Richmond 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 the greater Richmond, Virginia area including Petersburg. 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.
About Richmond HVAC contractors
The local company you choose will make a big impact on your satisfaction and purchase of a new air conditioning 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 Richmond 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 Richmond climate and local resources affect your HVAC Needs
According to a cooling and heating map of the United States that divides the U.S. into five zones, the Richmond area resides in cooling zone 2 and near the intersection of heating zones 2 and 3. These require an estimated 935 cooling hours and 3784 to 2942 heating degree-days per year. For comparison purposes, the average Richmond home needs about 3 to 4 times more heating than cooling. Differences in elevation or other climatic influences can cause variations. For many reasons, it is best to rely on actual measurements and calculations from your local HVAC service company.
The local climate affects your heating and cooling loads and the payback period when comparing the efficiency ratings of different air conditioners, furnaces or heaters. The humid sub-tropical climate of the Richmond area typically brings warm to hot summers and relatively mild winters. Year around, humidity averages 83% in the mornings and 53% in the afternoons and evenings. The three hottest months, June through August, have highs rising to near 90°F. The three coolest months of December, January and February bring average lows around 30°F. This type of climate has numerous days throughout the year in which you may not need to run your air conditioner or furnace based on temperature. However, more than heating and cooling contribute to comfort. On these temperate days, a dehumidifier, whole house air filter or fresh air ventilation could make a big difference your indoor comfort and well being.
Pollen, allergies and air filters in Richmond
In Richmond air filters are a necessity to many residents. Certain central Virginia plants can strongly influence what type of air filter you and your A/C system need. Some notable examples include the Aspen, Birch, Cottonwood, Poplar, Oak trees along with ragweed in the fall. The daily pollen count and allergy forecast for the city and the surrounding communities can be found here.
Local utility and conservation providers
For Richmond and the state of Virginia, the DSIRE database lists current 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.
The availability of fuels such as natural gas or heating oil help determine which HVAC equipment will give you the best combination of comfort and lower utility bills. Since natural gas is available in most Richmond neighborhoods, many consumers choose gas central furnaces or dual fuel heat pumps. If natural gas prices climb faster than electricity rates, this trend might change. In situations where a heat pump 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 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 Richmond area climate along with the size and condition of your home or building “envelope” into a complex, but critical load calculation. For many reasons, a rule of thumb load calculation 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 expertise, and is no place to attempt to cut costs or save time.
Resources for HVAC technical or vocational training in the Richmond area
If you want to learn more about the technical aspects of air conditioning and heating in the Richmond area, such as schools or courses to get training for a Virginia HVAC license, here are some local or regional educational and association links:
Central VA Chapter of ACCA: Local branch of the Air Conditioning Contractors Association of America.
ASHRAE Richmond Chapter: The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers.