First Rate Delivers Comfort and Reliability in All Seasons

First Rate Plumbing, Heating & Cooling client Beverly Klemme notes, “This company fixed my plumbing and AC on schedule and within the original cost estimate. They are not cheap, but they will save you money on re-work if things are not done well by sub-standard contractors who might charge less.”

For more than two decades, the HVAC industry professionals at First Rate Plumbing, Heating and Cooling have been helping homeowners across Albuquerque, Rio Rancho and surrounding areas stay cool in the spring and summer and warm in the fall and winter, as well as providing much-needed support in between.  

Founded in 1999 as Desert Suns Heating and Cooling, the primary focus of the company since its beginning has been to provide a strong range of products and 100 percent customer satisfaction. Owners Andrea Griego and John Barner have a combined 50 years of experience working in the plumbing, heating and cooling industry. “We give our fullest commitment to each job we take on, regardless of the project,” says Griego. “We are proud to say that when we leave a jobsite, we make sure each system we install operates to manufacturer specifications and is aesthetically pleasing to the eye. We want homeowners to be proud of their investment and share the piece of art we leave behind.”

First Rate is an authorized contractor of Daikin heating and cooling systems. “Daikin is a global leader for indoor comfort, with millions of systems installed throughout the world.  Daikin has been improving the comfort of its customers with exceptional products and services for over 95 years,” Griego explains.  Daikin HVAC systems sold by First Rate come with up to a 12-year parts and labor warranty. “This gives our consumer peace of mind in knowing that their system is protected through the average life span and most important, their investment is protected. Our consumers are not only backed by the manufacturer, but they are backed by the level of service that is delivered by First Rate. We do not just install a system, take the money and disappear. We are here to be your support perpetually. You always get a live, knowledgeable person on the phone and a skilled tradesman in your home.”

First Rate installs hundreds of new heating, cooling and water treatment units each year. One of the growing trends in the HVAC industry, notes Griego, is the installation of ductless systems. “Ductless systems are becoming popular because of their energy efficiency and ability to heat and cool only the rooms in use,” she says.

Although a growing number of homeowners in New Mexico with evaporate cooling systems are converting to refrigerated air, there’s also been an uptick in homeowners who are looking to replace outdated or broken refrigerated air systems, notes Griego, adding that this could have to do with the phasing out of R22 (freon) refrigerant, an ozone-depleting substance that many older cooling systems rely on. “Because refrigerant is becoming very expensive, older units are becoming more costly to repair,” she says. “So, many of those same customers are changing out those units and putting in systems with R410 (puron), another type of coolant that is safer for the environment. In addition to the refrigerant change, customers are getting a system that is more efficient, costing less to operate.”

For customers who prefer the added humidity in their home that comes with running an evaporative cooler, Griego says a lot of advancements in these types of systems have taken place in recent years, including the Breezair evaporative cooling system. “With Breezair, you still get humidity in the home plus air delivery that is close to what refrigerated air would give you,” she says.

To get started on a new HVAC system for your home, First Rate will send out a consultant to do a free consultation. They will meet with you to perform a needs and application assessment.  Thereafter, a system that best meets your comfort and application is proposed to you.

You can also call on First Rate when you need a reliable plumbing contractor. Like the company’s HVAC technicians and installers, their plumbers are licensed, meaning they have had the appropriate amount of experience and training before starting out in the field. The company specializes in a variety of plumbing services, including kitchen and bathroom plumbing, water treatment systems, gas piping, main water lines, plumbing remodels, re-piping, leak detection and repair, sump pumps, water heaters, and drain and sewer systems. The company is most proud of the boiler (radiant and baseboard heat) expertise on this team. First Rate co-owner Barner is known as a craftsman in the industry when it comes to boilers and radiant heating, notes Griego. “There’s definitely a demand for this level of expertise with these systems,” she says.

The company can also ensure that your indoor air quality is healthy and comfortable, especially when we are all trying to stay safe during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. First Rate installs, repairs, replaces and maintains a variety of indoor air quality systems.

With cooler fall weather just around the corner, First Rate is a great company to call on for seasonal HVAC checks. The company offers a club membership program that includes three visits per year — once in the cooling season, once in the heating season and once to make sure all plumbing components are working correctly. This program allows for preventative measures to be taken ensuring you are cool and warm when you need it most without breakdowns and avoiding possible plumbing leak catastrophes.

First Rate has received excellent reviews from clients, some of which can be found on the company’s website, including this one last month from customer Beverly Klemme: “This company fixed my plumbing and AC on schedule and within the original cost estimate. They are not cheap, but they will save you money on re-work if things are not done well by sub-standard contractors who might charge less. They found and fixed a leak in my bathroom. They also did some plumbing rework (another company had made several mistakes) and installed a ductless AC system. They were meticulous, friendly, and professional. I am delighted with my new AC. They recommended the most appropriate system for my situation and performed a perfect install. I really got the feeling that they care about the quality of their work and their customers.”  

To help keep your home comfortable in all seasons, visit First Rate Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling online at or call them at 505-859-4329 to schedule an in-home service or consultation.

Business Info:

First Rate Plumbing, Heating & Cooling

(505) 859-4329

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.