Our HVAC History
Returning to America having spent his early childhood and youth in Ireland, Alan Sinton arrived in Philadelphia in 1953. He quickly put a plan into action to work hard to earn enough money to settle and have Mary his wife and four children follow from Ireland in 1954. Alan worked as a mechanical and electrical tradesman in South Eastern Pennsylvania and Northern New Castle County, Delaware. Working on many projects such as the X15 rocket powered aircraft/space plane, he earned a distinct reputation for knowledge and dedicated hard work.
Moving his family from Upper Darby, Pa to Mendenhall, Pa in 1968 proved to be a great decision when he opened Alan Sinton, Ltd in 1970. Throughout the first ten years work was performed for many local industrial plants, factories, churches, restaurants and residential homes.
“Irish” as he was known to many, created many relationships and continued to offer complementary services to his competent business. Many local landmark’s and prominent people, such as The Empire State Building, The Brandywine River Museum, Bell Telephone, Thiokol chemical company, Phillips Mushroom farms, and Andrew Wyeth were served by Alan’s trusted business. Air conditioning and heating services were added and by the late 1970’s electrical contracting accounted for a small portion of daily business. Mary Sinton maintained all administrative functions, which often meant early mornings and late nights in addition to taking care of their family.
Alan Sinton Ltd relocated to a new main office and shop facility on US Route 1 in Chadds Ford, Pa where a new building offered a better work environment and a full sheet metal shop facility.
Alan and Mary Sinton retired and Robert and Bill took over ownership. A decision was made to pursue a new focus, removing the label of “one stop mechanical contractor”, Robert and Bill renamed the company and planned to focus solely on residential heating and cooling. Martin Gorman was hired in September of 1993 to support all customer and vendor operations. In April of 1994 Martin took over operations of service, maintenance and installation. In May of 1994 after 18 years, Robert left to pursue a new career in sales and communication. As 1995 came to an end, Bill and Martin were planning the future chapter of a new business.
Frustrated with the direction of local and national heating and cooling business, which was strongly influenced by consolidation, Bill closed ComfortAir: A Division of Alan Sinton Ltd and together with Martin Gorman and a few select employees formed a new company focused on the former family business that Alan Sinton had started in 1970. While local HVAC businesses were bought and sold to consolidators, customers were becoming more and more disappointed with the level of service offered by large companies who had never before offered HVAC services. Before long, the consolidators were selling the businesses back to the former owners after record losses. In December of 1995 the business relocated to its current location in Kennett Square, Pa.
In April 2004 Bill asked Martin if he had read the morning paper or seen the local news. Bill was telling Martin that as an Army Reserve helicopter pilot, his aviation unit was going to be activated and would be leaving in a matter of weeks for high-intensity training at high altitude and deployed to Iraq. As a reserve helicopter pilot, Bill’s Wilmington Delaware based Army unit was called for duty. Flying a Blackhawk helicopter was Bill’s other passion and now his county needed him too.
Returning to Kennett Square in December of 2005, Bill found a different climate. Many of his Army unit friends who were deployed just like him had small businesses that had to close or their business was closed while they were on active duty. Their absentee plans did not work out for one reason or another. Bill returned to find his business still running strong. A testament to select employee’s hard work and their dedication while he was serving his country.
While Bill was in Iraq a significant amount of new and existing customers were now inquiring about geothermal systems. Geothermal was nothing new to the business but only amounted to 5-7% of yearly installation business. For over 20 years, many installations were completed for local engineers and leaders in technology industries, who recognized all of the benefits of geothermal systems. Oil prices and propane (delivered gas, a by-product of the petroleum industry, NOT delivered natural gas) prices were increasing significantly. Many new inquiries recognized that we already had extensive geothermal experience and were accredited by the International Geothermal Source Heat Pump Association since 1994, by Jim Bose their director, shortly after they created their accredited installer program. In 2005 we installed more geothermal heat pumps that we had in the previous three years combined. Keeping up with the steady increase of inquiries was and still is quite a challenge. The greater challenge was to make sure that all inquiries were taken care of to the degree that the design and installation were thorough and proper. Unfortunately lots of people don’t plan to replace their HVAC system and as a result, we were not able to help them quickly enough. Each inquiry is handled thoroughly, some taking longer than others. No “rules of thumb” were going to be used which often cripples the HVAC industry. It is extremely important to us to maintain that focus.
Protecting the geothermal concept, additional energy saving options and providing the longest lasting comfort systems available is our core focus every day. Maintaining our core business and employing key personnel who are interested in a very rewarding career. We are actively involved in many school programs and education seminars to promote the proper application of heating and cooling equipment. Thorough evaluation rather than just a new box approach, so to speak. Unfortunately, our industry, for the most part, is not thorough enough. We expect to offer everyone a proper design solution to their needs every time.