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Residential HVAC, Residential Installations

Residential HVAC Services: Innovation Improves Cooling in NYC Luxury Homes


What’s so special about residential HVAC services in Manhattan?

There’s no place in the world like New York City. The skyline, the culture, the diversity… it’s one of the most exciting and interesting places in the world. That’s why over 1.6 million people choose to make their homes in the 22 square miles that make up the island of Manhattan. That works out to nearly 72,000 residents per square mile, all competing for the same space and resources. No wonder living space is no outrageously expensive!

The crowded conditions in Manhattan make providing residential HVAC services a unique challenge. We have to deal with situations that just don’t happen in other parts of the country (at least not all at the same time!). These are just a few examples:

  • Luxury residential space is worth a small fortune in Manhattan: prices can top $5,000 per square foot. So nobody wants to use that expensive space to house HVAC systems. We don’t have the luxury of having mechanical rooms, so we must make equipment fit into every available nook and cranny.
  • One of a kind specialty finishes adorn every luxury home. There’s no cutting holes in a wall covered with irreplaceable stingray skin!
  • There is little access to outdoor space. Especially in apartment buildings, there is no backyard (or even roof access) to install condensing units.
  • In historic brownstone townhouses, residents don’t want to lose their high ceilings to make room for a/c ducts and air handlers.
  • Landmark buildings have even more restrictions about penetrating walls and where equipment can be located.

The point is, providing quality residential HVAC services in New York City means being willing to take on the unique problems that happen in luxury Manhattan residences and being able to come up with creative ways to solve them.

Here’s a story that illustrates the attitude and the ingenuity that you should be looking for when you need superior residential HVAC services for luxury spaces in the city.

NYC residential HVAC: a Park Avenue learning experience

The problem: not enough power

Quite a few years ago, we installed an air conditioning system in a client’s residence on Park Avenue. Some time later, the customer began experiencing problems: the unit would keep shutting off and her apartment was not reaching the set temperature.

Arista’s field supervisor, Alan, was called in to investigate the problem. It was a 90 degree day, the apartment was hot as blazes and the compressor would not even turn on. Alan immediately suspected that the cause was power related. It’s an all-too-common problem in New York City apartment buildings. As more and more power is required in residences, the electrical system in older buildings can’t always accommodate the demand. Air conditioning can often be adversely affected: when air conditioning units draw too much power upon starting up, they can blow electrical breakers and shut down the air conditioner’s compressor. The unit was simply drawing too much power.

A custom solution

Understanding the problem was all well and good. Yet in this case, knowing the cause was a far cry from fixing it. Resetting the unit would get it to turn on, but the problem would only happen again. Alan realized that a modification to the equipment design was needed to overcome the electrical issues.

Now, to understand what we did next you need to know something about Arista. Our unofficial motto (coined by our founder Stanley Berger) is “stay there until you figure it out.” Many providers of residential HVAC services would have just explained that the problem was a manufacturing issue, and let the homeowner deal with the equipment manufacturer. Alan knew that strategy would never fly at Arista. We feel responsible for every system we install, no matter what the cause of the problem.

So Alan decided to take the unit apart to see what modifications could be made to change the way the unit powered up. After a bit of detective work, he realized that keeping the fan running briefly after the compressor stops would equalize the pressure, so the compressor would not need to draw as much power to start again. This design change allowed the unit to run reliably and keep the apartment cool and comfortable. And as a bonus, it even made the unit quieter (another sought-after feature in luxury apartments).

A product innovation

The homeowner was thrilled to have a cool apartment again, yet she was concerned about what Alan had done to modify her air conditioning unit. Was it safe for the long term? To find out, she wrote to the manufacturer to tell them her story.

Meanwhile, Arista also realized that we needed to inform the equipment manufacturer about the successful residential HVAC services Alan had provided, but for a different reason. We knew that Alan’s design modification was the answer to a common New York City air conditioning problem, and we hoped that the manufacturer would incorporate his solution into a new model.

We were fortunate in a couple of ways:

  • When you are serving a market the size of New York City, the manufacturers tend to take your unique needs more seriously, and
  • For decades, Arista has enjoyed a great working relationship with many equipment manufacturers, and they often turn to us to help them troubleshoot and test new equipment designs.

In the end, we did convince the manufacturer to incorporate Alan’s design into a new model of the air conditioner specifically built for New York City high rise apartments. And the homeowner? She was quite proud of having the prototype of a new equipment solution in her home! And we are proud to say that she is still an Arista residential HVAC services customer to this day.

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Are you getting quality residential HVAC services?

Having the technical know-how to take apart a piece of equipment and change how it works is not a quality you will find in every residential HVAC services provider. Yet if you own a luxury residence in Manhattan, that’s exactly what you need. And even more important, you need a provider that’s willing to go the extra mile and do what it takes to solve your problems.

If you’re considering a new air conditioning system for a luxury residence, comparing providers of residential HVAC services is tricky enough, but comparing all the types of HVAC systems out there can be a daunting prospect. We’ve made it easy with this handy guide to The Ultimate Guide to Air Conditioning for NYC Luxury Residential Spaces. Get your free copy now!