They also believe in giving their technicians the best possible training. In Narissa's words, "Ongoing training helps the customer, the company, and the employee. It's a win-win-win situation."
The Rampeys make sure all their technicians are North American Technician Excellence (NATE) certified. In fact, Air Assurance is the first contracting company in the country to be 100-percent NATE certified. The company also conducts training classes several times a month for its staff, and personnel are encouraged to browse through the huge training library at any time. A training kiosk has been installed as well, which allows technicians to look up information on the Internet.
It makes sense that the best-trained technicians should install the best equipment available. Air Assurance's comfort consultants give customers the option of good, better, or best equipment, so customers can choose the furnace and/or air conditioner that is right for their particular application or budget.
Air Assurance was first called to the 1,500-square-foot home because the existing furnace wasn't working properly. The Logans had definitely gotten their money's worth out of the equipment, which was installed in the late 1970s.
Now they were looking for something more efficient that would keep them comfortable throughout the year.
"They were looking for a furnace that would be more economical and quieter than what they had. They also wanted a furnace that they wouldn't have to worry about," noted Kliewer.
He sat down with the couple and explained how furnaces work, how to rate their efficiencies, and what that all meant in terms of payback and benefits. He also performed a load calculation, which showed that their existing heating-cooling system was a little undersized.
After getting several options, the couple decided to have the contractor install the new furnace as well as a 3-ton York air conditioning system. "We also sealed up their duct system to make sure it was as economical and as air tight as possible so they weren't losing efficiencies," said Kliewer.
It wasn't difficult to convince the homeowners to purchase the Affinity, Kliewer said, because he took the time to explain all the options. He told the homeowners that their efficiencies would go up dramatically compared to the existing furnace, and that the noise level would be reduced substantially with the high-end furnace.
"Another thing they liked about the Affinity was how it looked. They could see it wasn't just a box, it was an investment. They got really excited when the furnace came out of the box," said Kliewer.
The installers were also pleased with the way that the furnace was configured. "They said the main difference was the control board," stated Kliewer.
"They said it was a little cleaner and easier to operate."
A Better FurnaceThose comments from the field mean a lot to the people at the manufacturer level, who have worked diligently to create a better furnace.
"With ECM technology, more air is circulated for longer periods of time, which reduces air stratification and makes a home more comfortable," stated Andy Fracica, York brand marketing manager.
Mickey Smith, indoor products marketing manager for the York Unitary Products Group, added that consumers like the furnace because it offers more personalized comfort.
"York's exclusive ClimaTraKâ„¢ comfort system enables Affinity installers to customize the comfort performance for each home depending on the specific climate - dry, temperate, or humid - in which a homeowner lives."
The furnaces are available in 80-percent to 94-percent-plus AFUE efficiencies. The 92-percent-plus AFUE model is also Energy StarÂ® qualified. V, T, and S Series units feature a stylish design that incorporates single- or two-stage heat; convertible upflow, horizontal, and downflow configurations; and advanced diagnostics for installation and service.
Kliewer reports that the homeowners are thrilled with their furnace. "I've dropped by their home several times, and they've been really happy with the equipment. Whenever we've gone back to do the quality inspections, they say they've been happy with everything - the installation, the way the product worked, and how quiet the system is."
Sidebar: Getting Involved And Giving BackMike and Narissa Rampey believe in the value of belonging to trade associations, so both are extremely involved in their local chapter of the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA). Mike serves on the board, and they both helped get the Oklahoma City ACCA chapter up and running.
Narissa also serves on the Oklahoma Governor's Council for Workforce, and she is constantly looking for ways to help the trade.
"The only way you're going to make things happen and really affect change with the law is to approach it as an organization," she said. "Also, ACCA gives us better credibility in our trade - better professionalism. If you don't have a trade organization, you're just a bunch of guys. It helps improve our focus."
Publication date: 11/22/2004