Portland 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 Portland, Oregon and the surrounding sections and neighborhoods. This information includes featured HVAC contractors plus a link to our free and handy 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, schools, and much 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 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 brand they prefer or for which they are dealers, but will order and install any make of new equipment you prefer to buy. However, most all the contractors mentioned will perform repair and maintenance on all makes of central heaters, furnaces and air conditioners.
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 furnaces. 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 will probably be able to recommend another Portland 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, which can be interchanged to create 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 Portland climate and resources affect your HVAC needs and decisions
The Portland climate affects the heating and cooling loads in addition to the payback time when comparing the efficiency ratings of different air conditioners, furnaces or heaters. On the climate map of the U.S. with 5 zones, the Portland area lies in cooling zone 1 and heating zone 1. This location require approximately 584 cooling hours and 4626 heating degree-days per year. As a quick and relative comparison, the average Portland home needs 7.9 times more heating than air conditioning over a calendar year. Mountains and elevation differences, large bodies of water, or other topographical influences factor in also, so be sure to rely on actual measurements and calculations from your HVAC contractor.
As demonstrated by its moderate average highs and low temperatures, the climate in this part of northwest Oregon is generally described as mild or temperate. The hottest two summer months, of July and August average about 80 degrees F., while January and February lows usually run above freezing–in the high 30 range. Of course, there are exceptional spikes and valleys outside these averages. There are usually more than 150 days each year with measurable rain or precipitation, usually occurring in months other than summer. This type of climate brings a significant number of days (or parts of days) in which running the heater or air conditioner may not be necessary. However, on these same days, a dehumidifier, whole house air filter or fresh air ventilation could make a major difference in indoor comfort.
Pollen, allergies and air filters in Portland
In Portland, residential air filters are a necessity to some residents for comfort or health reasons. Certain northwest Oregon trees and plants influence what type of air filter you and your A/C system need. A few examples include the alder, ash, and birch trees, plus other types of allergy producing grasses, flowers, and molds. The daily pollen count and allergy forecast for the city and the surrounding metro area can help you plan for these allergens.
Local utility and conservation providers
The substantial number of energy efficiency rebates and incentives available for Portland demonstrates the commitment to conservation in the city and state. A few good examples include: PGE Portland General Electric Rebates; the Home Energy Solutions program from Energy Trust; and the DSIRE database for the state of Oregon. Often, you can save time and money by letting your A/C and heating contractor explain and coordinate all available energy conservation and rebate programs, from federal tax credits to state or local rebates and incentives.
The availability of a primary fuel such as natural gas or heating oil can determine which type of central heating unit will give you warmth plus lower utility usage and bills. Since primary fuels are generally available in Portland neighborhoods, many owners have gas central furnaces or boilers 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 solid rock near the earth’s surface, may limit the use of ground source heat pumps. For more information, go to the top of this page and visit the heat pump page under Expanded A/C and Heating Details.
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 Portland 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 Portland area
For those seeking to learn the technical aspects of air conditioning and heating in the Portland area, such as schools or courses to get an Oregon HVAC license, here are some local or state educational and association links:
Oregon Chapter of ACCA: State branch of the Air Conditioning Contractors Association of America.
ASHRAE University of Oregon Chapter: The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers.