Seattle 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 Seattle, Washington. It also covers the surrounding areas of Tacoma, Bellevue, Federal Way, Redmond and others. 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 heating to cooling needed each year, HVAC schools, and more.
About HVAC contractors
The contractor you choose will make a big impact on your satisfaction with a new air conditioning and heating system. The reasons: They determine the size and type of equipment for your situation and they control the quality of the installation. 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 make of new equipment you request. However, most contractors will make repairs and perform 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 usually are able to recommend another Seattle 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 intermixed 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 sail 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 Seattle climate and resources affect your HVAC needs and decisions
Your local climate affects the heating and cooling loads plus the payback period when comparing the efficiency ratings of different air conditioners, furnaces or heaters. On the climate map of the U.S. with 5 zones, the Seattle metro area is located in cooling zone 1 and heating zone 1. These require approximately 584 cooling hours and 4626 heating degree-days per year. As a relative comparison, the average Seattle home or office needs a heater about eight times more often than an air conditioner over a calendar year. Keep in mind that Seattle is located near the border of two zones. Differences in elevation, proximity to the water, or other topographical or climatic influences can cause microclimates. For this reason, you need to rely on actual measurements from your heating and AC contractor.
As demonstrated by its moderate average highs and low temperatures, the climate in this coastal part of northwest Washington State is generally described as mild and temperate. In spite of the high latitude, the moderation comes from Puget Sound, Lake Washington, and the Pacific. The hottest two summer months of July and August average about 75 degrees F. for highs, while December and January lows usually run above freezing–in the mid-30s range. Of course, there are notable spikes and valleys outside these averages. Although the total rainfall is surprisingly low (34 inches), the number of days of drizzle or clouds lives up the reputation of the area. On average, more than 60% of the days each year are overcast and cloudy, with most of these concentrated in the three seasons outside 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. Even so, a dehumidifier, whole house air filter or fresh air ventilator could make a substantial difference in your indoor comfort and well-being.
Pollen, allergies and air filters in greater Seattle
In Seattle air filters are a necessity to some homes offices for comfort or health reasons. Certain northwest Washington trees and plants influence what type of air filter you and your A/C system need. A few examples include the ash, mulberry, and sycamore trees, plus other types of allergy producing flowers, grasses and molds. The daily pollen count and allergy forecast for the city and the surrounding metro area can help you plan for and manage these allergens.
Local utility and conservation providers
The number of energy efficiency rebates and incentives available for the Pacific northwest region demonstrates the commitment to conservation in the area. Examples include ones from Puget Sound Energy, plus the DSIRE database for the State of Washington. Often, you can save money and time 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 fuels such as natural gas or heating oil help determine which type of central heating unit will give you warmth plus lower utility usage and bills. Since primary fuels are generally available in Seattle neighborhoods, many owners have gas central furnaces or boilers rather than heat pumps instead of all-electric strip or resistance heating. Recent improvements in the dual fuel heat pumps are providing more choices. If natural gas prices climb faster than electricity rates, this trend could 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. For more information, go to the top of this page and browse 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 prices or bids on a new A-C and heating system, look for a contractor who will insert the heating and cooling demands of the Seattle climate along with the size and condition of your home or building “envelope” into an essential load calculation. For lots of 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 greater Seattle area
For individuals who wish to learn the technical aspects of air conditioning and heating in the Seattle-Tacoma area, such as schools or courses to get an Washington HVAC license, here are some local or state association and community college links:
Washington Chapter of ACCA: State branch of the Air Conditioning Contractors Association of America.
ASHRAE Puget Sound Chapter: The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers.
Clover Park Technical College
4500 Steilaccom Blvd
Tacoma, WA 98499
Phone: (253) 589-6014