It’s sort of pitiful that in a week where an article about me as a blogger gets posted, I have written only one blog. Shameful, really.
But I have a great excuse: my house was getting a makeover. And not some quaint little facelift or landscaping jobs, but a real honest-to-goodness, life-changing makeover.
We had our entire heating and air conditioning system replaced.
We’ve been thinking about it for years, mainly because Ella suffers from asthma and the only constant that we could think of for her symptoms was our house. But if you own a home, you know that replacing the entire HVAC system is not cheap. It’s not even expensive. It’s exorbitant. Prohibitive. Ridiculous.
At least, it seemed that way.
But after watching our daughter struggle with various trips to the doctor, the ER, and several specialists, we committed ourselves to making some changes. While no one could guarantee that a brand new heating and air system would make that much of a difference for her, no one exactly said that it wouldn’t help. So when Uncle Sam surprised us this tax season, we knew it was time to get the work done.
The question was, who do you call?
In a world full of charlatans, frauds and ripoffs, how do you find someone who will not only do good work, but honest work?
Enter Houston McBroom of McBroom Heating and Air Conditioning, a local company entering it’s ninth year.
How we found Houston is a long story involving my wife, my daughter, our neighbor, and several playdates at the park. Unfortunately, it’s not that interesting to read, so I’ll give you the short version: my wife became friends with Houston’s wife, Heather, and when we decided to get our new system, he was the first and only person we called.
From the get go, everything was smooth. He came and took a look at our old system, assessed it from stem to stern, and told us what we had thought for a long time: we were in need of a serious upgrade. He then gave us a couple of different options ranging from surface fixes to gutting and replacing, and gave us the pros and cons of each.
We told him we wanted it all gone, all replaced, and we wanted some specific bells and whistles in the filtration department. He smiled and said, “No problem.”
Houston mapped it all out for us: completely new AC unit, new furnace, new Aprilaire near-hospital grade filtration system, all new duct work, cleaned vents, and a new layout for the ducting that would provide for better airflow. Not to mention relocating the thermostat (also new – and digital) and installing a control unit for the filtration system. All for one heck of a lot less than I expected to pay.
Then he gave us the bad news. “We can get it all installed in one day, but it might take two.”
Oh. That’s the bad news?
“Is that okay?” he asked.
“Yeah,” we said, “that will be fine.”
The install was on Monday of this week. You’ve never met nicer or more efficient workers. When I told Houston that the crew was welcomed to have anything out of the fridge, he did a double-take, and then he and his guys still asked for permission to get a Coke or Dr. Pepper. They not only got everything installed, they cleaned the house up better than how they found it, left no trash in the yard, and except for the new unit on the outside of the house, gave no indication that anything had ever happened on the property.
Houston came back and made sure everything worked to his specifications yesterday. Let me just say this: we’ve owned the house for nine years now, and it’s never been cooler. Or quieter.
And here’s where you know that Houston made a difference: when we came home last night and walked into the house, Ella looked at me and said, “It smells funny in here.”
She was right. It smelled clean. And that was weird to us.
I don’t know what sort of difference this might make in my daughter’s life over the long haul. I do know that the old system was full of dust and mold and that those two things are significant triggers for asthmatics. So I can at least say that the new system won’t hurt Ella, which was a point that Houston had made to us.
I can also say this: it was absolutely refreshing to work with someone who was not only honest and knowledgeable and polite, but thoughtful too. Watching Houston and his crew, I knew that the care they were taking was partly their professionalism and personal ethic, but also a determination to make things better for my little girl. As a father, you can’t ask for better than that.
With the spring temperatures feeling more like summer, the chances are good you might find yourself in need of a good heating and air guy sometime soon. If so, you can help yourself and your community by picking up the phone and calling Houston McBroom.
You won’t be disappointed.