AC Then & Now: How Air Conditioning Has Changed

GettyImagesInstalling home air conditioning is nothing new. In fact, the first private home to have air conditioning installed was built in 1914. At first, it was a luxury only easily afforded by the wealthy. It wasn’t until 1945, when a less expensive, compact window air conditioner was developed, that more people had access to home cooling. But in the years that followed this invention, leaps and bounds in air conditioning technology were made, and soon, central air became more accessible to the general public.

Air conditioning installation in new home builds became much more common, and by the late 1960s, most of the new homes built had central air conditioning. According to the Department of Energy, today, nearly 100 million homes in America, or 87 percent of households, have air conditioning. With so many Americans relying on cooling – and the detrimental effects that refrigerants in the past could have on the environment – many manufacturers took the responsibility to create better, more efficient, and more environmentally friendly AC.

Changes in refrigerants and efficiency make modern systems better for consumers and for the planet.

For many years, the effect of early refrigerants on the environment was not known. But as time passed, it became more and more clear that refrigerants were causing depletion of the ozone layer and were contributing to the greenhouse effect. Manufacturers sought a safer type of refrigerant, and in 1996, air conditioning systems using the refrigerant R-410A, came out on the market. This refrigerant differed from its precursor, R-22, in that it doesn’t contribute to ozone depletion, and functions at a much higher efficiency. That means air conditioning systems that use this type of refrigerant are more efficient, saving energy.

The Department of Energy explains that with new standards in place, modern air conditioning systems use about 50 percent less energy than they did in 1990. Because of this, homeowners can enjoy better comfort, all while saving energy – and, ultimately, money on their utility bills. And, many manufacturers and utility companies recognize the benefits of installing a new, more efficient system. As a result, they offer homeowners rebates and incentives for installing new, efficient, environmentally sound air conditioning.

Modern technology has helped make air conditioning more sustainable than ever.

In addition, new types of air conditioning systems were being developed with a focus on overall improved efficiency. One type of system, ductless air conditioning, was created for homes where ductwork wasn’t available. Replacing less-efficient window air conditioning, ductless systems are highly efficient and easily controlled. For homeowners, that means greater efficiency. With ductless, it’s much simpler to create a zoned system that keeps spaces cool in the summer and warm in the winter – all while increasing efficiency and comfort levels.

And, heat pumps are becoming more and more of an option for homeowners, as new technology has created heat pumps that operate in much colder temperatures than their predecessors. Because heat pumps cool (or heat) spaces by moving heated air rather than generating it, these systems are extremely efficient. The Department of Energy offers that heat pump systems can reduce energy use by 30-60 percent, in addition to controlling humidity and providing durability and reliability. And, today’s cold climate heat pumps can operate even when outdoor temperatures dip to -15 degrees Fahrenheit.

Is it time to replace your old, inefficient air conditioning? T. F. O’Brien can help.

At T.F. O’Brien, we’ve made it our priority to stay on top of modern trends and better, more sustainable technology when it comes to comfort equipment. We provide our customers with the very best, most efficient systems available on the market today. We’ll work with you to ensure that the system installed in your home not only keeps you comfortable, but helps you enjoy maximum energy efficiency as well. To schedule an appointment with us, simply call us at 516.488.1800, and one of our comfort specialists will be glad to talk with you about today’s many efficient, effective home-cooling options.

A Day In The Life – Laura’s Ride-Along

Laura Hanson TFO
Laura Hanson and Nick Betka

Laura Hanson, a customer service representative at T.F. O’Brien, recently had the opportunity to tag along with a technician to learn more about what, exactly, techs do out in the field. While she had some knowledge of HVAC equipment, she wanted to know more about what it was really like for the people out there performing the work for clients. So on May 15, 2019, she spent the day on a ride-along with technician Nick Betka.

Laura had an understanding of heating equipment, since she used to own a plumbing supply company and her husband is in the field as well. Air conditioning was a bit of a different story, however. “I had no knowledge of air conditioning other than it was in my window,” Laura said, adding, “I had requested a day in the field to actually see different AC equipment and to view an actual tune-up.” Laura and Nick headed out on the job, going to both residential and commercial sites. “A special thank you to Mrs. Dorothy Gregory, Ms. Dorothy Eneo, The Brake Service Group, and Serendipi Tea for making me feel so welcome in your homes and businesses,” she said.

Laura explained that she and Nick arrived at their first call, a customer’s home, at 8 a.m. The home contained two central air conditioning systems, and the first order of business was to check the air handlers and then the compressors. Laura said she was impressed by Nick’s skills out in the field. “Nick is so knowledgeable – I now know what a contactor looks like,” she shared. The next job was a tune-up for a single zone ductless system. She learned how to clear the condensate line, clean the system and replace the filter properly. She was impressed by the cooling power of ductless, and now plans to install a system in her own home in the fall.

Overall, Laura said her day went well and she felt it was very beneficial for her to have that opportunity. “My day flew by and I felt a little more confident with each job. I have to thank my service manager, Richie Hogan, for making the day happen. I know the office was very busy that day, but he felt it was important for me and others to have a day to learn.”

Laura has been a part of the T.F. O’Brien team since 2016. She assists us with scheduling service calls, dispatching calls to technicians, assisting with accounts receivable, ongoing trainings, and public relations. She takes great pride in helping the day run smoothly both for the team and for our customers. Laura lives in Bellerose with her husband, Scott, and two of their three daughters, Brittany and Courtney. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her daughter Lauren’s two sons, grandsons Owen and Quinn.

Keep Your Home Comfortable And Efficient With Ductless

More and more people are choosing ductless cooling and heating for their homes. People are finding that ductless systems are a great choice for spaces where ductwork is either impossible or impractical. Homes with radiant or baseboard heating, or converted spaces like attics, garages, finished basements and additions, can all benefit from a ductless system. Not to mention, many homeowners are seeing the real benefit of ductless cooling and heating – improved energy efficiency coupled with better comfort.

That’s because ductless systems use a heat pump system – they don’t typically burn fuel, but transfer hot air instead. By doing this, some ductless configurations are able to keep your home cool as a cucumber in the summer, while providing cozy warmth in the winter months. Even if you have a furnace and air conditioning system throughout most of your home, choosing ductless for areas that don’t have access to ductwork – like a finished basement, converted garage, or new addition – helps balance out the temperature of your home, leading to better efficiency.

How can a ductless system help lead to better overall efficiency?

People who have rooms that aren’t a part of their ductwork system usually have three choices – either close those rooms off during part of the year, rely on window AC and space heaters, or open the room up and hope their heating and AC system spreads conditioned air to those spaces. While closing the room off doesn’t necessarily cause issues with energy usage, it kind of defeats the purpose of adding that additional space to begin with.

Window AC and space heaters are both notorious for using a lot of energy, and they aren’t necessarily going to give you the greatest level of comfort for the additional energy cost. And, keeping the room open is going to either lower or raise the overall temperature of your home – making your comfort system work harder and causing energy costs to rise. The beauty of a ductless system is that it helps to balance out those cold or hot spots – leaving you with a more efficient, more comfortable home.

And, ductless cooling and heating provides a whole host of additional benefits as well.

  • No need for additional ductwork. This means you can avoid inconvenient home remodeling and the costs associated with it.
  • Comfort all year long. Depending on the configuration you choose, you can get ductless systems that provide both cooling and heating in one convenient unit.
  • Design that works with your décor. You won’t have to worry about your windows being blocked by a bulky AC unit or tripping over a space heater, because ductless systems mount on your wall or ceiling. 
  • Whisper-quiet operation. Again, window units can be very noisy and space heaters often make a buzzing noise that’s super annoying. You’ll love the peace and quiet ductless offers.
  • Remote control comfort. Generally speaking, a hand-held remote easily controls your ductless system. This means better comfort is literally at your fingertips.

T.F. O’Brien can help you get the ductless system you need.

If you’d like to learn more about the advantages of choosing a ductless to help cool your home this summer – and warm it once winter arrives – all you need to do is contact us at 516-488-1800. One of our comfort specialists will be happy to explain the benefits of a ductless system to you, and help you discover if it’s the right choice for your home.

How A Heat Pump System Can Help You Keep Your Cool This Summer

Many people are exploring ways that they can keep their homes comfortable year-round, all while reducing their carbon footprint. Your home comfort systems account for a good percentage of your home’s overall energy usage. It only makes sense that when it comes time to replace your equipment, you choose a system that not only provides excellent home comfort, but also minimizes energy use. For that reason, more and more people are turning to heat pump systems for home comfort.

You may wonder what a heat pump system is. Or, you may have heard about them, but learned that they don’t work well in cooler climates. You should know, today’s heat pump systems are manufactured to operate in colder temperatures. As a result, even Long Islanders can benefit from one. To understand how a heat pump system keeps your home comfortable in all temperatures, you first need to know how they work.

How Heat Pumps Operate

While there are many different styles of heat pumps to choose from for your Long Island, NY home, most commonly people install a split system. This simply means some of the components of the heat pump are inside your home, and some are outside. Regardless of their configuration, heat pumps work by transferring hot air as opposed to burning fuel inside your home, leading to higher energy efficiency. They’re designed to provide your home with the appropriate levels of heating and cooling, at a price that works within your budget.

Here are a few of the benefits a heat pump system can provide:

  • High efficiency
  • Year round comfort (heat in the winter, cooling in the summer)
  • Dehumidification of indoor air
  • Can be used to complement a traditional furnace, improving home efficiency
  • Uses an environmentally friendly, non-ozone depleting refrigerant
  • Often, tax credits and incentives are available for heat pump systems

Choose T.F. O’Brien for your heat pump installation.

If you’d like to learn more about the advantages of choosing a heat pump to help cool your home this summer – and warm it once winter arrives – all you need to do is contact us at 516-488-1800. One of our comfort specialists will be happy to explain the benefits of a heat pump system to you, and help you discover if it’s the right choice for your home.

Choose T.F. O’Brien for AC Installation in your Long Island Home

Spring is in the air, and the summer months will be here before you know it. Is your AC system up to the challenge of keeping your home cool? Is your current system more than 10 years old? Have you noticed a decline in the performance of your air conditioning over the last few years, a hike in your utility bills, an increased frequency in the need for repairs, or a combination of all of the above? Then it’s probably time for you to consider a new AC installation for your Long Island home.

At T.F. O’Brien, we know purchasing a new air conditioning system is a costly – and potentially confusing – venture. There are a lot of different systems out there, and a lot of HVAC dealers who claim they can give you the best deal on a new system. Getting quality AC installation for your Long Island home, with the right size and type of system – is important. That’s how T.F. O’Brien is different. We believe that an air conditioning system is an investment you should take as seriously as purchasing a vehicle. That’s why it’s so important to research the different types of systems – and the dealer who installs your system.

T.F. O’Brien offers quality AC installation on Long Island

When you choose to work with us, we’ll not only make sure you get the best air conditioning available, but we’ll also make sure you get the right type, too. We offer different types of cooling systems because no two homes are the same. Whether you’re replacing the central AC in your Long Island home, or you need a solution for a room – or an entire home – without ductwork, we can help. We’re pleased to offer:

  • Central AC System Installations: You can trust us to provide you with high quality, high efficiency air conditioning products, perfectly sized for the unique needs of your home. Our technicians will expertly install your new central AC system in your Long Island home, and will provide you with any additional cooling services you may need.
  • Ductless AC: Do you have an area of your home that needs cooling, but where ductwork isn’t an option? Then you could benefit from ductless air conditioning. Our ductless systems offer high efficiency cooling and targeted control, allowing you to make any area of your home more comfortable for you and your family.
  • Variable Refrigerant Volume AC: If you’re looking for an AC system that will provide energy efficient cooling, without the added expense and hassle of adding extra ductwork, you might want to consider variable refrigerant volume (VRV) air conditioning. This type of system is manufactured to minimize efficiency losses seen with conventional systems, and needs minimal or no ductwork.

Who Should I Call for AC Repair in Long Island?

When the warm weather hits Long Island, you rely on your home’s AC system to keep you cool and comfortable. And the good news is, when you properly maintain your air conditioning, it’s generally pretty reliable and will last longer than a neglected system. But unfortunately, the need for repair could arise at some point – especially for systems that are more than 10 years old or haven’t gotten the annual maintenance they need. What can you do if you find yourself in need of a cooling repair?

Many homeowners are unsure of who they should call should a repair need arise. It’s easy enough to get confused – there are many home comfort companies out there, and it can be difficult to know who the best choice might be. You should know, when you call T.F. O’Brien Cooling and Heating to help, you’ll be getting the best possible AC repair for your Long Island home, from one of the most reliable names in home comfort. At T.F. O’Brien, optimal comfort for you and your family is always our goal, and we work hard to help you get your air conditioning system restored as quickly as possible.

What makes T.F. O’Brien the best choice for AC repair for my Long Island home?

When you choose T.F. O’Brien for the AC repair you need, you can count on exceptional service and proven reliability. We’ve been in the business of helping people living in the Long Island area stay comfortable for 85 years. That means we’ve worked with families spanning several generations! Our work is proven, and people have come to know us as a trusted name in home comfort. But just because we’ve been around for a while doesn’t mean we haven’t changed with the times.

  • We use advanced diagnostic tools, instruments and equipment so that we can evaluate your system quickly and thoroughly – which saves you money.
  • We’ll provide a comprehensive analysis of the AC repair needs of your Long Island home, so that we can provide a solution that will make your home as comfortable and energy efficient as possible.
  • Our technicians receive the proper training needed so they understand many different makes and models of air conditioning systems, inside and out.
  • We stay up-to-date on all the latest advancements in the home comfort industry, so we can provide you with the best possible service on your equipment.
  • We offer plans that can help you get the annual cooling maintenance you need – helping you avoid the need for repairs once the heat of the summer hits.

Call T.F. O’Brien when you need AC repairs for your Long Island residence.

We’re proud to offer our Long Island customers exceptional maintenance and repair services, including emergency service. Please contact us if you need AC repairs for your home at 516.488.1800, and we will be glad to schedule an appointment with you. Or, if you have a specific question or need help troubleshooting an issue you’re having, please feel free to ask a tech right now by clicking here.




What Kind of AC Service Do I Need for My Long Island Home?

If you rely on air conditioning to keep your home cool in the summer, you might be thinking that once you make the investment, your system will run like a charm for years to come. Like any other type of mechanical equipment, however, your AC system requires service to keep it running properly. It’s important to make sure your system is receiving the service it needs, and the best way to do that is to choose a professional home comfort company to help. If you’re not sure what kind of AC service you might need for your Long Island home, you should give T.F. O’Brien a call.

At T.F. O’Brien Cooling & Heating, we offer a wide range of AC services for your Long Island home. Not only do we install the very best cooling systems on the market, but we also provide air conditioning maintenance and repair. We work with you to discover the best solutions to your cooling needs, and provide those services so that you and your family can enjoy cool comfort all summer long.

What types of AC services can I get from T.F. O’Brien for my Long Island residence?

Whether you need new, high-efficiency central air conditioning, ductless cooling, seasonal maintenance or emergency repair, you can trust T.F. O’Brien to assist you. Learn more about our wide range of cooling services below:

AC Installation: At T.F. O’Brien, you can count on us to provide you with the best quality and most efficient air conditioning products on the market. You can trust our skilled technicians to provide you with expert installation of your system, as well as with the AC services you need for your Long Island home after the sale.

Ductless AC: If you have an area of your home that could benefit from cooling, but where adding ductwork is either impossible or impractical, then you might want to consider ductless air conditioning for your home. We offer high-efficiency ductless systems that help you make any space more comfortable for your family.

AC Repair: In the unfortunate event that you need repair for your cooling system, you can rely on the professionals at T.F. O’Brien to help. We’ll troubleshoot your system, and make the repairs you need – whether you just need a new filter, or whether you need part replacements.

Variable Refrigerant Volume AC: Are you looking for a system that will provide energy-efficient cooling to your Long Island home? Variable refrigerant volume (VRV) air conditioning may be the right choice. This system minimize efficiency losses seen with conventional systems, and requires minimal or no ductwork.

AC Maintenance: One of the best things you can do to keep your cooling system running effectively and efficiently is by getting it the maintenance it needs. Preventive maintenance service will also help your system enjoy a longer life, and will catch any small problems before they become larger, more expensive repairs.

Call T.F. O’Brien to get the AC service you need for your Long Island home.

Getting the kind of AC service you need for your Long Island home is easy, when you call us to help you. Simply give us a call at 516.488.1800, and one of our friendly representatives will be happy to help you. Or, if you prefer, you can fill out our convenient online contact form, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

How a family-owned HVAC company cultivated Long Island business, family roots for 85 years

T.F. O’Brien celebrates 85 years, four generations of business

T.F. O’Brien is celebrating 85 years in business on Long Island. From what began as a one-man show to a full fleet of over a dozen service vehicles and a team of 40 employees, one thing has remained constant: T.F. O’Brien’s commitment to its family and Long Island roots.

In 1934, the first of four generations to follow founded the Long Island-based HVAC company: the late Thomas Francis O’Brien, grandfather to today’s co-owners Kerry, Thomas Jr. and Christopher O’Brien. Their maiden storefront in Richmond Hill Queens serviced appliances and commercial refrigeration, but in order to meet the ever-evolving needs of their community, they expanded into air conditioning in the 1950s. Ten years later, they warmed up to the heating industry. Their present-day shop in New Hyde Park opened in 1967 and has been servicing both residential and commercial Long Island ever since.

The O’Brien brothers Kerry, Christopher and Thomas Jr. spent their childhood living and breathing HVAC. For middle child Kerry O’Brien, the store was his stomping grounds where he thirstily absorbed as much about the business and customer interactions as he could.

“I loved being around the technicians and the customers,” he said. “Every day was different. I never got bored.”

Kerry O’Brien became president of the company in 2004. His son, Patrick, now manages the installation department, making him the fourth generation of O’Brien’s in the business.

Managing to both endure and thrive as a business for over three-quarters of a century means being able to adapt and evolve – whether it is by embracing the latest technology or keeping up-to-date on industry trends. Kerry O’Brien credits the generations of his family before him with exemplifying that attitude.

“My father and grandfather always said, ‘the one constant is change.’” Kerry O’Brien said. “Our company is a lot different than it was in their day – everything from the equipment, materials and tools that we use, to the way we interact and communicate with our customers. It seems now the rate of change keeps increasing. It’s a challenge, and it’s exciting to keep up.”

Following his father and grandfather’s advice to embrace change, O’Brien believes in constantly learning and training to stay on top of the industry.

“The only way to achieve exceptionalness is to continuously train and educate all of our people to provide the best possible solutions to our customers,” Kerry O’Brien said.

Offering training and educational opportunities does more than just encourage success of the business; it increases employee satisfaction and the likelihood T.F. O’Brien staff will stick around for a long time.

“Providing these kinds of advanced educational tools makes us a great place to work,” Kerry O’Brien said. “Our people enjoy striving to be the best.”

T.F. O’Brien’s accolades are a testament to their drive for success. They have collected multiple accreditations, including Carrier’s President’s Award in 2011, 2013 and 2014; and an Angie’s List Super Service Award in 2015. They also serve on their local National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) board.

Kerry O’Brien feels the community has a lot to do with the success T.F. O’Brien has seen and cannot imagine his family or his business anywhere else.

“Long Island is a great place to live and work,” he said. “We love being part of the community.”

Why Do I Need AC Maintenance for My Long Island Home?

When consumers invest in a new cooling system for their home, they often have a set-it-and-forget-it mindset. We get it –they’ve generally paid a lot of money for your new air conditioning system, and they have the expectation that it’ll be reliable and durable for years to come. But, people frequently fail to realize that their cooling system is mechanical, much like an automobile. And, because of that, it needs yearly HVAC tune-ups and inspections, just like their car would need.

At T.F. O’Brien, we understand that homeowners might not be sure why they need AC maintenance for their Long Island home. They might look at it as an additional, and perhaps unnecessary expense, or even an inconvenience. Rest assured, there are several benefits to getting an air conditioning system looked at on an annual basis. We believe in educating homeowners on why AC maintenance is so important, and we make it easy for them to schedule an appointment with us. We want to make sure their systems are running optimally all summer long – so they don’t have to worry about a cooling emergency when the temperature soars.

Five Reasons to Get AC Maintenance for Your Long Island Residence

If you’re on the fence as to whether or not you should get a maintenance contract with us, here are the top five benefits to making sure your air conditioning system gets the annual tune-up and inspection it needs:

  • Safety: An annual inspection will help find issues that could be causes for concern with your system. Our technicians check for refrigerant leaks, and make sure electrical components are all working properly.
  • Breakdowns: When you get regular AC maintenance for your Long Island home, your system will be clean, and any minor problems can be addressed – helping you avoid an inconvenient and expensive breakdown.
  • Warranty: Look at your manufacturer warranty, and you’ll likely find that your system requires regular maintenance to keep the warranty intact, helping you avoid having to pay for potential repairs out-of-pocket.
  • Savings: If the AC system in your Long Island home is regularly maintained, it likely will perform better and use less energy. And, when you save energy, you ultimately save money on your utility bills as well.
  • Air Quality: Your tune-up includes changing your system’s air filter. A dirty filter not only causes your system to work harder, it allows mold, dust and pollen to circulate through your home – and nobody wants that!

Find out how you can get AC maintenance for your Long Island home.

Getting the maintenance you need is easy, when you call on T.F. O’Brien to help. To schedule an AC maintenance appointment for your Long Island home, just give us a call at 516.488.1800, or use our convenient online contact form. We’ll be happy to assist you – and keep your AC running all summer long.