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25 Nov 2016 
The group finally headed off in good spirits. Mr. Ramos had sold his motorcycle to pay the smuggler, telling his mother he would not need it anymore. She packed him a waterproof bag with some meager belongings: soap, toothpaste, antibiotics and a few clothes. A van arrived and they left.

That afternoon, they arrived at the rendezvous point with the smuggler, a town called Tucacas. They stayed the night in a hostel there. The motor of one of the boats had failed recently, something that worried Mr. Ramos when he wrote to a friend who had agreed to meet him in the jungle once he landed in Curaao.

Its O.K. man just relax, youll be here soon, the friend wrote in Facebook message that Mr. Cordero forwarded to his mother.

Yes bro, tomorrow, God willing, Mr. Ramos wrote back.

Mr. Cordero climbed aboard the boat and sent a selfie to his sister. He wore yellow board shorts and no shirt, making a peace sign with his hands.

It was the last anyone heard from anyone in the group.

The first to know something had gone wrong was Ms. Ramos. The friend in Curaao wrote over Facebook that he had waited all night but her son never arrived.

I cried all night, she said.

Questions haunt the families of the lost migrants each time they look out toward the sea. Could the men still be alive somehow? Will Venezuela ever return to the country that it was, one where it was not necessary to swim to the shore in Curaao after being tossed from a fishing boat?

Ms. Ramos is still waiting for her son and speaks of him in the present tense. Each Sunday, she goes to Mass to pray for his return.

I always speak to God, said Ms. Ramos. I am always looking up at that picture of the Virgin. I am scared one day she will yell back at me, Enough, already. Thats enough.

Whims of the PassageRolando Bello sat on a pier in Curaao, worrying about his mother. It was September, a week before she stepped aboard a boat to join him in Curaao. He knew the dangers well, having made the journey twice himself.

Last year, he says, Mr. Cordero and Mr. Ramos had approached him to join their doomed trip before they set off.

I was this close to going, he said. You see what would have happened to me.

Now his family was being subjected to the dangerous whims of the passage once more.

His mothers boat was getting ready to set off. His sister, who had been dragged ashore by her hair, had been caught by the Curaao authorities and deported back to Venezuela over the summer. Desperate to work, she had sneaked into Aruba instead, taking a loan from a smuggling ring to get there.

But at least his wife was with him. She came to Curaao that month under a new scheme. Because she did not have the $1,000 needed to pose as a Venezuelan tourist at customs, smugglers rented her the money to satisfy the new cash requirement, which is imposed only on Venezuelans. The smugglers agents in Curaao then quickly approached her at the airport to take back the money and to collect the $100 rental fee.

Mr. Bellos wife, Lennymar Chvez, sat next to her husband and the two ate a large lunch. A boat sailed past a row of colonial facades, and Venezuela felt a world away.

I havent eaten an arepa for three months, she said, referring to the Venezuelan staple of corn flour, which has become increasingly hard to find at home. I ate one here in Curaao for the first time.

They had left their 7-year-old daughter in La Vela with relatives. Mr. Bello had trained to be an engineer in Venezuelas oil industry. Now he was a construction day laborer, happily earning about $65 a day. Ms. Chvez trained to be a nurse, but held few hopes of working in her profession in Curaao.

I dont mind cleaning now, she said. The important thing is that Im working here.

But the authorities in Curaao, like many tiny islands, fear the immigrants will undercut the local labor force or bring violent crime.

My preoccupation is what kind of people are entering Curaao, said Nelson Navarro, the islands justice minister who argued that the increase in Venezuelans coincided with a 15 percent rise in crime, particularly armed robberies. In Venezuela, they dont hesitate to shoot a police officer, but here, this is news.

Alex Rosaria, a legislator on the island, worries that the migrants will further strain Curaao, where unemployment is at 11 percent.

We have only a limited capacity to deal with refugees, Mr. Rosaria said.

For now, the task has been left to the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard. Rob Jurriansen, a Dutch naval officer who heads operations in Curaao, says his small fleet intercepted only a tiny fraction of the migrants, perhaps just 5 to 10 percent of the boats coming from Venezuela. Now he says officials in Netherlands, the former colonial power that is still formally tied to Curaao within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, fear they will also get stuck with the bill of caring for a migrant tide.

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22 Sep 2016 
Its seven weeks before Election Day, five days before the highly anticipated first debate, and Donald Trumps television advertisements have all but vanished.

Trumps ads last ran nearly a week ago in four battleground states: Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Since then, the GOP presidential nominee has ceded the airwaves to Hillary Clinton and is only poised to launch a limited, less-targeted ad campaign in the days before next weeks debate.

Story Continued Below

While his campaign announced a new ad on Tuesday, its only going to run on national cable news stations and during two Sunday morning public-affairs shows, according to data from The Tracking Firm, a company that monitors media buys. And even with that seemingly modest buy the full extent of which wasn't clear on Wednesday night Clinton is still outspending him this week many times over.

Its unprecedented for a major-party nominee in this century to have such an on-again, off-again TV buy, said Elizabeth Wilner, a former TV-network political director who, until last month, monitored political advertising for Kantar Media/CMAG.

The strategy has perplexed political media buyers who arent affiliated with the campaign. Trumps campaign is underfunded compared to Hillary Clintons his campaign had only $50 million on hand as of Aug. 30, according to documents filed with the Federal Election Commission Tuesday night but Trumps failure to advertise consistently threatens the efficacy of his entire paid media campaign, limited as it is.

The political media buyers, including Republicans who declined to be named in criticizing the nominee, warned that the effects of television ads are fleeting, and any benefit Trump might get from putting his paid advertisements in front of voters can be undone with time if those messages arent reinforced.


The GOP nominees absence is also compounding Clintons domination of the airwaves. Last week, Smart Media Group, a media buying firm that works with the Republican National Committee, wrote in a memo to the Trump campaign that through Sept. 12, Trump had spent just $17 million on TV ads, compared to $126 million for Clinton. If outside group spending is counted, the disparity is even more stunning: $244 million for Clinton versus $33 million for Trump.

The highly unusual decision to go mostly dark in advance of the debate is emblematic of Trumps approach to television advertising in the general election, a patchwork effort that has engaged in swing states only in fits and starts. Of the 20 days thus far in September, Trump has advertised in Florida, North Carolina and Pennsylvania for 11 days, and for 12 in Ohio. Hes also run one-week flights in a number of other states beginning over Labor Day weekend, only to let those expire more than a week ago and decline to rebook.

A Trump campaign spokesman declined to reply to inquiries on Tuesday and Wednesday about the campaigns strategy.

Clinton, meanwhile, is continuing to blanket eight states in ads.

Confusion about Trumps strategy runs beyond the scale of his advertising its the unpredictable nature of where and when he is advertising. When Trump first launched his TV ads in mid-August, they were focused on four core states: Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Together, those states will award 82 electoral votes and Trump will win the election if he carries those four and holds all the other states Mitt Romney won in 2012.

Trump went on the air in those states on August 19, and he kept advertising in them through September 6 or 7, depending on the state.

While those ads were on the air, Trump expanded to six new states: Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire and Virginia. Ads began in those states in early September and ran for roughly one week including an eye-popping, $2.2-million buy in Virginia, where the Clinton campaign stopped advertising last month after pulling comfortably ahead in the polls.


But the Trump ads ended between September 7 and September 10, depending on the state. Trump has been off the air in those places ever since.

Meanwhile, he reengaged in his four core states Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania on September 12. (Both campaigns abstained from airing ads on the 15th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks.) After nearly a week off the air in those four states most central to his candidacy, Trump last Monday rolled out a combined $2.5-million ad buy over five days. But those reservations ended last Friday.

In their place, Trumps campaign is planning a limited ad campaign, buying time on four cable stations: Fox Business Network, Fox News Channel, MSNBC and CNBC. Hes also planning to run national ads during at least two of the national Sunday morning public affairs programs on broadcast TV: Fox News Sunday and NBCs Meet the Press.

For political purposes, its a relatively inefficient buy. The 11 states that make up POLITICO's Battleground States project hold roughly 29 percent of the population. That means, roughly speaking, that seven-in-10 Americans reached by a national ad buy live outside the battleground states.

The Clinton campaign, on the other hand, continues to advertise heavily in eight targeted states: Arizona, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio and Pennsylvania, while also, at times, running national advertisements. (The campaigns investments in Arizona, which has voted Republican in 15 of the last 16 presidential elections, are much smaller than in the other states.)

Just this week from Tuesday through next Monday, the day of the first debate Clinton is poised to spend nearly $6.8 million on TV ads, backed up by another $5.6 million from pro-Clinton super PAC Priorities USA Action in those states, minus Arizona.

Trumps air cover from outside groups is also far more limited than Clintons. Rebuilding America Now, a pro-Trump super PAC, is spending $635,000 in Pennsylvania this week. And an anti-Clinton super PAC based in Wisconsin, Reform America Fund, is spending $332,000 in that state, where neither campaign has advertised thus far.

Donald Trump makes a visit to Stamey's Barbecue on Sept. 20 in Greensboro, North Carolina.

There are some signs Trumps campaign may be focusing on its seemingly haphazard ad efforts. GOP ad-maker Rex Elsass met with Trump campaign officials last week, POLITICO reported on Tuesday. The campaign has already reserved about $2.8 million in satellite TV ads slated to air beginning on Tuesday, Sept. 27, through the day before Election Day in eight states: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

For Trump, theres risk in continuing to delay: Booking ads at the last minute, as Trumps campaign has been doing, sometimes means spending more money for the same spot as a campaign that makes its reservations earlier. And there are some signs that some of the late decision-making is driven by the candidate: The New York Times reported earlier this month that Trump himself has been selecting the media markets in which the campaign has been advertising.

Since research suggests the effects of television ads are short-lived and with the race tightening in the battleground states in recent weeks, Trump can ill-afford to regress.

It has to be consistent, said one GOP ad-buyer, because the recall on these just evaporates when you go dark.

Alex Isenstadt contributed to this report.

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23 Jun 2016 
NEW YORK On the 26th floor of Trump Tower in Manhattan, Secret Service agents stand guard at the elevator to keep all but a handful of people away from Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. But on this spring afternoon, Trumps son-in-law, Jared Kushner, breezes right through to Trumps corner office, not long after his oldest son just left.

Hi, Jared. Are you all set with the meetings? Trump said to Kushner, a stack of papers in his hand.

One trademark of the most unconventional campaign in modern history is that members of Trumps family who have virtually no political experience are so deeply involved in his campaign that they often act as gatekeepers and strategists. Their influence was clear this week when Trump decided to fire his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, after his adult children and Kushner met with him on Fathers Day at a Trump golf course in New Jersey.

Kushner, who is married to Ivanka Trump, and Donald Trumps three oldest children are in frequent contact with Republican National Committee officials, who have come to expect at least one of them at campaign meetings. Family members are involved in drafting speeches, messaging and policy, several people familiar with the campaign said.

Family members are often among the closest advisers to any candidate, of course. Kevin Madden, a veteran political operative who advised 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney, recalled how Romneys wife and sons spoke on the candidates behalf, adding personal details that others could not. But, he added, the family members in the Romney campaign deferred to professional staff in the running of the campaign.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump called his sons Don and Eric up on stage during a rally in January. "They're good boys," Trump said after they spoke in support of their father. (Reuters)

Trump, however, has never played by the book. And because his operation is so tiny about 70 paid staff members compared with Hillary Clintons 683 his familys impact is even more pronounced.

The campaigns latest financial filings showed that not only did Trump have a surprisingly small amount of cash on hand $1.3 million but he had spent more than $1.1 million in May reimbursing his properties and family members for expenses.

[Trump spent more than $1 million in May reimbursing his companies and family]

Even as they help on the campaign, Trumps oldest children are also shouldering more day-to-day responsibilities at the Trump Organization, where each is a top executive. Don Jr., Ivanka and Eric Trump all in their 30s have offices one floor below their fathers in Trump Tower, the Manhattan landmark that houses both the headquarters of the campaign and the family business.

Everything weve ever done, weve done as a family, Eric Trump, 32, said in an interview this year. Every project weve ever built, weve built as a family. The Apprentice we did as a family. The golf courses and hotels we do as a family.... We vacation as a family.

Don Jr., 38, spoke to ABCs Good Morning America on Tuesday to explain why Lewandowski was let go. There does have to be a transition to the general election and it was time to move on, he said.

Don Jr. also fielded questions about the timing of his fathers vice presidential deliberations, poor fundraising numbers and advertising strategy.

Lewandowskis abrupt departure was spurred in part by suspicions within the family that he was trying to sideline Kushner by spreading dirt to the media about him.

In 2005, Kushners father, Charles, was convicted in federal court of making illegal campaign contributions, tax evasion and witness tampering. The charges were rooted in a nasty family dispute that involved Charles Kushner hiring a prostitute to seduce his brother-in-law in order to get an incriminating sex tape.

Jared Kushner the 35-year-old chief executive of a huge family real estate company now sits in campaign meetings with the prosecutor in that case, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), who was a U.S. attorney at the time and now advises Trump.

Kushner is as low-key as his father-in-law is boisterous. He avoids making public comments but is widely credited with helping Trump write his well-received March speech to the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC. In it, Trump used a teleprompter for the first time.

[Trumps top example of foreign experience: A Scottish golf course losing millions]

Kushner looks younger than his 35 years and is the father of three small children with Ivanka. He comes from an Orthodox Jewish family; Ivanka converted before they married. Kushner also has made a long list of donations to Democrats in New York and New Jersey.

But he is an enthusiastic supporter of Trump and frequently travels with him, including a recent trip to Washington to meet with House Speaker Paul D. Ryans policy team. Kushner, who is also publisher of the New York Observer newspaper, helped connect Trump to former secretary of state Henry Kissinger for foreign affairs advice and to Rupert Murdoch to mend relations with his Fox News Channel.

During a victory speech in Indiana during the primary, Trump praised his son-in-law, telling the crowd: Honestly, Jared is a very successful real estate person, but I actually think he likes politics more than he likes real estate. ... Hes very good at politics.

In the April encounter in Trump Tower, Kushner deferred questions about Trump to his wife. But he did say that his father-in-law called Ivanka three times a day when she couldnt join him on the campaign trail because she was about to have a baby.

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus speaks to Kushner and the three eldest Trump children regularly in these weeks ahead of the party convention in Cleveland, according to RNC spokesman Sean Spicer. Trumps family is also expected to play a central role at the event.

Ivanka, 34, who is as controlled as Trump is spontaneous, has urged her father to soften his tone, several people who know the family said. She has tried to avoid commenting on her fathers specific policies publicly and focused her huge social media following on noncontroversial topics such as balancing work and children.

She has also defended her father when critics have called him sexist, saying he always promoted women to top positions and offered her the same chance in the workplace as her brothers.

One person familiar with the campaign operation, who requested anonymity to discuss the Trump family, said the moguls children have been involved in part because for better or worse, the Trump brand is intermingled with the campaign. He said the children help Trump understand which of his messages are getting across and which are flopping, and that Ivanka was key in him offering support for Planned Parenthoods non-abortion work, even though many Republicans do not.

In addition to the three oldest children, from his marriage to Ivana Trump, Donald Trump has a 22-year-old daughter, Tiffany, from his second marriage, to Marla Maples, and a 10-year-old son, Barron, with current wife, Melania Trump.

Good kids. Good relationships, Trump said, when asked about his children in a recent interview. He said that relationships tightened when they were old enough to start working with him. People often get the wrong idea of who he really is, Trump said, but people do think I have been a good father.

Jay Goldberg, a top New York lawyer who advised Trump for 15 years until 2005, said Trump is very loyal to his children and is lucky that they are monumentally smart.

Goldberg said his own work with Trump waned when the children, though then only in their 20s, had strong ideas and the backing of their father about how to expand the family business. Trumps core business was real estate holdings and they wanted to expand, selling the Trump name to other hoteliers in franchise deals as well as marketing Trump merchandise ranging from furniture to fragrances.

They were interested in franchising, I was not, said Goldberg. I didnt like the suits and cuff-links and shirts.

At a time when Trump is under attack even by many within his own party, several who know him say a man who has always valued family loyalty is drawing them even closer.

Were naturally protective of our father. I think we also have a unique ability a lifetime of trust with him, Eric Trump said in an interview on Tuesday. We have 11 years of being executives within his organization. ... Hes learned to trust us. The one thing that I can tell you is Ivanka, Don and I will be by his side.

Dan Zak and Alice Crites contributed to this report.
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19 Apr 2016 
[This is the second of five installments of an ABC News digital special report '5 Days', which tells the hour-by-hour, day-by-day story of the investigation into the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, with behind-the-scenes details based on interviews and evidence gathered by the FBI and Boston law enforcement agents who worked the investigation. CLICK HERE to see Day 1.]

Twenty-four hours after the deadly Boston Marathon bombings, the FBI was chasing down every lead, investigating and dismissing a growing number of potential suspects.

Some were put on round-the-clock surveillance, and the FBI launched its largest-ever aerial fleet to circle over Boston in the hunt for the bombers.

Meanwhile, one of the bombers, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, returned to his dorm room at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, where over the next two days he busied himself working out at the school gym and spending the night smoking pot and watching movies with his friends.

His older brother and accomplice, Tamerlan, remained at his home with his wife and infant daughter, just a few miles from Boston FBI headquarters.

Even though Tamerlan had been the subject of an FBI investigation as a possible terrorist just two years earlier, no one pulled his file from the bureaus system for counter-terrorism assessments or suggested he be questioned in connection with the bombing. Russian intelligence had told the FBI in 2011 that Tamerlan was an "adherent[] of radical Islam," but the FBI in Boston at the time had found "no link or 'nexus' to terrorism,'" according to a post-attack report by the Intelligence Community's Inspector General.

Soon after the bombing, FBI agents had recovered some surveillance footage from the site of one of the blasts. Shot by a surveillance camera at the Forum restaurant, the video showed the crowd at the outdoor section of the bar as well as people walking along and lining up at the street to watch the marathon runners go by.

The video seemed to be pointed just to the side of the site of the second explosion, showing a huge fireball and then the graphic aftermath. It also showed, investigators hoped, whoever placed the bomb there.

Analysts watched it and re-watched it dozens of times, but none could spot anyone that looked suspicious, much less like a mass murderer dropping off a bomb. They were stuck.

A spectators still photo would prove to be the turning point in the FBIs urgent investigation. The still showed the finish line and the Forum crowd from across the street, giving the agents another, key perspective. The photo came from a man who said he couldn't get through to authorities for hours amid all the confusion, and he nearly gave up.

Finally, someone answered his call, and once the agents in the FBIs Computer Analysis Response Team (CART) lab saw the photo, they realized they had the key to cracking the case.

He was hidden in plain sight, said FBI agent Kevin Swindon, who ran the CART lab in Boston. [Before that,] we couldnt see anything that stuck out.

The photo, closely examined, showed a black backpack on the ground in the precise place that was what analysts said was the seat of the bomb -- the exact spot where it exploded, next to a tree just behind eight-year-old Martin Richard, who was killed in the blast. Standing over the backpack was a young man with a white baseball cap worn backward.

That was the 'Ah-ha!' said Swindon. "We said, 'That's gotta be the bomb.'"

Armed with the still photo, the agents then turned back to the surveillance video. Now the agents were able to cross-reference the images they saw in the still to what they saw on the tape. And from the 174 people seen walking in and out of the the frame, they were able to zero in on the man who they believed to be a suspect: a man in a backwards cap they would call White Hat.

It was a huge development. Now the agents in the CART lab played the tape backward as they tried to determine where White Hat had come from.

There was video footage that could answer that question and lead to a second suspect, but at the time, the FBI didn't know it.

Whiskeys Smokehouse on Boylston Street had all 36 of its surveillance cameras rolling that afternoon. A frequent target of lawsuits, the owners said they had made sure there was a video record of everything that happened inside and outside of the popular bar.

Oh, my God, we have cameras, recalled the manager, Becky Caloggero, after the bombs went off down the block.

But the system recorded over the previous days taping every 24 hours -- and time was running out. But because the area was closed off to everyone, she could not get to the bar to turn off the machine.

Finally, she got through to Boston police headquarters where Lt. Detective Mike McCarthy, an aide to Superintendent William Evans, picked up the phone.

You need to get here right away, she told McCarthy.

It was a race against time as the two officers scrambled to get to Whiskeys and disable the surveillance system in time to preserve the previous days recording, which would turn out to be crucial.

Late that night, the Whiskeys video was at the FBI CART lab being prepared for viewing by agent Kevin Swindon and his team.

That was essentially our second Ah-ha! moment, Swindon told ABC News. That was the Wow.

When we see them together, now we have White Hat and we have Black Hat, where now were looking for two bombers, said FBI agent Kieran Ramsey.

Late that day at Massachusetts General Hospital, marathon spectator Jeff Bauman regained consciousness and realized one of his legs had been amputated.

He said he clearly remembered an encounter with a man in a black hat who bumped into him seconds before the bomb blast. At the time, he thought something about the young man felt off, but he had turned his attention back to the race, in which his fiance was running.

In the hospital and unable to speak, he wrote a note to his brother, I want to talk to the FBI.

Agents brought a sketch artist and Baumans description led to a drawing of a possible suspect, that would later be acknowledged as a remarkable likeness to Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

At the time, however, agents gave it little credence.

As night fell Tuesday, the FBI believed they had grainy footage potentially showing two suspects, but they didn't know much more than that and they knew they were running out of time to track the attackers down.

"We have them visually identified, said FBI agent Ramsey. We still dont know who they are. And at that time, we didnt know where they were and what they were going to do next."

'Five Days': Reported by Brian Ross, Rhonda Schwartz, Michele McPhee, Megan Christie, Randy Kreider, and Lee Ferran. Written by Brian Ross. Research by Alex Hosenball, Cho Park, Zoe Lake and Michael Birnkrant. Video editing by Shilpi Gupta, Abhinav Bhat, and Karl Dawson.

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25 Jan 2016 
Facility Maintenance Companies can help. Working with HVAC may be hard to start with, but in the end it's easy if you have the right kind of information. This article was put together to help people that want to learn about this kind of a thing. Keep reading if this is interesting to you.

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Clean the coils of your condenser fan each month. Except when you do superficial cleaning, you need to always make sure the power is off on the unit. Also, it is important to clear the outside condenser unit from any debris that maybe trapped inside.

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Make sure your HVAC unit is in the shade. As you get your air conditioner to suck in cool air it won't have to do too much work to cool it which saves you some money.

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As well as cut down your overall power bill, install ceiling fans in commonly used warm season rooms, if you want to seriously extend the life of your HVAC system. Energy-star certified ceiling fans can sometimes cut your HVAC use in half. You won't physically notice a difference in temperature, however.

Never hire an HVAC contractor that does not hold a valid license from your state. There are people out there that will offer to do less expensive work since they have no license. While it may seem like a bargain, you will have lots of issues in the event that something goes wrong.

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When buying an HVAC system from a contractor, don't just purchase from the first person you find. Do a little investigating first. Make sure the person has been in business for a while. Although there are no guarantees, someone who has been around for 10+ years probably had to do something right to stay in the business.

When you have a short list of contractors to consider, ask the people on their reference list about not only the service they received, but also how well the system is still running. Did they need more work down the road? Has the company come back to make things right?

Check the licensing of any HVAC company that you plan to hire. By making sure they are fully licensed, start. They should be in compliance with your state's business laws. Good HVAC companies should be fully insured. This is to protect their company, their employees, and their customers should anything happen when they are performing a service at the home of a customer.

Now you know all about HVAC. Things will go your way, by using this advice. If you do so, you can save a lot of money.

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