according to results from a recent survey by Emerson Climate Technologies, a business of Emerson (St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.).

The survey, the fifth installment in a series of 13 SEER market surveys that Emerson Climate Technologies conducted in 2005 and 2006, asks HVAC contractors and distributors across the industry questions to gauge their awareness, planning, actions, and concerns regarding the 13 SEER regulations, which came into effect in January of 2006. The regulations mandated that no air-conditioning could be manufactured under the new minimum energy efficiency levels of 13 SEER, but the lower-efficiency units manufactured prior to that date could still be sold. The regulation is seen as the cause of a spike in sales at the end of 2005.

The Emerson survey seeks to provide an accurate picture of the market’s transition. It shows that 77 percent of 10 SEER inventory has been used up. The survey also predicts that 97 percent of 10 SEER inventory will be used up by the end of 2006.

“Some contractors communicated through the survey that they had stocked up on 10 SEER inventory in anticipation of the 13 SEER transition,” said Karl Zellmer, vice president of air conditioning sales, Emerson Climate Technologies. “Their primary reasons for holding onto this inventory include staying competitive in case the competition stocks up on 10 SEER inventory, having prior new-construction commitments and having some special needs applications.”

The survey also provides insight into 13 SEER market trends, including system repair and replacement for end-users with less efficient systems. This most recent survey shows that 48 percent of contractors are repairing systems more than they were in 2005. The primary reason for this increase is that repairs are more cost-effective than system replacement. Fifty-seven percent of contractors surveyed said that the driving force for repairs is the lower upfront cost.

The survey also provides information regarding end-users’ 13 SEER buying trends, showing that contractors are successfully up-selling to 14+ SEER systems.

“Some industry leaders thought that the high-end market would shrink substantially with the implementation of 13 SEER regulations. However, this survey shows that the demand for 14+ SEER systems is surprisingly high,” Zellmer said. “There is a strong end-user demand for highly featured deluxe products, which 14+ SEER systems are able to provide.”

The reasons for up-selling include:

  • better energy costs: 25 percent
  • improved benefits and features: 22 percent
  • building codes or other regulations: 4 percent

    Zellmer said these results are good news for the industry because they demonstrate the contractor’s adoption of the 13 SEER world and his ability to up-sell in new way.

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