A majority of HVAC contractors 56 percent have serious economic or technical concerns about the new 13-SEER regulation, according to the final SEER survey from Emerson Climate Technologies.

The survey, the last in a series of 13-SEER market surveys conducted by Emerson, asked 570 contractors and distributors about their awareness, planning, actions and concerns regarding preparing for the 13-SEER standard, which went into effect Jan. 23.

The survey showed that 30 percent of participating contractors have serious economic concerns regarding the SEER transition.

Cited concerns include the increased selling prices of the new units, reduced demand due to higher prices, competition undercutting on specifications and price, growing preference for repair versus replacement, and reduced profit margins on 13-SEER systems.

Twenty-six percent of contractors surveyed expressed concerns regarding technical issues, such as the size of the new systems, the possibility of mismatched systems, adequate training for technicians, and the increased usage of R-410A.

"Rightly so, many contractors still have specific concerns and questions regarding doing business in a 13-SEER world," said Karl Zellmer, vice president of sales for Emerson's Copeland air-conditioning division. "That's why, now more than ever, it's important that contractors talk to their OEMs, wholesalers and even other contractors, as well as take advantage of resources available such as trade associations, training classes, Web sites such as EmersonClimateContractor.com, trade publications and magazines."

The survey also provided insights into contractors' selling strategies, showing what benefits and services they plan to promote to up-sell homeowners on 13 SEER. About 73 percent said they would promote higher efficiency systems. Sixty-eight percent said they would promote quieter operation, while 56 percent said they would use comfort, such as humidity control.

Other selling strategies included promoting the blower type, maintenance agreements, new refrigerants, improved indoor air quality, compressor type and diagnostics.