Wittichen Supply Company

In Loving Memory of Carl F. Wittichen

carl-wittichenCarl Ferdinand Wittichen, junior
November 25, 1914 – October 29, 2016

Carl Ferdinand Wittichen, junior, peacefully passed away at bedtime on October 29, 2016, at the age of 101. He lived a long, productive, and happy life. He is survived by his loving wife of 66 years, Ivy Vickery Wittichen.

He will be deeply missed by his three daughters, Judy Anderson (Charles), Vicky Henderson (David), and Linda Israel (Charlie). His legacy is his grandchildren: Powell Owens (Dean), Charles Anderson (Charlann), Ivy Schuster (Josef), David Henderson, Griff Israel (Mims), Whitt Israel (Lucy), Robert Israel (Kathleen), Parker Israel, and Ivy Israel. He was blessed with eight great-grandchildren: Zach and Beth Owens, Mary Carolyn Anderson, Julia Schuster, Annie and Elizabeth Israel, Charlie Israel, and was predeceased by infant grandson Finn Israel. In addition, he was predeceased by his parents, Julia Parker Wittichen and Carl Ferdinand Wittichen, senior.

He was a lifelong resident of Birmingham, Alabama. A graduate of Phillips High School, he first attended Birmingham-Southern College. He graduated from Auburn University in 1935, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering. He proudly served his country in World War II as a Major in the Chemical Corps of the United States Army.

Alongside his father, who operated the Wittichen Transfer Company, he began his business career by founding Wittichen Chemical Company. Wittichen Chemical was eventually sold to Thompson-Hayward Chemicals, but not before Mr. Wittichen formed a separate division, Wittichen Supply Company. Wittichen Supply Company, a wholesale distributor to the air-conditioning and refrigeration industry, still operates today. He founded Wittichen Solvents Company, a supplier of booster fluid for jet-propelled airlines, which he sold in 1992. In addition, he served as President of Birmingham Realty Company until 1976. He was a director of Carolina Energies Company and Compass Bank of Birmingham.

He enjoyed an active community life, beginning with the honor of serving in 1948 as the 15th and final King of the Christmas Carnival, a predecessor of the Beaux Arts Krewe. He was President of the Birmingham Kiwanis Club, Board Chairman of the Boys and Girls Club of Central Alabama, President of the Downtown Club, and President of Duffy’s Bend Hunting Club. He was recently honored by the naming of the Wittichen Fountain at Mountain Brook City Hall. He was a member of Briarwood Presbyterian Church, Mountain Brook Club, and Birmingham Country Club.

Mr. Wittichen was an avid outdoorsman, who enjoyed many years of hunting and fishing activities. He especially loved sharing this passion with his family and friends. He took great pride in developing Quail Lake Farm in Springville, Alabama. There he spent countless hours fishing with his wife, and instilling in his grandchildren a love and respect for the outdoors.

He was blessed with wonderful caregivers. His family will be forever grateful to: LaQuetta Barnes, Renee Bellard, Krishun Lyons, Toni Motley, Grace Richardson, Diane Shipp, and Monica Walker. They faithfully ministered to him physically, and most importantly, spiritually, for many days and nights.

There will be a private family graveside on Wednesday, November 2, 2016, followed by a celebration of his life from 3:00-5:00 P.M., at St. Martins-in-the-Pines, 4949 Montevallo Road.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Alabama, P.O. Box 10391, Birmingham, Alabama 35202-0391; or Briarwood Presbyterian Church, 2200 Briarwood Way, Birmingham, Alabama 35243.

“Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the Master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose Master finds him doing so when he returns.” Matthew 24:45-46Well done, good and faithful servant. You are a treasure.

Dothan Branch Burglary, Offering Reward

At approximately 2:20 a.m. on Tuesday, April 12, 4 black males cut through the exterior walls of Wittichen Supply Company at 458 Bic Road in Dothan, Alabama, and stole over $30,000 of Freon 22. These men were in a dark colored late model Nissan Altima and a dark colored late model crew cab Dodge Ram pickup truck. They were there for over an hour, as they cut 5 holes in the building before gaining access. They were also seen watching the building the night before at about the same time. This is the 2nd time in less than a year that this branch has been burglarized, with large amounts of Freon 22 taken both times. Wittichen Supply Company is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those involved. Please contact Officer Charlie Faulkner of the Dothan Police Department at 334-615-3646 with any information. The demand for Freon 22 is exceeding supply due to government regulations requiring its phase-out, resulting in rapidly increasing cost, and theft. We ask that any HVAC contractors who are approached with deals that are “too good to be true” on this product to please help us catch these thieves.  Click images to enlarge.

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SCAM ALERT

Over the past few days, someone has been posing as David Henderson, Charles Herring, or other Wittichen employees in an effort to obtain cash in some kind of scam scheme. They have tried to charge things to our accounts with local vendors, have tried to get our unsuspecting employees to fax Purchase Orders to Building Material Supply Stores, and have contacted customers saying we are downsizing or closing stores and offering them discounted products for cash. The majority of these calls have come from 334-547-9456. If you get a call from this number, it is bogus. If you receive any kind of suspicious call from someone supposedly with Wittichen Supply Company, please alert the branch manager of your local Wittichen Supply Company branch. There is an ongoing police investigation.

R22 Pricing and Availability Update

To all Wittichen Customers:

What is going on with R22?
Why the sudden price increases?
Why the sudden shortages?
Is this just something the manufacturers have cooked up to try and drive the prices up?

I am sure all of you have asked these questions & more a thousand times over the last few days. I am going to try and answer them & give you some information to help you stay on top of the situation.

On October 17, 2014, the EPA issued their final rule for the phase-out of R22 from 2015 – 2019. This final rule calls for:

  • A whopping 57% reduction in R22 consumption allowances from 2014 to 2015.
  • Declining consumption allowances each year through 2019.
  • Zero consumption allowances starting in 2020.

When word of this hit the streets, it created panic-buying everywhere, and Distributor Inventories (which were low because of the off-season anyway) were quickly depleted. As Distributors scrambled to buy more, Manufacturer’s inventories were also quickly depleted because they were already scaling back production for 2014. All 3 U.S. manufacturers quickly raised prices and limited what distributors could order, in an effort to curtail the panic-buying. This plan, however, backfired, and made matters even worse.

What does all of this mean? There will definitely be much less R22 available in the U. S. in 2015 than there was in 2014, and much less than projected demand calls for. What is available will cost much more than it did this year, and the price is going to continue to rise. But, if we are smart in our management of this situation, we can all get through it together. The absolute worst thing anyone can do is panic-buy MORE R22 than they NEED! Wittichen Supply Company is committed to taking care of our loyal customers by having the R22 you NEED. Over the next 2 – 3 months as we work to secure more R22 and while things settle down some, we might have to limit the amount we will sell you at one time based on your previous purchase history from us. We are only doing this to keep some from buying way more than they actually NEED, so we can have enough to take care of all of you.

There are 4 things YOU can do to help us all get through this:

  1. Buy only what you NEED. Trying to buy more than you NEED is only going to make things worse, and drive the price from manufacturers even higher, as they try to stop this panic-buying.
  2. Recover! Recover! Recover! We need your used, recovered R22. Every pound of recovered gas we can get from you and return to DuPont increases the amount of virgin R22 we can buy, and the more we will have available for you. You enable us to take care of your R22 needs in 2015 and beyond by returning every ounce of recovered R22 to us that you possibly can. Every time you do a unit change-out where you are replacing an old R22 unit, recover the gas and bring it to us.
  3. Let us show you DuPont’s MO99, which is a great alternative to R22 in Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Applications. This refrigerant requires no oil change, which makes for an easy retrofit, and performance characteristics are extremely close. MO99 is also now priced well below R22, and that difference will continue to grow. We can supply you with all of the literature you need to show you how easy it is to retrofit an R22 system to MO99. DuPont also has a great video to show you how easy this product is to use. (See below)

  4. Carefully guard your R22 inventory. This stuff is liquid gold, and will walk off if left unattended.

The events of the past few days have created some challenges for our industry. But, we want to assure you that Wittichen Supply Company is working hard behind the scenes to make this as painless as possible for you. With your help in the 4 areas above, we will all be successful in making that happen.

Please take a moment to read this important article from Dupont regarding the EPA’s Final Rule on R-22 for 2015-2019.

Dupont R-22 Article

Thank you so much for your support.

Charles Herring
General Manager

Branch #26 Coming Soon

We are pleased to announce that we will be opening a new branch at 9715 Milton Jones Road Daphne, AL 36526 in the spring of 2015 to better serve our Baldwin County customers across the Bay on the Eastern Shore. Stay tuned for more details!

New Management at our Fort Walton Location

Wittichen Supply Company is proud to announce Steve Ivey as Manager of our Fort Walton Beach, FL branch, replacing Ryan Handley. Steve previously served in an Outside Sales role in our Foley branch. He is energetic, customer service focused, and excited about his new opportunity to serve our Fort Walton customers.

New Birmingham Location

All Wittichen Supply Company Customers,

Wittichen Chemical Company and Wittichen Supply Company, along with the corporate offices have been in this location on the south side of Birmingham since the company was established. Over the years, as the company has grown and UAB has grown, it has been increasingly difficult to operate efficiently out of this facility. The construction of the new ball park directly next door has further complicated matters. We are simply busting at the seams. We don’t have enough showroom/display space. We don’t have enough office space. We are limited on warehouse space. And, worst of all, we do not have enough parking for our customers and employees. Constant UAB Medical Center construction traffic has also made it extremely difficult for our customers to get to us at times. We have known for a long time that we needed to do something, but it is hard to think about moving from where we have always been.

For the last 3 or 4 years, David and I have been looking at all possible options. We have considered moving General Offices out of this location to free up space and parking. With many other industry related businesses located on the north side of town, we have considered splitting this branch into 2, with one on the north side, and one on the south side. We have also considered moving the branch and General Offices in their entirety to another location. But, there just has not been a clear cut simple answer, and it has been difficult finding the best option.

I am happy to announce that on December 31, 2012, we closed on the purchase of a facility that will give us the options we need. This building has approximately 95,000 square feet, and sits on over 3 acres. There is approximately 75,000 square feet of tall warehouse space, and 20,000 square feet of office space. The building is already set up with a large showroom/sales counter/branch office area AND a completely separate General Office area with its own entrance, along with a training room, conference room, and other amenities. It is well set up for a large branch/distribution center/General Office operation all in one type set up. The building is located in a more industrial distribution area on the north side of town, within a few square block radius of many other industry related businesses. Most importantly, there are over 200 marked on-site parking places for our customers and employees. There is a tenant currently in the building through August, 2014.

I am NOT saying we will be moving next September, but we now have something that gives us lots of options. This gives us plenty of time to evaluate the impact the new ball park and other projects will have on our current location. It is a great real estate investment for the company, and allows us the options of (1) relocating General Offices and leasing out the warehouse, (2) relocating General offices and having a branch there and here, or (3) moving everything in its entirety, if we choose to. This just gives us lots of different options and ways we can go, and plenty of time to evaluate those options to determine how we can best serve our customers.

This has been a long and exhaustive effort, and an investment in our future that, despite the uncertainty of our current economy, positions Wittichen Supply Company for years of future growth!

Charles Herring
General Manager

Here are a couple of pictures of the new facility:

Front of Bldg 2 Front of Bldg Inside Counter 2

Inside Counter Inside Warehouse

UPDATE! Coming February, 2015! 2912 – 3rd Avenue North Birmingham, AL 35203

Dirty Sock Syndrome

From information gathered over many years, most professionals agree the “Dirty Sock Syndrome” is caused by bacteria that collects and grows on the indoor coils of heat pumps and air conditioners.

Complaints normally surface when heat pumps go into defrost, or when systems are run in heating for a brief time then switched back into cooling. The bacteria or odor collects and grows on the coil during this heating time and is released all at once when the indoor coil gets cool and damp. Heat pump owners notice the odor when the system goes into defrost, usually when the outdoor temperature dips below 40 degrees. Heat pumps and air conditioners experience the problem, when the air conditioner is turned back on after the heating has been used. Our climate can require heating in the morning and cooling in the afternoon. This is a perfect condition for a complaint to surface.

Read more about Dirty Sock Syndrome and how to resolve it here.