San Jose 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 Jose, California and the surrounding area. Metro areas covered on this page include Palo Alto, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara and up to Fremont. Refer to the separate page (linked on our home page) for the rest of the SF bay area to the north. This information includes selected 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 heating to cooling needed yearly, heating, AC and refrigeration schools 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 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 for which they are dealers, but will order and install any brand of new equipment you prefer. However, most contractors perform repair and maintenance on any make 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 to structures, they should be able to recommend another San Jose 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 interchanged to make many possible combinations of performance and efficiency. Additionally, these components must be chosen and installed to accommodate the particular situation in your home or building. 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 in the menu on the top of this page. If you get multiple price quotes, it will save you 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 Jose climate and resources affect your HVAC needs and decisions
The local climate is bound to affect heating and cooling loads plus 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 San Jose area is in cooling zone 1 and heating zone 1. These require approximately 584 cooling hours and 4626 heating degree-days per year. To generally compare the needs, the average San Jose home needs almost eight times more heating than air conditioning over a calendar year. Keep in mind that San Jose is located near the border of two or more zones.
San Jose, like much of the bay area, has a Mediterranean climate tempered by the presence of the pacific and bays. Due to the additional presence of mountains, its climate is best understood as a collection of several microclimates. Parts of San Jose enjoy over 300 days a year of sunshine. Most of the rain occurs from October through May, with minimal summer rainfall.
Unlike San Francisco, which is surrounded by water and bays on three sides, San Jose lies inland and is surrounded on three sides by mountains. This creates more of a semi-arid climate that receives annual rainfall of about 14 inches. Compared to some other parts of the bay area nearby, which can get four times that amount, this demonstrates the microclimate effect. This area does not get the notable fog that it neighbor to the north, San Francisco, does.
Though the conditions here bring a wider temperature range than SF experiences, temperatures here are also moderate. The coldest month, January, averages a high of 59 °F and average low of 42 °F. In the height of summer, July averages a high of 84 °F and a low of 58 °F. In spite of the moderate overall climate, the heat here can spike to over 100 °F occasionally. Also, typical of arid climates, temperatures between night and day can vary by up to 40 °F
Overall, this temperate climate of northern coastal California produces some days in which home heating or cooling is not needed. Even so, a humidifier, whole house air filter or fresh air ventilation could enhance your well being and comfort inside. Because of all these factors, be sure to rely on actual measurements and advise from your HVAC contractor.
Pollen, allergies and air filters in the San Jose area
In San Jose air filters for the home or office are necessary for some residents. Certain coastal California plants can influence what type of air filter you and your HVAC system need. Some allergens from outside include oak and mulberry tree pollen, grasses, and molds. The daily pollen count and allergy forecast for the city and the surrounding bay area can be found here. Additional allergens, such as dust, can be produced or compounded indoors.
Local utility and conservation providers
For the San Jose area, the following utility companies or agencies provide energy efficiency rebates and incentives or resources. Often, your A/C and heating contractor can coordinate all available energy conservation and rebate programs, from federal tax credits to state, regional and local programs and incentives.
The DSIRE database lists statewide resources
Availability of natural gas can determine which type of central heater will deliver the best combination of comfort and lower energy usage. Natural gas is generally available in San Jose, so many owners have gas furnaces or boilers instead of heat pumps or electric resistance heating. Developments in the dual fuel heat pump, along with the possibility of natural gas prices rising faster than electricity unit costs, might alter this trend. Where a heat pump is the best choice, some of the factors that affect them include average temperature, fluctuations in daily temperature, and humidity. Other local conditions such as rocky outcrops located close to the surface diminish the use of ground source heat pumps. For more heat pump information, go to the top of this page and find it under Expanded A/C and Heating Details.
How a whole house approach includes the “envelope” in the load calculation
If you plan to buy a new heating and AC system, look for a contractor who will insert the heating and cooling demands of the San Jose climate along with the size and condition of your home or building “envelope” into a complex, but critical load calculation. For several reasons, a rule of thumb load calculation based only on square footage or simply using the same size system as the old one without verification should be avoided. This calculation requires considerable expertise.
Resources for HVAC technical or vocational training in the Silicon Valley
If you have an interest in learning more about the technical aspects of air conditioning and heating in the San Jose area, such as a schools or course to get a California HVAC license, here are some educational and association links:
ASHRAE San Jose 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.
Evergreen Valley College
3095 Yerba Buena Rd.
San Jose, CA 95135
Phone: (408) 274-7900