Tim Chappell, owner of Elmira Home Comfort (EHC), has been working overtime installing gas lines for clients. Chappell is a gasfitter and refrigerator mechanic and provides installations for furnaces, air conditioners, water heaters, fireplaces, barbecue lines and gas piping. He also installs gas and propane stoves and dryers.
The business has been operating in Elmira since September 2010, and Chappell says he has been very fortunate so far with the support from the community for both the installation and sales side of his business. EHC’s showroom is located at 1 Union St. and offers over 3,000 feet of display space with the appliance sales in the store being steady all year round said Chappell. The business offers a full line of appliances including refrigerators, stoves, freezers, dishwashers, washers and dryers both new and used with brand names such as Whirlpool, Inglis, General Electric, Danby and Frigidaire. The business also provides installation for HVAC equipment and acts as the depot for Sears catalogue pickups, which helps bring in new customers.
“It is an open concept like an indoor sidewalk mall and we find that the flow of traffic in the mall always lead to us,” said Chappell. “The community has been great and we have had a lot of support. We always thought that Elmira could use a store like this that sells the appliances and has the installation services we offer too. ”
A former truck driver, Chappell made the move to become a gasfitter when he decided he wanted a career and not a job. “I had a friend in the trade and he brought me along on a couple of his jobs and it seemed interesting to me so I decided to take the plunge. Every day is something different – it can be a broken furnace where I will either fix it or put a new one in or installing a gas line,” he said.
Chappell’s father-in-law, Dave Robb, runs Belmont Appliance and the two companies work hand in hand, with Belmont taking care of the service side while EHC does the installation side. “We have a very large Mennonite clientele, from my father-in-law being in the business for so long. Now that we have been open for just over a year we are starting to see some repeat customers – that is a good sign.” With 10 years of experience as a gasfitter, Chappell said there have been many changes over the years, especially with furnaces, as older ones are not energy efficient.
“Anything that goes up the chimney of a house is about 50 to 60 per cent efficient whereas the new models are roughly 96 per cent energy efficient,” said Chappell. “With the older models, 50 cents out of every dollar spent on gas goes out the chimney, but with the new furnaces it is just five cents that is lost. They have come a long way but nothing is made like it use to be; just like appliances, you won’t get 30 years out of a furnace anymore but you won’t get 30 years out of anything anymore either.”
Chappell said it’s all about new technology saving his customers money and that allows his customers to run their furnaces, air conditioners or other appliances at a minimal cost. This is a busy season for Chappell as he is installing numerous gas lines for barbecues across the region, including Guelph, Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, Elmira and the surrounding towns and villages. “When we have a good solid warm spell we will be getting a lot of calls for air conditioners and that looks like it may happen earlier this year with the warmer weather we have been experiencing,” he said. “Once people turn on their air conditioners and realize they are not working that is when we get busy.”
This past winter was slow for the company as it was way above seasonal and the company depends on cold winters and hot summers “If mother nature does not agree with us it does not work out so well for us, but on the flip-side the warmer weather starting sooner will give us a better spring and summer this year.”