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Hot Weather Preparedness/An Open Letter (Surviving a Heat Wave)
These are two separate emails that I sent to our customers and staff in preparation for what could be a very hot Memorial Day weekend (2019). I'm sharing it here so that you can use parts of it in your business as you see fit. I hate seeing techs get beat up on hot holiday weekends, so hopefully, this helps ease the pain—if even just a little. Stay safe out there!
We Have a HEATWAVE COMING in a Few Days!
I'm not sure if you've taken a look at the weather forecast for Memorial Day weekend, but it is looking like it's going to be BLAZING!
There are a few things to consider that could pose an issue for some of you that you should be aware of:
- If it hits the forecast temperatures, it could be the hottest days we've seen in over a year. Really hot days can reveal issues with air conditioning equipment that don't usually show up.
- These FIRST hot days of the year are coming on a holiday weekend. A/C companies will have limited staff working, and supply houses will be closed.
- In Central Florida, A/C systems are generally designed to maintain 75° inside on a 93°-95° day. When the temperatures get up to near 100°, you may not be able to keep your home below 80° inside. If there is ANYTHING wrong with the A/C, this can be even worse.
Take Action This Week Before The Heat Hits
You are getting this email because, at one point in time, you've done business with Kalos. Rest assured, this email isn't about marketing; if you have another company you work with now, then the same applies to them. In the A/C business, we are used to dealing with a hot “first day of summer,” as well as a hot holiday weekend, but NOT both at the same time. Please read below and consider taking these actions on Monday, 5/20, before the heat hits:
- If you have ANY concern that your A/C may not be working the way it is supposed to, then get a service call to check it out early in the week so that it can be addressed (or given a clean bill of health) before everyone is swamped. We charge ***Redacted*** for a diagnostic service call, which is cheap insurance, and you can either call or text us at ***Redacted*** (or use whomever you prefer). It is too late to schedule a tuneup/cleaning/maintenance for next week unless it is already on the schedule, but you can still get a full checkup, which we call a diagnostic service.
- If you are sure your A/C is working OK, make sure your air filters are all fresh and clean. As the days start to warm up, make sure doors stay closed and that blinds or curtains are closed.
- If the weekend comes and your thermostat starts to rise, and the A/C runs all the time, try to stay calm. Don't call an A/C contractor UNLESS the thermostat rises above 80°. I know it can be frustrating, but this is how systems are designed in Florida because we cannot oversize them due to humidity.
- If you think your A/C is on its last leg and needs replacement, we can get that set up for a free consultation and estimate during the week next week. Keep in mind that the installation schedule will fill up REALLY quickly for the week after Memorial Day.
There are a few other practical things you can do to keep your home cool that DON'T involve the air conditioner at all:
- Replace halogen and incandescent light bulbs with LEDs; they produce less heat. LED recessed can trims can also reduce attic air leakage into the home.
- Don't cook on the stove or oven during really hot days. Hot days = PIZZA!
- Run fans when you are in the room; don't run them when you aren't. Leaving fans running in rooms you aren't using actually INCREASES the temperature of those rooms. Fans cool you via convection and evaporation; they don't decrease the air temperature.
- Get insulation added to your attic. If you call an insulator early this week, they may be able to get it done before the weekend hits. That's a win-win because it helps with your power bill and comfort on hot days.
This next piece of advice is worth the price of the email, so pay close attention. If you get into the heat of the weekend and your thermostat starts to rise, there are two secret HVAC technician life hacks you can use to make things a little better for a short period of time:
- FIRST, go outside and place your hand over the outdoor fan. If you can hear it running and the air blowing out the top feels hotter than the outdoor air, then the compressor is running. If not, then shut the system off, and you will need to schedule a service call.
- Look around at all the pipes going into the unit. If you see any ice, go inside and turn the unit to OFF and the fan to ON at the thermostat. Leave it this way for 8 hrs or so to defrost the unit. If you call out a tech and they show up to a frozen unit, it will result in delays and/or extra charges. Keep in mind that when the unit defrosts, the part inside (the furnace or fan coil) may leak some water, so be prepared with towels around the inside part of the air conditioner. If there was no ice, then go to step 3.
- If the unit is blowing out warm air outside and there is no ice you can see anywhere, and your filter is new and clean, you can use a lawn sprinkler to mist water onto the side of the outdoor part of the air conditioner. Make sure it is low-pressure and that you only do it for a maximum of 6 hrs a day and only for a few days a year during the hottest parts of the day. This helps to improve the capacity of the air conditioner and takes some of the load off of the compressor. DO NOT DO THIS LONG-TERM; CHLORINE AND MINERALS IN THE WATER CAN AND WILL DAMAGE YOUR AIR CONDITIONER.
Finally, If you do need a service call, you can call or text us at ***Redacted***, but PLEASE be patient. We are doing everything we can to get ahead of the weather, but the technicians who will be working during Memorial Day weekend are going to be under a lot of pressure. Some of them are veterans who have served our country, and all of them care deeply about doing a good job for our customers.
Sometimes, your best option may be to get a hotel for a night or two if your A/C goes down during a time like this while waiting to have it repaired. You may also consider getting a portable A/C from a big box hardware store to keep the master bedroom cool.
As a customer of Kalos, you are a huge priority to us, but caring for our team members and their families is still priority #1. For us, this means shutting down the schedule for the day at midnight so our techs can get a few hours of sleep before they start the next day.
Rest assured that if you need us, we will do everything we can do to help while maintaining the health and sanity of our staff.
Thanks for being a Kalos Customer. I really appreciate you.
I may be overreacting, but as they say, “Fate favors the prepared…” Don't they say that? I'm sure somebody does.
The current forecast shows high temperatures of 98° on Memorial Day weekend. This is not ONLY high temperatures on a weekend when supply houses won't be open on Monday (although we can always make them open if need be), but it will be the hottest day of the year and MAYBE the hottest day in several years.
This means a few things:
- Monday 5/27 will be a full staff workday for service employees; just don't forget to honor those who gave the last full measure of devotion to our nation as we serve our customers.
- All managers will need to be ready to assist on 5/25 & 5/26 (including myself).
- Anyone who is willing to help out on the evening of 5/24-5/26 will be most appreciated, from installers to refrigeration techs to CSRs to parts quoting. Anyone who can grab a service call or a phone call will be appreciated.
- Have your trucks stocked and ready to rock. If a real emergency occurs and we need a part from a supply house, especially for warranty or contract customers, then almost all suppliers have emergency lines, and we should use them; if we are miserable, then they can be as well.
Keep a cooler or case of water on your truck. Grab it from the shop or use your card to get it if need be. STAY HYDRATED.
If it is as hot as forecast, we may need to prioritize calls. The first thing is that from Saturday, 5/25-5/27, we will be charging a ***Redacted*** diagnosis fee for non-contract/non-warranty residential customers for the holiday weekend. If the customer asks why that is, just say it is the holiday charge.
We will prioritize customers in this way for service:
*** Customer Name(s) Redacted *****
Commercial Refrigeration Warranty Work & Callbacks
Residential Warranty & Callback Customers
Residential Contract Customers
Regular COD customers of all types
Ductless Lanai/Florida Room Units (Schedule for the week)
When we schedule over the weekend, we need to use VERY wide windows for any COD customers we put on the schedule. Do not schedule any calls for ductless systems on the holiday weekend; these are not emergency calls and should only be scheduled during regular hours on weekdays. If these customers get cranky, keep in mind that we NEVER promise 24-hr or weekend service to residential customers unless they have a specific contact to that effect.
TECHS & CSRS, PLEASE READ CAREFULLY BELOW
Whenever we have days where the outdoor temperatures get above 93°, you will have some customers that call in because their A/C is not keeping up or because it “runs all the time.”
In Florida, we have ACCA (Air Conditioning Contractors of America) guidelines for design, and 93°-95° are used as the design outdoor temps. This means that on a 98° day, many systems may not maintain 75° and may go up as high as 80°. When a customer calls in and says the temperature is going up in the house, we can ask what the thermostat says the indoor temperature is. If it is 80° or lower at 2 PM-9 PM on a 98° summer day, then there is likely nothing wrong with the system so long as it is running. For the skeptical client, you may send them this link **Redacted**.
If, as a technician, you go to a call on a callback or warranty job for not keeping up or running all the time, you need to do the following steps:
- Perform all of your normal visual inspections and measurements (filter, coils, thermostat calibration, subcool, superheat, delta T, Amps, Voltage). If all of these check out, then…
- Check static pressure and visually inspect ducts and attic insulation. If all that checks out, then…
- Do a full MeasureQuick PDF report and send it to ***Redacted*** so we can be aware and upload it to the file… What? You DON'T KNOW HOW TO DO THAT? Well, you have a full week to figure that out.
- If the customer is COD, then we do the basic tests and OFFER the attic inspection for ***Redacted*** to check ducts and insulation on a basic small house or ***Redacted*** if it will take over 30 mins.
When we find a house where the A/C is working properly (based on all these tests, not “BEER CAN COLD” or suction pressure), then we do NOT tell them their A/C may be undersized. The resolution is almost ALWAYS in decreasing heat load on the space, not increasing system size. This includes items like:
– Sealing gaps to the attic
– Replacing incandescent light trips with sealed LED
– Upgrading attic insulation
– Closing blinds and drapes
– Keeping doors closed
– Upgrading ducts
If a system is LEGITIMATELY undersized, it's generally better to carve out a room and add ductless rather than trying to up the tonnage of the old A/C and upgrading ducts + trying to make it fit in the same space.
MeasureQuick system reports will be your best friend in helping you PROVE that the A/C is working properly in cases where the customer is stuck on the idea that there is a problem and it only takes about 10 mins to do completely.
The goal is all pitch in to get our customers taken care of without kicking a bunch of callbacks or cranky customers down the road into the next week. Weeks like this can either be a profitable kickoff to the summer or a miserable mess, depending on how we approach it.
My Cell is ***Redacted*** if you need me. I will have it on and with me.