Indoor air quality (IAQ) is on the mind of Floridians. "Almost every day, you see something in the papers or on the TV news about mold and other concerns about IAQ," said Tom Haas of Pro Air Conditioning, Port Charlotte, Fla. "With our hot and humid climate, Florida has become one of the states where IAQ is on everyone's mind."

The residential and light commercial HVAC contractor serving Charlotte, DeSoto, and Sarasota counties has found that educating the consumer about the many options available to them has become the most important service. "When you think about it, most folks don't change their air conditioning system more than every 10 to 15 years," said Haas. "Think of all the new products and solutions that come to the market in that span of time."

One example of a product that most people are not very familiar with, Haas said, is fiberglass duct board with moisture-repellent properties. The newest generation "has a tough air stream facing surface that seals in the fiberglass and resists abrasion during fabrication and cleaning," Haas said, "Once they see what is available to them, customers want to replace not only the AC equipment, but also the entire duct system."

About two years ago, Haas said Pro Air Conditioning decided to exclusively supply CertainTeed ToughGuardâ„¢ duct board. The product is composed of resin bonded glass fibers with a foil laminate air barrier/vapor retarder and black mat facing on the air stream surface, Haas said. "The rigid board provides not only thermal properties, but also absorbs unwanted crosstalk, equipment, and air rush noise."

Haas did note that fiberglass board is not a product many consumers are familiar with. "You don't see it advertised in newspapers. That's why we make sure customers know options when they are replacing an existing system or installing one in new construction."

Pro Air Conditioning also deals with high-efficiency air conditioning equipment and UV lighting systems that are part of its IAQ solutions. The 17-year-old company recently reported $5 million in annual sales.

Said Haas, "We moved from being a one-man band back in 1986 to being one of the biggest players in our tri-county area." Haas was a former owner of the company before recently selling it to new owners. He has stayed on as a sales manager. The company is supplied by Victor Distributing Co., based in St. Petersburg and North Port, Fla.

The ToughGard Duct Board is used at the contracting company. "In our fabrication room where we cut duct sections to size for delivery to a site, we found we had a lot of residue in the cutting machine with our previous brand of duct board," said Haas. "Once we switched, we found there was very little residue left."

Plans call for the company to move in the fall of 2003 from a 4,000-square-foot showroom and shop to a 12,000-square-foot facility.

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Publication date: 11/03/2003