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Aire Serv takes pride in customer service, quality product

The team that makes up Aire Serv of Lakes Country in Detroit Lakes are (l-r) Chris Fingalson, HVAC Installer; Kelly Fingalson, New Construction and Replacement Expert; Blake Finglason, HVAC Installer; Scott McKenzie, New Construction, Replacement and Service Expert and Corey Hinrichs, HVAC Installer.

Aire Serv of the Lakes Country prides themselves on customer satisfaction, quality of work and the character of their employees.

"The Aire Serv philosophy is number one, we want to treat the customer better," said owner Joe Esser, Sr.

The locally owned and operated heating and air conditioning company is part of the Esser Family of Companies, which was established in 1955 by Esser in Perham.

Aire Serv's great customer treatment includes keeping in contact so the customer knows exactly when Aire Serv will arrive, clean uniforms on their employees and shoe covers when they make a home call.

"About ten percent of our time is spent on education of our people both in customer service and technology," Esser said.

Aire Serv opened a Detroit Lakes office in December of 2009. The Detroit Lakes office employs five people, and the Esser family as a whole employs 44. The Detroit Lakes branch is one of three in the Esser family.

"We had a fairly significant customer base in Detroit Lakes already. So when we decided to open up a shop there, that was justified by what we've been doing already in the area," Esser said.

Two key Detroit Lakes Aire Serve employees -- Scott McKenzie and Kelly Fingalson -- both brought the customer base from their own heating companies to Aire Serv when they were hired, Esser said.

"We didn't just come in and open a blind store without having a plan," he said. "We hired really good people that were already in the industry in that area."

Esser said the company has grown nearly 20 percent every year the past several years -- even through the current recession.

"That isn't anything special other than hiring really good people and treating people well," he said.

Aire Serv offers HVAC for new construction and replacement, in residential and commercial structures, carrying the leading brands of furnaces, air conditioners and geothermal systems.

The company boasts to be the area leader in super-efficient geothermal technology, having started installing the systems in 1985. Geothermal technology uses the heat retained in the earth to heat and cool a building.

"Geothermal is over 300 percent efficient," Esser said. "It makes your $1,000 heat bill $330."

He said geothermal is usually done using off-peak electricity, cutting more off the bill.

"That reduces (the $1,000 heat bill) again to $170," Esser said.

The government is also pushing the use of geothermal technology. The economic stimulus package of several years ago has a 30 percent tax credit for the installation of a geothermal system, according to Esser.

"If somebody's building a new house, and they're going to put in a conventional system, the tax credit generally pays for the difference between the conventional system and the geo system," he said.

That tax break is in effect until 2016.

Houses today are built much differently than just 30 to 40 years ago, Esser said.

"Those houses back in the '70s and '80s pretty much had natural ventilation through natural air movement through the house," he said. "Energy in the '80s went way up (in cost), and they basically started wrapping houses in a plastic bag."

This house wrap helped in saving energy, but made air quality poor, according to Esser.

"The big changes in the HVAC industry would be how we handle humidity and air quality and air purification," he said.