In this radio interview with Mike Cross, the owner of Scottsdale Air Heating and Cooling shares some detials about his passion for the industry and entrepreneurship. He also shares some great tips about off-season installations, the hottest new gadgets for your home air conditioning to make your life easier, and what’s changing with the manufacturing of Air Conditioning and Heating Units.
Q: How did you get interested in the Heating & Cooling Arena?
A: Well, for me it was a natural fit. I’ve always had an aptitude for mechanical things and fixing things whether that be with electrical or HVAC. I was also very entrepreneurial ever sense I started with my paper route back when I was 8 years old. So I began as an AC repairman, and I moved on to becoming the owner of this service and repair company.
Q: You’re the 6x winner of the Trane Distinguished Dealer Award. Tell us a little about that. I see you’ve also won many other awards, but tell us a little more about the Trane Awards.
A: Trane categorizes their dealers in small, medium and large and each one of those categories gets one of the distinguished dealer awards. Essentially what that means is they take the dealers in those categories who are representing the Trane products well, who service their customers well, who have a track record of having quality service, pay their bills on time, are good community players and good corporate players in the Trane world. So, over the years we have been able to represent the product well, install it well, service it well and we have been able to get great feedback from our customers. What happens is, Trane uses a 3rd party customer survey group that calls all of our customers, and they’ll ask all of our customers a series of questions. As those scores have come back, Scottsdale Air Heating and Cooling has come back with the highest rated company in the Phoenix area 6 times.
Q: There is also a Multiple Satisfaction Award from Trane that your company has won, right?
A: Yes, that’s the one I’m actually most proud of because with that one, it’s all about the numbers. So when the 3rd party customer satisfaction calls all my customers and they review our services and they come back and they say, “Wow, this company has the highest customer satisfaction scores in Arizona” that’s something to be proud of.
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Q: Off Season Installation, you’ve said Mike, it’s always better to plan. So explain what you need to do to plan for your installation…
A: Well, it goes like this… Everybody knows if they’ve been living in a house for a long time, the general age of the air conditioning equipment, they know the general condition of the equipment. They know if it’s making unusual sounds, they know if it’s cooling the house effectively. They know if their bills are getting high, they know if there is a lot of dust and dirt in the air. You start to think about things and say to yourself, “One day we should think about getting a new Air Conditioner”, well that’s the time when you should really start thinking about it. Seriously, because if you plan to do it and you plan to do it in the off season, you can always negotiate a better price, you can always make sure you take the time to do your research and find the best contractor to do the job for you. You can also take the time to look up all your own stuff… Every proposal you get you can look up online, thanks to the internet, you can go make sure that what you’re about to buy is right for you and your family. So now, you can take the contractors advise but you also have the ability to go and research it yourself and make sure it’s really what you want.
Q: Operating in Phoenix Arizona, I don’t have to tell you it’s an extreme environment for air conditioning.
A: No question. That’s a whole other point about installing during the off-season. Sure of course, we’re still working in June and July. We’re installing air conditioning unit’s everyday. But, a lot of the air conditioners here in phoenix are in the attic and in small crawl spaces, and it’s 150 degrees in that attic. It’s not the safest and is somewhat dangerous, so if we can do it during the off season the installers with any company will have a much better attitude about doing a 100% perfect job every time. When your air conditioning breaks in July, you need a new one tomorrow. So you have no time to do anything.
Q: Tell us about Wi-Fi Thermostats. Are they exactly what they sound like?
A: Yes, that’s the biggest “new thing” that’s exploded. It started maybe 2 years ago but they were crazy expensive. And so today we have anywhere from $99 models you can buy at Home Depot a 3M Wi Fi Thermostat, which I would never recommend, it does work but I would never recommend it or sell it to anybody. The best deals that I’ve see out there is the Honeywell Wi Fi Vision Pro 8000. It can be installed for about $300, it’s a great thermostat… it’s a Honeywell. It gives you the ability to actually control your thermostat from your Smartphone. So it’s especially great for people that have unpredictable schedules, who don’t know when they’re going to come home, people who travel or people who have winter homes. We have a lot of people who live here in Scottsdale during the winter months. So if you’re coming to Scottsdale and you’re getting on the airplane, you set the thermostat on your Smartphone when you’re taking off and when you get to Scottsdale your house is comfortable.
Q: So this is very much a remote device accessible to your home air conditioning system via the Internet.
A: Absolutely, now you do have to have a router at your house.
Q: I want to talk to you about the manufacturing trends. You have your finger on the pulse of what’s coming down the pike working with the manufacturers of these systems. What do you see that’s exciting you as a technical guy in the HVAC business?
A: Well the most exciting thing that’s happening is all the manufacturers, well all the major ones. I’m talking about Carrier, Lennox, and Trane (probably all of them in the near future) they are starting to come out with a variable speed system. Now we’ve had staged equipment for a while, where they have high and low speed. Which is really nice, because you don’t always need 100%. But with these new variable speeds we literally modulate infinitely between 40 and 100 percent. The benefit is, most of the time we don’t need 100%. Like here in Scottsdale Arizona we only need a 100% when it’s 115 degrees at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. The rest of the time we need less. And if our air conditioners are oversized, what will happen is they will come on, then go off, then come on, then go off and we won’t get enough conditioned air through all the rooms to make all the rooms comfortable. So now, with a variable speed units we have the ability to have a system that will actually modulate and slow down, to adjust to the actual cooling mode so it’s always giving a low level of conditioned air to all the rooms, so the rooms never get to hot or too cold, they never get too stuffy in the middle of the night. It stays perfectly comfortable all the time.
Q: Are these variable speed systems relatively expensive vs. the old units?
A: They are going to be roughly the same price as the two stage systems that are out now. It’s really a great thing and very exciting for our industry.
Q: And not only for the comfort, but I would imagine there is also a power consumption piece to this isn’t there?
A: Yes, the efficiency ratios on these units are going to be over 20 Seer.
Q: Now when you say Seer what does that mean?
A: It’s an acronym, what it stands for is Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. It’s an average BTU divided by watt ratio. A BTU is just a unit of heat, the equivalent of a matchstick, and a watt is a watt of electricity. So you divide the units of cooling by the units of electricity and you get a ratio. Its kind of like MPG (miles per gallon) we call them BTU’s per watt or we call that SEER.
If you’re interested in learning more about what ac units are available or what size unit you’ll need for your Scottsdale home give our friendly staff at Scottsdale Air Heating & Cooling a Call 480-359-7141 Today for a no pressure consultation to learn about your options. And remember off-seasons installations get you the best pricing. If you know your unit is over 8-10 years old it’s time to start thinking about a new unit. The Scottsdale Air Heating and Cooling team is here to answer any questions you have, call us 480-359-7141.