Grundfos teams will celebrate digitally with their local teams


    May 12, 2020KEYWORDS anniversary celebration / HVAC Manufacturer NewsOrder ReprintsNo Comments

    HOUSTON — Grundfos, marked its 75th anniversary. The 75th anniversary is dedicated to the shared values of the company’s 19,280 colleagues all over the world.

    “We celebrate the pioneering and socially responsible spirit that has driven Grundfos since the beginning and continues to drive us today,” said Mads Nipper, group president and CEO, Grundfos. “We carry that mindset forward with a profound commitment to fight the imminent climate and water challenges affecting all of us.”

    The official anniversary date is May 12, where employees will celebrate in their local teams. This will take place digitally for many employees who are working from home due to the coronavirus pandemic. It is an occasion to reflect on the past, present and future.

    “I am proud to say that Grundfos is now stronger than ever,” added Nipper. “Based on our fantastic heritage, we have an ambition over the coming decade to contribute to bringing safely managed drinking water to 300 million people and to become a climate positive company. Thanks to our talented and diverse global team, we continue to push forward with a constant eye on pioneering solutions that shape our entire industry and beyond.”

    The pump company’s history began at the end of the Second World War, when Grundfos founder and engineer Poul Due Jensen was asked by a local farmer if he could procure a pump. In the aftermath of the war, there was a shortage of almost everything, so he had to develop and construct a complete quality water supply from scratch. The solution proved a great success and, as history shows, the foundation of Grundfos.

    Besides being an innovative spirit, Poul Due Jensen was very conscious of collaboration and made Grundfos an inclusive workplace, stating that everyone has the power to contribute.

    ”If you’re on your own you can do a little, but you can do a lot when you work together to do the job,” said Due Jensen.

    Want more HVAC industry news and information? Join The NEWS on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn today!


    Technology used to bring comfort to Wisconsin home

    The large home in northern Wisconsin had an in-floor radiant heating system, but the architect didn’t leave any space for a conventional, ducted a/c system.

    June 11, 2020Dan VastyanKEYWORDS case studies / HVAC Manufacturer News / mini-split systemsOrder ReprintsNo Comments

    The Northwoods of Wisconsin are a wild and wonderful place. Forests are punctuated by countless deep, pristine lakes.It’s a magnet for paddlers, hikers, anglers, and winter sport enthusiasts.

    Fabled as Paul Bunyan’s birthplace (along with a dozen other places that lay claim to that title), northern Wisconsin’s economy is fueled by outdoor lovers from Minneapolis, Madison, and Chicago.


    • Split Systems

    • Mini-Split Systems

    • Case Studies

    Some visit just once, while others buy lakeside property and build vacation homes straight out of an L.L. Bean catalog: vacation homes with open, sprawling floorplans, and all the comforts and convenience found in modern new construction.

    “We arrived on the job late after being referred by one of the other trades working on the house,” Jim Kavanagh said of the most recent new construction project Perfect Indoor Comfort (PIC) completed on the shore of Tomahawk Lake. “An in-floor radiant system was already installed in the slab, and staple-up radiant was soon to be installed in the first and second floors. But the architect made no consideration for a/c or ventilation. Wide open spaces, vaulted ceilings, and no room to run big ductwork.”Tomahawk Lake House.

    Vaulted ceilings and large windows were one of many considerations during the design phase.

    The two-story lake house totals 4,600 square feet above ground and 2,000 finished square feet in the daylight basement. There’s also a bunkhouse above the garage. Cooling and secondary heating was needed for the entire home.

    “We do very little new construction,” said Kavanagh, PIC’s general manager. “We’ve built a reputation for fixing problems and creating comfort, savings, and sanctuary within living spaces. Our projects often include energy analysis and blower door tests before and during installations, especially when homes are very tight, have fireplaces, or feature large kitchen range hoods.”

    Building Science Expertise

    Aside from the complexity of the lake house project and PIC’s reputation for quality in and around Wausau, Wisconsin, another reason they were awarded the job was their familiarity with mini-split systems in both residential projects and light commercial applications. Kavanagh has a building sciences background and has been in the industry for 36 years. As an early adopter, he’s been using mini-splits since before the introduction of inverter-driven compressors.Tomahawk Lake House.

    Perfect Indoor Comfort preferred to install wired thermostats for the mini-split systems over remote controls.

    “During the design, we worked with Brad Philavanh at Ferguson Enterprises in Wausau, as well as the folks at Mondale & Associates,” said Kavanagh. “Mike Dunn, at Mondale, knows Fujitsu’s Halcyon line of mini-splits as well as anyone. Any time we’re doing something out of the ordinary, we talk to him.”

    When PIC began designing the HVAC system in July of 2019, the home was under roof but far from finished. Each of the needs was carefully considered — the building was tight, there were plenty of open spaces, 20 foot windows, and a large fireplace.

    Of course, aesthetics were a big consideration. So was the need for very accurate control of the indoor climate. The owner is quite particular about the bedroom temperature. Having a zone allows the master bedroom to be set as cool and dry as they like it.

    Flexible Design

    Work began in August, 2019. PIC selected a variety of single- and multi-zone Halcyon systems, being careful to select the style of indoor unit to best serve different spaces. Ultimately, seven zones were created with the use of eight indoor units and three multi-zone Fujitsu condensing units.

    The main floor features a grand, two-story living space with two-story windows overlooking the lake. Two 24,000 Btu/h wall-hung units on opposite sides of the space serve the zone. The units are mounted some 17 feet off the ground level to help cool stratified warm air. On the main floor, the master bedroom features a single 9,000 Btu/h wall-hung unit.

    “The owner frequently becomes too warm at night, summer and winter,” explained Kavanagh. “Even if the bedroom radiant zone is turned off, she still wanted the option to cool the room further. We placed the unit in the room’s entry, with a turn in the corridor between the unit and the bed. This way, there’s no chance of the occupants feeling air movement.”

    Upstairs, the floorplan is divided into east and west sides, each with two bedrooms and a Jack and Jill bath. Here, PIC installed a pair of 1-ton slim duct air handlers in the attic.

    “The bedrooms are all different sizes, so our supply ducts range from six to eight inches,” explained Kavanagh. “To further fine-tune delivery, we have dampers in the supply registers. Each bedroom has a 10-inch return.” All supply and return ducts connect to plenums in the attic.

    Two wall-mount units condition the basement. A 12,000 Btu/h head is used for the party room, while a 9,000 Btu/h head cools, dehumidifies, and provides supplementary heat to a workout room.

    The family anticipates large groups of people at the vacation home year-round. Extra lodging is provided above the three-car garage.

    “At 340 square feet, the bunk house contains four sets of bunk beds,” said Kavanagh. “The floor is heated here, too, but we installed a 1-ton ceiling cassette for a/c and responsive supplemental heat. Fujitsu’s compact ceiling cassettes fit perfectly between 24-inch trusses, so installation was quick and easy.”

    Makeup Air and Indoor Comfort

    “As homes become tighter, it’s important that we take make-up and fresh air seriously,” said Kavanagh. ASHRAE standard 62.1 sets the bar for commercial buildings, but nothing like this exists for residences, at least not nationally. That doesn’t mean it’s not important.”

    Because the lake house features a real, unsealed fire place, PIC installed an up-to-600 cfm Thermolec packaged makeup air system. The unit has an electric heating element that tempers incoming air.

    When in use, air leaving the 8-inch fireplace flue is replaced by the makeup air unit via a downstairs supply duct. A blower door test will soon be conducted to fine-tune the volume being introduced by the makeup air system.

    PIC also installed a 300 cfm Renewaire ERV. After tempering outdoor air, the unit supplies fresh air to the workout room. The unit’s proprietary control allows occupants to select a percent of air exchange per hour; a timer energizes the unit accordingly.

    “The goal is to efficiently maintain fresh air and neutral pressure within the living space,” explained Kavanagh. “With a fireplace, it becomes a safety issue, too.”

    Control and Performance

    “This is a second home, so we wanted the ability to control portions of the system remotely,” said Kavanagh. “Through Fujitsu’s Wi-Fi device, the two wall-hung units that share a zone in the ground-level great room can be controlled remotely. By turning these on shortly before arriving, the owners can bring most of the home to a comfortable temperature.”Tomahawk Lake House.

    Perfect Indoor Comfort works to solve problems and create healthy living spaces that act as a sanctuary for occupants.

    Before the home’s boiler system was completed, mini-split units were the only source of heat through fall and into early winter. The systems performed perfectly, despite several cold snaps.

    “Many of Wausau’s realtors gather weekly to review market conditions,” said Kavanagh. “I meet with them occasionally to discuss the capabilities of Perfect Indoor Comfort and also to talk about HVAC trends. There’s versatility and efficiency available now that far exceeds what was possible even 10 years ago.

    “I believe everyone in the allied construction and real estate trades should consider the value of homes as a ‘sanctuary,’” he added. “Homeowners want comfort, safety, convenience, and a healthy living environment. That’s easily possible with today’s technology, and they’re saleable advantages. Yet until people experience it, they don’t understand the difference.”


    August 30, 2017

    2017 Top 40 Under 40 HVACR professionals

    The industry is full of young talent

    Top 40 Under 40 HVAC professionals

    August 28, 2017

    KEYWORDS contests / HVAC contracting / Top 40 Under 40



    No Comments

    We often hear there is a graying of the HVACR industry. That is a polite way of saying there are more old people than young people working in the trade.

    Of course, that is not all bad. The older generation has a lot to offer the industry in regards to knowledge, work ethic, and other necessary skills.

    However, as with any organization or industry, young talent needs to be nurtured to replace the older generation. While the trade certainly has its fair share of legends, it’s sometimes easy to forget that the HVACR industry boasts a wealth of young talent as well. These fresh faces must be welcomed into the industry and properly trained and educated in order to secure a positive future for the trade.

    From the young contractors running their first businesses to the vice presidents operating distribution centers, HVACR has a lot of budding talent on all levels of the industry.

    The NEWS desired to highlight these individuals with a list of 40 HVACR professionals under 40 years of age who are accomplishing great things in their respective positions. This is the third year we’ve asked our readers to nominate the best of the best and, indeed, they did. We received 180 entries, and picking the top 40 was incredibly difficult.

    The individuals chosen represent every aspect of the industry, including the manufacturing, distribution, instructional, and contracting sectors. Their backstories run the gamut, as there are those who grew up in the industry, those who stumbled upon the industry while seeking new career outlets, those who entered HVACR in the most interesting of circumstances, and more.

    “I realize I am partial, but I think this is a great list,” said Kyle Gargaro, editor-in-chief, The NEWS. “It really highlights some of the best and the brightest coming up in the HVACR industry.”

    Inside, there are brief write-ups on each individual who made the list. And, while the stories of how they reached the HVACR industry vary greatly, the common denominator is that they love the field and their careers. The members of this list all work hard, think about the big picture, and have the ability to challenge the way things have always been done.

    While certainly hundreds could have been highlighted, we needed to choose 40. Scroll down to see who made this year’s list and get to know the individuals who are already leading the trade into the future.

    Kristen Actis-Grande

    Company: Ingersoll Rand

    Title: Vice president of finance, residential HVAC and supply

    Age: 36

    At 36 years old, Kristen Actis-Grande has progressed through the ranks at Ingersoll Rand to become one of its youngest female vice presidents. She leads the financial operations for Ingersoll Rand’s residential HVAC and supply business, which includes the Trane, American Standard, Ameristar, and Nexia brands.

    Her success is largely based on her philosophy that a finance professional must deliver insights that drive performance, a concept she’s tested over time that has led to changes in everything from product design and availability to marketing strategy that affected almost every facet of the business.

    Despite her success, she still has lofty HVAC goals.

    “I’d like to increase my knowledge of the overall HVAC industry, specifically the commercial side of HVAC, which I haven’t had as much exposure to,” Actis-Grande said. “I’d like to move into a general management role at some point in my career.”

    Andy Andres

    Company: Brisk Air Inc

    Title: President

    Age: 34

    Andy Andres, president of Brisk Air Inc., has built upon the HVAC business his father started in 1988.

    “Whenever he had the opportunity to throw me in the truck, I was in it,” Andres said. “I grew into becoming his main problem solver and was forced to be self-sufficient, which I’m very thankful for today. I purchased my father’s company in 2012. We doubled company revenue the first year and maintained it the second year. I acquired another company in 2015 to double our revenues overnight. The merger of the two companies created Brisk Air Inc.”

    Brisk Air was a company Andres dreamt of operating as a child. The business did $2 million worth of business in 2016 and is shooting for $2.5 million in 2017.

    “My career HVAC goal is to be an industry changer in our geographical area and to have an exceptional establishment that is sanctified from the companies that spoil the good of this industry,” Andres said. “I’m passionate about creating a work environment that provides tremendous opportunity to its employees. Through training, mentorship, and direction, I want our employees to feel accomplished, appreciated, and valued.”

    Chad Baumann

    Company: Baumann & DeGroot Heating & Cooling

    Title: Sales and marketing manager

    Age: 30

    Heating and cooling goes back three generations for the Baumann family.

    “My grandfather and father both owned heating and cooling businesses — two separate companies — I grew up in it and around it. I started here at Baumann & DeGroot full time in 2012 after honing my skills in other industries after college,” said Baumann, who serves as the company’s sales and marketing manager. He typically meets with five or six homeowners a day, designing quotes and explaining replacement options. Homeowners have responded positively as Baumann & DeGroot’s replacement sales have grown 225 percent over three years.

    Baumann also sits on the board of the Energy Retrofit Program in Holland, Michigan.

    “My goal is to continue to grow our company through a strong relationship with our community while striving to maintain the small family atmosphere that makes us successful internally,” Baumann said.

    Brandon Brown

    Company: Browns Heating & Air

    Title: Owner

    Age: 35

    Brandon Brown started his contracting company in 2006. It now includes 10 employees and does more than $1.5 million of business each year.

    “My career goal is to build a strong company based on values of integrity, honesty, and love,” Brown said. “I want my company to bring high-quality work at affordable prices and to be known as the most dedicated company in Virginia.”

    Brown built his business on word of mouth. Browns does not spend a lot of money on advertising, and 95 percent of the company’s work comes from referrals. The contractor has been named the best heating and air company by Lynchburg Living two years in a row. Employees are also heavily involved in local charity.

    “When I started my company, my goal was to one day be able to give back to the community and those in need,” Brown said. “In the past two years, we’ve been able to provide an HVAC system to a family in need, completely free to them. Last Christmas, we helped a local nonprofit group provide Christmas gifts to more than 75 local kids.”

    Louis Bruno IV

    Company: Bruno Air

    Title: President

    Age: 28

    Louis Bruno started working in the industry at age 17 and opened his own HVAC company at 24. Since founding Bruno Air, the company has grown exponentially. It now employs 150 individuals and boasts $25 million in revenue.

    Bruno Air is in the very competitive southwest Florida market and covers both the residential and commercial markets.

    “I started working in the industry as a helper during a summer in high school,” Bruno said. “That role evolved after graduation into a technician role, later a sales manager role, and eventually helped to grow that small company from a few hundred thousand in annual sales to more than a million. Ultimately, the first job set me up for the path that has brought me to where I am today.”

    Bruno has also appeared on CNBC’s “Blue Collar Millionaires,” a docuseries that highlights working-class individuals who have found success with a can-do mindset and hard work — often times having to roll up their sleeves. The show explored what differentiated Bruno from his competition and how his employees work to make business better each day.

    Michael Church

    Company: Church Plumbing & Heating Inc.

    Title: Co-owner/general manager

    Age: 39

    When Church graduated from high school in 1996, he didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life. While he did well in school, Church couldn’t see spending the money to go to college without a clear purpose in mind. He decided to take a year off and was told by his parents that he needed to get a job.

    “As it turns out, that job was in the family business,” Church said. “Twenty-one years later, I’ve still never gone to college, and I’ve never looked back. I’ve done just about every job in the company from receptionist to service technician to sweeping floors to duct system design.”

    Church helped the company recover from the Great Recession when their office staff was reduced from 26 to nine.

    “Helping get the business back from the brink during the worst part of the recession, and establishing it as one of the premier plumbing and HVAC providers in the marketplace is one of my biggest accomplishments,” Church said.

    Joshua Davis

    Company: AccuTemp Services LLC

    Title: Owner

    Age: 27

    In just two years as the owner of AccuTemp Services, Joshua Davis had led the team of 35 employees and almost doubled the company’s revenue to $7 million.

    “My father started an HVAC company from our home while I was in high school, and I worked with him during the summertime,” Davis said. “When I was 19, I attended an HVAC sales training and realized that the HVAC industry had a lot of opportunity in it. My father had no business experience and encouraged me to take a shot at growing the company. A few years later, I had the opportunity to purchase the company from him, and the rest is history.”

    Davis is president of the Louisiana Heat Pump Association and a member of Business Development Resources, a company offering resources and expertise in successful business practices.

    Sean Dunleavy

    Company: Atlantic Westchester Inc.

    Title: Director of operations

    Age: 34

    Sean Dunleavy began working with Atlantic Westchester in 2012. He is responsible for the daily operations of the company and maintains more than 100 long-term client relationships. Dunleavy fast-tracked from an entry-level position to management in six years and is currently leading a $5 million field service operation.

    “I set out to make the HVAC service industry my career, and it has been great to me over the past 10 years,” Dunleavy said. “Hopefully this will continue to be personally rewarding for many years to come.”

    Dunleavy spends his free time teaching fourth-year HVAC service technician apprentices at the local union hall.

    “I desire to lead the best team possible and perform work using enhanced industry practices that meet or exceed clients’ expectation levels,” he said. “I also plan to continue to help develop future generations of service technicians through my role as an instructor in our local union apprenticeship program.”

    Hank Eakle

    Company: Diamond E. Heat and Air

    Title: Owner

    Age: 32

    After working for HVAC service companies in both Dallas and Tulsa, Oklahoma, Hank Eakle was looking for more. So, at the age of 30, Eakle and his family returned to his hometown of Quinton, Oklahoma, where he acquired his contractor’s license and launched his own company — Diamond E. Heat and Air.

    “I wanted a career where I wasn’t going to be in the same place, day in and day out,” Eakle said. “I wanted to learn a trade where I could fix things. The financial profitability wasn’t a bad goal either.”

    In less than three years, he has grown the business into a successful and profitable company that actively serves several counties in southeastern Oklahoma.

    “My goal is to continue to provide trustworthy and high-quality service to customers while building relationships and a reputation of high standards,” Eakle said.

    Eakle has plans to add an electrical and plumbing department in the future.

    Craig Elliott

    Company: Nice Home Services LLC

    Title: CEO

    Age: 37

    Craig Elliott is the CEO of Nice Home Services LLC, but, in this case, CEO stands for chief executive optimist. After entering the business in 2000, he worked as a showroom salesman, maintenance tech, and service tech before assuming his current position.

    This is not the first accolade Elliott has earned in his HVAC career. He has received the North American Technician Excellence (NATE) Top Tech Award, and his company also was on Inc. magazine’s fastest-growing companies list two years in a row.

    “It is my goal to create a profitable enterprise by helping clients stay comfy and helping my team build life-long careers,” Elliott said.

    The beginning of his HVAC career was a mother-knows-best story. Elliott’s mother received a service call from a friendly technician and knew HVAC service would be a perfect fit for her son.

    “She got his card and had me reach out to him to learn,” Elliott said. “The rest is history.”

    Richard Eppers

    Company: Casteel Heating, Cooling, Plumbing & Electrical

    Title: Executive vice president

    Age: 39

    Richard Eppers was hired in 2005 as a service technician for Casteel Heating, Cooling, Plumbing & Electrical and within two weeks was promoted to the role of service manager. Now a 12-year veteran of the company and the executive vice president, Eppers has been a driving force in the company’s expansion that helped grow payroll from 20 employees to more than 200. He played an integral part in helping the company add electrical and plumbing divisions.

    “I am truly passionate about reaching as many homeowners as possible on a regional and national level,” Eppers said. “I hope to continue expanding my market and encouraging HVAC professionals to continue growing their skill set to stay above the changes in our industry and stay at the forefront of the home services industry. The standards and beliefs of the company focus on working with the highest integrity, professionalism, and always having customers’ best interests in mind. I hope to have the opportunity to change the face of our industry to one of professionalism, high-level training, and expertise. A well-trained, tactful, and experienced HVAC professional is invaluable.”

    Nick Faxon

    Company: Rawal Devices Inc.

    Title: National product support manager

    Age: 30

    Nick Faxon has been involved in the HVAC industry for more than 15 years. He started his career as an HVAC apprentice in contracting and joined Rawal Devices Inc. in 2010 as the company’s first technical support representative. Within a few years, Faxon elevated his technical capabilities and was promoted to the technical support manager in 2013. He is currently Rawal Devices’ national product support manager.

    “My career goals are to continue to develop the technical knowledge that has led me to become the national product support manager,” Faxon said. “I plan to continue to grow my training abilities to become a leader throughout the HVAC industry.”

    Ultimately, every new and retrofit project Faxon encounters presents challenges that impact the efficiency and effectiveness of the buildings’ HVAC systems. Faxon guides HVAC professionals to ensure that ASHRAE standards are met while optimizing DX air conditioning equipment operation with the company’s APR Control.

    Mark Fitch

    Company: St. Cloud Refrigeration

    Title: Vice president of industrial refrigeration and service/maintenance

    Age: 35

    Mark Fitch puts the “R” in HVACR. He works for St. Cloud Refrigeration, a mechanical contracting firm based in St. Cloud, Minnesota. Starting as a parts runner, he has been involved in all aspects of the industry and St. Cloud Refrigeration’s operations.

    “My grandfather, Don Fitch, started SCR in 1957,” Mark Fitch said. “Today, my grandfather is 92 years old, and we still talk shop. His claim to fame is that he put the ice man out of business with DX refrigeration. My father, Mike Fitch, and his partner, Pat Welty, succeeded my grandfather and grew the company to what it is today. To put it in a nutshell, this industry is in my blood, and I couldn’t imagine doing anything different.”

    He helps design custom refrigeration and HVAC systems to meet customers’ temperature requirements.

    “We call them special projects at SCR because a customer will come to us with a problem or an idea and will need a product or a perishable food cooled down to a certain temperature in a certain time limit,” Mark Fitch said.

    “Myself and SCR have been very successful in meeting these unique requirements.”

    Cody Gebhart

    Company: Shearer Supply Inc.

    Title: Commercial and geothermal product manager

    Age: 37

    Cody Gebhart started in the HVAC industry under adverse conditions. He had lost his job in the summer of 2004 and was unemployed for four months before taking a job as a security guard for minimum wage. Every morning he would read the help wanted section of the Dallas Morning News.

    “I ran across an ad one day for a company looking for someone with good skills working with numbers and sense of organization,” Gebhart said. “I sent in my résumé and had an interview a couple of days later. I guess I said all the right things because Wayne Shearer, Michelle Shearer-Rodriguez, and Abel Rodriguez changed my life that same day and offered me a position at Shearer Supply.”

    Gebhart has been integral in growing Shearer’s commercial department and has developed several exceptional commercial practices.

    Elizabeth Gerber

    Company: Professional HVAC/R Services Inc.

    Title: General manager

    Age: 33

    As general manager for Professional HVAC/R Services, Elizabeth Gerber does a little bit of everything, including scheduling, training, human resources, customer communication, etc.

    “My introduction to the refrigeration trades came when I applied for a position doing code and permitting work at Professional,” Gerber said. “My background is in architecture, and I had limited HVACR knowledge. Joe and the team here are passionate about HVACR and started teaching me about the refrigeration trade — it just took off from there.”

    Gerber’s guidance has allowed the company to prosper.

    “My biggest HVAC accomplishments are working with the Professional HVAC/R team to improve processes for our customers and staff and qualifying to sit for the architecture licensing exam as a result of my experience here at Professional,” Gerber said.

    Scott Gilchrist

    Company: LG Electronics USA Air Conditioning Technologies

    Title: Senior regional sales manager, Pacific region

    Age: 37

    Scott Gilchrist has been an outstanding member of the HVAC industry for nearly 15 years, working as a sales engineer in the highly competitive Southern California market. For the past seven years, he’s served as a regional commercial sales engineer for LG Electronics USA Air Conditioning Technologies, capturing numerous awards and accolades within the organization, including being named the Top Sales Person for the West Region in both 2014 and 2015. In 2016, he was named the Top Sales Person for the USA.

    He was recently promoted to senior regional sales manager overseeing the entire Pacific region. In this expanded role, Gilchrist provides ongoing training and education to design engineers, mechanical contractors, architects, owners, and developers regarding variable refrigerant flow (VRF) technology.

    “With three young children myself, my main goal is to help drive the use of energy-efficient technologies for a more sustainable future for generations to come,” Gilchrist said. “I aim to change the way customers think about applying air conditioning and heating to their buildings to not only optimize energy efficiency but also increase tenant comfort.”

    Eric Groh

    Company: Johnson Controls Inc.

    Title: Independent distribution channel account manager

    Age: 29

    The Groh family name is well known in HVAC circles. Eric Groh, independent distribution channel account manager for Johnson Controls Inc., is one of many family members who have made a living in the industry.

    “My great-grandfather founded George Groh & Sons in 1918 in Emporia, Kansas, a sheet metal contractor still in business today as a roofing contractor,” Groh said. “My grandfather and father both had decades-long careers in the industry working for Lennox, Titus, and Pottorff, among others. My brother and sister are also employed by the construction trades. In fact, I have pictures with Dave Lennox and I as a youngster — back in the late 80s and early 90s.”

    Groh serves as a board member for the Joseph Groh Foundation, a 501c3 foundation dedicated to assisting those in the construction trades with life-altering disabilities. To date, the foundation has provided more than $350,000 in grants to 43 individuals in 18 states.

    Sean Harvey

    Company: Sid Harvey Industries Inc.

    Title: Manager

    Age: 31

    Sean Harvey, great-grandson of founder, Sid Harvey, has greatly contributed to the tremendous growth of Sid Harvey Industries.

    “Honestly, I never really knew what my father did for work, and I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life after high school,” Sean Harvey said. “I started working here in 2005 in a warehouse. I thought it was going to be a temporary thing. Time flew as I found success at every corner. I worked through numerous positions in numerous locations and took a hiatus to serve a tour of duty in Iraq in 2008-2009. Since returning, I’ve worked my way up to manager and have been involved with key decisions made in the company.”

    Over the last few years, Sean Harvey has become more involved on the corporate side. He has direct involvement with not only his branch but routinely places purchase orders for the region and national distribution center. In addition to helping the purchasing department identify which products the company should be stocking nationally, he has worked closely with the trade pricing department to revamp the distributor’s pricing structure.

    Mary Hromodka

    Company: Aire Serv, Dwyer Group

    Title: Brand manager

    Age: 32

    Mary Hromodka has taken the helm of marketing for the international heating and air conditioning brand Aire Serv and guided more than 200 franchise locations through a complete logo redesign, market focus research process, and brand refresh implementation. Before starting at Aire Serve, Hromodka had a connection to the HVAC industry.

    “My husband owns a commercial refrigeration business, and I have been exposed to the industry for more than 12 years,” Hromodka said. “After my previous role as a marketing director for automotive dealerships, the opportunity arose for me to mesh my HVAC knowledge and marketing expertise to manage marketing for a heating and air conditioning brand with locations all over the U.S.”

    Hromodka has helped the company navigate complex waters through the rollout of the umbrella brand initiative with all of the Dwyer Group sister brands internationally. And, at the same time, the franchisees’ effective customer awareness in the marketplace has skyrocketed.

    Cherie Hudson

    Company: NICE Home Services

    Title: Vice president of client relations

    Age: 38

    Cherie Hudson has spent her entire adult life working behind the scenes of the HVAC industry, passionately supporting business and technicians. Hudson joined NICE Home Services in 2012 and has helped the company grow from $500,000 to more than $3 million in revenue yearly.

    “My aunt and uncle own an air conditioning company in Florida. After growing up in the a/c office, I began answering the phones for emergency service after hours,” Hudson said. “Officially beginning my career at 21 doing energy calculations, I was able to learn everything from bookkeeping and human resources to service coordinator and office manager.

    Hudson also developed, a website dedicated to improving technical, sales, and customer service skills for technicians in the field.

    “My goal is to help build NICE Home Services into the number one HVAC company in the world,” Hudson said. “As part of that goal, I will help develop personal training systems for technicians to help them reach their monetary, professional, and personal goals.”

    Tyler Kime

    Company: Standard Air, Plumbing, and Insulation

    Title: General manager

    Age: 36

    After a brief career in banking, Tyler Kime now runs a large, successful HVAC company in Birmingham, Alabama.

    “My father, Tom Kime, kept family and business mostly separate, and I didn’t know how an air conditioning unit worked until I started working at Standard in 2005,” Tyler Kime said. “I worked in banking for two years after college and decided to come back home and work for Standard. My dad handed me his training books from 1969, when he attended Trane’s training courses in Lacrosse, Wisconsin. I started as a helper on an install truck and then did whatever he asked me to do as I learned the business and gained trust and confidence from our team.”

    The company added insulation a few years ago with its home-performance group and intends to add electrical, which it believes is the next step to provide even more services to its customers.

    “Our company goal is 10 percent revenue growth annually, which will put us over $10 million in two years and $15 million within five to seven years,” Tyler Kime said.

    Amanda Kinsella

    Company: Logan A/C & Heat Services

    Title: Communications and marketing director

    Age: 39

    Amanda Kinsella is the communications and marketing director at Logan A/C & Heat Services for the Dayton, Columbus, and Cincinnati, Ohio, markets. Throughout her 10-year career at Logan Services, she has worn many hats and taken on multiple roles within the company, including everything from answering the phones to scheduling service and sales calls to leading the big-box retail division. She also worked endless hours meeting potential customers at home shows and being the star of the company’s TV commercials.

    “I didn’t grow up in HVAC and actually worked in TV news before joining the industry,” Kinsella said. “I had the privilege of meeting a few employees from Logan Services before joining the team, and everyone seemed so genuine and caring.”

    Kinsella started off as a sales coordinator before beginning to take on many marketing projects. Under her leadership, the company’s Facebook fan base has grown organically to more than 10,000 followers, and the company has enjoyed double-digit sales growth for the last decade.

    Ryan Kletz

    Company: One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning, Virginia Beach

    Title: Vice president

    Age: 34

    Ryan Kletz learned the family business inside and out while making his way up to the vice president position. Perhaps his biggest HVAC accomplishment is developing what he considers a game-changing training program that allows the company to bring new people into the trade and organization. That program has helped the company experience double-digit growth for the past 10 years. Kletz also spearheaded the company’s evolvement into a true 24/7/365 operation.

    “This was something we used to say we did, but we didn’t truly believe it in our hearts,” Kletz said. “Now, our entire team believes in the idea of serving our clients when they need us. My business goals are to continue to produce double-digit growth, double-digit profitability, and a customer service score that ranks our team with the likes of Ritz-Carlton, Starbucks, and the likes.”

    Kletz is also heavily involved in the philanthropic initiative One Hour Cares.

    Jason Krantz

    Company: Weil-McLain

    Title: Director of business analytics and insights

    Age: 36

    Jason Krantz is a pioneer at the forefront of the data-driven transformation within the HVAC industry. As the leader of business analytics and insights for Weil-McLain and Marley Engineered Products, he has elevated analytics as a foundational pillar to drive strategy across the business. In the three short years, Krantz’s teams have built analytics muscle and transformed the decision-making processes in the organization.

    “I saw an excellent opportunity to build an analytics team and capability with my current company,” Krantz said. “We are a great organization with great brands and excellent market presence, so the situation was perfect.”

    One of his accomplishments included building a set of visualization tools that takes data and analysis out of the spreadsheet and delivers easily digestible snapshots to sales, marketing, product management, and engineering leaders to inform functional strategies.

    Jeremy Lee

    Company: Schneller Plumbing, Heating, and Air

    Title: General manager

    Age: 36

    On Jeremy Lee’s wedding night, Kris Knochelmann — owner of Schneller Plumbing, Heating, and Air — talked to Lee after his first dance with his new bride, Knochelmann’s niece. He asked if Lee would be interested in a position at his HVAC company. Lee said, “Yes,” and started in HVAC maintenance. He’s also held the positions of comfort advisor and sales manager before eventually becoming general manager.

    One of Lee’s great accomplishments was helping develop and launch a technician app and comfort advisor app that allows employees to build options and pricing right on their tablets and make presentations to customers with the use of videos and PDFs. This has helped increase overall revenue along with IAQ sales, lead conversions, and gross margins.

    “My goal is to give back to the industry that has given me so much,” Lee said. “This industry has opened doors for my family and I beyond our wildest imagination.”

    James Mueller

    Company: The ACT Group Inc.

    Title: President

    Age: 38

    For most of his adult life, James Mueller has been helping HVAC contractors sell. He got involved in the industry almost by accident. After graduating from college, a close friend who was already working for ACT asked him to join the team. He started filling boxes and handling the logistics for seminars hosted across the nation. Fast-forward 13 years later, and Mueller has worked his way up to running the company.

    “I enjoy working with many of the best distributors and dealers across the nation,” Mueller said. “For me, there’s no greater thrill than getting an email or phone call after class from an excited graduate eager to share what he or she has accomplished since class.”

    As participants, products, and technologies change, Mueller and his team are constantly updating their processes and programs and looking for new and creative ways to improve the long-term impact of training.

    “It’s an honor to get to work with a team of the best trainers in the industry,” Mueller said. “They’re all great instructors who are passionate about what they do, but even more importantly, they’re phenomenal people.”

    Quan Nguyen

    Company: Lennox Industries Inc.

    Title: Vice president of residential marketing

    Age: 39

    Prior to entering the HVAC industry, Quan Nguyen spent time in the Army, earned his MBA, and spent a few years consulting. Now, Nguyen is the vice president of residential marketing for Lennox.

    “It took me 10 years to figure out what I wanted to do and what I didn’t want to do,” Nguyen said. “I knew I wanted to work in an industry that made a concrete product that people really needed instead of just designing websites. I wanted it to have some level of technology and sophistication, and I wanted something rooted in business fundamentals, such as manufacturing, distribution, marketing, sales, and service. Lastly, I wanted to work in an industry with good, salt-of-the-earth people. When I was approached by Lennox, I knew that was it,” Nguyen said.

    One of Nguyen’s biggest HVAC accomplishments was launching

    “Our B2B portal was decaying,” Nguyen said. “It wasn’t mobile, responsive, or user-friendly. Over the past five years, we’ve gone down a path to innovate our B2B portal to serve our increasingly tech-savvy customer base.”

    Bryan Orr

    Company: Kalos Services Inc.

    Title: Cofounder

    Age: 34

    As if running a top-rated HVAC contracting company wasn’t enough, Bryan Orr also finds time to educate the next generation of HVAC workers.

    The cofounder of Kalos Services Inc., Orr also founded and runs Via the website, he has developed one of the fastest-growing technical HVAC podcasts and blogs in the industry and emails daily tech tips to technicians all around the country.

    “The reception the content has received has been great,” Orr said. “The support I have been given by amazing teachers, like Jim Bergmann, Jack Rise, and Dan Holohan, has me counting my blessings every day. I would like to play a supporting role in helping the HVACR trade fill the skills gap and increase the prestige of the industry for the next generation.”

    Orr always had a knack for educating as he helped create the service training program for his first employee at 21 years old.

    He has built a great contracting business, which, in 12 years, has grown from three employees to 54.

    Mike Pastorello

    Company: Refrigeration Technologies

    Title: COO

    Age: 37

    Mike Pastorello’s father started Refrigeration Technologies in 1987. He joined the company in 2003 to keep the family business running for another generation.

    “We provide professional-grade specialty chemical products that are tailor-made to each technician’s needs without compromising their safety or environment,” Pastorello said.

    Some of the biggest HVAC accomplishments Pastorello has had since joining the company include adopting the use of safer ingredients to their chemical formulas without compromising product performance, innovating new products that help technicians save time and money, and rebranding the company.

    “The goal in rebranding was finding out why we exist and telling customers our story,” Pastorello said. “We did this both in person and through digital infrastructure.”

    Pastorello currently sits on the western regional board of directors for Heating, Air-conditioning, and Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI).

    Danielle Putnam

    Company: The New Flat Rate Inc.

    Title: President

    Age: 36

    As president of The New Flat Rate Inc., Danielle Putnam runs a staff of 14 people that service the needs of hundreds of in-home service contractors. She runs all aspects of this fast-growing business and oversees administration, marketing, and management on a daily basis. Her consistence and persistence continuously results in a powerful tool being used by contractors in all 50 states as well as Canada and Australia.

    She grew up in the industry. Her father, Rodney Koop, was a contractor who religiously taught his nine kids that money comes from hard work. Putnam now works with her father at The New Flat Rate. She is also serving as the incoming vice president for the Women in HVACR organization.

    “I’m proud to be a woman in our industry who has been embraced by our industry,” Putnam said. “It’s not about gender; it’s about saying yes to opportunity, putting your best foot forward, and doing it right. My answer to new opportunities and difficult challenges has always been to say yes — say yes, and we’ll find a way to do it. This attitude has led to many open doors within our industry.”

    Stephen Rardon

    Company: Service Experts

    Title: Installation supervisor

    Age: 35

    Stephen Rardon is the kind of HVAC technician who is always trying to better himself. In 2006, he created a YouTube channel to share his HVAC knowledge. The channel is now followed by more than 12,000 technicians.

    In 2016, he created a Facebook group where HVAC techs share their knowledge and insight on the industry. The group currently has 3,000 members.

    “When I started my YouTube channel, it was never intended to be a training session, it was always just a ‘watch me work’ thing,” Rardon said. “For that to go from a hobby to having people contact me, ask questions, and say, ‘Your vidoes have taught me so much,’ is incredibly humbling. It’s mind blowing to think of where it started and that it’s grown to nearly 12,000 subscribers.”

    Rardon’s dream is to open his own shop specializing in detailed service and home-performance testing.

    Neal Reeves

    Company: Packard Inc.

    Title: Creative director

    Age: 38

    Neal Reeves came from a background in banking with an education in engineering, but he was looking to be a part of an industry that was exciting and intriguing. He found a perfect fit in the HVAC world. Reeves is currently the creative director for Packard Inc.

    “From day one I’ve been fascinated with everything I learn, and I’m excited to show this industry how great Packard is,” Reeves said.

    Internally, he works closely with product development to market the latest quality products to the industry. He’s also played a key role in the implementation of a new system of detailed communication among several internal departments, including customer service, marketing, product development, and sales.

    “My career HVAC goals are to continue to build Packard’s brand as a company that thrives on integrity, honor, and always putting customers first,” Reeves said. “Through this, I hope Packard grows into one of the go-to companies for all HVAC products.”

    C.J. Roe

    Company: MasterTech Plumbing, Heating and Cooling

    Title: HVAC department manager and lead HVAC technician

    Age: 32

    After 20 years as a plumbing company, MasterTech elected to add HVAC services. In 2012, the company hired C.J. Roe to help, and he has single-handedly built the HVAC division from the ground up. Since 2012, HVAC sales have increased by more than 300 percent from barely $100,000 in the first year to $430,000 last year.

    “Helping to develop an HVAC department from a plumbing-only company has been the biggest accomplishment in my career,” Roe said.

    He has juggled a lot of responsibilities in the company while continuing on his personal quest for knowledge by attending 35 hours of technical and factory training and 45 hours of business development training through Bryant and Business Development Resource (BDR). He has met all requirements to qualify as a Bryant factory authorized dealer, has achieved his journeyman mechanical license through the local municipality, is North American Technician Excellence (NATE)-certified, and has his U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) universal license.

    Travis Rose

    Company: Rose Heating and Air Conditioning

    Title: President

    Age: 39

    Travis Rose started working for his father sweeping shop floors at 12 years old. As a teen, he started helping out around the shop with sheet metal projects and, as he got older, continued on to new construction sites expanding his knowledge and skills. After graduating high school, Rose became a full-time installation and service technician for the next 13 years. While accomplishing this, he was attending multiple tech classes regularly throughout the Midwest and attending college for his business management degree. At age 31, Rose moved up to service and operations manager, and, at 35, he took full ownership of the company.

    “As a third-generation business owner, my main focus is to continue to grow my business without forgetting what the business has been over the past 55 years,” said Rose. “The basis has always been top-notch customer service, first and foremost. There are too many times in this industry that I have seen businesses grow exponentially, and the first aspect that suffers is their customer service. Our customers — internal and external — are what has made this company so successful over the past 55 years. To ever lose sight of that is not an option.”

    Richard Roth

    Company: A.N. Roth Co.

    Title: General manager

    Age: 37

    Richard Roth has beaten the family business odds. While only 3 percent of family businesses operate at the fourth-generation level, Roth is part of the fifth generation at A.N. Roth Co., where he serves as general manager.

    “I primarily design, sell, and coordinate larger installations as well as manage the installation department. I also oversee and make final decisions on overall company direction and policy,” Roth said.

    Roth was born into the industry and has been working in the business since he was able to turn a screwdriver and sweep a floor. While in high school, he worked summers on an installation crew.

    “My career goal is to continue to grow this business both culturally and monetarily,” Roth said. “I want A.N. Roth Co. to have the highest level of quality and customer service while also being a great place to work and retire.”

    Mark Schmalz

    Company: Parker Hannifin — Sporlan Division

    Title: Division marketing manager

    Age: 36

    When Mark Schmalz was 8 years old, he’d go to work with his father and write letters on Sporlan letterhead about how great he thought the company was. Schmalz said those trips with his father — a retired Sporlan sales engineer after 37 years — made him feel that Sporlan was a special place, but it never occurred to him he’d be working there years later.

    Schmalz, now a division marketing manager, still has those letters in his office at Parker Hannifin’s Sporlan division, illustrating his long history with the company. Schmalz has held a variety of positions while at Sporlan. He started as an industrial engineer in 2003, progressed through the ranks to marketing services manager in 2009, and then made a major jump to business development manager in China in 2011.

    Returning home in 2013, Schmalz became marketing manager, ultimately moving to his current position.

    “The great thing about Parker Sporlan is that those doors will open if you want them to,” he said. “It’s up to you to choose to go through them or not.”

    Dave Schmidt

    Company: Frederick Air Inc.

    Title: Operations manager

    Age: 30

    Dave Schmidt grew up in his family’s HVAC business. After joining the U.S. Marines and a deployment in Iraq; the operations manager joined Frederick Air in 2010, selling home performance and duct sealing. In 2013, he stepped into the role of sales manager and was responsible for a residential in-home sales rep, an Aeroseal sales person, and a home energy auditor. At the time, the sales process in the company was slow and inefficient. Schmidt took a pricing system and paper-based proposal presentation and made it completely seamless and paperless. As a result, the company now boasts an electronic customer presentation that includes financing, work orders, and rebates.

    The result of the efficiency enabled the company’s comfort consultant to spend his time selling instead of doing paperwork.

    “I want to continue to build the single-best customer service experience that an HVAC company can offer,” Schmidt said. “My goal is to use technology and processes to keep our business profitable so that we can continue being an outrageously generous member of our community.”

    Romeo Sy

    Company: LG Electronics USA Air Conditioning Technologies

    Title: Senior distribution manager, eastern U.S.

    Age: 37

    Romeo Sy originally was looking at a career in physical therapy. However, when he decided sales was a better fit, he found a home at LG. He started in the company’s commercial air conditioning division and worked his way up the organization. In doing so, he captured more than a few awards, including the Golden Hammer Award, which recognized his top sales achievements in 2016.

    “My HVAC goals are very simple,” Sy said. “I am part of an innovative team that strongly believes in changing the way we do HVAC in the U.S. My goal is to help lead my company in supporting and educating our customers as well as securing our position as the technological giant we are.”

    Sy currently leads LG Electronics’ air conditioning technologies distribution sales for the Eastern U.S. as a regional DFS sales manager. In this role, he develops strategic growth plans for existing and new acquisition accounts and oversees implementation of programs.

    Dr. Marwa Zaatari

    Company: enVerid Systems

    Title: Director of system performance and IAQ

    Age: 31

    Dr. Marwa Zaatari is a leader in the energy-efficiency and IAQ industries, bringing her expertise to companies around the world through her innovative research, analysis, and speaking engagements. Zaatari is at the forefront of developing practical strategies to enable buildings to reach the optimal energy cost for the maximum IAQ benefits.

    She is helping to shape the next performance-based HVAC standards by serving as the chair of the Indoor Air Quality Procedure (IAQP) Committee for the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), where she led the industry in defining the minimum standards for IAQ in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) buildings and established the first IAQ pilot credit (EQpc68); vice chair of the IAQP Working Group for ASHRAE (T-TAC-TRG4.IAQP); voting member of the ASHRAE Technical Committee for Gaseous Air Contaminants and Gas Contaminant Removal Equipment (T-TAC-TC02.03); and voting member of the ASHRAE Standard 62.1 sub-committee and Minimum Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality (T-STDS-SSPC 62.1) standard.

    Vince Zolli

    Company: KeepRite Refrigeration

    Title: Vice president of engineering

    Age: 38

    After graduating with a mechanical engineering degree with an interest in heat transfer and thermodynamics, Vince Zolli found employment in his hometown when he received a job offer from KeepRite Refrigeration. Fast-forward 17 years, and Zolli has been working in the same field for the same company since graduation.

    Some of his biggest HVAC accomplishments include three patents and one patent pending in the commercial refrigeration design, a 2015 AHR Expo Innovation Award, and professional growth achieved with a manufacturer company in commercial refrigeration.

    “Many of my goals have been achieved to date, but I have a continuous drive for future innovation while staying on top of industry trends and technology,” Zolli said. “I look forward to eventually passing on my experiences and knowledge.”

    Zolli was promoted to vice president of engineering for KeepRite Refrigeration in 2017.

    Publication date: 8/28/2017

    Want more HVAC industry news and information? Join The NEWS on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn today!


    August 2, 2017

    Defining, Understanding, and Applying Proper Subcooling

    Beginning technicians often have difficulty understanding and calculating subcooling

    July 10, 2017


    “A lot of technicians often ask, ‘What should my subcooling be?’ as opposed to fully understanding what it even is,” said Bryan Orr, cofounder and vice president of service, Kalos Services Inc., Clermont, Florida, and founder of “The actual range of required subcooling is not that great, so it’s not a super difficult question to answer in a simplistic form, but the actual understanding of what it is and how it functions is more in-depth.”

    Orr has written several articles on discussing the whole range of subcooling and specifically defining exactly what it means.

    “There are a few things beginning techs should know, and the first is what it is,” he explained. “Subcooling tells you that you have a full line of liquid refrigerant in the liquid line. A lot of new techs, especially if they haven’t been exposed to refrigeration or a refrigerant sight glass, don’t really understand. A refrigerant sight glass is essentially doing the same thing we’re doing when we’re measuring subcooling, which is first and foremost proving the liquid line is 100 percent full of liquid. Additionally, a lot of technicians have this belief that subcooling is only useful when you’re working with electronic expansion valves (EEVs) or thermostatic expansion valves (TXVs), and that’s just not true. Subcooling is an important measurement to take on any type of metering device in a comfort cooling system.

    “A lot of techs also misunderstand that you are adding to the system efficiency with additional degrees of subcooling because the refrigerant is actually further cooled below its condensing temperature, which means it requires less energy to then flash boil it and evaporate it in the evaporator,” Orr continued. “A lot of technicians miss that even small changes in subcooling can have a significant impact on system capacity and efficiency. And, finally, new technicians also miss the relationship between outdoor air conditions and subcooling. A lot of newer techs don’t understand the relationship between outdoor temperature and condenser load. They think that as the air gets hotter or as the condenser coils become blocked, that that’s going to decrease the subcooling, when, in fact, it doesn’t. In some cases, it even increases it.”

    John Tomczyk, author and professor emeritus, Ferris State University, Big Rapids, Michigan, explained subcooling as the difference between the measured liquid temperature and the liquid saturation temperature at a given pressure. So, any sensible heat taken away from the 100 percent saturated liquid point in the condenser can be defined as liquid subcooling.

    “You subcool liquid because you don’t want it to get to the metering device without being subcooled; otherwise you’ll have premature flash gas,” Tomczyk said. “If you start flashing in the liquid line, you’re losing refrigeration effect, which takes away from the efficiency of the system.”

    Tomczyk called subcooling a tricky topic for beginning technicians.

    “A lot of people think it’s an amount, but it’s a measured amount,” he said. “You have to measure two different temperatures. Take the condensing temperature and the condenser outlet temperature, and the difference between the two is the amount of subcooling.

    “Let’s say the condensing temperature is 100°F. Put a thermistor on the condenser outlet, and let’s say that’s 90°,” continued Tomczyk. “So, you have 10° of subcooling. Technicians get confused thinking that just because there is 10° of subcooling, it means there is a certain amount of liquid in there. That is not true. It just means the liquid is cooled 10°.

    “For instance, if you put that condenser in a really cold ambient outside, you can have 1 inch of liquid to give you 10° of subcooling, because it’s cooling really fast,” Tomczyk continued. “But sometimes, you can have a foot backed up in the condenser with only 10° of subcooling. It’s not an amount of liquid; it’s how fast the liquid is cooling.”

    Additionally, Tomczyk said subcooling and superheat are two things you always have to check if you think there is a refrigeration system problem.

    According to Joe Marchese, author, instructor, and former HVACR contractor, the three things beginning techs should know about subcooling are how to measure it, why you measure it, and the acceptable values.

    “All of these will allow a technician to properly diagnose a system problem and/or may be required to properly charge a system with refrigerant,” he said. “Techs should be measuring subcooling when they are adding refrigerant to a system with a TXV-style metering device and anytime they are diagnosing an issue with the mechanical refrigeration system.”


    There are a number of things that can cause high or low subcooling, Orr noted.

    “Techs see a system with the correct subcooling, but they don’t realize it is correct only because someone corrected for subcooling without consideration of the other factors of the system, which can be confusing,” he explained. “An example would be if you have a TXV slamming down or a piston that is too small or restricted. Somebody sees a high subcooling, so they start to remove some refrigerant to get to a proper subcooling. But, now you have two problems: a metering device that’s restricted and a system that is low on charge because somebody compensated for it.”

    Another common mistake made in the field is assuming subcooling is always one number.

    “You shouldn’t always assume it’s always 10° subcooling,” Orr said. “What’s tricky about that is that I’ve said things like that. In a previous article, I wrote, generally speaking, 10°-12° of subcooling at the outlet of the condenser coil is most common. It’s something we say all the time because, generally speaking, that is the truth. But you only go back to rules of thumb when you have no access to manufacturer literature, which does happen from time to time. You really want to make sure you’re following what the manufacturers have to say.”

    Bill Johnson, author and former HVACR instructor and contractor, said a few common mistakes techs make in the field include charging the system at other than design conditions and using poor instrumentation.

    “When in doubt, consult a well-illustrated textbook or technical bulletin,” Johnson said.

    “Other common mistakes include not measuring the refrigerant pressure at the location when the subcooling calculation is required, simple math errors, using the wrong column of a PT chart, and trying to calculate the subcooling when the liquid line pressure rapidly changes,” Marchese added.


    The best thing a tech can do while out in the field is always know what the manufacturer says about a particular piece of equipment,” Orr noted.

    “There can be some pretty decent variance on systems,” he said. “You’ll see some systems that require 8° of subcooling while others go up to 16° or more in some cases. And that’s just generally what I’m used to seeing. It does make a significant difference, so if a system is designed to have a 12° subcooling, then set a 12° subcooling — don’t set it at 6°. The first best practice would be not to make this stuff up. Look at what the manufacturers have to say about subcooling.

    “The second thing would be to measure subcooling on every system, not just selectively,” he continued. “A caveat worth adding is in certain types of large refrigeration where headmaster controls are being used, measuring subcooling becomes a little more difficult. You have to measure subcooling on every system, whenever possible, knowing there are some exceptions where it is not practical. And lastly, never use only one reading to charge a system. A lot of technicians have the sense, and I’m using air quotes here, that you can charge by subcooling. You use subcooling as one of your primary metrics for charging on an expansion valve system, but you have to take it in conjunction with system airflow, superheat, design, suction pressure, head pressure, and all of those other things that have to be taken into account when you’re factoring in subcooling, because you could set a subcool on a system with massive problems. Just because you hit that subcooling target doesn’t mean you have a properly functioning system.”

    Johnson advised that subcooling should typically be between 10°-20°.

    “One best practice includes letting the unit run long enough for it to stabilize, maybe 30 minutes,” he said. “A measure of the subcooling can give you an indication of the correct condenser charge. The correct subcooling in the condenser can improve unit performance by 10-15 percent. Charging a unit to the correct subcooling level takes time; and the larger the unit, the more savings the customer receives. Ensure the charge is accomplished at design operating conditions, which is usually 95°F condenser air for an air-cooled unit. This may be accomplished in mild weather by blocking the condenser until the design head pressure is accomplished. Different conditions pertain to water-cooled equipment.”

    According to Marchese, one best practice is to measure the liquid line pressure, convert that pressure to its equivalent saturation temperature, and measure the liquid line temperature. The difference between the two is the subcooling value.

    “It is best to measure the pressure and temperature at the location where the subcooling measurement is required,” he said. “Measuring the pressure at a different location can lead to an inaccurate subcooling calculation. If there is a pressure difference between the measure location and where the subcooling is to be measured, your subcooling calculation will be off.”

    The first rule, though, is to always follow manufacturers’ guidelines, Marchese said.

    Publication date: 7/10/2017

    Want more HVAC industry news and information? Join The NEWS on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn today!


    June 30, 2017

    Reaching the Outer Limits of Efficiency

    High-end HVAC cooling equipment pushes the SEER envelope

    TruComfort variable-speed air conditioning systems

    TRUE COMFORT: Trane’s TruComfort variable-speed air conditioning systems offer efficiencies of 22 SEER and run at the exact speed needed to keep a home comfortable.

    HIGH SEER: York’s new Affinity YXV variable-capacity air conditioner reaches an energy efficiency rating up to 20 SEER.

    INCREASED EFFICIENCY: When launched later this year, Midea’s Quattro, a Premier Series product, will improve upon energy efficiency by another 8-10 percent.

    SET LIMITS: Energy efficiency is limited by compressor technology, so cooling equipment may only see incremental improvements until a different compression technology is developed. Photo Courtesy of WaterFurnace INTL. INC.


    June 26, 2017

    Joanna R. Turpin

    KEYWORDS air conditioners /ductless systems / energy conservation / geothermal heat pumps



    No Comments

    Energy efficiency ratings (SEER/EER) of air conditioners and heat pumps keep rising, thanks to new technologies such as electronically commutated motors (ECMs), inverter-driven compressors, and advanced heat exchangers. These technologies have helped boost high-end cooling equipment ratings to the mid-20-SEER range, which was unthinkable just a few years ago.

    So how much higher can SEER/EER ratings go? Using today’s technology, manufacturers think there is still some room to grow in all types of cooling equipment. And as technologies continue to evolve, it is likely there will be even greater efficiency gains made in cooling systems.


    The heart of any cooling system, whether it be an air conditioner, heat pump, rooftop unit, or geothermal system, is its compressor. While not solely responsible for a system’s efficiency ratings — as motors, heat exchangers, refrigerants, etc., also contribute significantly — it does play a very big part. For example, high-efficiency compressors, such as Emerson’s second-generation Copeland Scroll™ variable-speed compressor, can help system manufacturers achieve SEER ratings of more than 25.

    “Emerson’s compressor efficiency has continued to increase over the past 30 years since the launch of the Copeland Scroll,” said Joe Linsenmeyer, marketing director of air conditioning, Emerson Commercial and Residential Solutions. “Using our compressors, several OEMs have introduced systems reaching 20-plus SEER over the last several years.”

    A combination of technologies, including an AC inverter-driven variable-capacity compressor, high-efficiency ECM, optimized heat exchanger, and electronic expansion valve, helps York’s new Affinity™ YXV variable-capacity air conditioner reach an energy-efficiency rating up to 20 SEER.

    “The whole system with our new advanced proprietary control including optimized algorithms makes a move forward to that next step or level in system efficiency,” said Ken Ely, product manager, Johnson Controls Inc.

    There is still plenty of runway, though, as Ely predicts that cooling systems using current technologies may reach into the high 20-SEER range.

    “It will not be one technology but a combination of technologies used in conjunction with an understanding of the changing test requirements and the impact on system ratings. I speak in systems, because at these levels, it is no longer an outdoor unit matched with various indoor unit suppliers and third-party thermostats. It is an engineered communicating system where all systems must communicate and speak the same language to reach these aggressive efficiency numbers.”

    As an engineered system, reaching the next level of energy efficiency will not be the result of a magic bullet, said Ely.

    “Instead, it will be small, incremental changes in multiple components and, more importantly, integrated system technologies that will take this industry to the next level. For system performance beyond that next level, new technology in heat transfer, motors, compressors, refrigerants, and controls will most likely be needed.”

    Trane is focused on breaking through to that next level of efficiency, which is why the company is investing in research that is focused on developing new compressors, inverters, heat exchangers, motors, and airflow devices that will enable next-generation efficiency levels using the typical vapor compression system.

    “We continue to be very active in helping identify and evaluate next-generation refrigerants that not only improve system efficiency but also reduce the environmental impact,” said Matt Barga, director of product management, Trane. “We are also investing in research and development for breakthrough technologies that might someday change the theoretical limit of efficiency that we are able to create today.”

    While those breakthrough technologies may be a few years away, Trane still offers a number of highly efficient cooling products today, including TruComfort™ variable-speed air conditioning systems.

    “TruComfort systems offer efficiencies of 22 SEER and provide precise comfort by running at the exact speed needed to keep a home comfortable,” said Barga. “This allows the variable-speed compressor, outdoor fan, and indoor fan to vary operating speed and Btu as the temperature outside changes, slowing down or speeding up gradually in as little as 1/10 of 1 percent increments to keep comfort within 0.5°F of the thermostat setting.”

    Ductless systems are also making great strides in terms of energy efficiency, with many products now boasting mid-20-SEER ratings. One example is Midea’s Premier Hyper Series High Wall system, which has a SEER rating of 24.7 (14 EER).

    “This series optimizes energy usage, while at the same time providing 100 percent heating capacities at an outdoor ambient temperature as low as 5°,” said Bruce Hazen, HVAC sales director, Midea. “As a result of its heightened, all-season performance and widened applications, users can experience lower electric and utility bills while still maintaining exceptional comfort.”

    An even higher efficiency ductless system will launch later this year, when Midea releases the Quattro, a Premier Series product that will improve upon energy efficiency by another 8-10 percent.

    “The Premier Quattro will have step-less inverter technology, which can gear down the inverter speed on demand,” said Hazen. “In addition, built-in Wi-Fi capabilities will provide the ultimate in comfort and convenience while also maximizing efficiency, as consumers have control of their environment at their fingertips while home or away.”


    Geothermal heat pumps are already highly efficient, with EER ratings well into the 40s, but improvements can still be made.

    “We don’t believe efficiency improvements have reached a limit yet,” said Naveen Halbhavi, director of marketing, ClimateMaster Inc. “Right now, a geothermal heat pump operating on an open well loop with existing technology can achieve 53 EER/5.9 COP with favorable water temperatures.”

    ClimateMaster’s most efficient geothermal heat pump is currently the Trilogy QE Series, which operates at 24 EER/3.6 COP at full load and a 45 EER/5.1 COP during part-load conditions. The equipment utilizes technologies, such as microchannel heat exchangers and variable-speed blowers, pumps, and compressors, in order to reach its high-efficiency ratings. In addition, the system recovers energy and uses it to provide hot water, which reduces the user’s overall power consumption even further.

    For now, ClimateMaster believes the best opportunity for increasing efficiency lies in using high-efficiency motors and compressors.

    “We think there is another 10-15 years before geothermal reaches the limits of efficiency improvements,” said Halbhavi. “Going forward, we are continuously exploring ways to enhance efficiency either by new refrigeration cycles or thermal engineering.”

    Energy efficiency is currently limited by compressor technology, said Robert R. Brown, vice president of engineering, WaterFurnace Intl. Inc., which is why cooling equipment will probably only see incremental improvements until a different compression technology is developed. “Using variable-speed inverter drives can yield higher efficiencies. In addition, heat exchanger optimization, as well as some of the new refrigerants, might improve efficiency a little bit, but we are largely at the limits with variable speed.”

    There are some other technologies that can improve performance at differing conditions, said Brown.

    “For example, in water heating and other higher ‘lift’ applications, vapor injection provides benefits of higher capacity and efficiency but adds a third heat exchanger, second expansion device, and some added cost and complexity,” he said. “As it gets applied to variable speed, the technology will provide a slight efficiency and capacity boost, as well.”

    As can be seen here, improving the energy efficiency of cooling equipment is a continuing concern for manufacturers, with most devoting a lot of time and resources to developing the next generation of energy-efficient equipment. When any of these innovative technologies will be ready for market is anyone’s guess, but until then, chances are good that cooling system efficiencies will still continue to increase.

    Publication date: 6/26/2017


    June 1, 2017

    Making a Splash with Summer Marketing

    Contractors aim to increase summer business and community visibility

    summer marketing plans

    THE HEAT IS ON: While the summer tends to be a busy time for HVAC contractors, many business owners find value in summer marketing plans that include community involvement via parades, sports sponsorships, media partnerships, and more.

    SPORTS SPONSORSHIPS: CroppMetcalfe, Fairfax, Virginia, has partnered with several professional sports teams in the area and is also heavily involved with local youth athletics.

    VERY VISIBLE: “The chances of someone booking a service call at a game because they saw our billboard at Nationals Park behind Bryce Harper are pretty slim; however, the more they see our logo, the more familiar they are with us when they do have a service need,” said Eric Tessel, brand manager, CroppMetcalfe, Fairfax, Virginia.

    UP TO THE CHALLENGE: Moon Air in Elkton, Maryland, built a float for the local special needs Challenger baseball league’s opening day festivities.


    May 29, 2017

    Samantha Sine


    Sweet, sweet summertime. The heat is in full swing and so are the HVACR trucks and vans. Now’s a good time to spread the word about your company, but what’s the best way to accomplish that?

    Seasonal marketing offers up an opportunity to increase visibility throughout the community via promotions, sponsorships, special deals, and more. We asked a number of residential and commercial HVACR contractors how they were planning on marketing their businesses during the summer of 2017. Their answers ran the gamut of possibilities.


    Consumers are much more apt to invest in large purchases, such as new air conditioners, when they feel they’re receiving a great deal. That’s why many residential contractors offer exclusive sales and promotions during the summer. These offers help get contractors in the door and tend to increase the likelihood of a sale.

    Additionally, exclusive summer promotions and deals boost company visibility when community members are most active.

    According to Vimala Ingram, communications director, American Residential Services (ARS), headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee, summertime allows the company to offer deals that remind customers to service their a/c units to ensure they are running properly throughout the hot season.

    “The ARS network often runs HVAC tuneup offers well into the summer because most customers delay scheduling tuneups until the first heat wave hits,” said Ingram. “However, if the systems haven’t been maintained properly, or if they are older than 10 years, often a repair or replacement is needed, not just a tuneup. Therefore, we also run certain amounts off of repair offers because our customers like the flexibility of having a versatile discount that can be used for a variety of HVAC issues.”

    Summer promotions may make a desirable service more affordable, which helps to attract customers willing to purchase solely on price.

    “We offer a lower diagnostic rate or a cost-savings service call coupon during the summer peak months,” said Eric Tessel, brand manager, CroppMetcalfe, Fairfax, Virginia. “We feel this approach works because once we have technicians in homes, they are able to build a rapport with customers, which helps build trust in our technicians, their recommendations, and the company overall.”

    Technicians tend to be quite busy in the peak summer months as they are dispatched to an ongoing stream of service calls. Despite the full schedule, some contractors tend to push their limits in hopes of growing the company when the going is good.

    “We’re focused on growth this summer,” said Steve Moon, president, Moon Air Inc., Elkton, Maryland. “Right now, we are waiving the response fee for a customer if they complete a repair. This has been a big hit for us, and people seem to be receptive to this idea. Also, we’re offering ‘Saturday Service Same Price.’ We have limited appointments in the summer, but customers can book a Saturday service for no overtime charge.

    “Also, we created something called ‘Moon Money,’” he continued. “It’s like Kohl’s cash. You get 5 percent Moon Money back for each purchase you make. We just had a customer purchase a two-year service contract with a stack of Moon Money.”

    While summer is a time when technicians tend to shine, raking in tons of service opportunities, some companies, such as CroppMetcalfe, spend the summer months focusing on its other departments.

    “While the summer months keep our HVAC technicians busy, sometimes other departments need more attention,” Tessel said. “Last year, we partnered with the White House Historical Association for a ‘Christmas in July’ promotion. If a customer purchased one of the qualifying products or services, they received a 2016 White House Christmas ornament for free. These ornaments are very popular in our area, and the campaign was quite a success. We plan on doing something similar this year, as well.”


    Every company is different. Some go all out when it comes to summer advertising while others hold back because they can’t meet the existing demand.

    Regardless, most owners will continue to market their companies to some degree in June, July, and August, but where exactly is the focus? Many contractors target online advertising, because it is malleable and easy to change.

    Online pay-per-click is a major driver of our summer leads,” Ingram said. “If online is paired with some broadcast media, it makes for a very successful integrated marketing campaign. It’s important to have multiple touch points throughout the customer journey. Online advertising can be adjusted in real time while direct mail requires a longer lead time and becomes a sunk cost after it’s printed and distributed,” said Ingram.

    Moon recognizes that his customer demographic doesn’t have a huge online presence; therefore, this summer, he’s investing in other media and expects a sizable return on investment.

    “I believe TV and radio are going to be big hits for us this summer,” he said. “We’ve made a big investment there and are stepping up our game. I don’t receive or look for services off of Facebook and neither do my customers — they’re older people, like me. So, my advice is to identify your customers and communicate to them on the platforms they use.”

    Some HVAC companies tend to scale back on advertising during the summer because there isn’t a need to do so. It’s hot, people need air conditioning, and technicians are booked as a result.

    “There are times during the summer peak months where we actually turn off advertising because we are simply too busy,” Tessel said. “So, the majority of our summer advertising is aimed at the types of marketing we can easily shut off and turn on based on availability.”

    Ingram identified June and July as peak season for ARS’s HVAC service centers.

    “We get a majority of our calls organically based on need,” she said. “However, it’s important to not be complacent with summer marketing spending because other HVAC providers are competing for their share of business, too. It’s also important we stay nimble with spending in case our service centers face staffing issues and don’t have enough people to handle leads. That is why we may cut back on direct mail expenditures and tweak online paid search advertising, as needed.”

    In contrast, ColonialWebb, a Comfort Systems USA company and commercial (B2B) mechanical contractor, focuses its summer advertising budget on recruiting rather than promotions or sales.

    “We are strategizing the best way to recruit new talent to our industry,” said Wendy Pike, sales and marketing development, ColonialWebb. “Whether it be social media, internal advertising, or having a strong presence at local schools and colleges, a large part of our target marketing budget this summer will be on recruiting.”


    Summertime is a busy time for young families. Little league games dominate parks, parades stomp through the streets, and communities are connecting via various social events.

    Many HVAC companies have identified these events as marketing goldmines and pledge their marketing monies accordingly.

    For Moon Air, the summer season is packed full of opportunities to give back while gaining community awareness.

    “We do a lot of different support marketing,” Moon said. “We built a float for the local special needs Challenger baseball league’s opening day festivities. This program pairs special needs children with mentors who help teach them the game of baseball. Because of their disabilities, the team had historically been unable to march with everyone else. So, we had them make signs, and we all put together a float for the team to ride on.”

    In addition, Moon Air supports many other community organizations and institutions, such as the Union Hospital Breast Health Center in Elkton, Maryland. Each summer, Moon participates in the Pink Ribbon Race, a grand prix race throughout downtown Elkton. All the proceeds are donated to the hospital’s new cancer center.

    Many local children have grown fond of Moon Air’s mascot, the Moonman. Moon’s daughter often dresses up in the costume and, along with a “circus of inflatables,” visits children’s birthday parties.

    “If someone calls, the Moonman arrives,” Moon said. “And the Moonman comes complete with a ground crew that hands out presents and special gifts to the birthday boy or girl. Kids enjoy taking pictures with the Moonman, and while the party is still going on, we quickly develop these photos at our office and return to give them to the kids to take home in a magnetic frame with a coupon to put on their fridges. We also hand out temporary Moonman tattoos, which are a hot commodity. At every event we do, people are begging for the Moonman tattoos.”

    In lieu of his previous success, Moon is determined to accelerate his marketing even further this summer.

    “We’re expanding our budget by 200 percent this summer,” Moon said. “When the fish are biting, why pull in your hooks?”

    Summer parades are a summertime tradition and favorite for community members and service companies.

    “A few of our service centers have participated in parades throughout the summer,” Ingram said. “Parades, especially around the Fourth of July, are something many of our employees enjoy and like to be involved in.”

    Moon likes to take the opportunity to get involved in many different parades. If he’s not sponsoring a little league float, he’s decorating a vehicle to ride in the parade, complete with the Moonman, of course.

    “During the Fourth of July, we outfitted a convertible PT Cruiser and wrapped it up like the Moonman’s rocket, and the Moonman rode in the back. We roll out the Moonman’s rocket all the time and are  able to use it for all different parades such as Christmas or Halloween, too.”


    Many companies have found success expanding their brand awareness by sponsoring a summer sports team.

    For CroppMetcalfe, giving back to the community by getting involved with local sports teams is a huge part of its summer marketing initiative and overall success as a company.

    “We’ve partnered with several professional sports teams in the area, and we are also heavily involved with local youth athletics, as well,” Tessel said. “In our area, sports transcend demographics, as everyone has a favorite team and/or a child involved in athletics.

    “The main summer team we sponsor would probably be the Washington Nationals,” Tessel continued. “We’ve been with them for about six years total, and while our marketing program includes stadium signage and digital media, the most valuable perk may be the large ticket bank we get to use throughout the year. We use the tickets to reward coworkers, as giveaways for customers, and for other promotions during the year.

    “The chances of someone booking a service call at a game because they saw our billboard at Nationals Park behind Bryce Harper are pretty slim; however, the more they see our logo, the more familiar they are with us when they do have a service need,” Tessel continued. “We try to be as involved as we can to give back to the community that has contributed so much to the success of CroppMetcalfe.”

    American Residential Services Columbia in South Carolina believes sports team sponsorships are part of the company’s core values. They have found the sponsorship to be a great way to remind hot baseball fans about air conditioners when they advertise with the Columbia Fireflies baseball team.

    “Sports sponsorships encapsulate one of our three pillars for community outreach,” said Ingram. “One example is our sponsorship of the Columbia Fireflies. Due to the team’s association with Tim Tebow, who is also a celebrity endorser of ARS’s corporate headquarters, ARS Columbia partnered up to fund the sponsorship. Sports, in general, have a universal appeal. It’s smart to associate the local ARS service center with a local team or organization that has a loyal fan following.

    “Particularly in the summer, outdoor sports, like baseball, provide great opportunities to remind fans and prospective customers about staying cool because the warm weather is already on everyone’s minds,” Ingram continued. “Our ARS service centers also find creative ways to engage fans by handing out fans with our branding and contact information or setting up ‘cool zones’ where fans can cool off under misters on hot days.”

    In addition, ARS utilizes its mascot, “Dandy,” who Ingram said represents ARS’s team of front-line superheroes.

    “We have a Dandy suit that some our employees will wear at local community events,” Ingram said. “It gets attention and always brings a smile to people’s faces. We also have Dandy dolls that we hand out to children at community events.”

    Whether you’re zipping into your company mascot suit for the local Fourth of July parade or offering up an irresistible summer promotion, you may want to consider all the various marketing prospects available before the sun sets and October arrives. This summer is sure to be a busy one, and opportunities to advertise your HVAC services are around every corner.

    Publication date: 5/29/2017


    October 31, 2016

    HVAC Contractors Report Sizzling Summer Sales

    Summer of 2016 was one of the best ever


    Most HVAC contractors head into summer hoping for endless days of hot and steamy weather that ultimately encourages customers to buy new cooling systems. Mother Nature certainly came through this year, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration(NOAA), which noted that above-average temperatures spanned the nation from June to August with every state across the contiguous U.S. reporting above-average temperatures.

    The hot weather, combined with an improving economy, proved to be a boon for contractors, many of whom saw sales of cooling equipment spike this summer. As Theo Etzel, CEO ofConditioned Air Company of Naples LLC in Naples, Florida, noted, “Our sales have well exceeded our estimates this season. We consider this to be a homerun summer season in spite of wetter-than-normal weather for the west coast of Florida.”


    When asked in July about how summer sales were faring, Etzel was cautiously optimistic that the season would be a good one. “Year-to-date, our equipment sales have been stronger than expected and are staying very steady through the summer, which is quite an accomplishment given the mild weather. We’ve also experienced a reduction in the number of Canadian second-home buyers and part-time residents due to the devaluation of the loonie versus the dollar. Our outlook remains very bullish on the market for the remainder of the year.”

    Butch Welsch, president of Welsch Heating and Cooling Co. in St. Louis, was also cautiously optimistic midsummer, noting that June and the first half of July were very good in terms of cooling equipment sales. “Unfortunately, April and May were extremely mild, and, as a result, our replacement business got off to a very slow start. We had budgeted an overall increase of 7.5 percent in that department for the year, and, at the end of July, we have very nearly reached that budget number.

    “Our service department has been a real bright spot for us,” continued Welsch. “We set a new record for the number of service calls made in any one month as well as record sales.”

    Cooler, wetter weather in April and May also led to a slower start for Total Air and Heat Co. in Plano, Texas, but by early summer, sales of cooling equipment began to pick up. “We forecasted a 15-20 percent increase in replacement sales this year, and, by mid-June, we were meeting our goals,” said company president, Steve Lauten. “Going into August, our sales remain strong, and we are meeting expectations. As long as the higher temperatures hold, we should continue to see strong replacement sales.”

    Warmer weather in the Northeast brought Eric Knaak, vice president and general manager ofIsaac Heating and Air Conditioning in Rochester, New York, exceptional results. “Sales are up. While our marketing efforts are partially responsible, the weather has been the biggest driver. The past two summers combined, we had three days that reached 90°F or higher. So far this year, we are at around 10-12 days, and that is making all of the difference in the world.”

    Midsummer cooling equipment sales at Fairview Heating and Air Conditioning in Oakley, California, were up, as well. Company president Robert Conner predicted that sales would be good for the rest of the year, provided they had enough skilled labor. “Being a signatory union contractor, we have a very limited pool to draw workers from. Our union does not train or recruit for the residential aspect of the trade, so I rarely get any workers who can install a furnace or air conditioner. Last year, we didn’t add any workers, and they wonder why we are losing residential work to the non-union contractors.”


    After Labor Day, these contractors checked in again, and most agreed that summer 2016 would go down in the books as a great one. Welsch Heating and Cooling was extremely busy all summer and all the way through August and September, when sales typically drop off. Welsch attributes this surge to a new strategy the company implemented this summer.

    In early July, Welsch asked the service department to start keeping track of all calls in which more than 1 pound of refrigerant was added to a cooling system. During the first week of August, the company sent a personal letter to each of those customers, that let them know if they wanted to change out their air conditioner in August or September, the cost of that refrigerant would be subtracted from the final price. The letter also noted the price of refrigerant is increasing at an alarming rate, which could cost more money down the road.

    As a result, quite a large number of those individuals opted to have their air conditioning systems — often along with their furnaces — replaced in the late summer months. “I think this is why we had a really good summer,” said Welsch. “Based on the continuing number of leads we are getting, we anticipate sales remaining good through at least the first part of fall, as well.”

    Equipment sales were up significantly at Isaac Heating, as well, with an increase in volume of between 25 and 30 percent. Much of that can be attributed to the weather, as well as being well-prepared for the season, said Knaak. “During the 2014 cooling season, our area had one day that reached 90°F or higher and, during the 2015 season, that number doubled to two. This year we reached 90° or higher 29 times. Compared to other years, this summer was the strongest we have ever experienced as an organization.”

    While Isaac Heating had a record number of sales from June to August, Knaak is especially proud that the quality work was performed with little to any decrease in response time. “There were some installations that had to wait a few weeks, but reactive service was never more than two work days, and most work was completed the same day or within 24 hours. I attribute this to a highly functioning team that was well-trained and well-prepared for the season. The only missing piece was maybe another 10-12 experienced service technicians and installers in that mid- to upper level.”

    Lack of labor was also an issue at Fairview Heating, although sales held up well during the summer. “Sales were about the same as last year and would have been up, but we elected not to hire any installers from our union, they were out of work for a reason,” said Conner. “Service calls were up so much this year that we had to turn away customers due to a week-long backlog.”

    Overall, Conner is generally happy with both service and replacement sales this season. “It was a good season that could have been great, but that goes back to not being able to get qualified employees. We changed equipment brands this year and started private labeling the Goodman brand, which I think helped. We also ended up having better closing ratios, sold lots more maintenance agreements, and had some success with extended labor warranties this year.”

    At Conditioned Air, sales exceeded estimates for the season, and the company is well ahead of last year and carrying a lot of momentum into the fall, said Etzel. “I am very happy with the results for our team and applaud them for consistently delivering value to our customers by staying true to our core values and a no-gimmick, no-pressure model.”

    While actual service call numbers were up this year at Conditioned Air, the number of requests for replacement quotes was down. But the increase in closing ratios and better system/IAQ combination packages made up the difference and then some, said Etzel. “We found that customers often chose upper-middle SEER equipment and added more IAQ and duct upgrades into their systems for better comfort. This obviously increased the cost of the overall system, but yielded a better value on customers’ investments.”

    Sales and service calls were both strong at Total Air and Heat this summer, which Lauten attributes to good planning. “The key for us has always been, and will remain, offering maintenance agreements and preseason tuneups. We train our technicians to give customers options based on what best serves their plans. Since Texas is always hot in the summer, and nobody likes to go without cooling, we focus on keeping our customers’ systems maintained and ready for the heavy loads in the summer.”

    To make sure employees are ready for the demands of summer, Lauten makes sure they all receive training during the slower times of the year. “We have a large training budget that goes into effect in January and February, which are usually a little slower for us. Many HVAC contracting owners have the attitude that they won’t spend money on training, because the employee might leave. I’ve always had the attitude of, what if they stay? This industry is evolving at a rate that many can’t keep up with — customers are evolving, the equipment is evolving, and the employees are evolving. We must band together if we want to control the industry we love.”

    Publication date: 10/24/2016

    Want more HVAC industry news and information? Join The NEWS on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn today!

    August 30, 2016

    Marketing Magic: What Most Contractors Do that Drive Their Customers Crazy

    How to avoid the common irritating habits that drive them away

    Adams Hudson


    Ever wonder why the most irritated people always call you? Actually, it could have less to do with you than it does with the kind of contracting business you operate. (Plus, there’s actually good news in the call, which we’ll cover in a moment.)

    Let’s be clear: Contractors receive frantic calls because the caller is typically very hot or very cold. Usually, an untimely breakdown has happened in the caller’s HVAC world, and his or her panic button has been pushed.

    From this point, the service you provide can either soothe or increase these feelings of panic and irritation. A better understanding of common complaints can help you both.


    But, first, more bad news.

    Human nature reveals that a customer whose standard expectation was achieved gives zero word-of-mouth discussion. (Keep this in mind when you’re trying to merely satisfy the customer or only provide service comparable to the average.)

    Those who exceed expectations are generally mentioned four to seven times in 30
    days. (It falls off dramatically after that, which is why you should stay in touch beyond the 30-day mark.) This can create a separate stream of positive referrals.

    Make it easy for you to stay in touch by capturing email addresses and encouraging customers to like your business on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media platforms. But, remember, no one likes to be constantly spammed, and keep the content professional and timely. Very few people are interested in seeing their HVAC contractor’s swimsuit pictures on their newsfeeds.

    Send them follow-ups or reminders through email, and post useful home-care tips, how-to lists, or health reminders on your social sites. Keep your sales pitches to a minimum; these messages should strictly inform and entertain.

    Just imagine the damage that not keeping in touch could silently be causing you every month. Forget imagination: If you fail to follow through with any of the items on this list, it is costing you.


    You’d be wise to know the top reasons customers do not like or recommend contractors to others. Any reduction or elimination of the following can add thousands of dollars, and hundreds of customers, to your company, usually for little or no money.

    Not Scheduling the Appointment Fast Enough — Put yourself in the customers’ shoes. Maybe their living room has recently turned into an igloo and they call only to hear you might get there a week from Tuesday. If you can’t provide quick relief, your customers will find it elsewhere. Sorry, that’s the nature of the business. I realize you may have scheduling issues during a busy season. But, you must educate customers and offer assurance on what you can do to alleviate their problems. (A customer service representative training course can work wonders.) Give a specific time and keep it.

    Powerful Technique: Some contractor clients we work with have gotten great results using “emergency solutions” that lock in the customer. From the earlier example, you’d leave behind a company-logoed space heater, resolving the immediate issue. This buys you time to assess and permanently resolve the issue.

    Not Showing Up on Time or at All — Chances are, you’ve got a customer who left work to sit in his uncomfortable home and wait for you. The longer he waits past the appointment window, the more irritated he gets. And, since techs aren’t often trained in social graces, you’ve got a recipe for a negative relationship from the start. (Note: I didn’t say job, I said relationship, and this is a powerful distinction.) If you don’t show up at all, this (now former) customer will likely be in strangulation mode if he calls again. No matter, his friends and neighbors will get all the updates they can stand. Three options: Keep the appointment, keep them informed, or lose the customer.

    Powerful Technique: The confirmation call. It takes about two minutes to confirm the appointment and/or reschedule, if a tech is running behind. No one expects you to be 100 percent punctual, but this is a dramatic improvement beyond the currently low expectations. If the appointment window will be delayed more than one hour, give the customer the option to reschedule.

    Not Finishing on Time — Your customer perceives that slowness or dawdling is costing him. While this isn’t an issue when you’re offering a flat rate, it still reeks of inefficiency. I recommend abbreviated rapport-building. Get to your work and then get it done. Then, go over the invoice and offer options and upsells to maximize everyone’stime. Customers want the problem solved and, at that moment, are most receptive to avoiding the problem in the future.

    Powerful Technique: Maintenance agreement programs are very attractive if they’re packaged as time and money savers. This is the No. 1 upsell (takes two to six sentences to close) and can guarantee future sales, referrals, faster sales cycles, and better relationships.

    Not Cleaning Up — If you fix the problem, but track mud into the home, you’ve created another problem. Ideally, when you leave, your customer won’t even be able to tell you were there, well, except for the fact that their problem has been solved. Cleaning the equipment and the surrounding work area is an essential part of good service. Besides, telling your customer the importance of keeping the equipment clean is an open door to discussing the importance of regular service and maintenance agreements. (Another opportunity that many waste.)

    Powerful Technique: Consider shoe covers; branded materials; placing the old parts in a plastic bag to show the customer; cleaning the exterior of the unit; and affixing tags, stickers, and an emergency call magnet on the fridge and equipment. Together, all of this creates a nice neatness package.

    All of the above are just as fixable as any HVAC problem. Make your entire staff memorize the following: “Don’t just fix the problem, fix the customer.” This is where most contractors create a poor perception that you can trounce.

    And, finally, there’s one complaint that didn’t make the list, though touches the entire list: Be a professional.

    Sure, you’ve heard that 11,000 times, and let me make it 11,001. Contractors have a very unprofessional image. Everything from your marketing materials to your customer service representative’s greeting and demeanor to your tech’s on-site manners and even follow-up marketing (or complete lack of it) can differentiate you from that perception.

    Remember, your customers are calling you because they’ve got a problem. Your job is to solve that problem, not add to it. Fix the system and the customer in order to become the contractor who gains customers from those who didn’t read this article.

    Publication date: 1/25/2016

    Want more HVAC industry news and information? Join The NEWS on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn today!


    March 21, 2016

    Refrisource: AC Wholesalers

    Refrisource is one of the low-cost AC Wholesalers that can bring you exactly what you need, when you need it in Miami, FL and elsewhere. Need an AC motor? We have it! Need an AC compressor? We have it! We specialize in AC parts to make sure that you’re up-and-running and not dying in the crazy heat of the South (or elsewhere)! Let’s get working together on fixing that AC! (more…)

    March 21, 2016

    HVAC Supply by Refrisource

    Refrisource provides some of the best HVAC Supply around for all of its customers in Miami, FL and elsewhere. Why is that? It’s low-cost and readily-available, that’s why! Anything you need is provided or can be provided by simply contacting us and telling us which HVAC Supply you truly need. Don’t look elsewhere before messaging us with what you’re looking for first! (more…)

    Verified Authorize.Net Merchant - eBay PowerSeller - PayPal Verfified
    Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Instagram
    Home 10405 NW 37th TERR DORAL, FL 33178 | Telephone 305.406.9758 | Email
    gladly accepted PayPal Logo