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    The Case of the Reluctant Customer

    July 14, 2008
    Sometimes it doesn’t take an exotic system in a high-end, new home to earn recognition from the Quality Home Comfort Award judges. Sometimes all it takes is providing air conditioning to someone who never had it before, and is convinced she doesn’t need it or want it.

    Sometimes it doesn’t take an exotic system in a high-end, new home to earn recognition from the Quality Home Comfort Award judges. Sometimes all it takes is providing air conditioning to someone who never had it before, and is convinced she doesn’t need it or want it.

    That was the case for the team at KEIL Heating and Air Conditioning, Riverdale, NJ, and their homeowner client Mrs. Ken Riva. For many years, Ken Riva had wanted to add air conditioning to the couple’s 2,922 sq.ft. 22-year-old, center hall colonial.

    Mrs. Riva, on the other hand, did not. Mrs. Riva didn’t believe that adding central air conditioning to their home would be worth the investment, nor did she believe she even wanted or needed it. When Mrs. Riva finally gave in to Mr. Riva, she had conditions. And if they couldn’t all be met, she was going to have no part of air conditioning her home.

    Photo shows the KEIL team for this project. Pictured from left to right are Glenn Reger, Bill Speid, president Barbara Keil, and Wade Brink.

    The first condition was that all three levels of the home must be able to be cooled independently of one another, as the family has individual comfort needs. For example, Mrs. Riva wanted to be able to be warmer that her husband. In addition, guests stay in the lower level. The Rivas wanted this level to be independently controlled or turned off when not occupied.

    Mrs. Riva’s second condition was that she didn’t want her life turned upside down while the systems were being installed.

    Enter the team from KEIL Heating and Air Conditioning.

    Two Kinds of Experience
    KEIL Heating and Air Conditioning does 95% of its business in the residential retrofit area, along with service, maintenance and Indoor Air Quality (IAQ). The remaining five percent is light commercial service and maintenance and replacement.

    The husband and wife team of Milton Baum and Barbara Keil were probably the perfect people to make sure this marital air conditioning drama had a happy ending. As principals of the 100-year-old, 24-person company, they brought many years of experience in both marriage and comfort systems.

    “Barbara and I see eye-to-eye on almost all of the decisions we make together while operating KEIL Heating and Air Conditioning,” Baum says. “But there’s one thing we don’t agree on: our offices are about 10 feet apart in location and about 10 degrees apart in temperature. Both Barbara and I agree that one of the wisest choices the Riva’s made was to incorporate an Arzel Zoning system into their overall comfort system.”

    How did Baum and Keil convince the Rivas that they were the right company to work with?

    “The Rivas heard about KEIL from their friends and saw our trucks frequently throughout their neighborhood,” Baum explains. “The Rivas heard good things about KEIL and our reputation for quality work. They were also impressed with our guarantees. We were able to show the Rivas why we selected the equipment we did based on the style of their home, their specific requirements, and their budget. By doing all these things we were able to get their business.”

    Once the Rivas chose KEIL, they stood back and let the company do what it does best.

    KEIL Heating and Air Conditioning selected equipment based on the style of the Riva home, their requirements, and their budget.

    “They trusted our ideas of how to best cool the home using zoning, high velocity, and ductless systems together,” Baum says. “Much of that trust was achieved with our exclusive 100% money back guarantee. It states, ‘If for any reason you are not 100% satisfied with the outcome of our installation, we will remove the system within 24 hours of notification and refund your entire investment, no questions asked.’”

    The team KEIL brought to the project included sales manager Mark Warszawa, who was responsible for coordination of the project; comfort advisor Glen Reger, who was responsible for the design and sale of the project; lead installer Wade Brink; and assistant
    installer William Speid.

    Amenities . . . But No Air Conditioning
    Despite its lack of central air conditioning, the Riva’s home had many amenities, including a partially finished walkout basement and attached two-car garage. With five bedrooms and plenty of open space to move around in, the home is perfect for an active family. It’s situated at the end of a cul-de-sac surrounded by wooded, park-like property. The back of the home opens onto a large patio with an open back yard surrounded by wooded acreage. The home is located in the highlands section of West Milford, NJ, known for large lots and open space.

    The original heating system, which was left in place, is a gas-fired hot water boiler and baseboard system. Unfortunately, the baseboard system meant there was no ductwork in the home. And to try to retrofit a traditional duct system would clearly violate Mrs. Riva’s condition that her house and life not be turned upside down during the installation.

    The systems chosen by KEIL for this home include a high velocity air conditioning system matched to a 13-SEER condenser. This system also features a two-zone zoning system to allow independent control on the first and second floors of the home.

    Zoning provided independent control to each of the home’s primary living areas.

    “By using a high velocity, mini-duct system we were able to snake runs into places a conventional system would not have permitted,” Baum says. “This was the only way to reach all of the rooms in the house without major alterations. By zoning this system we were able to provide independent control to each of the primary living floors.”

    Meanwhile, the walk out basement level is cooled using a 16-SEER ductless system.

    “By installing the ductless system in the finished walk-out basement we were able to provide a totally independent system to a floor that is not used as frequently,” Baum adds. “When guests visit for the weekend they now have total control of their environment.”

    The system was air balanced using individual vent dampers as well as diffusers to eliminate temperature spotting. And short of turning Mrs. Rivas’ world upside down, the entire job was completed in three and one-half days.

    A Customer Won Over

    A 41,800 Btu SpacePak fan coil unit was positioned in the attic.

    Do how does the initially reluctant Mrs. Riva feel about her newly air conditioned home?

    “When we called Mrs. Riva to ask her if we could showcase her home in the Quality Home Comfort Awards, she pointed out to us that she didn’t know how she ever lived without air conditioning before, and never plans to be without it ever again,” Baum says.

    So, while Mrs. Riva may have been a latecomer to the air conditioning game, Milt Baum, Barbara Keil, and the rest of the team at KEIL Heating and Air Conditioning made sure her first experience was a great one.

    Equipment List
    Total Comfort System Investment: $20,000
    • SpacePak 41,800 Btu fan coil unit
    • Goodman 13-SEER condensing unit (private labeled as a KEIL unit), using R-22 refrigerant
    • Arzel Air Boss zoning system with two 9-in. trunk dampers
    • Mitsubishi 16,200 Btu evaporating unit
    • Mitsubishi 16-SEER condensing unit
    • New line sets, condenser pad, electric, ceiling saver kit, supply and return runs, and insulated ductwork were all part of the system