By Camille Gillies

If you lived in Tampa in the 1940s and were lucky enough to have a heating and/or cooling system in your home, it’s possible that you put in a service call to Air Rescue, an air conditioning and heating company that continues to serve the Bay area today. Founded in 1946, Air Rescue claims to hold the title of oldest and largest residential air conditioning business in the Tampa Bay area.

Over the years, the business has grown by leaps and bounds. Drive into Air Rescue’s headquarters off Massaro Blvd. and U.S. Hwy. 301 near Brandon and you can’t help but be impressed by the sheer number of service trucks parked at the building. This is obviously no mom-and-pop operation. According to marketing director Scott Scarboro, Air Rescue boasts a fleet of more than 70 vehicles. And, those numerous trucks travel many miles, as more than 75 technicians visit the homes of loyal customers from Spring Hill to Sarasota.

“We service homes within about a 40-mile radius,” Scott says, adding that the New Tampa/Wesley Chapel area gets a lot of attention due to the age of the homes. He said homes that are 10- 15 years old, a common age for a home in New Tampa and Wesley Chapel, tend to experience the most A/C breakdowns. Air Rescue offers trained professionals who can fix existing air conditioning or heating systems, provide general maintenance and/or install brand-new units.

“We are specialists in residential air conditioners,” explains general manager Steve Cox, adding (and using a medical analogy), “If you’ve got a foot problem, you can choose to go to a general practitioner for treatment or to a podiatrist — a specialist — to have it diagnosed and treated. Similarly, if you have an A/C problem, you can choose a company that works on industrial as well as residential air conditioners, or you can choose a company like ours that specializes only in selling and servicing residential equipment.”

As much as homeowners dread hearing it, A/C systems don’t last forever and, eventually, they all need to be replaced. When an Air Rescue visit involves replacing a total system, the technicians consider many factors to determine which system will work best for the customer.

“There is a science to system replacement,” Scott says. “We analyze the volume, air flow, vent placement and duct work, all of which come into play when evaluating the right system for the homeowner. We tailor the system to fit the home and each homeowner’s needs.”

According to Scott, if your home’s A/C is more than eight years old, you could be saving 10-15 percent on the A/C portion of your electric bill simply by installing a more energy-efficient system. He adds that air conditioning is typically responsible for 60 percent of your power bill and that Air Rescue offers an energy savings guarantee on the installation of its “optimum” and “premium” systems.

“No other company offers an energy-savings guarantee,” Scott claims.

When it comes to air conditioners, preventive maintenance is always a good idea, and Scott says the residents in our area know it.

“One of our most popular promotions in New Tampa and Wesley Chapel is the $79 Total System Rejuvenation,” Scott says. “It is the most thorough tune-up in the business. We totally take apart the system and clean it, bringing it back to factory-fresh condition. We are so confident in it that we offer a six-month no-breakdown guarantee.”

Much of that confidence stems from the professional training and expertise of Air Rescue’s technicians.

“Our technicians undergo extensive training and are certified North American Technicians of Excellence (NATE),” Scott says. “And, since we are sending them into people’s homes, we also are careful to consider their honesty and integrity.”

If the managers appreciate the technicians, the feeling appears to be mutual: Air Rescue last year made the St. Petersburg Times’ list of “Tampa Bay’s Top 70 Workplaces.” Scarboro says employee recognition programs and incentives are key elements responsible for the company’s popularity with its employees.

Those happy technicians will not only visit your home for repairs and installations, they also will stop by to offer a second opinion. Air Rescue will provide a complimentary analysis and you will have the peace of mind of either getting confirmation about the nature of the problem or gaining new insight into the issue at hand.

Sometimes, Air Rescue can diagnose a problem when others fail. One of the company’s testimonials on its website quotes a customer named Joyce, who had a hot-room problem, stating: “I’ve had three previous companies out here with numerous suggestions… nothing worked. I could not believe it! You solved the problem.”

Additional services Air Rescue offers include the replacement of ductwork using a professionally engineered “green” duct system that is free of chemicals. Duct systems have improved over the years and newer systems are more energy efficient and contain antimicrobial materials that reduce the number of allergens in the air. The smooth texture of the newer ducts eliminates the nooks and crannies where dust and allergens traditionally have gotten trapped and built up, which can exacerbate allergies and asthma. The indoor air quality specialists at Air Rescue will give you a complimentary system evaluation, which may also identify air flow inefficiencies that are preventing your home from getting all the cool air your A/C is producing.

If your air conditioning system has a meltdown this summer, don’t sweat it. Air Rescue can provide same-day service. The company’s technicians are on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and they service all major residential brands. To schedule an appointment, call 315-3661 or visit

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