Things are becoming exciting these days for Kelly Hernandez, owner of Air Crafts, air conditioning and heating specialists in Valley Center and Escondido, which recently moved into a new office and warehouse at 28477 Lizard Rocks Rd., next to Impact Auto.
The new location provides more visibility and allows customers from Escondido and Valley Center to easily find them.
Of course, business is starting to pick up as weather heats up and customers and potential customers realize that they better do something soon about faulty AC systems or they will be sweating.
About a year ago Hernandez acquired Air Crafts from founder and longtime owner Robert McLennan. Air Crafts does service, maintenance and installation for residential and commercial properties.
Hernandez has been in the heating and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) trade for 30 years. She became an expert in the business and then she had a chance to buy one.
She spent 23 of those years with South Coast Heating & Air in Vista, where she managed the office for many years before being promoted to operations manager. She spent the last five years there as service manager, supervising 15 service technicians.
She then joined Green Mechanical in Escondido, where she was also service manager.
“I think it’s important to know that the business has been Valley Center based for the last 32 years,” she told The Times-Advocate. “We’ve been serving the community for all that time and we plan to remain here.”
She purchased McLennan’s customer list, and more importantly buys into the business philosophy that he practiced from November 1985, when he founded Air Crafts.
“His premise for starting the business and his philosophy was to service his community, family and friends, and if you can build a business by doing that he would count himself as successful. And he was able to do that and keep it going for thirty-two years.”
Hernandez likes the street view that her new Lizard Rocks Road office will give them. “People who didn’t know we existed, will see our vans out,” she said, adding, “Heating and AC is something that you don’t think about until you need us, when your thermostat doesn’t turn on.”
If that happens Air Crafts will have plenty of technicians to help you. They have six field installers and service technicians, and will be adding a new one this week.
Shawn Burke, operations manager, joined them March 1. He has 35 years of experience in the HVAC trade. He owned his own service business for 20 years in Redding. He also taught heating and AC for 2 years at the Institute of Technology trade school in Redding.
“We are expanding,” she explained. “Business has been steady since I bought the business.” The crew is busy working and that will probably be the case all summer.
Add on or replacement is the bulk of their business. They don’t do a lot of new construction, however if someone is doing a remodel or replacing their existing system they install new systems.
They install a variety of systems, such as AC Pro, a subsidiary of Lennox, Rheem, Bryant, Trane, and York.
They are also installing more and more ductless systems, such as the Mitsubishi system. Instead of a duct you get a fan coil that is installed in each room. That way you can only cool one room at a time, if you choose, which is very energy efficient.
“You have an outdoor unit and you can install four or five fan coils, so when you are in a room, you only have to turn on for that room. That’s why it’s efficient.” Initially such systems are more expensive but in the long run they pay for themselves.
Hernandez told The Times-Advocate, “Right now, people should be turning to us for maintenance to have their systems checked out prior to the heat of summer, instead of calling us in July with the call that they are not cooling as well as they used to be.”
For heaters, the best time is to call in October or November for maintenance. Of course, anytime is good to call for repairs.
To reach Air Crafts, call 760-749-3667 or email Kelly@aircraftshvac.com
Contractor # 1024275