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Hero of Summer: Phil Mutz, the AC Repairman

A first responder on the front lines of staying cool

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Imagine yourself in the midst of a sweltering summer heat wave. Outside, the asphalt breathes mirages and egg-cooking temperatures, but inside you can catch a cool break on the couch. What if the unthinkable happens and your air-conditioner breaks?

This particular catastrophe calls for a brand of superhero of the maintenance variety.

Enter Phil Mutz, the AC repair guy.

Mutz — a fifth-generation AC repairman from Moncrief Heating & Air Conditioning with 10 years of experience under his belt — whooshes in like a breeze on a blistering day to be "on the front lines of green-proofing your home," and to chill your hot-tempered emotions.

"I'm like in the Jedi category of this trade," boasts Mutz.

Mutz's arrival usually is not a happy moment. People "aren't really in their right mind" when they've just had to sleep overnight in a 115-degree house or deal with family issues that are exacerbated by the torrid conditions.

"It's kind of a rush walking [in the house] and being the person, kind of the first responder sometimes, and having to simultaneously figure out what's going on, calm down a customer, stop any further damage from occurring, and then remedy the problem," he says. "It's a lot like being a triage nurse, I guess."

In some cases, battling high temperatures, faulty AC units, and customer complaints are the least of his worries. There are also ornery dogs.

"I got attacked by someone's pit bull and then they blamed me for it because I dared to walk in their house. I don't just show up to people's houses, ya know? They call me and I come there," he says.

But aside from the occasional dog bite and other sultry situations, it's not all bad, contends Mutz. "I'm super into this stuff: air conditioning, home performance, energy conservation," he says with a grin. "It's what I do." Mutz adds that "the fun part" about his job is fixing a problem that leaves people feeling relieved and happy.

Next time you find yourself in the direr circumstances of burning up in blazing heat and in need of an AC repair guy, lock up your dog, keep your ill-temper in check, and remember his final words of advice: "Just be cool."

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