The end of 2010 also brought the end of hefty consumer tax credits for high-efficiency residential HVAC systems — a perk many manufacturers and service techs hoped would boost business by encouraging homeowners to replace old or inefficient systems. But a recovering economy and rapid consumer technology adoption present substantial business angles for opportunistic firms.

The 25C tax credits for energy efficiency HVAC systems undoubtedly drove modest sales and installations as the sluggish economy persuaded homeowners to fix, rather than replace, dated HVAC units. Joanna Turpin at ACHR News, in a piece detailing the effects of the 25C tax credit reduction from $1,500 in 2010 to $500 in 2011, reports that new system sales will likely be strong this year as homeowners, emboldened by a recovering economy, look to replace those patched-together heating and air conditioning systems that were made to last through the recession as home improvement loans and consumers’ expendable income dried up. The news is particularly good for HVAC businesses, whose technicians can expect to be busy installing the new systems.

Turpin notes, however, that new HVAC systems and decreased tax incentives aren’t the only pressing changes in the sector. As consumers become increasingly technology-savvy, they’re demanding more control over their HVAC systems. And the technology isn’t simply the domain of the consumer; contractors are also taking advantage. Technologies that got their starts in the consumer realm — tablets and smartphones, for example – are reshaping the HVAC industry.

Turpin quotes an industry expert who cautions that the HVAC industry may not be ready with the changes as consumers spend more time researching products and businesses on social channels and online before making a purchase. For service organizations and contractors who don’t shy away from the technology and who understand that their customers are searching Twitter, Google, Facebook and other sites before selecting a business, the changes present a lucrative business opportunity, one perhaps even Uncle Sam couldn’t match.

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