01 Apr 2024

JB Warranties March 2024 Round-Up

HVAC and plumbing industry march 2024 round up

Welcome back, plumbing and HVAC experts! The team at JB Warranties has been hard at work burning the midnight oil these past few weeks, finding the latest (and greatest) trade industry trends and figuring out how we can help simplify upcoming transitions in commercial building energy codes and refrigerant standards. And folks, we’ve gathered a bunch of insights to share!

In case you missed it, our February Round-Up covered a variety of trade topics, including Jobber’s 2023/2024 Home Service Economic Report, a recap of the 2024 AHR Expo, and ACCA’s partnership with family-business-centered groups. Now that we’re wrapping up March, let’s take a look at what’s happened (and what’s slated to happen next) across the HVAC and plumbing industries!

1. Carrier Becomes First to Make Lower GWP Refrigerant Heat Pumps Available for Order

Carrier, a leading global HVAC and refrigeration manufacturer, announced this month that they would become the first to make lower Global Warming Potential (GWP) refrigerant heat pumps available for purchase. The manufacturer’s latest single-stage heat pump is officially the first of its kind that is R-454B refrigerant compatible and available to contractors. 

R-454B, commercially known as Puron Advance, has now become Carrier’s refrigerant of choice for the brand’s many ducted and ductless recreational and light commercial HVAC equipment. With a 75% GWP reduction from R-410A refrigerants, Carrier found R-454B to be the best option for minimizing their equipment’s overall environmental impact and supporting sustainable initiatives. 

Vice President of Carrier Residential HVAC Solutions, Nick Arch, believes, “Carrier distributors and dealers will lead the industry with our R-454B compatible units available for early training and installation.” Carrier expects all R-454B compatible heat pumps to begin arriving in warehouses across the U.S. beginning in early April, so contractors should begin keeping an eye out. 

2. ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2022 Gets Department of Energy (DOE) Approval

For almost 50 years, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Standard 90.1 had been the go-to for commercial building energy codes in the U.S. Yet, this past month, the newer 2022 edition of ASHRAE  Standard 90.1 received official approval by the DOE stating that the more recent version will help increase commercial building energy efficiency.  

According to a DOE technical analysis, buildings that properly comply with the Standard 90.1-2022 framework can achieve an increase in estimated energy savings from 9.8% to 14% when compared to the 2019 standard. This increase is due to the 2022 edition holding a much stronger demand for decreased energy consumption and carbon use and increasing the use of renewable energy systems. 

In the standard’s long-running history, the 2022 edition marks the first time onsite renewable energy generation is a requirement under Standard 90.1. Moving forward, each state nationwide must certify that its commercial building code has been reviewed or updated to meet Standard 90.1-2022 requirements, and this must be completed within 2 years of the DOE determination. 

3. PHCC Head to Capitol Hill During Crucial Election Year

In early March, the Plumbing Heating Cooling Contractors National Association (PHCC) announced they would soon be heading to Capitol Hill to help educate lawmakers on different industry concerns. A PHCC Legislative Conference will take place in Washington, D.C. from May 21 to 22, allowing the group to organize meetings between its members and the offices of elected representatives. 

This year, PHCC wants to bring attention to protecting the country’s energy future through fuel choice, increasing workforce program support, and educating lawmakers on the realities of building electrification. PHCC members interested in meeting with lawmakers should register for the event to receive personalized coaching from PHCC’s federal lobbyists on how to conduct their upcoming meetings. 

4. Jobber Opens Applications for $10,000 Home Service Business Grant

Jobber, a leader in operations management software, announced in early March they would begin accepting applications for their home service business grant. For the fourth year in a row, 15 home services business owners from across the U.S. and Canada will be awarded a grant to help them achieve their business goals and provide a more meaningful impact on their communities.

While previous Jobber grants have ranged in size, businesses that are awarded this year will each receive a total of $10,000. Awarded grants will be organized into different categories to diversify Jobber’s recognition of the home services sector. These categories include:

  • Home Service Heroes, professionals who keep homes and offices safe and running smoothly.
  • Career Builders, professionals who help individuals build meaningful careers.
  • Smooth Operators, professionals who prioritize technology and innovation in their support operations.
  • Community Caretakers, professionals who give back to their local communities. 

Since the start of Jobber Grants four years ago, the company has awarded a total of $475,000 to 85 different home service entrepreneurs. To secure your chance in becoming part of the next group of awardees, register by June 12, 2024. Finalists are expected to be announced in August 2024.

5. HARDI Announces New AI Feature to Help With Refrigerant Transition

Heating Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) announced a new artificial intelligence (AI) driven solution aimed at helping HVAC professionals better navigate upcoming A2L refrigerant transitions. This new HARDI solution comes in part of a recent partnership with Distro, an all-in-one AI platform designed for wholesale distributors. 

The AI solution, AskA2L, offers users an interactive chatbot that provides real-time guidance on a collection of questions and concerns regarding the A2L refrigerant transition. AskA2L’s interactive chat will take a variety of data points into consideration, including location, product category, and recent legislation to provide accurate guidance. Distributors will also be able to embed AskA2L directly on their website for streamlined customer access. 

Circle Back Next Month for April Updates

Here at JB Warranties, we understand the complexities of owning and operating an HVAC or plumbing business. We're also familiar with the complications that can arise as a new technician trying to learn the ropes while codes and standards continuously evolve. This never-ending learning curve is something we love about the trades — and why we continue to educate our readers!

In the world of HVAC and plumbing, the reality is that industry technologies and trends are subject to change at any time. With a reliable partner, you can stay two steps ahead of these shifts. As the North American leader in warranty plans for HVAC and plumbing, the team at JB Warranties is here to help you navigate the trades, all while remaining productive and, more importantly, profitable. 

Explore our extended warranty plans today to discover how JB Warranties provides endless value to HVAC and plumbing businesses, and don't forget to tune back in next month to discover what else has transpired in the trades!