From the Forum – HVAC recommendations?


HVAC recommendations?

“Anyone have any good recommendations for HVAC service in DC? Looks like we’re in need of some AC repairs, but want to find someone who can help with general maintenance and upkeep. Had a terrible experience with Michael & Sons for electrical work, so I don’t want to use them. Would prefer a small company to a giant one that dispatches independent contractors. Any advice appreciated!”

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40 Comment

  • justinbc

    I used Polar Bear based on some recommendations here and they did a satisfactory job. They were really quick to respond and the rates were fair, but I was unhappy with some of the condition they left the job site in.

    • I also used Polar Bear based on a recommendation from a friend and frequent Popville commenter. They had to come back to fix the same issue about 3 weeks after they came the first time, but they didn’t charge me the base fee for the second visit without me even asking, and the repeat visit wasn’t even their fault. They were able to fit me in promptly, arrived right on time for both visits, and had my A/C working again really quickly. I definitely recommend them.

      • Justin, did you let them know that? I actually had the same issue, but I talked to Joe about it and he went out of his way to correct the issue. He also split the cost of boxing in the duct work with me. Little frustrating to hear they’re still doing the same thing.

  • I used Smith and Company (Aaron is one of the co-owners) to replace both my compressor and HVAC. They were fantastic!! Their pricing was reasonable, they were really efficient and clean with the install/removal process and were very communicative and transparent. I will only use them moving forward. I can’t recommend them enough. Aaron: 240-491-8651. Good people.

  • I used Pars Heating and Air Conditioning. They replaced my entire HVAC system including the compressor, and the air handling unit. I was very satisfied with their work, and provided good pricing. Their website is

  • Cropp Metcalfe. Local company, dispatches their own techs, not contractors. The techs are really honest/ straight with you and don’t try to sell you on things you don’t need (for example, some companies will try to convince you that you need a whole new system when you just need a few small repairs). They can be on the higher end of rates, but are well worth it in order to not be jerked around.

    • We also used Cropp Metcalfe and were very happy with their work. We installed a Spacepak system (mini-ducts) to avoid altering the architecture of our rowhouse. They did a great job. Compared to our next door neighbors who used a difference company, our house is much more comfortable whereas they have some rooms that are icy cold and others (their kitchen) that are in the 80s no matter how much they run the system on hot days. They are more expensive than many other companies, but worth it.

  • Matrix Mechanical has been servicing our unit for years. Extremely professional and responsive. It’s clear they take pride in their work and always leave the place clean. Their rates are a bit on the higher side, but it’s worth it for us to know they will take care of the problem.

  • I’ve had good experiences with BMC/Clover and a bad experience with Cropp Metcalfe.

  • McCarthy Services has done good work for me twice. I can’t speak to their pricing, as I have no point of comparison. But the two service calls they did, they showed up on time and got my AC working again.

  • Air Control – the owner Fred came out to my place and, as a woman home on my own, I’m always wary about getting scammed into services I didn’t need. In fact he did the opposite – he fixed the problem we were having and said that a larger fix would likely be needed down the road (we had a leak), but that it wasn’t something we’d need to worry about right away. He was nice, on time, and took plenty of time explaining to me what he was doing, why, and what to expect.

  • – have used for 20+ years at 3 different homes.

  • we may be facing a whole hvac replacement too. does anyone have a ballpark figure for this?

    • Depending on who you go with…$8-$12k?

      • thanks. michael and sons quoted about 12k and we weren’t sure if that was too much. we’re going to get a few estimates. i guess costco has systems too.

    • Cosmos in Alexandria

      • Wouldn’t recommend these guys, sloppy work and sticker advertisements stuck to all the equipment afterwards

    • I think 6 – 9K, if it’s just the compressor/blower units. More if ductwork is involved.

    • justinbc

      Depends on what quality of system you’re replacing. We replaced our inside and outside system, and added a new tankless water heater, for around 12.5K (duct work was already in place).

      • it’d be the outside compressor and inside blower. basically, our house was flipped and they (shocking!) didn’t put in the appropriate BTU unit for the square footage. our a/c runs constantly.

        • jim_ed

          Call several hvac contractors to give you an estimate and ask them to do a block load measurement on the house. Also consider having someone come out and measure your home envelope to see if its because your house is too leaky. It may very well be undersized for the house, but it should be your last option to replace it.

    • We paid $7,650 with Argent two years ago for a brand new Carrier unit (and a new water heater, too). They installed it on the roof (used to be under the deck) and we’ve been really pleased. It seriously cut our electricity bills!

  • Not, I repeat NOT, MP Energy! (can elaborate if needed)

    • Interesting. I used MP Energy (new furnace/ac/ductwork) and while there were some issues initially that we had to resolve and their communications, they were far cheaper than the competition and I would recommend them for rowhouse work. What was your experience?

  • I use Sila Heating and Air Conditioning. I’ve had 2 separate techs over the past 5 years and both were professional and got the job done quickly. (202) 338-9400

  • I do not have a recommendation from personal experience, however I want to support the person who posted this inquiry–Michael & Sons is HORRIBLE. They were unprofessional during my AC installation and did not have a filter with them. What’s worst is that it was 6 weeks later that I finally got the filters (which required me to be home during the day as they refused to ship them to me).

    Every time I see a Michael & Sons advertisement, my blood starts to boil. Argh!

  • Private home or condo? Probably better in a condo if you get someone who has successfully worked in the building. House–you should get someone who works in your area and knows similar kinds of dwellings.

  • Thomas E. Clark. We used them for all the plumbing and AC in a whole house renovation and I can’t recommend them highly enough.

    • Agree wholeheartedly…. Thomas E. Clark was great. Repaired our AC that 4 other companies said needed full replacement. Saved us nearly $8K and it’s still working great. Even added an intake duct to improve efficiency. Our bill dropped significantly after. Ask for Warren Derkazarian (sp?). He’s the man.

  • arctic hvac- saul is great! he’s maintained our (dying) unit for 3 years and we plan on having him replace it too.

    • I would highly recommend Saul from Arctic HVAC. I called him yesterday and he came over in a couple hours and fixed my problem (clogged pipe). He did some maintenance on the HVAC unit as well. He was extremely friendly, efficient, and fair – and even told us how to fix it ourselves if it happens again.
      On another note I called Evans Heating and Cooling multiple times over the last few days, left messages, and never heard back.

      • I actually had a terrible experience with Saul from Arctic HVAC. He wanted a little north of $8k to replace my entire system. Shocked, I called Magnolia Plumbing, Heating & Cooling for a second opinion. They replaced the capacitor and put in 2.5 lbs of freon for less than $700, and my system is cooling perfectly. I recommend Magnolia – they were fair, honest, professional, efficient, courteous – all-around terrific. Saul was a waste of time and $100 for the “service.”

  • saf

    We had Comfort Solutions install our new a/c, and we have a contract with them now. I like them. They do good work, stand behind it, and are reasonably priced.

  • Pertinent question. Bought a home a few months back, and my AC died last night. The inside blower is old, the outside compressor is under a year old (don’t believe the former owners had ever run it). I’m told by Frosty’s (had good luck with them at my old place) that the damn compressor needs to be replaced. It’s under warranty, but I’ll still need to pay for labor (estimate: ~1500).

    So my question: Frosty’s is a Trane shop, and the tech talked trash about the Lennox system the old owners had installed. Does anyone have an opinion on which brands are the most/least reliable?

    My options are basically:
    1) pay 1500 bucks (plus the warranty) to repair this system.
    2) pay at least 2x for a new trane compressor.
    3) pay way more than that for a new compressor and a new blower/furnace (current is ~12 years old).

    • HaileUnlikely

      No normal person has sufficient experience with multiple brands of HVAC systems to assess their reliability in any meaningful way. However, I recall that Consumer Reports rated brand reliability of heat pumps and AC systems a few years ago. It was long enough ago that things may well have changed, but its probably worth looking into in case they’ve updated their ratings.

  • We just had Fred Evans from Evans Heating and Cooling do some work for us. Was quick and fair.

  • I’ve heard michael and son out to my house for multiple issues and they’ve always been great, so it’s interesting to see the negative reviews.

  • HaileUnlikely

    I use Eli’s and have been very happy with them. They are small and only service Montgomery County and upper NW (I live in Takoma and am near the southern boundary of their service area). For whatever it’s worth, I’m a big fan of Consumer Checkbook, and their top rated HVAC companies that service DC are David & Davis and Condon-Reed.

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