Are you having trouble convincing clients to get the right tools for breathing safer, cleaner air at home? In this episode, Marc Marchillo, the Corporate Training Manager at AprilAire, breaks down how to present indoor air quality packages to your HVAC clients. Yes, they can skip using the AprilAire Whole House Air Filters, but, according to Marc, that’s like baking a cake with half the ingredients. Don’t miss out and get tips on convincing your clients to get the right air cleaning device for their “new normal” needs.
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How To Present Indoor Air Quality Packages To Your HVAC Clients With AprilAire’s Marc Marchillo
We have an amazing episode. We’re going to talk about how to keep yourself safe, breathe clean air, and provide clients with healthy breathing and doing it the right and ASHRAE way, taking some of that snake oil salesman pitch type of thing out of the equation. I’m super honored and excited. We have Marc and Tom, both from AprilAire. Guys, introduce yourself, give a little brief history, how long you’ve been in the industry, and what stuff you do there.
I’m Tom Ruse in marketing at AprilAire. I’ve been with the company for many years, and I’m happy to be here.
My name is Marc Marchillo. I’m the National Sales Trainer for AprilAire. I’ve been with them for years now. I have a cool job. I get to travel around the country and work with probably the most successful best contractors in America and Canada. I learn a lot about how successful contractors are successful. I take those ideas, share them with other people, and pretend that they are mine, so people like me.
People read this, and they are like, “Why do you share all this information? Aren’t you afraid someone’s going to steal and use it?” It’s like, “Implementation is key.” You need to make sure you’re implementing the shared stuff on these shows. We can fill our heads with knowledge, but once you put it in the paper and get the work rolling, that’s when it shows if you pay attention or not. In this episode, let’s come out the gate swinging. Can I skip using an AprilAire whole house air filter and put in a dual ionizer or a UV light and be fine with it?
You could, but it’s like baking a cake with half the ingredients. It’s going to be somewhat okay. If you’re using ultraviolet germicidal stuff and PCO products, they are great products. Don’t stop using them but they are for one specific need. They are good at killing viruses and bacteria that have pretty much attached themselves to somewhere inside of that air handler, typically the coil.
If you threw a MERV 16 filter before it, 96% of that crud would never make it to the coil in the first place. The CDC has said that ultraviolet germicidal radiation and PCO products can be used as adjunct air-cleaning devices, but they can’t replace air cleaning. Some contractors are putting in one-half. Why wouldn’t you tell the customer about both halves? Both halves together, that’s a solid solution.
We have a lot of horizontals and attics. It’s not terrible here, but in Florida, we see a garage unit where there’s an up-flow in a garage. You have to rebuild the supply transition or cut it, lift it up, slide under. We’ve talked a little bit about that and the technicians purely being lazy and not wanting to sell it. Other than that aspect, do you find why somebody wouldn’t want to install the five-inch filter?
No. There’s no logical reason why anybody wouldn’t want to do that. There are a lot of guys where the installers are like, “We don’t want to do this.” Sometimes the inmates are running the asylum. They are telling the owner what they want to do. What a lot of guys don’t know is instead of moving the drop and rebuilding everything, you could take an air cleaner that could move the top off and leave the drop solid.
We make those easy install air cleaners where you slice off the drop, you slide in the air cleaner, you move the top over, and you’re done. It can be done in the same amount of time as putting a drill in a hole and shoving a UV light in there. We have retrofit air cleaners that can take somebody from a horrible MERV 8, a one-inch piece of junk, up to a MERV 16 in half an hour. There are a lot of options if guys look for them.
Is what you’re talking about the one that lays in where the normal one-inch filter goes? Is that a different kit?
You would think of it as a right angle or a left angle air cleaner. That’s the one where you slice off, take the cleats off, shove that, take that out, slide the air cleaner in and move the top of the air cleaner over instead of moving the drop or putting a buffalo boot. That’s a pain in the rear, and everybody knows that. This is a lot easier way of getting it to the homeowner because they deserve it. If we don’t do it because we’re lazy, somebody needs to kick us in the butt.
If you use something that causes your dust particles and everything that clump together and you’re starting to accumulate more dust in the home, how do we get that dust into the air filter? Is there something that is being missed there? Is the proper filter not in place and still spreading it, sucking it in, spreading it out?Knowledge is power and the people that don’t have the knowledge put their tail between their legs and offer the worst thing possible. Click To Tweet
Back when we first started putting in the Trane CleanEffects, the client was complaining, “I have to dust three times a week. I’d never had to dust before.” It’s because they positively and negatively attract each other, get heavy, and fall as dust particles. You’re not breathing it in anymore, which is good, but at the same time, you’re creating more dust. The filtration portion of the CleanEffects wasn’t as good as an AprilAire filter. I don’t have any science to back that up to other than a gut feeling. Is that true?
You were right. We did a study. We took all the leading EACs. The Trane, the Honeywell, the Carrier, and the AprilAire. The Trane was phenomenal. You have to remember something. An EAC uses metal plates or metal pins. Do you remember the little pins on the Trane?
Yes. You have to take Styrofoam.
The issue with those is once the particulate adhered to that metal, it no longer was functional. The problem is it would fill up quickly. The stuff would go flying right through it. That’s where AprilAire jumped the game and made that Model 5000 that had a filter material. The backside was painted with metallic paint so it would hold it in a filter.
You could throw the filter away and start again. If you clean EACs every two days, they are wonderful products. Technology is so advanced. The MERV 16 filters that we make have a ridiculously low-pressure drop. They catch 96% of COVID 19. You throw them out after six months. The pressure drop is so low. That’s the answer.
With those, we’re still able to do it in six-month intervals in most circumstances?
Typically, with our MERV 11 and MERV 13 filters, it’s once a year. With our MERV 13 carbon, the one that takes out the smells, and the MERV 16, it’s twice a year because you get a little bit more pressure drop on a 16. When people look at the pressure drop numbers on this AprilAire MERV 16, it’s ridiculous. It’s 0.21 or 0.22 on a 3-ton system which is ridiculously low.
It’s crazy, especially for a MERV 16. Will that filter fit into the regular housing? Does it have its own housing?
You can buy them in their own housing, but you can buy them as standalone filters and upgrade all of the 20x25s and the 16x25s out there. That’s the nice thing about AprilAire. I see the new normal when people are thinking health, a MERV 11 is nice, but MERV 16 is the virus one. That’s the one that you need to put in.
The unfortunate thing is if you say MERV anything, people assume it’s healthy. You could say MERV 6, and they are like, “It’s a MERV filter. That means we are good.” They don’t realize that we are not looking for boulder catchers. We are looking for a MERV 16 type of filter. It’s very important for the contractor to educate the customer. The thing I see the most often is, for 1) Fear of being sued and 2) The fear of ignorance of not knowing what you are talking about. You would rather not offer it at all.
You are like, “I don’t know if MERV 11’s not that much. I don’t know if MERV 16 is that much better than MERV 11.” I’m going to say, I don’t know, MERV 11 is good enough and ride that. What would you say to that? How do we get educated? Everybody needs to go to your website and AprilAirePartners.com and become educated. Is there something else, or is that going to be your best bet?
No. There is a lot of stuff out there. For example, at AprilAire Partners, we do two live NATE webinars every month. The whole world is invited. They are all recorded. There are 7 or 8 recorded trainings that talk about MERV 11, MERV 13, MERV 16, pressure drop, microns. It’s knowledge, and knowledge is power. The people that don’t know put their tail between their legs, and they offer the worst thing possible.
It’s not 1983 anymore. MERV 16 filters are good. The old days of coils freezing up and heat exchangers cracking. You have a 1980 call that wanted that technology back. Things are much better. In the new normal, the guys starting their businesses, you need to be on top of that because homeowners are going to beat you up for health more than anything. Health is going to matter more than price, temperature control, and energy savings. If you can’t talk that story, some dude is going to eat your lunch. You need to learn to survive.
You are not going to be able to price lower to win jobs. The guy and the lady who understands that are sales service experts. They go into the home and present all of the benefits and features of indoor air quality. Even if you are changing out a system for $5,000 or $6,000 and they are changing it out for $16,000, they are still going to get system replacements over you because they can talk the talk. They understand it.
It would help if you educated yourself over and above, going to the classes when they are offered at Baker’s, Mingledorff’s or Trane. You need to make sure you are educating yourself in your off time also. That’s extremely important. Do you have any other resources for learning? I’m guilty. I will admit. I have not been to AprilAirePartners.com, at least not recently. I went one time a while back, and I was overwhelmed with it. There is a lot of training on there.
There is a lot of video training, unboxing, installing, and set up training. There is stuff for business owners as far as how to market, merchandise, and grow your business and co-op dollars. There are also a lot of meat and potatoes on there for guys who want to know how to wire or control or how you slide an air cleaner in there.
The other thing that Tom and the marketing guys have done is lit up YouTube. Everybody in the world uses YouTube. Go in and say, “AprilAire Model 700 humidifier.” There are going to be unboxing and set up videos. Anybody can watch that stuff on their phones. You can lead a horse. It’s all out there. It isn’t hard to find.
If they have to choose between a UV light and an AprilAire 201 filter, what are we going to do there?
First of all, they are not going to put in a 201 because that is like 1983. That’s old fashion. Those are old.
I might have a 201 installed in my unit.
It was a good piece. It was a MERV 10 back in the day. It’s been replaced by a 213 and a 210. I don’t know why there would be a choice between the two. If it’s $1,200 or $2,000, you got to give the customer a choice to say yes or no. Don’t make that decision for them. If it’s a matter of, “I can only afford one,” the UVC, germicidal, and PCO stuff will kill a virus. They will get rid of some bacteria, but it won’t catch all the crud and the junk that’s covering the coil. David Richardson at the National Comfort Institute did a study that said, “If you get an 8 inch of crud on the blower blades on a blower motor, you lose 30% of the efficiency.”
This is ridiculous. The first thing to do is stick a filter there and give them the efficiency of the equipment you promised. Remember, filters capture 96% of the germs and the viruses anyway. I would say the filter, but that’s where I would go. I’m not bashing the UV lights. Installers love to put them in because you drill a hole, you shove it in, you take the check and you are done. I get that, but I would go with a high-quality filter first.
Can you speak to the proper handling of the filter? If we are changing filters, that could have the virus in the filter, and it’s not dead.Health has been a matter, more than price, more than temperature control, more than energy savings. Click To Tweet
I have been giving webinars all week talking about that. I’m not a doctor. I don’t play one on TV, but I know a lot about this thing. Here’s the deal. The COVID-19, it’s not a living thing per se. It’s not a living organism. It’s a DNA molecule, and it’s surrounded by a layer of fat. When the fat disappears, when you wash your hands, it decays on its own. The only way it’s living is if it gets in contact with a human cell or an animal cell, replicates and mutates, and does all sorts of horrible stuff.
The decay rate is anywhere from a day to about 6 to 10 days. The point is, if you trap it in MERV 16 jail and don’t let it get near your filter, it’s pretty dead after 6 to 10 days. You don’t have a problem taking that thing out and throwing it in a filter because it’s not a living thing. It’s got a natural decay rate based on the temperature in RH. The trick is to put a dehumidifier in a sweet spot in somebody’s house because things can’t live to begin with.
What is that sweet spot? What is the humidity level?
The CDC, World Health Organization, everybody’s screaming 45% to 60% RH is perfect. If you look at the bell curve, those viruses love 20%, and they love 80%, but you get them to 50%, and they croak. They only last a couple of hours. The trick is to get them at that sweet spot and avoid that happening to a home.
Here in South Georgia, you get to a house to 50%, everybody in the house is loving you. They are worshiping the ground you are walking on.
Down there, we sell so many AprilAire whole-home dehumidifiers that run into the return ductwork. We can get a house at 50%, and they do not have to overcool it. It’s an icebox. You can drop that RH, but that’s where the virus disappears. At 50%, it’s almost nonexistent. In your neck of the woods, you need dehumidifiers, and up here, we need humidifiers.
With AprilAire dehumidifier, how much should I expect my electric bill to go up with it?
There are two answers. You are going to rate. For every 4% RH you change in that conditioned space, you pick up a degree. If I can drop 20% RH in their living room, that’s 5 degrees. The EPA says we save about 4% to 6% on our energy bill. We are making a wash there. In the beginning month, when you’re drying all the wood, carpet, and drywall out, you are probably going to go off $50 in that first month. After that, once you level off, it’s so much more comfortable at a higher temperature. People start to see energy savings on their bills, plus that AC lasts a whole lot longer because it’s not cycling off and on fourteen times a day.
With the new inverter technology coming out with your Trane and having 750 speeds, are you seeing less use of the dehumidifiers because it’s able to slow the speed down and do that?
It can, and it’s a good try. The best thing is a dehumidifier. A law of nature says you cannot change relative humidity without lowering the temperature. It’s impossible. They are still lowering the temperature. They are just doing it a little bit lower. Some of the old-fashioned ones would tell you it was a different reading on the thermostat than it was, and you are freezing your butt off. The real answer is to throw a dehumidifier in there.
Our dehumidifiers are pretty smart. You time into the Y circuit so that the compressor doesn’t kick on an AC call. If the AC is doing a good job, taking out 1 pound of water per ton per hour, don’t run the dehumidifier with the AC. In the morning, evening, spring and fall, when the AC is not running, you keep the house this like versus this. Use them with any type of equipment.
Do you ever bring in outside air with those or do you need to use a completely different ERV or HRV?
Down where you live, that’s exactly what they do. I don’t want this to sound like an AprilAire infomercial, but this is going to be. Our dehumidifiers have the ability to do two zones. You could have a crawl space separate from a bedroom. You open and close a set of dampers. What they do with the second zone is they bring in a 6-inch pipe, and they put in a normally closed powered, open damper and they say, “For ten minutes of every hour, open up the damper and pull in 300 CFM of fresh air.”
They put the house under positive pressure, which is smart. It’s makeup air. By the way, it’s a dehumidifier. If it’s too humid out there, it dehumidifies the air before dumping it onto the coil. A lot of guys use dehumidifier zone two for fresh air ventilation. Many crawl space and basement remediation guys do that exclusively. It’s a good call.
It helps out with indoor air quality also because it brings in the fresh air and gets rid of the amount of hiding and all-natural byproducts inside your house.
ASHRAE and CDC got together on a 2005 report. On page thirteen, they said that the single best multi-prong healthier solution is ventilating, air cleaning and humidifying. Ventilation alone is the single best prong solution by putting a house under positive pressure from a point that you choose when to bring it in, how to bring it in, how long to bring it in, and forcing the envelope of the home to be a positive pressure. All the horrible stuff is leaking out, the off-gassing, the VOCs, all that junk versus exhaust ventilation.
The HVAC guys out there don’t do that. It was the electricians. They put in bathroom fans and 400 CFM range hoods that make the house suck in the worst air from the worst spots. We tried to fix it with ERVs, which are pretty good if you can figure out how to balance them. Half the industry could not balance them to save their life. They are horrible and expensive. Supply ventilation is a fan in a box with a timer blowing it in. That’s what AprilAire does.
If you spray foam, you have to have fresh air coming in. A lot of times, people were putting in ERVs and HVS. This method would be a much better use of that fresh air coming in. People don’t realize when they are running that bathroom exhaust fan or the hood fan in their kitchen, unless it’s a recirculation hood, it’s blowing all that conditioned, fresh, clean air that you have cleaned or potentially cleaned. It’s sucking it all in through all these other cracks, whereas you could have something this and creating the positive pressure and filtering it. Would you filter it before it hit the dehumidifier, or would you put it right there at the return like normal?
If we are talking about using a fresh air ventilator, which is a little box that we have, that has its own MERV 8 filter. The dehumidifier has a MERV 8 filter, but it doesn’t matter because you’re going to dump those both into the return. They are always going into the return ductwork. It’s going to go through the real filter, the 13 or the 16.
The neat thing about using the AprilAire fresh air ventilators is outdoor temperature lockouts. If it’s too hot or too cold, don’t bring any air in, and you have indoor RH lockouts. If the RH is too high, don’t bring any fresh air in. We will make up the time at the end of the day, but by having high and low lockouts and an RH lockout, it’s a good piece.
Here’s the problem. You have a fresh air ventilator, and it’s 89% humidity out. In Savannah and it’s raining, and that thing’s sucking in the air. That air conditioner is going to freak out. You are going to get a trouble call. By having a lockout for RH, you are like, “Don’t do it but make the time up later.” That’s what’s smart about the ventilator is that logic that locks it out on temperature and RH. It’s a simple little control.
Is that control able to be done remotely like Bluetooth? Is it right in the system itself?
What guys do is take and stick it right on the return. You want to measure the RH in the house. A lot of guys will hook those up to our control thermostats. Our thermostats have all that cool logic already in them. The homeowner sits back, play on their phone, and can do it all right from their phone.Things are going to get better and you have to be ready for the normal. Click To Tweet
Can they see the RH on it from the phone?
They can get a warning, freak out or change stuff. It’s pretty cool. We are seeing a lot of interest in the new business normal. We are HVAC. We are not hacking heating air conditioning. We are heating ventilation and air conditioning. It’s in our name. We need to start talking about fresh air ventilation because it’s who we are.
You can go to a supply house and ask a green-ish guy. Maybe you have been doing it for 2 or 3 years. “What’s the V stand for?” “I don’t know.” It’s like, “Air condition,” and you hear them making up crazy things. That’s scary.
I had a contractor after a webinar who sent me a thing. He goes, “Do you know what HVAC is going to stand for in a year? It’s going to stand for humidifying, ventilating, and air cleaning. That’s exactly what people are going to need. We can heat and cool your house.” That’s the new normal.
I agree, especially for contractors looking to further the industry and, in general, not try and stick their head in the mud, be an ostrich and hopefully, this passes by because they are the ones going to get passed up for sure.
If you are a business owner and understand what adding a revenue stream to your business is or what a profit center is, or how to measure and use KPIs, all these accessories lend themselves to all the KPI measurement growth you can do in your industry. This whole coronavirus thing, it’s not done. It could come back. If it comes back, it could be even worse. Forget the whole idea of selling humidifiers. There’s nothing as humidifier season. It’s on an AC tune-up, AC change or clean and check.
Whatever you do, you sell a humidifier because the idea of letting a house get too dry is a mistake. If this thing gets crappy like it is, we’re all sitting home doing webinars, who is going to be putting the humidifiers in people’s houses when the industry shuts down again? The best way to sell an air conditioner in the summer season, is to include a humidifier and tell them why they are going to need it, and charge an extra $800 or $900 and finance the thing. It’s $15 more a month. That’s how you sell air conditioners.
How loud are those compressors?
They are quiet. They are 56 to 57 DB. It’s the same sound as a modulating furnace running. They are quite quiet. If you put some flex duct on them because down there, what you do is you always come out of the return duct, and you go back into the return duct about 6 feet apart. What you are doing is you are making it quiet.
You are dumping air back into that return. That’s at 30% to 33% RH. You run it over the AC coil and take out the tiny bit of heat. There’s no BTU load added with a dehumidifier. It’s a little bit warmer, but a lot drier. There are not a lot of sounds there at all when you put the insulated flex duct down. A lot of guys do that.
If somebody puts one above a master bedroom or something, they need to be cautious not to have it anywhere close to the master bedroom for sleeping.
I know that guys are putting those little Sorbothane feet, those absorption feet on the bottom, and those little popups that they put heat pumps on. That seems to solve a lot of the problems. They are not that loud. They don’t run that much. The only way you are going to dry out that house is if you dry out the kitchen table, the floors, and the walls because the RH is in all the wood.
The average 2,000 square foot home down in Savannah weighs 5 tons more in the summer than the house weighs in the winter. You got to get that out first. Once you get there, it’s like an air conditioner. It comes on a little bit when it needs to. I have not heard anybody say the noise was objectionable. If you put it right next to your easy chair, like a dummy, it’s going to be too loud, but you can’t cure dumb, right?
You can’t fix stupid. Is there anything I didn’t ask you that we should touch on?
No. You do a good service to the industry. We can sit and talk about products and widgets all day. When we come out of this, if you don’t have a plan, and if you’re not looking at how to address what clearly 300 million Americans find important and you keep going to low price, air conditioning, you can do that, but somebody is going to eat your lunch. In the new normal, it’s not going to be business as usual. Educate yourself. Take the time to learn.
There is some good news. It’s been crappy news. We are starting to hear some good things. The economy might open. They might start the NFL season again. They are going to play games without fans in the stadiums, which is like going to a Cleveland Browns game. Things are going to get better. You have to be ready for the new normal. I appreciate what you do reaching out to contractors. If you guys want full-blown webinars to learn about this, go to AprilAirePartners.com. I’m giving one every day. It’s for an hour. It will be the best hour you have ever spent other than reading this show.
I have one last question. The UV lights are close to the proximity of the air filter. You see that one filter where it comes out with nothing but wires. UV lights can destroy it. Are the new filters safer to be used around the air filter?
Yes. We used to be one of those filters. We learned our lesson, so by changing the composition of the plastic and making it a different color, they are UV resistant. A lot of guys were sticking them right by the air cleaner. They were putting them right by the humidifier instead of above the coil where it was supposed to go, but yes. Is it not all of our plastics that are all UV resistant? Put them together as a complete package. Don’t worry about it.
We have our A-coil that sits at the bottom of our air handlers and in the filters. They stick it right in the middle of the A-coil and that metal A section, so that light shines straight down onto the filter itself.
It’s not a worry anymore.
I appreciate it both of you are all coming on the show. Thank you for all the information you shared. I hope everybody got some information out of it and tons of knowledge. I did, for sure, especially what our indoor air quality packages and what we can offer our clients at the bare minimum. If anybody has any questions, the best place to reach out to you all is that website. Is that correct?
Yes. Our website is AprilAirePartners.com. We’re pretty good. We are all over it. You send us something. If any of you guys out there are like, “I want some real training,” you can send an email at Support@AprilAire.com is where I live. This is how many guys I got. This is what I want to know. We will have one of our live trainers call you. We have live Webex trainings that don’t cost you anything because we need to help you be more successful in the home. That’s our motto.
I appreciate that. Thank you again for reading this episode of the show focused on service, business owners, managers and technicians who are considering becoming business owners themselves. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at Tersh@ServiceEmperor.com, or don’t forget to visit AprilAirePartners.com for more information. I hope you have a wonderful day and we will talk again soon.
- Tom Ruse – LinkedIn
About Marc Marchillo
Highly self motivated. Very creative, extremely quick witted and definitely outside the box!