Once upon a time, back in the early ’80s, Symbiont Service Corp was a commercial and residential air conditioning contracting company who loved their employees. As such, they battled with how to continue paying their employees during the winter months when no one wanted air conditioners installed. The founder of the company, Roy King, looked around for an opportunity to keep his employees working in the winter and discovered a need for energy-efficient pool heating.
In the early ’80s, energy efficiency was on everyone’s mind as gasoline, natural gas, and electricity costs were high. Swimming pool and spa owners were desperately struggling with the high cost of heating them regardless of what fuel they used. Floridians, with their twelve-month swimming season were spending more money heating their pools and spas than California and Hawaii combined.
Roy took a cue from the Florida Solar Center, new at the time, and used solar collectors to heat pools and spas. However, he discovered that solar power could not deliver what the customer wanted: a consistent way to keep a pool heated above 80 degrees in the winter. Disappointed but not discouraged, Roy investigated another new technology; air source heat pumps. Air source heat pumps were just beginning to emerge in the marketplace and they were a big improvement over solar power. They worked for many residential pools, but not so well for commercial pools as they only produced enough heat during fair and moderately cold weather.
While installing and servicing water-source heat pumps on houses, Roy noticed that the temperature of the groundwater in Florida was very warm and that it didn’t vary more than a degree or two all year. Roy thought, “Why not use a geothermal water source heat pump to heat the swimming pools?” This was a radical new thought and nothing like it existed in the market. So Roy went to work designing it on his own.
In March of 1983, Roy installed the first Symbiont, his geothermal water source heat pump, and it was a great success. As planned, it worked even in cold weather for a fraction of the cost of heating the same pool with gas.
“What this world needs is an energy efficient pool heating system that actually works in cold weather.”
–Roy King, Swimming Pool and Spa Heat Pump Applications
Through his observations and invention, Roy was able to serve both his employees and his customers; his employees by giving them an income all year round, and his customers by providing them with a state of the art, energy-efficient, money-saving way to enjoy their pools and spas all year round. Today Symbiont Service Corp is both an air-conditioning contracting company and a pool and spa heating company, but in all its affairs it holds to the same three values: always be energy efficient, treat our employees well, and delight our customers.
Roy and Karen King have comfortably retired and are living in Cincinnati, Ohio half the year and Englewood, Florida the other half.
Their daughter, Sandy L. King, is now the owner and president of Symbiont Service Corp