Supporting the growing Lehigh Valley economy: BEHIND THE LIST WITH JIM APGAR OF APGAR OIL ENERGY & HVAC

PHOTO CREDIT: CHRISTOPHER HOLLAND. Jane Apgar Domitrowits (secretary treasurer) and Jim Apgar (owner) of Apgar Oil Energy & HVAC oversee daily operations at the company in Allentown.

Jane Apgar Domitrowits (secretary treasurer) and Jim Apgar (owner) of Apgar Oil Energy & HVAC oversee daily operations at the company in Allentown.

From frigid winters to blazing hot summers, staying warm and keeping cool are vital to our well-being. Whether at work or home, maintaining a stable climate makes a big difference in productivity.

Throughout the Greater Lehigh Valley, there are many heating, ventilation and air conditioning companies that provide commercial, industrial and residential services. One company that’s had a presence in the Greater Lehigh Valley for seven decades is Apgar Oil Energy & HVAC.

Here to answer this week’s “Behind the List” questions is Jim Apgar, owner of the energy provider in Allentown.

Lehigh Valley Business: How long has Apgar Oil Energy & HVAC been operating in the region and what are
its primary services?

Jim Apgar: Apgar Oil Energy & HVAC is a locally owned third-generation family business dedicated to servicing Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton and the Greater Lehigh Valley area since 1947.

For 70 years, Apgar Oil has provided a full-service approach to our customer service by offering an array of products and services such as residential and commercial heating oil delivery, heating oil price protection programs to help customers manage their fuel costs, performing HVAC home comfort tuneups and service support, equipment sales and installation of high-efficiency, energy-star rated oil, natural gas, heat pumps and central air conditioning systems, whole house air filtration systems, fuel saving energy management catalysts and oil tank installation sales and services.
LVB: What have been some of the biggest challenges and opportunities that Apgar Oil Energy & HVAC has
encountered throughout its years in business?

Apgar: Our biggest challenges and opportunities are based on keeping up with the fast-paced, aggressive
and ever-changing business landscape and the critical management of current regulations, while satisfying new compliance mandates and balancing escalating insurance costs that affect our profitability in a very competitive energy and HVAC marketplace.

Also, as an energy provider, we must constantly be attuned to daily worldwide geopolitical events that could
affect our local energy markets. We offer heating oil price protection programs to our customer base and
invest thousands of dollars each year in technical training.

In October 2009, our company had made a proud commitment to deliver a clean-green renewable bioheating oil product. Bio heating oil is a blend of low sulfur heating oil and renewable biofuel (soybean oil), making our heating oil an exceptionally cleaner burning fuel, emitting fewer particulates and greenhouse gas emissions, while increasing heating system efficiency. … Today,
oil heat is 95 percent cleaner than it was in 1970.
LVB: Now that the warmer weather is here, how is Apgar Oil Energy & HVAC preparing to take on the inevitable service calls for air conditioning services?

Apgar: We are preparing for a very aggressive summer HVAC season. The current weather forecast is warmer-than-usual temperatures and could be drier than normal across much of southeast Pennsylvania.

Spring is the air conditioning and heat-pump tuneup time, and with the phasing out of conventional R-22
refrigerant (the most common refrigerant used in older AC and heat pump systems), [it] should provide us with a
positive outlook on HVAC service and installation sales going into late spring and early summer.

Our focus on communications and consumer education is our narrative this cooling season. Our service technicians can provide homeowners with valuable advice when it comes to making proactive decisions on upgrading versus repairing A/C-heat pump systems 15 years or older using R-22 refrigerant. Today’s A/C-heat pump equipment with a SEER [Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio] rating of 16+ is energy-star rated and can qualify for utility rebates. …

Extended parts and labor warranties are offered to provide the customer with up to 10 years of peace of mind,
worry-free operation.
LVB: How does Apgar directly stimulate the local economy?

Apgar: Our mission statement is to buy products from locally owned Lehigh Valley vendors, keeping the money flowing into our community and increase our local tax base. Our use of bio-heating oil supports local and Pennsylvania farmers, increases jobs throughout the entire production and distribution chain and improves total economic impact of our region. Cleaner air by using biofuel components will improve air quality in the Lehigh Valley and reduce health care costs. We believe in energy efficiency and providing proactive advice on using
high-efficiency energy-star rated HVAC equipment to our customers, saving them money year-after-year on annual energy consumption. Energy savings and managing energy costs are tax-free dividends, giving the consumer more spending power for purchasing other products and services throughout the Lehigh Valley.
LVB: What does the future look like for Apgar Oil Energy & HVAC? Does it have plans for growth?

Apgar: We are proud to be a part of the Lehigh Valley community where our customers showed us so much loyalty throughout the years. Our vision is a bright, clean and green future using bio-heating fuels and promoting energy-star HVAC equipment.

Supporting the growing Lehigh Valley economy, bio-heating oil is also used in commercial applications to provide
heat, hot water and steam for apartment buildings, churches, hospitals, arenas, hotels and many other commercial and industrial applications. … Another flexible use of green renewable bio-energy is bio-diesel. With
the increased traffic flow throughout the Lehigh Valley a greater demand of bio-diesel will be used commercially
for fueling of trucks, railroad turbine engines, off-road highway equipment, cranes, generators and aircraft.

With the ongoing advancements and use of bio-heating fuels for residential and commercial applications, this renewable energy offers our company opportunity to grow with the expanding Lehigh Valley economy.
… If every household using conventional heating oil switched to bio-heat, it would conserve over 400 million gallons of regular heating oil, reducing our dependency on foreign oil.


Original story published in Lehigh Valley Business, May 1, 2017.