We reached out to Bob Winston, the Service/Operations Manager of our Los Angeles branch to ask him a few questions regarding HVAC service in southern California.
How is California unique in HVAC service?
Well, there is one thing you have to take into account in SoCal, specifically LA, that isn’t quite the same as any other city in the United States: TRAFFIC. “It may take you 2 hours or more to go 30 miles. I, and many of my technicians, will leave extra early to be at a job site to miss the traffic, and sleep in the truck on site until the time arrives to begin the job. Getting calls across town when roads are packed with traffic all day is tough.”
Are there any environmental challenges you face to keep HVAC working in top condition?
In southern California, there are a variety of environmental aspects that could pose a challenge to HVAC maintenance and data centers, but luckily for us, they aren’t too serious! “We have to take some extra steps if we are adding equipment near the ocean. If we have had a large fire, the air filters will need to be replaced as soon as the smoke clears.”
How has title 24 affected the HVAC process?
“The state has made a huge effort to lower power requirements in the last ten years. The data center rooms have not been affected much until the latest title 24 laws, but now we cannot use humidifiers or reheat in the data rooms. This hasn’t been much trouble for us, since our weather is about 40% humidity most of the year. It drops below 10% for a few weeks out of the year, and that poses a challenge to raise the humidity percentage, but luckily it doesn’t last long.”
What are some new upgrades you’re doing for customers?
“For our NPR site, we actually just finished the last phase of unit replacement. We are also in the last phase of the ductless replacements for the Ronald McDonald House.”
How does HVAC look for 2018? What direction are you expecting it to go?
“2018 looks great for us so far! We have met new customers and have new quotes going out, and the Los Angeles market is bursting at the seams! One benefit for us is that even though many large, well-known companies use union contractors for installation, the union contractors do not want to perform the PM services, so that creates an extra business area for us.”
What are the biggest challenges you’ve noticed in HVAC since you’ve gotten into the industry?
“The biggest changes I’ve seen since I first started in the industry 28 years ago are all of the new refrigerants on the market. When I started, there were only four and now there are thirty-plus to choose from. That just seems crazy to me, but that’s just how business works.”
What has been the most challenging HVAC project?
“They can all be tough, but I don’t have any one particular project more challenging than another. With pre-planning and communication, it all comes together. I have a great team that I work with, including my LA Branch members and contractors. If everyone does their job and we smooth out the details before it begins, it’s all quite simple and straightforward.”
What are the challenges you’ve faced with providing HVAC maintenance in the One Wilshire building?
“One Wilshire is a very different building. It is thirty stories high and all but four floors have a telecom company of some type. I have one or more of my staff on site every day during normal business hours. If a service call comes in, we can most likely be on site within five minutes. That is a great benefit for the customers, and that’s why we’ve been in the building for over 26 years.”
We’re incredibly thankful to Bob Winston and the Los Angeles team for all of the hard work they put into our SoCal business! 2018 is set up to be a great year so far!