It Is All About Air

Ken Dean has a vision, one where his company becomes THE de facto expert in his market in the operation and maintenance of ‘systems.’

‘To do that,’ he says, ‘to view the entire system ‘ both the ducts AND the equipment ‘ my guys need to be trained on the air delivery side. After all, air is the first word in air conditioning. If you can’t move the air through the delivery system, it doesn’t matter what the equipment is. The system just won’t perform.’

National Comfort Institute is a key provider of training for the company. This $1.2 million company fields two service technicians, four installers, and has one person in the office. But he budgets a sizable amount of dollars into training and focuses on combustion analysis and certification.

Customers Understand Comfort, Not Tech Talk

Ken Dean says he talks up the importance of airflow with his customers. He talks to them in terms of what he calls, Comfort Delivery Systems.

He says they seem to get that.

‘It turns on a light bulb for them. They often think in terms of price, not air. This helps them understand why a bigger box won’t make their bonus room more comfortable. This is how we get over the price differential between our services and those of our competition.

The new Dean Heating and Air headquarters should be completed in 2020.
Dean Heating and Cooling has enjoyed steady success over the years and found itself outgrowing the small offices they are currently housed in. They are in the process off building a new headquarters, which is due for completion sometime in 2020.

‘Customers get options,’ Dean continues. ‘We can simply replace equipment, or fix their delivery system, or both. We help them understand the delivery system is often the root cause of their comfort problems.’

Fixing comfort delivery systems can include installing turning vanes, replacing sections of ducts, fixing air leakage issues, correct for turbulence, and more.

‘We get great feedback from this type of work,’ he adds. ‘Customers say rooms that never were comfortable are so comfortable now.’

It’s Not About Flash

Dean Heating isn’t the biggest or flashiest HVAC contractor serving the Athens area. But they talk plainly, they help customers understand the issues, and they deliver. That is the basis for the company’s growth.

Ken explains that their biggest competitor spends a lot of money on publicity and really push super high-efficiency product installations.
‘When customers buy from them, often we find ourselves coming in after the fact to fix comfort issues that bigger, more efficient boxes didn’t address,’ he says.

Could this be a contributor to Dean Heating’s amazing referrals and positive reviews? Ken Dean thinks so. He also says that because the Internet now plays such a huge role in consumer product and service research, his customers are much more savvy than when he first started the business.
‘That plays nicely with our approach to business,’ he says.

Challenges and Successes

The biggest challenges Dean Heating faces are the misconceptions customers have about comfort conditioning. This is not unique to the Athens market as it is an issue we’ve written about for years with examples across the U.S.

In a nutshell: consumers often tie comfort and efficiency into the type of equipment they have. Dean says his customers believe that if they change out an 80 AFUE furnace for a 95 AFUE furnace, they will be more comfortable and more energy-efficient. They think they need to go from a 13 SEER air conditioner to a 17 SEER unit.

‘This means I spend a lot of time explaining about air and air delivery. I have to show them how without the delivery system, it doesn’t matter how efficient the equipment is.’

Dean continues, ‘Many times I can demonstrate it to them using a manometer. I have no problems asking a customer to come to look at something with me. And frankly, I find the digital phone is my best friend. I can take a picture of the manometer on a unit in their attic and show them.
‘And they get it. They can visualize it. For the first time, they can see what no one else can: The vital importance of air.’

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