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Hometown HVAC

Jeff Bowen of JefCo shares his humble beginning and HVAC tips for homeowners

Article by Savannah Vasquez

Photography by Robert Young, Forever Young Images

Originally published in Destin City Lifestyle

Behind every reputable company are hardworking founders, and Jeff Bowen, and his wife Connie of JefCo Air Conditioning and Refrigeration fit the bill. An Air Force veteran, Jeff branched into the civilian world in 1988, and along with his wife Connie founded JefCo in 1995 right in the heart of Destin.  

“I went into the Air Force in 1982 right out of high school and trained as a C-130 Crew Chief, but I later re-trained as an HVAC mechanic,” Jeff said. “My grandfather was an engineer with Lockheed Martin, and he advised me to select HVAC training because there would always be a need for HVAC mechanics. I took his advice and trained with serious intentions of becoming an expert in the trade." 

Jeff launched his HVAC business just before hurricanes Erin and Opal devastated the Destin area, but he said those disasters really brought the community together and helped him build several industry relationships that he still values today.  

“In the months following Opal we helped rebuild so many restaurants in Destin such as Harry T's, McGuires, AJ's, Hog’s Breath, Gilligan's, Boathouse, Harbor Docks and many more. We always want to be there for anyone who needs help and proudly serve the community.” 

In 2001, JefCo AC relocated his office to Santa Rosa Beach. Jeff said his company has grown from just himself to employing 10 technicians and serving the Emerald Coast from Inlet Beach to Fort Walton Beach. As a trusted HVAC business in this area for almost 30 years, Jeff said his focus is to offer the highest quality service and the highest quality brands the industry has to offer. 

“Generally, homeowners do not take an interest in air conditioning systems until it is necessary to purchase or replace one," Jeff said. "Then they begin their due diligence and discover there are many variables between different brands of equipment features and cost. With air conditioning systems, you can get your entry level, mid level and high end equipment with different levels of construction quality, comfort and efficiency features, depending on your budget, comfort plans and priorities.”

Jeff explained that in his opinion, only two brands stand the test of time in the salt-air and humidity of the Florida panhandle.  

“We recommend Trane and Mitsubishi for residential AC systems,” he said. “In our experience they are the best built and manufactured and have the best factory support. The way they hold up in this salt air environment is bar none and we have tried all the others." 

When it comes to replacing your AC system, Jeff and his team are always available to help select the best equipment options for your unique situation. Currently, Jeff is trying to spread the news about an IRS incentive for homeowners with the new Energy Efficient Home Improvement Tax Credit 25C. This annual credit, available through 2032, allows for $3,200 credit for qualified energy efficient improvement expenses including air conditioners and furnaces. Of course, Jeff adds, consult your CPA for filing details, guidelines and questions. 

In addition to the tax credit, Jeff said another motivator for replacing your air-conditioning systems sooner, rather than later, is an industry mandate going into effect next year. In 2025, a mandated change in refrigerant chemical composition will replace the old refrigerant with one that will be less harmful to the atmosphere. Consequently, Jeff explained, the technological advancements will lead to increases in cost across the industry. The existing equipment available now is more affordable and will have a 10-year warranty.

“When you buy a system from JefCo AC, it is a 10-year relationship with service and support," Jeff said, referencing the warranty. "When spending money at this level, customers need to work with someone who understands the best design features for Northwest Florida. JefCo AC has the reputation, the reviews, and the factory support after the installation. We understand that earning our customer's confidence and trust by providing consistent professional services at a fair and reasonable price is the most important aspect of our business."

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