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Charlie McDermott:

Welcome to Comfort on Porpoise, sponsored by Dolphin Cooling & Heating, who have been providing 24/7 Comfort on Porpoise since 1998. Well, welcome back to the show as they say in the Dolphin Studios where it truly is Comfort on Porpoise. We have Lauren here. Lauren, how are you doing?

Lauren Willeford:

Good. How are you today, Charlie?

Charlie McDermott:

I’m doing terrific. And for those listening for the first time, they’re going, who’s Lauren? Who’s Charlie? I’m Charlie. I’m the producer/co-host, and we have Lauren who kind of runs the show there. And that’s always important, especially when it comes to air conditioning. You want to work with someone who can run the show and, and train great folks and, and get them there when you need them. So it’s kind of nice weather time. Are you catching your breath? It’s for our listeners, it’s early December. We’ve had some cool evenings. What’s going on there?

Lauren Willeford:

Yes, we’re catching our breath a little bit, as you can probably imagine. It’s been very crazy since September 28th when we had Hurricane Ian roll on through Southwest Florida and leave a wake of destruction behind. We actually started promo because so many people were impacted between people’s homes, flooding, people losing their homes entirely, sustaining damage. We’re still running our promo, it’s called a hurricane AC checkup. Normally it’s $99 if you call us and we send a checkout to try and diagnose your system, find out what’s going on. So we’re offering this hurricane AC checkup to everybody who’s impacted, it’s $69. Technician will come out, go through the system, check it over, assess if it did sustain any damage, what it is, what it would be to repair it, or if you know everything is okay and you got really lucky and you weren’t impacted by it.

So we still have that running. And we are also taking on more customers up in the Fort Myers area, which was hit even harder than us here down in Naples. Because we know there are so many people up there, and even though there are a lot of AC companies, each company can only do so much. We definitely want to help out. We’ve been through it ourselves. Some of us here had some damage. My mother-in-law lost her home. So, we’re right there with them. We know it’s been a rough couple of months as we’ve tried to put ourselves back together. I know you understand that as well.

Charlie McDermott:

Oh, yeah. Oh yeah. Yeah. So in our case it’s obvious. We had two units, as you well know, you guys did a wonderful job. Barb and I were just talking last week about  how great our units ran and we lived there for seven years. You know our story, I think we covered it in previous episodes.

We went through all kinds of different folks who didn’t have the answer. You find out the hard way one night and two in the morning, it’s like 85 degrees in your bedroom. You’re like, ah, what’s going on here? And man, you had those units, like fine tuned and, and we could depend on them, but of course we lost both of those along with the house. 

So, that’s the obvious. I mean, duh, you know we’re gonna need AC units at some point when we rebuild, but then you have maybe the not so obvious. We had water, don’t know how much it got into the unit.  I’m guessing that’s the perfect individual that should get someone to take a look, huh?

Lauren Willeford:

Yes. If they don’t know how much water got into the unit, if it was affected, if it was hit by any debris that might have been traveling in the water or blown off a building nearby. So we have gone out, we’ve looked at different units. Some were fully submerged, and oftentimes in those cases they do need to be replaced just because of how much water was in them. Then some, they took on a little bit of water, but we were able to clean them and test everything and  everything was okay. So it really does depend, but it’s certainly worth it to at least get it checked and make sure that there’s nothing going on there that could potentially cause you a problem a little later on at an inopportune time.

Like you just had, at two in the morning when your house is 85 degrees, or we’ve got the holidays coming up, right. There’s nothing worse than the day before you’re expecting company, or when the company gets there, the AC goes out and you’re like, oh no! Oh, this is the worst timing. So I wanted to mention that cause we were still running that promo. 

Department of Energy Update

Lauren Willeford:

The big thing that I wanted to share with our listeners is, and I don’t know how many people know this, the Department of Energy changed how systems are rated for efficiency. So right now, people hear the term SEER, okay? It’s the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating. So they’re changing that. And the way they’re changing it is how they test the systems to get these ratings.

So right now, the way they were testing was with duct work. That’s what the air moves through to get through your house. That had a 0.1 inches of water column, which really is not realistic. Point five inches of water column is typically like a standard. So they’ve changed it. So the Department of Energy has said, when you test your equipment, now you need to test it based on 0.5 inches of water column or static pressure. And it has to achieve X. And so it’s going from right now, which they call C or C one, it’s changing to C2 and it’s affecting anyone who’s recently either had an AC replaced or had an AC repair, they may have heard from their contractor. Unfortunately, your part is not in stock and it’s back ordered, or unfortunately that equipment is not available, we won’t get it for a month or two, or they’ve discontinued that.

There’s been a lot of that going on, and I know it’s caused a lot of angst. For consumers, it’s been very frustrating. We haven’t been able to get certain things quickly from the manufacturer. There’s been an equipment shortage, a parts shortage and part of that is tied to this change because all the manufacturers (Trane, Reem, Rud, Lennox, Carrier, Bryant, American Standard, Day & Night, Comfort Maker, Goodman, York, you name it), they’re all having to change. 

As of January 1st, and this is a hard date for us, everything that’s on the market now that does not meet the new CO2 rating and with the new CO2 rating, everything I believe has to be rated at a C, it’s either 14.7 or 15.3. I’m going to have to look that up. That’s the minimum. So right now it’s tier 14.Now it would be this. 

So as of January 1st, we can’t install any equipment that doesn’t meet this near new CO2 rating. And so people are probably listening saying, well, you know, why is that important to me? My AC contractor’s going to sell me what I need. And yes, that’s absolutely true. We would not sell you something that doesn’t meet the Department of Energy’s regulations and therefore we can’t sell it and/or install it. But the reason it’s important to you is because if you have an older system right now, as much as I know people don’t love to spend extra money around the holidays, now is a great time to change your AC system and replace it. And to replace it with what’s currently available on the market, which is still going to be a great system. I don’t want people to panic who recently replaced their system and they’re like, “Oh my God, well I don’t have a C2”.

It only has to do with what is sold come January 1st. But with this big change that’s coming, January 1st is also going to be a very big change in pricing. And that’s why I say now is a really good time for people who do have a 10 year old system who’ve recently, or maybe it’s not quite 10 years, but it’s getting there. It’s been eight or nine years and you’ve recently had a major repair, like you replaced your evaporator coil and you had to replace a compressor. Now is really the time to look at getting that new system because as we get into the new year, we have already been informed there are going to be significant price increases. We’ve been steadily getting price increases almost quarterly every year. So at a minimum, we’ve been getting four price increases a year over the last two and a half to three years.

Typically they’d be anywhere between 7-10%. We’re being told by several manufacturers, not just one, but several, that some of these price increases could get up to as much as 50%, five zero of what they presently are. We do also offer financing. Financing can get you a good low monthly payment. We have different financing options depending on what you qualify for. But now would definitely be the time to seriously consider replacing your AC system before we kind of move into this new year with the new equipment and the significant price increases that we are going to see on quite a bit of it. So we like to share that information with customers so you can be educated, you can feel like you know what’s going on, and if now’s not the right time for you, now’s just not the right time for you.

The equipment will be there for you and the financing options will be there for you as well. But if you can, you could definitely save yourself quite a bit of money by investing now versus waiting until the system completely fails or it comes outside of that 10 year manufacturer part warranty, which is why I say 10 years because of the manufacturer part warranty. Your labor’s not covered, your refrigerant is not covered, but the parts, like major parts like evaporator coils and compressors or motors, at least that part is covered, which oftentimes saves the customer hundreds or thousands of dollars on the repair versus if it’s not covered under warranty. And then they’ve got to pay for the part plus all the extras, the labor, the refrigerant, miscellaneous materials, et cetera, et cetera.

So while it’s exciting and people will be more energy efficient, you’ll get more savings probably on your electric bill, which is fantastic. But if you want a little bit more savings for your pocketbook, now might be the time to consider doing that.

Charlie McDermott:

Okay. Wow. So a few things just since you’re, you’re sharing that and, and something that impacts me, but, but I think timing is huge here. And by the way, I mean, we’re talking about Hurricane Ian. We’ve been through Hurricane Irma, God knows what Mother Nature has to store with us or forest down the road.

Lauren Willeford:

Oh God, I hope nothing next year. I don’t want to relive that anytime soon.

Charlie McDermott:

But what you’re doing with the post hurricane inspection is awesome, I think really important. But then when you add what the Department of Energy is doing, now is the time to figure out what’s going on. I guess it’s easy now at the core whether, I mean especially at Christmas time, who wants to write a check for X amount of dollars for anything rather than a Christmas present, so I get that. 

But better to understand what’s going on now and have that conversation, whether it’s with Lauren and, and the team at Dolphin Air or another. Again, I know we have folks over Florida who are listening to this, but the other part that triggered me to take some notes here is, as I mentioned with the hurricane, we’ve lost two units. When it comes to the insurance claims standpoint, if I don’t factor that in now, I might get 50% less times two units when the insurance reimburses me. So that’s really important. So I’m glad you’re getting this message out here because I was not aware of that.

Lauren Willeford:

Yeah. So, we’re hoping that they’re not going to be as high as they say they are, but they’re telling us to prepare us. So the right thing to do is to share it, to prepare everybody else. And you’re absolutely right, Charlie, with you guys with your house, with your insurance, it’s something to consider and it’s something to talk to your insurance adjuster about and try and get it factored in. Because there’s nothing worse after everything that you personally have gone through that then insurance comes back and at the end of the day, it’s not covering as much. It certainly makes it difficult and I know you’re not the only one in that situation. There’s a lot of people out there right now that are dealing with the same things. 

Charlie McDermott:

Well, I really appreciate you sharing that. Always something new with you, this is always informative. Well, hey, until the next episode, you have a wonderful holiday there.

Lauren Willeford:

Thank you. Hope that everyone listening has a great holiday and an awesome new year. Hopefully 2023 is a great year for everybody in southwest Florida.

Charlie McDermott:

Absolutely. See you Lauren.

Lauren Willeford:

Bye Charlie. Thanks!

Charlie McDermott:

Thanks for listening to Comfort on Porpoise. To learn more about our sponsor, Dolphin Cooling & Heating visit www.dolphincooling.com or call 239-596-9044.