Oakland 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 Oakland, California. Although there is some crossover in service areas, San Francisco has a separate page. Here you will find sources of energy efficiency and equipment rebates, the ratio of hours of cooling and heating needed each year, and much more. The table below lists selected HVAC contractors. The navigation to our free and handy printable grid to compare price quotes can be found at the top of this page.
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 situation and they control the quality of the installation. If you have not yet seen them, in the navigation menu on top of 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.
Due to relationships with their equipment distributors or ownership by a manufacturer, some air conditioning and heating contractors install a limited number of equipment brands. Many independents have a small number of brands they prefer or for which they are dealers, but will order and install any brand of new equipment you prefer to buy. However, most all the contractors mentioned will perform repair and maintenance on any brand of central heater, furnace and air conditioner.
In addition to heating and cooling for indoor comfort and energy savings, an increasing number of 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 of these perform energy efficiency improvements to houses or buildings, such as the addition of solar screens or radiant barriers. If the service company you select does not perform conservation improvements on homes or buildings, they should be able to recommend another Oakland area company that 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 mixed/matched to make many combinations of performance and efficiency. Additionally, based on the particulars in your home or building, these components must be chosen and installed to accommodate them. For all 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 at 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 Oakland climate and resources affect your HVAC needs and decisions
The local climate affects your heating and cooling loads and the payback period when comparing the efficiency ratings of different air conditioners, furnaces or heaters. On the heating and cooling map of the U.S. with 5 zones, Oakland lies in cooling zone 1 and heating zone 1. These require approximately 584 cooling hours and 4626 heating degree-days per year. As a relative guide, the average Oakland home would need 7.9 times more heating than air conditioning over a calendar year. Keep in mind that Oakland is located near the border of two zones. Proximity to the bay, 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 temperate Mediterranean type climate in Oakland tends to be slightly warmer than its nearby neighbor San Francisco. Summer high temperatures climb up to the low to mid 70’s Fahrenheit from June through October. Due to its temperate nature, there are numerous days in which neither heating nor cooling are needed. However, on these days, a humidifier, whole house air filter or fresh air ventilator could make a major difference in your comfort and well being.
Pollen, allergies and air filters in Oakland
In Oakland home air filters are a necessity to many residents. Certain bay area plants can strongly influence what type of air filter you and your A/C system need. Some spring tree examples include mulberry and oak. Other common allergens for this area include ragweed in the fall, plus molds and grasses throughout the year. The daily pollen count and allergy forecast for the city and Alameda County area can help you recognize and plan for these allergens.
Local utility and conservation providers
For the Oakland area, a good resource for energy efficiency rebates and incentives is the DSIRE database. This free resource lists providers of grants, loans, and other types of incentives for energy conservation. Often, your A/C and heating contractor can coordinate all available energy conservation and rebate programs, from federal tax credits to local rebates and incentives.
The local availability of primary fuels such as natural gas or heating oil can determine which HVAC equipment will give you the best combination of comfort and lower utility bills. Since natural gas is available in most Oakland neighborhoods, many consumers have chosen gas central furnaces rather than heat pumps. If natural gas prices climb 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. Other local conditions such as stone or rock located close to the surface limit the use of ground source heat pumps.
How a whole house approach includes the “envelope” in the load calculation
If you are going to get price quotes for a new A/C and heating system, look for contractors who will insert the heating and cooling demands of the bay 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 Oakland area
If you are interested in learning more about the technical aspects of air conditioning and heating in the area, such as schools or courses to get a California HVAC license, here are some local or regional educational and association links:
Golden Gate ASHRAE Chapter: The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers.
CA Chapter of ACCA: State branch of the Air Conditioning Contractors Association of America.