Upgrading HVAC Filtration Systems and integrating HVAC Bipolar Ionization Technology are two examples of trends currently being witnessed in the HVAC market in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. On the other end, consumers are demanding safer environments for businesses, entertainment, accommodation, etc. Likewise, consumer searches online are concentrated around air purifiers, ventilation, UV light, etc.
HVAC BRANDS’ RESPONSES TO DEMAND FOR PRODUCTS THAT PREVENT THE SPREAD OF VIRUSES
1. Upgrading HVAC Filtration Systems
- There is a growing demand for improved air filtration components in HVAC systems in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- HVAC manufacturers have responded by producing the recommended MERV-13 filters; however, they warn that the current supplies cannot match the growing demand.
- The higher-density MERV-13 filters were previously demanded in industrial or medical use to meet specific air quality concerns and only accounted for about 5% of HVAC filter demand in the U.S.
- The current demand for MERV-13 filters has expanded ten times, according to expert estimates. In response, some filter manufacturers are running double shifts at factories to increase the MERV-13 filters’ supply.
- Equally, leading HVAC manufacturers like AAF International, Transformative Wave, Trion, etc., have increased their demand and production of MERV-13 filters.
- In response to COVID-19’s increased demand for advanced air filters, some manufacturers are partially filling orders to distribute the filters more evenly.
2. HVAC Bipolar Ionization Technology
- Bipolar ionization technology is integrated into HVAC systems and uses specialized tubes that “take oxygen molecules from the air and convert them into charged atoms that deactivate harmful substances, including airborne mold, bacteria, allergens, and viruses.”
- The technology can eradicate 99.9% of microbes within minutes. Large institutions, including hospitals like “Johns Hopkins, Children’s Hospital Boston, and the University of Maryland Medical Center, have already installed the technology.
- HVAC manufacturers — AtmosAir Solutions offers bipolar ionization technology, which is currently being used by airport terminals at LaGuardia, O’Hare, LAX, and San Francisco International Airport.
- Large workplaces, such as Google headquarters in Chicago and San Jose, the White House, and Harvard University, have adopted Plasma Air’s Needlepoint bipolar ionization technology, which uses “ions to capture harmful particles.”
- The Raymondville school district has invested $626,000 to buy Plasma Air’s Needlepoint Bipolar Ionization technology to integrate with HVAC systems. Plasma Air’s technology has also been installed at Tampa’s Amalie Arena and the TWA Hotel at JFK airport.
INSIGHTS INTO THE NEEDS OF A HVAC CONSUMER
1. Shifting Consumer Searches Regarding HVAC Systems
- Consumer searches online have shifted from “IAQ tests, UV light purifiers, and disinfectant solutions” during the COVID-19 pandemic to air purifiers and filtration solutions after reopening the economy.
- Consumers and employees are increasingly demanding “a safe environment for shopping, business, schools, and entertainment,” in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this regard, consumers are re-evaluating their HVAC systems to ascertain; they meet the current standards to prevent the spread of viruses.
- Since March 2020, Google trends in the U.S. witnessed an unprecedented increase in search volumes around “indoor air quality solutions such as air purifiers, ultraviolet light, and ventilation.”
- In the paid search side, since July 1 – 31, searches relating to “air purifiers” are among eight of the top 20 most searched keywords in the EC paid search data set. Likewise, “five of those eight keywords are among the 10 most searched keywords and occupy the top three slots with volumes exceeding 7,500 impressions a month.”
2. Air Quality and Consumer Safety
- According to Hospitality Technology research, the number one customer concern is air quality and the reassurance that they are safe with the HVAC systems at home, hotels, restaurants, etc.
- Previously, customers evaluated a premise based on the overall experience; however, with the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers are more interested in knowing whether the establishment can do everything to keep them out of danger, especially the COVID-19 virus.
- Today’s customers want to know whether a restaurant or hotel follows the local and national public health guidelines, such as using “personal protective equipment for staff, installing plexiglass at the points of customer contact, and disinfecting surfaces whenever they can.”
- Notably, customer reassurance is vital in the post-COVID-19 era, primarily reducing risk wherever possible, including improving indoor air quality.
- Overall, in the new business world, successful enterprises will be those that keep customers safe while effectively communicating their efforts, specific to improving air quality to curb the spread of COVID-19.