Tampa Air Conditioning and Heating: Service, Repair, and Equipment Contractors
This local page provides resources and information about A/C and heating service, repair, maintenance, and installers in the greater Tampa, Florida area including Largo, Sarasota and the surrounding metro areas. 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, local HVAC schools and much more.
About HVAC contractors
The local AC contractor you choose will make a big impact on your satisfaction and purchase of new central air conditioner and heater units. 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 heating and cooling system.
Due to business relationships with their equipment distributors or ownership by a HVAC 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 will order and install any brand of new equipment you prefer to buy. However, most A-C contractors will perform repair and maintenance on any brand of central heater, furnace and air conditioner.
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 gas from your furnace. However, not all of these companies perform energy efficiency improvements to houses or buildings, such as the addition of solar screens or radiant barriers. If the service company you select does not perform conservation improvements on homes or buildings, they should be able to recommend another Tampa Bay 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 more than confusing.
To help you navigate your way 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 from contractor bids including: main components; equipment efficiency in SEER and AFUE; manufacturer’s and installer’s warranties; and equipment brand.
The Tampa climate and resources affect your HVAC needs and decisions
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. On the heating and cooling map of the U.S. with 5 zones, the west coast of the central Florida peninsula lies in cooling zone 5 and heating zone 5. These require approximately 2803 cooling hours and 1263 heating degree-days per year. As a general, relative guide, the average Tampa Bay area home or building would need 2.2 times more air conditioning than heating over a calendar year. Topographical influences and proximity to the beach can your particular situation, so be sure to rely on actual measurements and calculations from your local A-C and heating service company.
The humid subtropical climate in west central Florida brings a few notable characteristics to the area. In the winter, frost is rare, and does not occur every year. The three cooler months of December through February average lows around 50° F. Although hot with high humidity, the summer temperatures do not normally exceed 100° F. The four hottest months of June through August average a high of around 90° F. This type of climate brings a considerable number of days each year in which home heating and cooling may not be needed. However, on these same days, a dehumidifier, whole house air filter or fresh air ventilation could make a huge difference in your indoor comfort.
Pollen, allergies and air filters in Tampa
In Tampa Bay air filters are a necessity to some residents for the indoor well being. Certain coastal Florida plants can strongly influence what type of air filter you and your A/C system need. Some notable examples include grasses, ragweed and Chenopods. The daily pollen count and allergy forecast for Tampa Bay and the surrounding cities can be found here.
Local utility and conservation providers
In this area, TECO Tampa Electric offers a Residential Energy Efficiency Rebates Program. For statewide programs, the DSIRE database for Florida lists additional resources. In many cases, your local A/C and heating contractor can coordinate all available energy conservation and rebate programs, from federal tax credits to local rebates and incentives.
The availability of primary fuels such as natural gas or heating oil can determine which HVAC equipment will give you the best combination of comfort and lower utility bills. Since natural gas is generally available in Tampa neighborhoods, many home and building owners 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 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 stone or 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 are getting price quotes to buy a new A/C and heating system, look for local contractors who will put the heating and cooling demands of the coastal Florida climate along with the size and condition of your home or building “envelope” into a complex, but critical load calculation. For many reasons, you should avoid a rule of thumb load calculation based only on square footage or using the same size system as the old one without verification. This calculation requires considerable expertise and is no place to cut costs or attempt to save time.
Resources for HVAC technical or vocational training in the Tampa area
If you are interested in learning more about the technical aspects of air conditioning and heating in the Tampa Bay area, such as schools or courses to get a Florida HVAC license, here are some local or regional educational and association links:
Pinellas County Schools
Pinellas Education Center
St Petersburg, FL 33711
Telephone: (727) 893-2500
Florida Statewide Chapter of ACCA: Local branch of the Air Conditioning Contractors Association of America.
ASHRAE Florida West Coast Chapter: The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers.