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.”

Getting Your Home Holiday-Ready

Ready or not, here they come. That’s right, folks – the holidays are upon us. While you may be riding the struggle bus to get yourself in the mindset for the holidays and everything they entail, getting your home holiday ready is a much simpler undertaking.

Let’s start with those holiday lights. Do those endless strands of twinkling lights make you cringe as you think about what they’re going to do to your energy bill? We recommend switching over to LED lights. Of course there is an initial investment to be made but it won’t take long before they’ve already paid for themselves. Additionally, they’re more durable, don’t burn out and are much safer to use, both indoors and out, because they don’t get hot.

Speaking of safety, we would be remiss to not mention some tips to keep you and yours safe from dangers within your home this holiday season (and no, we’re not talking about the in-laws here!). On average, U.S. fire departments respond to about 50 house fires each year caused by Christmas trees. To prevent your family from becoming a negative holiday statistic we recommend keeping your tree at least three feet from all heat sources and avoid placing it in a corner at all costs. Fires that start in corners are found to spread more quickly and get hot faster than those that start in other parts of the home. You also want to be sure to keep all exits and pathways clear in the event of an emergency (a tip you can use to rationalize purchasing fewer gifts too!)

Will that jolly old elf be struggling to get down your chimney this year? He won’t if you’ve recently had it cleaned and inspected. Chimney fires account for more than 25,000 fires annually and often spread to the main structure of the home. The good, and bad, news about chimney fires is that they can be prevented with regular inspection and cleaning.

We hope that you’ve had your furnace serviced for the season but if you haven’t we recommend making an appointment to do so as soon as possible. Not only will a clean furnace run more smoothly and efficiently, but also a thorough inspection by a certified technician will allow you to identify any potential problems that you may be likely to encounter during this holiday and heating season. The last thing anyone wants this time of the year are unexpected guests and unexpected home repairs so when it comes to your heating system it is certainly better to be proactive rather than reactive. Additionally, check those smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure that they are current and that their power supply is fresh.

Surviving the holidays is a team effort and when it comes to prepping your house, T.F. O’Brien is on your side. Give us a call today at 516.488.1800 and let us give you the gift of peace of mind this year.

Three Gifts of Home Comfort for the Person Who Has Everything

Some people are just difficult to buy for when it comes to holiday gift-giving. If you’re out of ideas, here at T.F. O’Brien has a suggestion you may not have considered – the gift of home comfort. While it may not seem like the most glamorous present you could give, it’s definitely one of the most thoughtful. Nothing says, “I love you” like a comfortable home, so when you give one of these gifts, you’re not just spending money on something that will only be enjoyed for a short time. Home comfort can be enjoyed all year long, and for years to come.

Not sure what gifts of home comfort you can give? Here are three suggestions we have for you that you can give this holiday season:

Ductless System: Maybe your loved one has a converted space that they enjoy using for hobbies or leisure, but it lacks the heating and cooling necessary to keep it comfortable all year long. When you choose to install ductless heating and cooling in that space for them, they can make use of areas like additions, converted attics or finished basements year-round.

Smart Thermostat: The gift of a smart thermostat has many benefits your loved one will enjoy. For starters, smart thermostats help equipment perform more efficiently; allowing people to save on energy bills and enjoy greater comfort. Smart thermostats also offer convenience, because often they can be monitored and changed from a Smartphone or computer. Some even learn your family’s habits and program themselves!

Maintenance Plan: Even though it sounds completely boring, a maintenance plan is one of the most thoughtful gifts you can give to your family and friends. Why? First of all, it will help them enjoy better comfort year-round. Secondly, it helps their equipment last longer and operate more efficiently. So, maintenance plans truly are gifts that keep on giving!

If you’d like to give the gift of home comfort to someone you love this holiday season, T.F. O’Brien can help. Just give us a call at 516.488.1800 and we’ll be happy to help.

Thanks For Helping Us Keep Long Island Warm This Winter!

This year, from October 1 through November 16, T.F. O’Brien held our very first winter coat drive to benefit the Long Island Coalition for the Homeless. At T.F. O’Brien, we believe that everyone deserves to have a warm coat and other outerwear when the outdoor temperatures turn frigid. We are pleased to announce that we collected 250 coats, as well as various winter accessories. We are extremely grateful to all who donated, and look forward to making this an annual event.

Happy October from T.F. O’Brien

October is here, and with it comes cooler breezes, more colorful leaves, and the scent of pumpkin spice in the air. The kids are thinking about the perfect Halloween costume, and you and your family might be taking weekend journeys to apple orchards and pumpkin farms.
Amidst all the fun fall has to offer, don’t forget to give us a call to schedule your heating maintenance! It’s the best way to ensure your heating system will run great, no matter how cool the weather outside gets!
With the cooler weather in mind, we at T.F. O’Brien are thinking ahead to those who are less fortunate. That’s why we’ve started a Winter Coat Drive. Click here for details on how you can help us keep people warmer this winter. And, storm season is coming, and that can mean power outages. Find out how a generator can help you weather the storm by clicking here.

Plus, check out these energy-saving tips from NYSERDA:

  • Choose the cold setting on your washer. Whenever possible, wash your laundry with cold water to save on the energy it takes to heat up water for warm and hot settings.
  • Compute with care. Choose to plug computers and other electronics into an advanced power strip. Also, consider choosing a laptop over a desk computer – laptops are more energy efficient.
  • Check your filters. Take a look at the air filters on your home’s HVAC equipment, especially during the high use months. Change out the filter if it’s dirty. That will help your system run more efficiently.
  • Consider a programmable thermostat. That way, you won’t have to worry about adjusting the thermostat to fit your schedule – it will automatically adjust for when you’re sleeping or away from home.
  • Change your light bulbs. By swapping out incandescent light bulbs for ENERGY STAR certified LEDs, you can save energy and on future bulb purchases – LEDs last up to 25 times longer than traditional bulbs.
Enjoy your October! Thank you for reading.
Kerry O’Brien

Coat Drive to Benefit the Long Island Coalition for the Homeless

IT’S COOL TO HELP PEOPLE STAY WARM THIS WINTER.

T.F. O’Brien Cooling & Heating is excited to begin their first Winter Coat Drive to benefit the Long Island Coalition for the Homeless. When the frigid weather arrives, we know how important these items will be to those we help!

We are asking for donations of new or laundered, gently used coats, scarves, hats and gloves.

WHEN: October 1st through November 16th

WHERE:
T.F. O’Brien Cooling & Heating
100 Denton Avenue
New Hyde Park, NY 11040

Join Us In Giving Back! We’ll gladly pick up your donation during any scheduled service call.

Download our poster HERE and help us spread the word!

Welcome September from T.F. O’Brien

September has arrived, and with it, so has back-to-school for the kids, and back to routine for the adults. With summer fleeting, you might not be thinking about your home’s air conditioning system as much. You should! You’ll likely need to use it at least for a couple of months, so make sure you’re keeping an eye on your filter. Making sure your filter is clean can help your air conditioning system operate more efficiently and enjoy a longer life!

Need air conditioning? Believe it or not, now’s the perfect time to get it!

Now is a great time to get a new air conditioning system installed in your home! We’re offering a special end-of-season cooling sale that can help you save significantly on a new system for your home. Click here to learn more! Thinking about a ductless system for your home? Did you know they can offer both heating and cooling? Here’s some more info on keeping your home comfortable all year long with ductless.

Have a spectacular September! Thank you for reading.

Enjoy!

Kerry O’Brien

Beat the Summer Heat this July with T.F. O’Brien

July is here, and the heat has made our rough winter long forgotten. It’s definitely been a warm one so far, and we’re busy making sure our customers are able to stay cool and comfortable. If you’re noticing the slightest concern with your air conditioning system, it’s a good idea to give us a call and set up an appointment ahead of a breakdown, so we can help ensure you stay cool and comfortable.

We offer a full listing of air conditioning services, including AC repair and maintenance. And, we install a complete range of air conditioning products which include central air, high efficiency, ductless, and more. We will be more than happy to meet with you and discuss what system would be perfect for your home and lifestyle. Just give us a call at 516.488.1800 to set up a consultation with one of our comfort specialists.

This month, click here to learn how you can keep your home cool – and your energy bills lower. And, did you know home generators can help you weather a summer storm? Or maybe you’re holding out on installing AC. Here are some reasons NOT to get AC for your home this summer.

We hope you have a great July, and thank you for reading.

Enjoy!

Kerry O’Brien

Shamrock Savings from T.F. O’Brien!

Happy March from all of us here at T.F. O’Brien! We love this time of year, because it means St. Patrick’s Day is upon us, and spring is right around the corner. It also means we’re gearing up for our annual Shamrock Savings event. What’s so special about this sale? We pull out all the stops to get our valued customers into a great new high-efficiency home comfort system, by giving them our best offer of the year!
When you choose to take advantage of our Shamrock Savings event, you won’t just be installing a top-performing system in your home. We’re also including some terrific add-ons that will make your home more comfortable and your life easier. Couple that with incredible rebates, and you’ll be enjoying the best in home comfort in no time – for less!

Learn more about our Shamrock Sales event, and how you can save “green” all year long.

Click here to learn more about how you can save, and be sure to check out our 2018 Shamrock Savings commercial! And, did you know installing high-efficiency equipment in your home can help you save the “green” now – and for years to come? Here’s how.
And, it’s never too early to get on board with your spring maintenance needs. Give us a call at 516.488.1800 to schedule your spring preventive maintenance appointment today!
Thanks for reading. Best wishes for a magical March!
Kerry

Happy February from T.F. O’Brien!

Welcome to our February e-newsletter. We hope you’re staying safe and warm in spite of our snowy winter weather. Groundhog Day has arrived, and as you know, the original groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil unfortunately saw his shadow. Nassau County’s Malverne Mel saw his shadow as well, but there is hope – Suffolk County’s Holtsville Hal has predicted an early spring. Of course it’s always fun to speculate that the weather will either improve or stay chilly based on these critters’ findings, but it’s best to be prepared for those six more weeks of winter regardless. 

That’s why right now, we’re offering a winter clean and check special, to help ensure your system runs smoothly the rest of the season.

For just $89.50, we’ll make sure your heating system is at the top of its game and prepared to keep you comfortable until the warm weather returns. The services provided include:
  • Clean & Inspect Burners
  • Inspect Pilot Assembly
  • Inspect Flue Piping
  • Replace Customer-Supplied Air Filter (if applicable)
  • Check Carbon Monoxide Levels
  • Test Safety Controls
  • Report on Overall Equipment Condition & Operation
And, if you need us in an emergency, we’ll help you as soon as we possibly can. During inclement weather, we do take our trucks off the road to ensure the safety of our staff, but we strive to get to our emergency calls as soon as the roadways are safe for travel.

This month, check out this information about ductless heating and heat pumps. These heating systems have come a long way and can offer you year-round comfort, because they also provide air conditioning. For instance, VRV systems are ductless and highly energy efficient, providing sustainable energy benefits for years to come. Learn more about them and enjoy an informative video by clicking here. And, everyone wants to save energy. Here’s seven tips that can help you start saving energy today.

Thanks for reading! Hope you have a great February.
 
Enjoy,  
 
Kerry