Woods Family Heating & Air Conditioning Has Served the Community’s Heating, Cooling Needs since 1985
The heating and air conditioning business is practically in Rick Woods’ DNA. Rick is the owner, along with his brother, Gary, of Woods Family Heating & Air Conditioning. The two, along with their father, Frank, founded the company in 1985.
Frank, known fondly as Pappy, died this fall. An Abingdon native, he had worked in the heating and air conditioning field since the 1950s starting in Baltimore. His work for the Southland Corporation, which owned the 7-Eleven stores, brought him back to southwest Virginia, where he serviced their heating and cooling needs. Rick and Gary both worked for Johnson Controls, also in the HVAC field. The company first opened in Troutville, but now is located just north of Hollins University on U.S. Route 11. Rick’s son and Gary’s two sons also work for Woods, which employs a total of 30 people.
If the company is multigenerational, so are its customers. In their 35-year history, they’ve taken out systems they originally installed and put in new ones.
“We’ve made lifelong friends,” Rick says.
Their work is almost exclusively residential and includes all types of systems: gas, oil, electric, heat pumps, hot water boilers and air conditioning. Hot water boilers, Rick says, are one of the most reliable and efficient systems, but are not as popular as they once were. Installing a complete new hot water boiler system is very involved—they haven’t done one in about five years. They do, however, replace or upgrade many old boilers.
Rick says they focus more on existing homes over new construction. They used to do more new construction, but because it is so wide open, “anyone can do it.” Older homes present more of a challenge and require more experience. And, “they’re more fun.”
Rick says cooling is their busiest season.
“People dislike living without air conditioning more than without heat,” he says. “I guess they can bundle up in the cooler weather.”
Their service area extends about 30 miles from their office. Rick says they want to be able to reach a customer with a heating or cooling issue in a reasonable amount of time.
Rick offers some advice to homeowners on keeping their heating and cooling systems in good condition: air filters should be replaced monthly.
“People don’t do that. We get a lot of service calls involving dirty systems,” he says. “Sometimes it’s so bad the dirt has gotten into the ductwork.”
He also recommends having the system tuned up every six months to make sure everything is running well.
When he’s not keeping his customers warm or cool, Rick enjoys bicycling. His office is decorated with bicycles and cycling art. He rides for fun and also has done some racing. He says it is wonderful to see the sport becoming popular in the region for all ages. He remembers when cyclists had to “sneak into Carvins Cove, but now, we’re welcomed.”
For more information on Woods Family Heating & Air Conditioning, visit WoodsAC.com.