Boston 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 Boston, Massachusetts. This information includes featured HVAC contractors plus a link to our handy and free 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, and more.

About HVAC Contractors

The contractor you choose will make a big impact on your satisfaction and purchase of a new air conditioning and heating system. Why? They determine the size and type of equipment for your indoor environment and they control the quality of the installation. If you have not yet seen them, in the top navigation menu on 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.

Most air conditioning and heating contractors stock a limited number of equipment brands. Some independent contractors will order and install any brand of new equipment you prefer to buy. Most of these service companies will perform repair and maintenance on all brands of central heaters, furnaces and air conditioners.

In addition to heating and cooling for indoor comfort and energy savings, many 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 these companies perform energy efficiency improvements to houses or buildings. If the service company you select does not perform conservation improvements on homes or buildings, they should be able to recommend another Boston area company who 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 sort through your 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.

How the Boston climate and resources affect your HVAC needs and decisions

On the heating and cooling map of the U.S. with 5 zones, the Boston Cambridge area lies in cooling zone 1 and heating zone 2. These require approximately 584 cooling hours and 3784 heating degree-days per year. As a general and relative guide, the average Boston home would need 6.5 times more heating than air conditioning over a calendar year. Differences in elevation or other topographical or climatic influences can cause microclimates, so be sure to rely on actual measurements and calculations from your heating and air conditioning contractor.

The continental climate of coastal Massachusetts with its maritime Atlantic influence occasionally brings days in which home heating and cooling may not be necessary. 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 the Boston metro area

The pollen from certain coastal Massachusetts plants can strongly influence what type of air filter your family and your A/C system need. These change with the season and weather conditions. Some examples from the Boston area daily pollen count and allergy forecast include cedar, juniper, poplar, aspen and cottonwood. Like much of the country, ragweed pollen and mold spores are common allergens here also.

Local utilities and energy conservation programs

Local utilities and availability of natural gas or heating oil can determine which HVAC equipment will deliver the best combination of comfort and lower utility bills. Since these fuels are available in most Boston area neighborhoods, many consumers choose central furnaces rather than all-electric heat pumps or resistance heating. If the cost of these primary fuels climbs 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.

In the greater Boston area, we located two electric utility companies and one state agency offering energy conservation rebates or resources: the Marblehead Light Department, Hudson Light, and MA-DOER. Many A/C and heating contractors stay current on local programs in their service area and can coordinate all current energy conservation and rebate programs, from federal tax credits to local rebates and incentives.

How a whole house approach includes the “envelope” in the load calculation

If you plan to get price quotes to buy a new A/C and heating system, look for contractors who will insert the heating and cooling demands of the Boston area climate along with the size and condition of your home or building “envelope” into a complex, but critical load calculation. For many reasons, a rule of thumb load calculation based only on square footage or using the same size system as the old one without verification should be avoided. This calculation requires considerable expertise or software and interpretation.

Resources for HVAC technical or vocational training in the Boston area

If you are interested in learning more about the technical aspects of air conditioning and heating around Boston, such as courses to get a Massachusetts HVAC license, here are some local or regional links:

New England Fuel Institute Ed Foundation
20 Summer St
PO Box 9137
Watertown, MA 02472-9137
Phone: (617) 924-1000

Kaplan Career Institute – Charlestown Campus
570 Rutherford Ave
Charlestown, MA 02129
Phone: (617) 580-4010

New England Chapter of ACCA: Local branch of the Air Conditioning Contractors Association of America.

Boston Chapter ASHRAE: Acronym for American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers.