San Diego

San Diego 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 San Diego, California. Included in the metro area are communities such as Chula Vista, El Cajon, La Mesa, Spring Valley, Santee and Lakeside. This information includes featured HVAC contractors plus a link to our handy printable grid to compare price quotes. Here you will also find sources of energy efficiency and equipment rebates, the ratio of heating to cooling needed each year, air conditioning schools and more.

About HVAC contractors

The contractor you choose will make a big impact on your satisfaction and with 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 installed units. If you have not yet seen them, in the menu at the 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 for which they are dealers, but will order and install any brand of new equipment you request. However, most heating & AC service companies will provide repair and maintenance on any brand of air conditioning or heating units you have.

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 will likely know another San Diego 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 and matched to make many possible combinations. Additionally, based on the particular situation in your structure, these components must be chosen and installed to accommodate it. For these reasons, comparing proposals, features, and prices can be more than confusing.

To help you sort through your options, use our free, printer-friendly cost comparison organizer found in the menu 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 San Diego climate and resources affect your HVAC needs and decisions

Your local climate affects your heating the cooling loads and 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, San Diego is located in cooling zone 3 and heating zone 3. This region requires approximately 1402 cooling hours and 2942 heating degree-days per year. As a quick and relative comparison, the average San Diego home needs 2.1 times more heating than air conditioning over a calendar year. Keep in mind that San Diego is located near the border of two zones. Especially along the coast where fog occurs, differences in elevation, proximity to the ocean, or other topographical influences can cause microclimates. Therefore you need to rely on actual measurements and calculations from your HVAC contractor.

The semi dry, Mediterranean style climate in San Diego stands out as being mild year around. The four months with the highest average temperatures, July through October, only average the low to mid 70s Fahrenheit. Winter temperatures bring equally mild lows, with the coolest months of December through February dipping to an average low of around 50 degrees. This narrow span of about 25 degrees between the summer highs and winter lows is even more remarkable when compared to nearby locations further inland. This climate produces a number of days throughout the year when neither heating nor cooling are needed. However, on these same days, a humidifier, whole house air filter or fresh air ventilation could make a substantial difference in your comfort and well being.

Pollen, allergies and air filters in San Diego

In San Diego air filters are a necessity to many residents. Certain southern California trees and plants can affect what type of air filter your occupants and your A/C system need. Examples of trees for this area include the cedar (juniper), mulberry, and sweet gum trees. Like most of the U.S., ragweed can top the list from time to time. Other seasonal allergens include grasses, wildflowers, and molds. The daily pollen count and allergy forecast for the city and the surrounding area can help you manage indoor allergens.

Local utility and conservation providers

In the San Diego area, the list of agencies and utility companies below offers energy efficiency rebate and incentive programs. In many cases, your A/C and heating contractor can coordinate all available energy conservation and rebate programs, from federal tax credits to state and local rebates and incentives.

San Diego Gas & Electric
Residential Programs
P.O. Box 129016
San Diego, CA 92112
Phone: (800) 644-6133

Tax Deduction for Interest on Energy Efficiency Loans:

California Franchise Tax Board
PO Box 942840
Sacramento, CA 94240-0040
Phone: (800) 852-5711
Local: (916) 845-6500

For the statewide list of resources, go to the DSIRE database.

The 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 generally available around San Diego, many building and homes have gas central furnaces rather than heat pumps. If natural gas prices climb faster than electricity rates, this trend would likely adjust. In situations where a heat pump makes the best choice, some of the factors that affect air source heat pumps include fluctuations in temperature, humidity and more. Other local conditions such as stone outcrops at the surface limit the use of ground source heat pumps. For more information, go to the top of this page and visit the heat pump page in the pull down menu under Expanded A/C and Heating Details.

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

If you plan to price and compare new A/C and heating systems, look for contractors who include the heating and cooling demands of the southern California coastal climate along with the size and condition of your home or building “envelope” into a complex, but critical load calculation. Avoid rule of thumb load calculations based only on square footage or using the same size system as the old one without verification. This calculation requires considerable experience.

Resources for HVAC technical or vocational training in the San Diego area

For those interested in learning more about the technical aspects of air conditioning and heating in the San Diego area, such as schools or courses to get a California HVAC license, the following give you some local or regional association and school links:

North American Heating & A/C Training Center
2025 W. Park Ave
Redland, CA 92423

San Diego City College
1313 Park Boulevard
San Diego, CA, 92101
Phone: (619) 388-3400

ASHRAE San Diego Chapter: The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers.

California Chapter of ACCA: Statewide branch of the Air Conditioning Contractors Association of America.