A Preview of the 2013 Spring Atlanta Home Show

The 35th Annual Spring Atlanta Home Show opened this morning at 10am. We usually participate in the professional preview on the first morning. We’re just back from the show floor so we’ve got some notes for you…

It was a treat to see a storm shelter vendor at the show this spring. FamilySafe Storm Shelters at booth 710 are at the show for the first time displaying modular shelters (pictured below) to protect families during natural disasters.


Rather than trying to build a storm shelter on site, you can purchase a pre-engineered shelter and install it on your property during construction or add one later. There are national guidelines to help you with the design. If you’re installing a storm shelter, we recommend working with your design professional to be sure you have the proper foundation to anchor the shelter.

The folks at Comfort Zone Heating & Air at booth 602 have a cut-away of a conventional air handler (pictured below, with the blue light). An air handler typically sits inside your house and is connected to the ducts – you might call it a furnace. The cut-away exposes the interior parts so they can explain how the system works.


We’re big fans of cut-away displays for common systems like air conditioners. Even though there are many air conditioning companies in Atlanta, they buy their equipment from  a very limited number of manufacturers like Trane, Lennox, Rheem and Carrier. The equipment is similar from one manufacturer to the next so learning how a typical system works will help you make better decisions about operating and maintaining your system.

We noticed the LED cabinet lighting (pictured below) in a display by Wood Hollow Cabinets at booth 824. You don’t have to worry about stepping between the overhead light and the items for which you’re searching. So, you don’t have to pick-up items to read them in the light because you’re casting a shadow on the shelves. This provides some task lighting where you need it.


There’s usually at least one company still displaying a power attic ventilator at the show. At this booth (pictured below), you can see a power attic ventilator mounted on the display to the right. It’s an electric fan intended to ventilate an attic by drawing air through vents in the eaves and out through this fan installed at the top of the roof.


The building code of the State of Georgia doesn’t allow power attic ventilators attached to the electrical grid. That requirement is in Section 403.10 (on page 13) of the 2011 amendments to the state energy code. You could power the fan with a solar panel or some other means of locally generated power. The attic fan on the table at this same booth has solar panels on it so we hope this vendor knows the building codes.

You can find lots of products and services at the home show though they probably won’t work as expected if they’re not coordinated with your other building systems. We think some of the items won’t pay back their initial expense within the expected lifetime of the product. You probably won’t be surprised to learn we recommend working with a qualified design professional as you’re making decisions so you have an advocate who doesn’t receive a financial benefit from any particular product or service.

In closing, we want to thank the people of Cook’s Pest Control (pictured below). As you move through the show, you’ll meet some vendors who sell products and services for very complicated systems. You’ll hear “How old is your air conditioner?” and “Do you know anything about radiant barriers?” from vendors as you walk by their booths. We’re sympathetic to their need to draw us into a discussion because what they do is relatively complex and can’t be fully explained as potential customers walk past.

The guys from Cook’s Pest Control have distilled their greeting down to a single transaction that doesn’t even require you to stop moving. When you walk by, they offer you a free fly swatter as they ask, “Would you like some free pest control?”. Nicely done!


Congratulations to Michael Schoppenhorst and his team at SEMCO for delivering another great home show. They’ve found a balance of goods and services – it’s not overrun with gutter companies and juicers. You can visit the Atlanta Home Show website to find a show schedule, vendor information and a coupon for $2 off admission.

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