Get Quotes from Top HVAC Contractors in San Jose, CA

Questions to Ask Before Hiring an HVAC Contractor in San Jose

According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, improper installation and poor maintenance of your heating and cooling system increases energy consumption by 30%. With the average residential customer in San José using 482 kilowatt hours per month at between $15.59 and $20.80 per kWh, this energy loss may result in significant increase of your electricity bill. However, retaining the services of a qualified HVAC contractor near you to regularly maintain your home heating and cooling system may save you up to 20 percent on your energy bill. Before you conclude on hiring a heating and cooling system technician, ensure to get convincing answers to the following questions:

Are You Licensed to Practice as an HVAC Contractor in San Jose?

Residents of San Jose are advsied to ensure that they confirm the licensing status of their intended HVAC contractor before hiring this contractor. Any contractor looking to work on HVAC systems costing over $500 within San Jose is required to obtain a license as a C-20 - Warm-Air Heating, Ventilating, and Air- Conditioner Contractor from the California Contractors State Licensing Board (CSLB). Any person who fails to satisfy this licensing requirement is guilty of a misdemeanor and liable to a fine of up to $5,000, a jail term of up to six months, or both a fine and imprisonment.

Contractor license applicants are required to get a pre-approval from the state to take and pass both a trade exam and a business and law exam. To be eligible for a C-20 license, applicants must primarily be at least 18 years of age, have a minimum of four years of experience in HVAC work in the last 10 years, pass the relevant licensing examination, and satisfy insurance and bond requirements. Applicants must also have a $15,000 bond and evidence of worker's compensation insurance. Once an applicant has met the aforementioned requirements, they can then apply for an HVAC contractor license by paying the necessary licensing fees and submitting a completed Application for Orginal Contractors License form to the CSLB.

Note that Section 608 of the Clean Air Act mandates all persons involved in the repair, service, or maintenance of any equipment that contains refrigerants go through additional compulsory certification.You can make inquiries and also get further assistance regarding HVAC contractor licensing requirements and procedures by contacting the CSLB at (800) 321-2752. Likewise, if you wish to confirm if the HVAC contractor is duly licensed, you can use the CSLB's check a license portal or contact the Board at (800) 321-2752.

How Much Do You Charge Compared to Other HVAC Contractors in San Jose?

Getting and comparing price estimates from various HVAC contractors can provide you with the necessary insight as to the average price estimate for your project. Hourly wages vary per contractor and typically depends on the scope of the project, the cost of materials, the cost of acquiring permits, and the degree of difficulty of the work to be completed. It's worth noting that HVAC contractors in San Jose earn up to $36 per hour.

An HVAC Contractor in San Jose earns an annual average wage of $74,980. The table below provides a cost comparison of the mean hourly wages for HVAC contractors in San Jose against those of HVAC Contractors in the rest of the State of California as well as other major cities in the United States:

San Jose HVAC Contractors Mean Hourly Wage
California HVAC Contractors Mean Hourly Wage
Los Angeles HVAC Contractors Mean Hourly Wage
Chicago HVAC Contractors Mean Hourly Wage
Houston HVAC Contractors Mean Hourly Wage
Detroit HVAC Contractors Mean Hourly Wage
Philadelphia HVAC Contractors Mean Hourly Wage
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic

Do You Comply with San Jose Building Code for HVAC Work?

San Jose adopts the California Mechanical Code for the control and regulation of HVAC work that takes place within its jurisdiction. This code was created to ensure the minimum requirements and standards to protect public health, welfare, and safety in relation to the construction, alteration, movement, enlargement, replacement, and repair of HVAC systems in San Jose. Per Section 106.3 of the Code, any person who is found to have violated the provisions of the Code shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and face a stipulated fine, term of imprisonment, or both. Stop orders may also be issued by a notice writing where it is discovered that work is being in deviation from the provisions of the Code. Soliciting an HVAC contractor who is aware of the provisions of the necessary Code will help you avoid committing Code violations and being subject to the relevant penalties.

Further inquiries concerning code requirements for HVAC work in the San Jose can be directed to the Code Enforcement Division of the city's Planning, Building and Code Enforcement Department at (408) 535-770 or by email.

Will You Get the HVAC Permits as Required by San Jose Code?

Per the requirements of the California Mechanical Code, a permit must be obtained before the commencement of any HVAC work involving the erection, alteration, repair, and replacement of HVAC systems within San Jose, you are required by the California Mechanical Code to obtain a permit. However, there are certain works exempted from the requirement of a permit, and these exemptions commonly include work involving portable HVAC units.

The San Jose Building Division is responsible for receiving and reviewing permit applications and issuing permits. Permit applications can be filed with this division by downloading and completing a Building Permit Application Form, and submitting the completed form to the following address:

Development Services Permit Center
San Jose City Hall
200 East Santa Clara Street
San Jose, CA 95113

Note that, depending on the nature and scope of the HVAC work, applicants may be required to submit plans, diagrams, and necessary documentation along with the permit application form. Also, these plans, and additional documentation where necessary, must be drawn to scale on an electrical document or paper with enough clarity to show the location, type, and degree of the work to be done. Once the building official is satisfied that the work described in the plans has met the requirements of the Mechanical Code and other relevant Codes, and the required fees have been paid, a permit will be issued.

For permit-related inquiries, assistance, or related matters, you can contact the Building Division at (408) 535-3555.

What Kind of HVAC Services Do You Offer?

HVAC contractors in San Jose offer a wide range of HVAC services, such as installation, repair, replacement, and maintenance services. When looking for a qualified HVAC contractor in San Jose, it is critical to make sure the HVAC contractor you want to hire will be able to deliver the specific service you require. The reason for this is that not all HVAC contractors are capable of providing all HVAC services. For example, an HVAC contractor who only specializes in split system installation is unlikely to have the requisite competence and ability to install a hybrid split system. You will not be doing yourself any favors by hiring an HVAC contractor who is unable to complete the work you require, as you will end up spending more money to correct the bad work that has been done.

You should note that the average cost of HVAC services in San Jose is over $500. The list below shows different HVAC services and their cost estimates:

Forced air furnace cost
$1,812.00 - $2,150.00
A/C repair cost
$124.00 - $1,052.00
A/C installation cost
$2,401.00 - $12,006.00
Air Duct cleaning cost
$370.00 - $436.00

Do You Offer Emergency HVAC Services in San Jose?

Due to urgent HVAC complications that must be fixed as soon as possible, you may require the services of an HVAC contractor near you. Defective fans and heat exchangers, and faulty thermostats and freezers are common examples of these types of problems. These problems demand immediate care, and ignoring them will make your home uncomfortable and contribute to unnecessary energy consumption, which will raise your electricity bill. Given that space cooling and space heating systems account for 21% and 8% of total energy usage in homes across the United States, you must ensure that any malfunctions or flaws in your HVAC system are addressed as soon as reasonably practicable. To find good contractors near you, you can utilize third-party websites like Yelp and Better Business Bureau. You can ask the HVAC contractor you wish to hire certain questions to determine if he has the expertise to carry out the job you need to be done urgently. Particularly, you should also request that the contractor provides references from previous clients. If you want to confirm the license status of an HVAC contractor, you can utilize the CSLB license search portal.

Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for HVAC Contractors in San Jose?

In 2019, there were 451 recorded fatal occupational injuries in the State of California. Soliciting the services of an HVAC contractor who holds the necessary insurance policy is crucial because it will help to protect you financially if unforeseen life-threatening or fatal occupational injuries were to occur.

To this end, HVAC contractors in San Jose are required to hold Commercial General Liability insurance, Automobile Liability insurance, as well as Workers' Compensation and Employer's Liability insurance for HVAC contractors who have persons working under them. If you have more inquiries as to insurance requirements of HVAC contractors in San Jose, contact the San Jose Department of Public Works at (408) 535-3555. To confirm if your HVAC contractor holds the appropriate insurance coverage, request copies of their insurance certificates and contact the organization responsible for issuing it to validate these certificates.

How to File a Complaint Against a Bad HVAC Contractor in San Jose

In April 2019, it was reported that an unlicensed contractor had allegedly made use of a loan program established by the government to mislead and defraud low-income homeowners across the State of California by starting jobs, receiving payment, and subsequently leaving the work unfinished. To protect yourself from falling victim to these scams, it is important to educate yourself on the methods used by these unscrupulous individuals, and examples include:

  • Making unsolicited offers of free or discounted HVAC system inspections
  • Insisting on only being paid in cash
  • Attempting to overwhelm you with their technical knowledge to complicate matters and confuse you
  • Pressuring you into signing contracts without reviewing them
  • Providing oral evaluations rather than a well detailed written assessment

You should take the following precautions to protect yourself from these fraudulent attempts:

  • Make use of the CSLB license search portal to confirm the license status of the HVAC contractor you want to hire
  • Try as much as possible not to sign contracts with blank spaces
  • Do not hire any HVAC contractor who does not have a verifiable business name or address
  • Ask your HVAC contractor for references from other clients and do not hire any contractor unwilling to give references
  • Avoid paying any HVAC contractor in cash so your transaction can be traceable

You may file a complaint to the Consumer Protection Unit of the Office of the Santa Clara District Attorney if you believe you are the victim of an HVAC contractor scam. This complaint can be filed by completing a printable complaint form, available in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese, and submitting it to:

Santa Clara County
Office of the District Attorney
Mediation Services, Consumer Protection Unit
70 West Hedding Street
San Jose, CA 95110

Alternatively, you can submit this complaint online by utilizing an online complaint form in your preferred language. These forms are also available in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese. After registering your complaint, contact the Mediation Unit at (408) 792-2880 or via email.

If you are unsatisfied with the efforts of the District Attorney's Office, you can file an action for damages against the fraudulent contractor at the Small Claims Division of the Superior Court of California. You should note that the maximum amount you can claim as damages in a small claims suit is $10,000. Also, it is advised that you seek the assistance of an attorney before proceeding with the small claims suit.