Tuesday, June 06, 2023

Bergenfield—Is your house so drafty you could invite friends over for windsurfing? Did you ever think to yourself, especially during a cold winter like this one, that your heating system seems to be running all the time? Perhaps you’ve thought to yourself that it should be more efficient, or that your insulation should be keeping the heat in the rooms a bit better.

While he doesn’t give windsurfing lessons, O’Neill Contracting’s general manager, Chris Ferrara, knows a lot about heating systems. Ferrara, who has been in the HVAC business for almost a quarter century, said that Brian O’Neill, a Bergenfield resident, is the sole proprietor of the business, which has 35 employees who all have extensive HVAC experience. He also told JLNJ that now is the time to find out if your system can be upgraded to be more efficient. Because of New Jersey’s Home Performance Program, it can be done for little to no upfront costs.

“We are a Home Performance with Energy Star contractor, one of a few in the state,” said Ferrara. “Basically, the Home Performance Program allows homeowners very large rebates if they make energy upgrades to save energy,” he said.

State Rebates are available for those who upgrade their heating systems with either higher efficiency models, insulation, air seal, or other improvements. According to Energystar.gov, “Energy Star distinguishes energy efficient products which may cost more to purchase than standard models, but will pay you back in lower energy bills within a reasonable amount of time, even without a tax credit.”

“In most cases, homeowners have no upfront costs. It’s a very big program. It’s very, very popular,” said Ferrara. “The Home Performance Program is saving people 30–40% on their utility bills every month. In some cases there is a net positive every month...essentially financing itself,” Ferrara said.

If one wanted to start the process, O’Neill would do the free energy efficiency assessment, and the state would determine if the property qualifies for the program. Once qualified, O’Neill would propose an energy audit for recommended improvements. Upon homeowner approval, O’Neill performs the improvements. “And then when we’re done, we perform a second energy audit to prove the energy savings. The state oversees the results, to confirm what we have determined,” he said.

Ferrara added that its HVAC service and installation and energy audits include all types of heating, including natural gas, forced air, steam, and hot water. It also does service and upgrades of air conditioning systems and installs natural-gas home standby generators.

O’Neill works mainly in residential properties in Bergen County, with some light commercial work, though it is also licensed to work in New York. Ferrara added that the experience level of most of its employees is what sets the company apart. “Even though we have a single owner, it’s kind of a collective. The company consists of many professionals that had previously worked with established local HVAC contractors in the area. Their combined experiences have resulted in a successful endeavor, servicing the area for many years. We’re not unique in what we do, as in how we do it,” he said.

Ferrara said that O’Neill is also a value-based business. “We don’t want to be the most expensive company out there, but we want to do work that is of value to the homeowner. We give an honest assessment of what’s going on. No two jobs are the same. Estimating the customer’s needs properly, giving an accurate price, and therefore delivering a high-quality job is our mission statement,” Ferrara added.

To learn more, call O’Neill Contracting at 201-385-6727.

By Elizabeth Kratz

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