2015 Quality Home Comfort Awards: Comfort Restored for New Owners

July 14, 2015
Comfort matters recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary. Corey Hickmann and his team have become successful by providing comfort solutions in a variety of situations. They never back away.
Challenges awaited Comfort Matters. This 9,000 sq. ft. home had a basketball court and swimming pool, both of which required comfort remedies.
A defining quality of the best residential HVAC contractors, is their ability to respond to and remedy any comfort
problem. Those that have established and run their businesses as firms that are truly “there for you 24/7,” with solutions, become the leaders in their regions. Comfort Matters, Hanover, MN, is one of those companies. Founded in 2005 by Corey Hickmann — one of the HVAC industry’s best younger contractors — Comfort Matters is a leading Minnesota HVAC installation and service provider. The project Hickmann entered for the QHCAs was a biggie, with major special features. This home had gone unoccupied for about a year, and presented a sizable comfort load of 9,600 sq. ft., as well as a basketball court and indoor swimming pool.PRODUCT KEYS TO SUCCESS
• Two Goodman 96% variable-speed furnaces.
• Two Goodman 16 SEER air conditioning units.
• Reznor pool room heater
• Two Dynamic UV air purifiers.
• Honeywell zoning system, with five Honeywell touchscreen controls
• Dryaire humidity control system
• Rheem water heaters
Installation Team:
• Corey Hickmann, president, Comfort Matters
• Nathan Lindstrom, lead comfort system installer
Installed according to performance standards established by ACCA and the National Comfort Institute.
Corey Hickmann: HVAC problem solver. Photo by Terry McIver
The marks of quality installation include proper fittings, with all paperwork in view. Customers always know who to call. Photos by Corey Hickmann.
This home has some stunning features. Now, its comfort is one of them.
Control panels masterfully installed.
This muscular Dryaire unit handles dehumification for the home's swimming pool area.
Among the challenges was cutting away collapsed pvc that was serving the pool room.
The home is actually a getaway retreat. This river runs behind the home.

Just by reading that, other HVAC contractors are thinking, “high ceilings,” “finished wood flooring,” “high humidity’ — all of which provide special needs beyond comfort for a typical home.

Comfort Matters had been servicing the previous owners’  two older comfort units — that were installed years ago by another contractor. Once the home was reoccupied, Hickmann received a call from the new owners, Kaying and Bee Xiong Lor. The time had come to replace all major systems.

One of the two air conditioners was completely inoperative, and another had a sizable refrigeration leak. The home’s upper floor had cooling issues, and it was a challenge to obtain proper comfort in the living room, with its 20-ft. ceiling. The zoning system no longer worked, and the swimming pool room had extreme humidity control issues, caused primarily by melted PVC piping that served the room.

When all was completed, Hickmann and his team had installed seven tons of comfort products: four-tons for the home, and three-tons for the indoor swimming pool, plus dehumidification and zone controls and Rheem water heaters. Hickmann installs Goodman/Amana products, as a private label.

“Working with Goodman/Amana has been very good,” he says. “They’ve been working with us to grow our business. They’re a very supportive company to work with. When we have abnormal circumstances, they
show up.”

The swimming pool room had severe high humidity issues. The Comfort Matters team found that the current system was inoperative. Their first step was to remove the existing pool dehumidfier, which they had to dismantle to remove from the mechanical room. They also removed the old pool heater, which another company replaced later.

The ductwork goes from the mechanical room through the concrete floor deck of the pool room. Extra prep work was required after it was discovered that the two, 12-in. diameter PVC ducts feeding the pool room had melted and collapsed. Air was not reaching that room.

“We didn’t see that coming, at all,” Hickmann says. “We had to crawl inside the duct with a Dremel tool and cut out the old PVC ductwork. Then, we fabricated new galvanized metal ducting connections, to make it match up with the new dehumidifier and heating system.

“We had to bring in the new unit in one piece, and those things are built like Sherman tanks, Hickmann says.
“The Dryaire dehumidification system designed for indoor pools allowed us to properly control the humidity while proving cooling in the warm summer months. We also are providing fresh air to that room with an air exchanger,” Hickmann explains. He also installed a Reznor pool room heater.

This modern, multi-storied home had other variables that came into play.

Hickmann selected a Honeywell zoning system and five Honeywell touchscreen controls for the living areas, sports court and pool room. Honeywell Redlink wireless controls are used, to prevent potential damage to wall controls from a thrown basketball.

“We use quite a bit of Honeywell, being planted here in Honeywell country,” Hickmann says. They have comfortable setup process and good support.”

Indoor Air Quality
For improved indoor air quality, Comfort Matters installed two Dynamic UV air purification units that include a UV-C germicidal lamp, and high efficiency media filters on the furnaces. There’s also an HRV air exchanger to bring in fresh outdoor air.

“There were many variables to this project, and nothing was standard,” Hickmann recalls, “but it went very smooth for us from start to finish, even with the surprises.

“The finished product will drastically lower their operating expenses and provide a much cleaner environment. With our annual maintenance program, we expect they’ll have a very long lasting system.”

Comfort Matters used performance standards established by ACCA, as well as National Comfort Institute methods related to gas setup, combustion setting and airflow testing.

And, surprise! Hickmann found that good work brings more work. After seeing their quality workmanship throughout this project, the Lors hired Comfort Matters to install two furnaces, an air purification system and humidification in their other home. That’s because Comfort Matters knew how to restore this home to clean, efficient, and properly controlled comfort.

Congratulations to Corey Hickmann and team, for taking on a challenge and bringing comfort to thankful customers.