Many of us know the acronym HVAC stands for heating, ventilation and air conditioning.
Yet only those involved in the industry really understand what HVAC entails.
Tod Bowers is one of those individuals.
He has, in fact, spent the past 25 years in the field, employed in capacities ranging from service and installation to project management.
Two and a half years ago, Mr. Bowers, who lives in New Milford, decided to go out on his own after having worked for a number of companies over the years.
Mr. Bowers and his wife, Helen, own and operate TB Mechanical LLC, located at 223 Kent Road in New Milford.
"I went into business for myself because I wanted to find my niche," Mr. Bowers said during a recent interview in his shop.
It turns out his niche is his ability to offer clients a well-rounded background comprising a variety of experiences he has had in the HVAC industry.
While companies often choose to specialize in one aspect of HVAC, TB Mechanical can handle diverse elements of the business, said Mr. Bowers.
Such elements are found generally within the design, installation and service of mechanical systems for residential and commercial applications.
TB Mechanical's work in the residential arena includes central air-conditioning systems, hydro air-conditioning systems, warm air as well as hybrid heating and cooling systems, geothermal and ductless split systems, as well as complete sheet metal fabrication and installation.
Mr. Bowers recently worked with Glenn Martone Construction LLC on a 2½-story home remodeling project in New Milford where he installed a full HVAC system with a propane unit.
"He's done a few projects for us," Mr. Martone said. "He'll do everything from the small jobs to the larger projects."
Although much of his work entails installation, Mr. Bowers' favorite aspect of the HVAC business is design.
"What I like best is designing the systems," said Mr. Bowers, who noted this allows him to see the fruits of his labors.
TB Mechanical provides customized fabrication of duct work.
While more expensive, it is of a better quality than prefabricated duct work, according to Mr. Bowers.
While Mr. Bowers enjoys duct work, he related ductless systems have become more prevalent these days because they are more cost effective.
A ductless heating and cooling system is a highly efficient system not requiring the use of air ducts.
Ductless systems consist of an outdoor compressor unit and one or more indoor air-handling units called heads that correspond with a heating and cooling zone controlled independently.
Mr. Bowers noted new technology has made heating and air conditioning more efficient in general.
Heat pumps, in particular, are much better now than they used to be.
In his own home, Mr. Bowers uses a hybrid system, which he recommends to his clients because such systems use less electricity and are more energy efficient.
A hybrid heat system reacts to changing temperatures and automatically adjusts to the most efficient energy-saving method available by combining a heat pump with a furnace.
Generally, when considering heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, the two factors most important to homeowners and business owners alike are comfort and noise.
"In order to have a quiet environment, the ductwork is bigger and there is less pressure," said Mr. Bowers.
Businesses looking for the optimal HVAC environment are what Mr. Bowers calls "retail remodels."
These are typically stores refurbishing or upgrading existing spaces and needing to redistribute the air to the new layout or "make the air go where it needs to go," said Mr. Bowers.
"They want to outdo their competition. They want to make the customers comfortable," Mr. Bowers explained.
While service and installation are a large part of TB Mechanical's business, systems in both commercial and residential settings must be maintained, Mr. Bowers said.
Many people don't do maintenance because it is not a high priority, but eventually systems suffer and compressors can be destroyed if the filter is not cleaned regularly.
Mr. Bowers recommends spring and fall maintenance for residential customers who have both heating and air conditioning systems.
Commercial systems may require quarterly or even monthly maintenance.
Whether it's maintenance, service, installation or design, Mr. Bowers enjoys all aspects of the HVAC industry.
Business has been steady, said Mr. Bowers, but there is a lot of competition in the field.
So how does TB Mechanical stand out?
"I am an honest guy," Mr. Bowers said. "I put out a quality product for my customers and clients."
Dave Nugent, of Greenworks Builders in New Milford, has done business with TB Mechanical.
"Tod does all my HVAC, and he's always been a pleasure to work with," he said. "With all of the systems he has done, customers have been happy with the air quality of their homes."
For more information, contact TB Mechanical LLC at 860-799-0429 or visit www.tbmechanical.com.
Patricia D'Ascoli is a Spectrum contributing writer