Location: 530 S. Range Line Road, Carmel
Web site: appelheat.com
Founder: Wilbur Appel Sr.
Owners: Kenneth and Scott Appel
Service/product: residential heating and air conditioning service and sales
Employees: 20 Revenue (past 12 months): $2.4 million
Date of first profile: Feb. 26, 2004
Business at Carmel-based Appel Heating and Air Conditioning isn't cooling off, despite the nation's economic woes. Revenue continues to increase as the industry becomes more environmentally friendly.
Although the declining economy has caused a slowdown in the new-construction market, co-owner Scott Appel said his company has survived by standing out from the competition. For example, Appel hired a full-time customer-service employee who calls 150 to 200 customers a month to see how their service went.
"[It's] a courtesy call back to see if there was something they weren't happy with," he said. "It's always nice to get ... feedback."
Despite the economy causing businesses to close throughout the country, Appel said he has not had any serious financial challenges. Indeed, revenue reached $2.4 million last year, up 18 percent since 2004.
Still, the company has had to deal with changes in the industry. One of the biggest, Appel said, was an increase in equipment prices as regulators demanded units be more energy-efficient.
About three years ago, the minimum efficiency on cooling units, air conditioners and heat pumps increased from a 10 Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating to a 13-boosting prices by about $1,000, he said.
The U.S. Department of Energy required manufacturers to make the change, which was expected to save consumers $1 billion over the same period, according to the government.
Appel said manufacturers also are phasing out Freon refrigerants and heat pumps, replacing them with Puron as the result of another government mandate.
"It's a national and international project," he said.
To accommodate the changes, he said his technicians have received more training to get certified in handling and servicing Puron-based units.
Despite all these changes, he said his plan was to keep Appel Heating and Air Conditioning doing what it has been doing and continuing to focus on customer service.
"We're going to try to keep doing the things that have made us successful for the past 60 years," Appel said. "That's the big thing on the short horizon for us. Beyond that, there's nothing in the works that we're aware of."