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Rock Island’s Crawford Co. leads the way in geothermal, hybrid and high-efficiency heating and cooling

January 11, 2008

By Catt Foy, Rock Island News - 1/13/08

Crawford Co. of Rock Island prides itself on staying on the leading edge of green technology and maintaining the highest ethical standards in the heating and cooling business. One of the ways it does that is by offering geothermal systems and high-efficiency heating, ventilation and cooling systems, or HVAC, that boast up to 96 percent efficiency.

But what does that really mean to the consumer? In its simplest terms, it means homeowners could save 40 percent or more on their heating and cooling costs annually. It means better indoor air quality. And it means leaving a lighter carbon footprint on the Earth, with a reduced contribution to global warming.

"We've always tried to offer the best products available on the market, and it has been important to align ourselves with the products that offer our customers the most efficient options," said Ian Frink, vice president of Crawford Co.

Harvey Crawford founded the company in 1952 and began operations from his home garage. Crawford was a small six-person residential heating and cooling company when Bob Frink, now president, joined Crawford in 1971.

Bob was joined by Jim Maynard Sr. in 1972. They purchased the company later that year. Jim Sr. retired in 1998.

Crawford Co. began offering high-efficiency systems in the 1980s when new EPA regulations required it. But Bob Frink said Crawford Co. was energy conscious from the start.

"We believed that upgrading insulation to reduce heating and air-conditioning equipment size was a good investment and stressed the upgrade," Bob Frink said. "The size of the equipment could be reduced, the cost of operation would be less and the savings would pay for the insulation and continue to save the home owner energy usage year after year.

"This was a green concept in 1972 before there was a green movement."

Ian Frink pointed out the company was an early member of the Better Heating and Cooling Bureau whose members "hold themselves to a higher standard of workmanship and working with our customers, offering a higher moral and ethical standard." Crawford Co. also is an active member of the Quad-Cities Home Builders Association.

The company offers a diversity of heating and cooling options. "No two quotes are ever the same," said Dan Shoemaker, the residential heating and cooling director. Options can include geothermal systems, hybrid systems, or other standard, but highly efficient, furnaces and air-conditioning systems. For Crawford, the customer's needs are individual and always come first.

"Our years of business - we've been in business since 1952 - say a lot about how you take care of your customers," Shoemaker said.

Geothermal systems, on average, cost about $10,000 more than high-efficiency systems for initial installation, but they begin to pay for themselves after five years. Geothermal is being used more frequently in new construction, but can be retrofitted to older homes. In fact, the older the home, the more energy savings the owner is likely to reap. Homes with poor insulation, or drafty older homes, may benefit the most.

A unit's efficiency is measured by a seasonal energy efficiency ratio, or SEER. Switching from a 20-year-old furnace with an 8SEER to a system from Crawford that boasts a 14SEER can save up to 46 percent of heating and cooling costs each year.

Other options include hybrid systems, which cost a few dollars more than standard, but are considerably less expensive than geothermal. In a hybrid system, "instead of a water-source heat pump, they use an air-to-air heat pump, incorporated with a high efficiency furnace," Shoemaker said.

But to make the greatest impact on global warming, geothermal makes the most sense.

According to the Crawford Co. Web site,, "because it is the lowest in CO2 emissions, geothermal technology provides a solution to global warming by primarily using the natural energy of the earth." And because the heat pump in a geothermal system only uses electricity to move heat, not produce it, the system makes a far lighter carbon footprint than standard systems.

Coupled with other environmentally-friendly practices, such as passive solar and proper landscaping, geothermal or high energy efficient systems offer a way for homeowners to remain comfortable in their homes year round, while helping to save the planet - a prospect that warms not only the body, but the heart as well.