Although the housing market has been at a low level for some time, the building industry in 2012 is showing small but positive signs of growth.
Even if new homes are not being built in great numbers, existing homeowners and owners of small commercial buildings are faced with replacement, upgrading and repair of heating and cooling equipment.
Fuhrmann Heating & Cooling, Inc. of Brillion maintains a steady schedule of service work; fall was very busy answering routine and emergency calls. “Gaps in work orders have not been the case,” said Andy Geiger whose serves as sales manager for the firm.
Service tune-ups were strong through fall however due to the mild winter service calls are down a bit, Geiger said. Right now additions and remodeling work is picking up and especially new commercial construction, he said. While the firm services most products, it is primarily a Carrier dealership and over the years the company has received several awards from Carrier acknowledging its quality work.
Geiger, who is responsible for handling all bids, said he is seeing an increased number of bids on home plans for spring and summer construction projects. Interest rates remain low and attractive, and existing home prices are down making home buying attractive. Many people want to buy low giving themselves extra financial leverage in doing renovations and upgrades.
The firm’s mainstays consist of heating, air conditioning, commercial and residential, boiler systems, radiant in-floor heating, forced air heating and cooling, GEO thermal, wood and oil. “Most of our work is in new construction, existing homes, performing a nice mixture of retrofits and remodeling work,” said Geiger. “About 80 percent of our business is forced air heating and cooling.”
Commercial work has been fairly strong, both remodeling work and new construction. A recent project is West Haven, an assisted living facility in Green Bay, where Fuhrmann installed heating and cooling systems for a substantial addition there (double the size of what they have there). Fuhrmann did the heating and cooling work in the original building. Other larger projects recently undertaken were dental clinics in Sheboygan.
Central air is now standard in nearly every new home, and can be added to existing homes. Most existing homes that have hot water heat and are without duct work can be a bit tricky to air condition, and can be a bit costly, Geiger said.
Today ductless split system air conditioners
Stephen Groessel photo
work well in those applications if duct work is not feasible.
n-floor heating popular
Radiant (in-floor heating) is very popular. Today, it is often called for in the basements of new home construction even if the owners don’t plan on using it, Geiger said.
Fuhrmann does quite a number of in-floor retrofits in cold floor areas and warms the area with radiant tubing either under a sub floor or in a concrete slab. Geiger said it is most efficient if tubing is installed in concrete or some type of conductor of heat, as opposed to wood which is a non-conductor source. Tubing in concrete produces an awesome heat, warming one’s feet and moving that warmth into one’s entire body, he said.
Is GEO thermal catching on? It depends, said Geiger. Different areas and fuel types and different utility rates determine the feasibility (pay back) of that type of investment. There are certain areas that offer low electrical rates and when compared with higher fuel rates
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