Westland Heating & Air Conditioning Blog: Archive for the ‘Home Improvement’ Category

Setting A Temperature For Comfort

Thursday, September 27th, 2018

Westland Heating & Air Conditioning maintains a climate of family, performance and customer care

Jeff Mitchell, left, Vice President/service manager, and Zack Mitchell, President, chose the Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) system shown in the background for the company’s offices in Westlake, Ohio. Westland Heating & Air Conditioning is a leader in VRF technology and one of a few contractors able to offer this high-efficiency system.

Jeff Mitchell, left, Vice President/service manager, and Zack Mitchell, President, chose the Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) system shown in the background for the company’s offices in Westlake, Ohio. Westland Heating & Air Conditioning is a leader in VRF technology and one of a few contractors able to offer this high-efficiency system.

Service professional Sean Rusnak performs diagnostics on a VRF system.  All Westland Heating & Air Conditioning technicians are trained on start-up  procedures and the precise calculations required on these highly efficient systems.

Service professional Sean Rusnak performs diagnostics on a VRF system. All Westland Heating & Air Conditioning technicians are trained on start-up procedures and the precise calculations required on these highly efficient systems.

The father-and-son team of Jeff and Zack Mitchell has channeled its passion for the newest products and the best customer care to develop a family-focused atmosphere at Westland Heating & Air Conditioning (Westland).

Jeff and his wife, Debra, started the company in 1984 in Westlake, Ohio, after Jeff worked for several different residential HVAC and refrigeration contractors. “We found this to be one of the most fascinating industries to be in, but not all companies in it performed well from start to finish,” Jeff says. “When we started our own business, we were determined to make it phenomenal. When Zack joined us, he had the same passion for high performance and high-quality care for customers and employees, and that helped expand our sights even more.” From the beginning Debra managed the administrative and customer service needs while Jeff serviced customers in the field.

Steady Leadership

In 2009, Jeff turned over leadership to his son, Zack, who now is President; Jeff serves as Vice President and service manager. Debra is now retired and happily spending time with her grandchildren. The company takes care of customers with a combination of old-fashioned customer service and cutting-edge technology. “We’ve had a history of looking at new, innovative ideas,” Jeff says. “We evaluate new systems or processes from a performance and economic standpoint and are not afraid of bringing on new technology. The challenge is the learning curve, but the benefit for our customers is worth it. Plus, we stand behind everything we do and work with our manufacturers and customers to be sure everything is right. Sometimes it costs us money, but it’s worth the gain.” When Zack started working for the company in 1986, he was 14 and eager to learn everything. For four years, he worked part time cleaning the shop, working on inventory and stocking the trucks. He slowly transitioned into joining his dad and other techs on service calls. “I had a chance to go to college and play football, but I knew my passion was with the heating and air conditioning business, so I decided to stay with it and go through what my dad called ‘the Jeff Mitchell Technical Institute,’ ” Zack says.

He also attended a number of factory training sessions and service/sales seminars where he found his niche. “When Zack got more involved in the company, he went toward his passion for commercial construction, focused on sales there and expanded the business dramatically,” Jeff says. “Now it’s mostly repeat business from contractors and building owners. Today, we’re about 85 percent commercial and 15 percent residential.”

Specialized Systems

Early on, Westland became a leader in variable refrigerant flow (VRF). This HVAC technology uses refrigerant as both the cooling and heating medium and is conditioned by a single condensing unit. VRF gives building owners the ability to simultaneously have different rooms in a building use independent high-efficiency heating and cooling, which lends itself to both new construction and rehab, Jeff says.

“A lot of our projects are building rejuvenations, where we take old office or warehouse buildings and make them into multiple operations or small businesses. In this situation, the typical equipment is not economical to install. The VRF is ideal for buildings like these that have areas with different needs.”

Westland runs VRF in it offices and high-tech boilers in its warehouse and shop, which gives its technicians firsthand experience on how these systems operate. Not all HVAC contractors are as dedicated to the complex VRF system and choose not to offer it. “VRF requires special training and a commitment to high quality. It involves very precise calculations and start-up procedures that some companies are incapable of or unwilling to do,” Zack says. “For a building owner, the initial investment can be higher, but it offers a payback in energy savings of 10 years or less, which makes it worth it. Facilities that are trying to get LEED certified use this as a way to meet some of the energy-efficiency levels on both new construction and rehab work.”

Safe and Satisfied

Customer satisfaction is important at Westland. The message is prominent in its ads, constantly discussed within the company and supported by training and safety programs. “We make customers’ lives easier by giving them quality HVAC systems and the comfort that all is working well,” Jeff says. “That’s why we evaluate new technology and train our technicians on every step from install to service. We use in-house plus manufacturer training at their facilities. We dedicate thousands of man hours to staff training each year because we feel it’s important for staff safety and customer satisfaction.”

Safety is at the core of all training at Westland. Its offices include a classroom where suppliers, manufacturers and safety companies come to lead training sessions. Westland also contracts with a third-party safety company, Safety Controls Technology, to conduct impromptu safety audits. “We invest in having the right equipment for our teams and make sure everything is done in the utmost safe manner,” Zack says. “We do not allow our guys to attempt anything dangerous. To be sure everything is okay, Safety Controls goes unannounced to our jobsites to perform safety audits.”

The company’s dedication to customer satisfaction is a team effort. “As we interview people, we look for a passion for this profession besides a good skill set,” Jeff says. “This is something you don’t just do 40 hours a week and leave behind. Many of our staff choose to do some research and training after hours and have a real passion for the industry. That’s the culture that both Zack and I had over the years, and it transferred to our staff. We want to be the best and have dedicated the time and effort to do that.”

Westland currently employees 65 people, with tenure at the company ranging from 6 to 22 years. “Our technicians are highly trained, with certifications from multiple manufacturers as well as full training and certification for full VRF systems and pool dehumidification systems,” Jeff says. The team effort at Westland is supported in other ways, notes Steve Showalter, operations manager. “About four years ago, Zack wanted to provide more things for employees, so he had a complete gym put in here so anyone can work out. It helps develop the team atmosphere and encourages us to stay fit and have fun,” Steve says. “Each month we also have a company luncheon to discuss team-building programs and ways to give back to the community. The result is that more of us get together for bonding time and for community involvement.”

Last year, Westland teams participated in the Harvest for Hunger, an annual awareness campaign aimed at fighting hunger in 21 of Ohio’s counties. They have also supported the annual Marine Toys for Tots drive and recently donated labor to install a new HVAC system at a local home as part of a St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway. The equipment was donated by Trane through the company’s national program.

Future Generations

As Zack continues to manage Westland, the company is determined to have future generations of the Mitchell family and their employees’ families be involved. “We want to move forward with the same foresight we have of taking care of our customers. We have fathers and sons working here for a long time. We wouldn’t be in the position we are today without all the hard work of our wonderful team members. There’s a great feeling of mutual respect here and I feel that’s a sign we’re doing things the right way,” Zack says.

This desire to do the right thing has developed a combination of old-fashioned service and the latest technology that gives customers the best comfort and sets the standard for the next generation to follow.

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Employee Profile: Christian Wimmer

Thursday, July 6th, 2017

Christian is Westland Heating & Air Conditioning’s newly promoted Comfort Consultant. Christian has been in the HVAC Industry since 1999. Christian was born and raised in Avon where he attended school through graduation. Christian lettered in Football and Basketball and continues to use the lessons he learned on the field and the court at home and in his career.

Here is Christian’s first-hand account of his experience in the HVAC Industry:

I started in the field as a helper, just an extra set of hands and a gopher (go get this or go get that). I learned right away that this business is not always a 9-5 day and sometimes a day could be 16 or more hours. I worked in many different capacities in all the years I’ve been with Westland; from helper to foreman in the install department, maintenance tech to lead service tech on equipment that’s more expensive than a lakefront mansion. Every day was different and an opportunity to learn something new, or teach something new to an up-and-coming tech. Our industry was changing when I entered it and hasn’t stopped to this day. It’s that reason that I really enjoy what I do and feel as though I was very lucky to start my career at Westland. I’ve been a part of many projects at Westland that I’ve said, “Nobody else could do this”. I’m thankful that Jeff Mitchell (the original owner) was the one who hired me and helped me along the way as I worked into different areas within the company. His tireless work ethic and endless knowledge of the industry showed me what it took to be successful in this business. He is still involved in the business as our Service manager, and is has been an incredible resource to me as I move into the Comfort Consultant role. To put it simply, Jeff is Westland’s Siri and Google rolled into one.

As I transition into my new role at Westland, I want to educate our clients and potential clients on proper system operation and help them understand their systems. There are many different options that range from simple Wi-Fi thermostats and efficiency systems, to the filters that will make your home “pet hair free” or “reduce your sick time”. Some of these options sound great, but can actually reduce system performance or eventually lead to costly repairs. Most homeowners are unaware of the products and services that can increase system performance or make their home more comfortable. I feel that my real life experience in the field, and time spent performing projects our clients are looking to have done, provides an assurance to the homeowner that they are in good hands with Westland.

My time away from work is spent with my family, my wife Kristina and our three kids, Madison, Seth and Fynnley; and our dogs Remington and Cole. Kristina has been the most important person in my career. She sacrifices a lot so I can put the time and energy into my work. Our two oldest, Maddie (16) and Seth (13), were the driving force in making HVAC a career and not just a job. Providing for them and giving them a solid foundation was and is one of my top priorities. Our youngest, Fynnley (22 months) gives me energy to keep advancing within the industry and learning every day. With the varying ages, our family is in constant motion and always going different directions. My favorite days are the ones we all are able to sit down together and eat dinner as a family. We enjoy camping and the outdoors together, whether it’s walking the dogs or a family game of horse. My son and I enjoy fishing and taking turns beating each other in intense games of basketball.

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Consider an Air Conditioning Upgrade This Holiday Season

Monday, November 30th, 2015

With cold weather here, Westlake, OH residents are turning off their air conditioners and turning on their heaters. This makes for an ideal time to have your air conditioner serviced and repaired, since you have plenty of time to schedule it at your convenience instead of rushing to get it done ahead of the next heat wave. In addition to repairs, you might want to consider an air conditioning upgrade this holiday season, or an indoor air quality addition designed to make its life a little easier. A trained technician can discuss your options with you, but here are some obvious possibilities to consider.

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Thinking About Upgrading to High Efficiency HVAC Equipment?

Friday, September 7th, 2012

There are many reasons to consider upgrading to high efficiency HVAC equipment. Newer high efficiency systems increase the effectiveness of your system, decrease your overall energy cost, and may be a required by the government in the future!

Furnace Efficiency | Westlake| Westland Heating and Air ConditioningThe Department of Energy released new regional standards for HVAC equipment to take effect between May 2013 and January 2015. Once this ruling goes into effect, “In the North region, most furnaces will be required to have an AFUE of 90 percent or more”. The rule also sets requirements for standby mode and off mode for residential furnaces, air conditioners and heat pumps. The DOE splits these requirments into three regions (Northern, Southeastern and Southwestern).

So if you are considering upgrading your replacing your HVAC equipment in the near future, we advise choosing a model that complies with the new DOE regional standards. Even though there has been little information on how they plan to implement and enforce this ruling, there are so many great reasons to chose a high efficiency furnace or air conditioning system. Contact the experts at Westland Heating and Air Conditioning today to find out what your best heating and cooling options are. We can help you find the best systems for your home, that will bring you efficient home heating and cooling for years to come.

At Westland we provide top quality heating, air conditioning, air filtration, water heater and commercial HVAC services in Westlake, Avon and throughout the surrounding areas.

 

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