Birmingham Air Conditioning and Heating: Service, Repair, and Equipment Companies
This local page provides resources and information about A/C and heating service, repair, maintenance, and installers in Birmingham, Alabama and the surrounding metro areas in Jefferson and Shelby Counties. This information includes featured HVAC contractors plus a link to our handy printable grid to compare price quotes. Here you will also find sources of energy efficiency and equipment rebates, the ratio of hours of cooling and heating needed each year, HVAC schools or training and much more.
Useful facts about HVAC contractors
The company you choose will make a big impact on your satisfaction and purchase of a new AC and heating system. Why? They determine the size and type of equipment for your situation and they control the quality of the installation. If you have not yet seen them, in the navigation menu on top of this page you will find quick tips and expanded topics on two essential topics: how to select the right HVAC contractor and how to buy a new central heating and cooling system.
Due to relationships with their equipment distributors or ownership by a manufacturer, some air conditioning and heating contractors install a limited number of equipment brands. Many independents have a brand they prefer or for which they are dealers, but they will usually order and install any brand of new equipment you prefer to buy. However, most HVAC companies will repair and maintain any brand of central heater, furnace and air conditioner you have.
In addition to heating and cooling for indoor comfort and energy savings, an increasing number of HVAC companies perform air quality work such as air filters, dehumidifiers and humidifiers, ventilation and prevention of toxic carbon monoxide (CO) gas from your furnace. However, not all of them perform energy efficiency improvements to houses or buildings, such as the addition of solar screens or radiant barriers. If the service company you contact does not perform energy conservation improvements on homes or buildings, they should be able to recommend another Birmingham area company that does.
How to compare air conditioning and heating equipment price quotes
Air conditioning and heating systems are made of components or units, and these can be interchanged to yield many possible combinations of performance and efficiency. Additionally, based on the particular situation in your home or building, these components must be chosen and installed to accommodate them. For these reasons, comparing proposals, features, and prices can be confusing indeed.
To help you quickly sort through the maze of options, use our free and printer-friendly cost comparison organizer found in the navigation on the top of this page. If you get multiple price quotes, it will save you a lot of time and headaches. This grid allows you to compare the essential features “apples to apples” from contractor bids including: main components; equipment efficiency in SEER and AFUE; manufacturer’s and installer’s warranties; and equipment brand.
How the Birmingham climate and resources affect your HVAC needs and decisions
Local climate exerts one of the main influences on the type of indoor climate control you need. On the heating and cooling list of our country showing 5 zones, Birmingham sits in cooling zone 4 and near the intersection of heating zones 3 and 4. This translates into approximately 1986 cooling hours and 2105 (zone 4) to 2942 (zone 3) heating degree-days each year. To maintain indoor comfort, the average home or building here relies more on heating than A/C annually. Depending on difference in elevation, proximity to a lake, shading, etc., this could be slightly more to 1/3 more. Be sure to rely on actual measurements and advice from a heating and air conditioning professional.
The humid subtropical climate around Birmingham typically brings hot humid summers and mild, but occasionally chilly and damp winters. The hottest months, June through August, have average highs rising to around 90°F. The three coolest months of December, January and February bring average lows in the mid to low 30s. This type of climate has numerous days throughout the year in which you may not need to run your air conditioner or furnace. However, more than heating and cooling contribute to indoor comfort. On these temperate days, a dehumidifier, whole house air filter or fresh air ventilation could make a major improvement in the comfort of your home or building. Of these factors, humidity stands out: the annual humidity here averages 84% before noon and 59% in the afternoon and evenings.
Pollen, allergies and air filters in Birmingham
In Birmingham air filters are a necessity to some residents. Certain Alabama trees and plants can strongly influence what type of air filter you and your A/C system need. Local examples include the cedar/juniper, elm, maple and oak. Other plants such as ragweed in the fall, and other types of allergy producing wildflower pollen in the springtime can also be challenging. The daily pollen count and allergy forecast for the Magic City and the surrounding counties can be found here.
Local utility and conservation providers
For Alabama and the Birmingham area, you can search the DSIRE list energy efficiency rebates and incentives. In many cases, your A/C and heating company can coordinate all available energy conservation and rebate programs, from federal tax credits to local rebates and incentives. Since AC companies work with these programs daily, they can save you some time.
The availability of natural gas helps determine which HVAC equipment will give you the best combination of comfort and lower utility bills. Since natural gas is available in most Birmingham neighborhoods, many consumers have chosen gas central furnaces rather than heat pumps. If natural gas prices climb faster than electricity rates, this trend might change. In situations where a heat pump (dual fuel if gas if available) makes the best choice, some of the factors that affect air source heat pumps include the average daily temperature, fluctuations in temperature, and humidity. Other local conditions such as limestone or solid rock located close to the surface limit the use of ground source heat pumps. For more information on this topic, go to the top of this page and visit the heat pump page under Expanded A/C and Heating Details.
How a whole house approach includes the “envelope” in the load calculation
If you plan to get price quotes to buy a new A-C and heating system, look for contractors who will insert the heating and cooling demands of the north central Alabama climate along with the size and condition of your home or building “envelope” into the load calculation. For many reasons, decisions based only on square footage or using the same size system as the old one without verification should be avoided. This calculation requires considerable training and experience.
Resources for HVAC technical or vocational training in the Birmingham area
If you are interested in learning more about the technical aspects of air conditioning and heating in the greater Birmingham area, such as schools or courses to get training for an Alabama HVAC license, here are some local or regional educational and association links:
Bevill State Community College
P.O. Box 800
Sumiton, AL 35148
Phone: (205)-648-3271 ext. 5215
Bessemer State Technical College
PO Box 308
Bessemer, AL 35021-0308
Phone: (205) 428-6391
ASHRAE Birmingham Region: The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers.