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Technology is the Lifeline for Essential Workers during COVID-19 Pandemic

By Carri Norton, Trane

When the COVID-19 pandemic made its way to the United States, the HVAC industry, like many essential businesses, found itself in a quandary. How could HVAC technicians remain safe and healthy while delivering necessary services for American homeowners? Essential workers found themselves looking into their hypothetical toolkits to determine how they could help mitigate risk.

Carri Norton - Trane
Carri Norton

With COVID-19 precautions affecting how HVAC dealers and technicians operate, technological innovations have provided additional options for handling safety concerns during this time of heightened awareness. Thanks to advances in remote technology, technicians and homeowners can continue to communicate in redefined ways, further expanding the continued evolution of HVAC solutions. Remote technology is projected to become one of biggest innovations not only in the HVAC space, but also across all industries.

As a trusted HVAC partner, we can outline an action plan to help keep you and your customers safe while continuing to carry out necessary tasks.

1. Explicitly communicate the planned approach for the visit before hand – Ensure homeowners know in advance what they should expect when a technician makes a house visit. This will protect both the technician and the homeowner by limiting face-to-face communication when the reason for the visit is explained ahead of time.

2. Determine if remote diagnostics are available and permissions have been granted and make use of these tools whenever possible – Using remote diagnostics capabilities will allow the technician to assess the problem in advance of the visit, further lessening and possibly eliminating contact with the homeowner.

  • Nexia Diagnostics, a web-based tool, allows technicians to view real-time performance analytics of their customer’s HVAC system. A Dealer Dashboard allows HVAC professionals to receive system alerts by email and easily manage their Diagnostics customers virtually.
  • Dealer Remote Configuration, a feature of Nexia Diagnostics, allows an HVAC professional to view a virtual version of a customer’s thermostat via a web application. With the homeowner’s permission, a technician can view and configure the customer’s thermostat remotely, allowing them to follow precautionary social distance standards and potentially eliminating an onsite service appointment altogether.

3. Be mindful of your own health – The biggest takeaway from the COVID-19 pandemic is that not all virus carriers show noticeable symptoms, which can make navigating this time more challenging. Monitor your health daily and take steps to keep everyone safe. Be mindful of these recommendations when on the job:

  • Cancel appointments if you are showing any symptoms
  • Hold any discussions outside and wear a face mask if possible
  • Practice social distancing procedures (avoid shaking hands, stay at least 6 feet from others, do not share pens, paper, etc.)

For the foreseeable future, health experts expect COVID-19 to impact daily life. Therefore, HVAC personnel should tap into these helpful resources to ensure the safety of themselves and their customers, promoting peace of mind for all involved.