How to talk to homeowners about energy savings
During extreme heat, or cold, saving money is top of mind.
As an HVAC professional, you probably hear one question above all others: "How can I save money on my utility bills?" Here are a few tips and talking points to answer that question like a true HVAC pro:
1. Have some statistics in your pocket
People love statistics. You can't search for an answer online — on any topic — without finding a number of bullet-pointed statistics. This is because people don't read slabs of texts anymore, especially online, and prefer bulleted or ordered lists that they can skim. You can use this love for statistics and lists to your advantage when a client asks you how they can save money on their utility bills, by keeping a few good ones in your pocket.
Let your clients know that Energy Star appliances can save them $4.50 for every $1 they spend on electricity — and this includes an Energy Star HVAC unit if they're considering upgrading in the future. Energy efficient appliances can save them up to $500 a year right now, and that could increase to $840 a year by 2030 as energy costs increase.
Regardless of how much money they make annually, people love to save wherever they can.
For the eco-conscious client, have a few statistics handy that explains how reducing their energy consumption — and by proxy, their utility bills — will reduce their carbon footprint. Energy efficient appliances can reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 5,500 lbs a year, according to Energy Star.
2. Offer HVAC-specific advice
Since you'll receive this question from your clients as an HVAC technician, it would make sense to offer HVAC-specific advice. There are plenty of little changes that your clients can make without sacrificing comfort or emptying their wallet in the name of energy savings.
If they're concerned about the efficiency of their HVAC system, suggest scheduling an A/C tune-up to make sure everything is running at its best. Other things you can suggest might include:
- Installing a smart thermostat
- Checking doors and windows for air leaks
- Blocking windows with thermal curtains, or replacing them with energy efficient options
3. Don't limit your conversation to HVAC topics
The homeowner's HVAC system is one part of the energy savings puzzle. While you can offer definitive advice about how to improve that system and save money on heating and cooling costs, you might be hesitant to comment on other areas of the home. If it makes you feel better, you can base these suggestions on your own experiences.
If the home is still full of old-school incandescent light bulbs, suggest that the homeowner switches them out with LEDs. LED bulbs are becoming more affordable every year, and they are 90% more efficient than incandescent bulbs.
Introduce them to the concept of power vampires — appliances that drain energy even when turned off. Anything that can be unplugged when not in use should be to reduce energy waste and lower their monthly utility bill.
Use what you know, and what you've done to reduce energy costs in your own home. Your customers will appreciate any information you can give them, especially if they're not sure where to start.
4. Don't be afraid to start the conversation
Finally, don't be afraid to start the conversation when it comes to energy savings. Many consumers might not know what to ask, which will lead them to stay silent. You don't have to be nosy and ask what their power bill is every month, but you can start the conversation by casually mentioning how upgrading their HVAC unit could save them hundreds of dollars a year. That's sure to get their attention and you can carry on from there with these talking points.
Energy conservation is everyone's responsibility, and sometimes all it takes is the willingness to start a conversation about how one of your clients can save money on their monthly utility bills.