What Does an HVAC Contractor Do?

What Does an HVAC Contractor Do?

When the weather changes with the seasons, it shows how important it is to have a good heating and cooling system. Whether it’s dealing with hot summer days in Gresham, OR, or getting ready for cold winter times, knowing what an HVAC contractor does can help you keep your house or business comfortable and efficient throughout the year.

HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning. Not only is it important for staying comfortable but also for maintaining healthy indoor air quality. HVAC contractors provide a wide range of services and we’ll explain it all here. We’ll also share how to choose the right HVAC contractor and other recommendations for your search.

What is an HVAC Contractor?

An HVAC contractor is someone who is skilled and licensed to work on heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. These systems help control temperature and air quality in our living and working spaces, ensuring they are safe and comfortable.

HVAC contractors are skilled in working with a variety of equipment, like heaters, boilers, air conditioners, heat pumps, and cooling systems. This means they have a lot of knowledge about how to maintain the perfect temperature in different spaces.

HVAC contractor holding meter while performing service on outdoor air conditioner unit that has wires exposed.

Residential HVAC Contractor Services


Choosing the right HVAC system for your home involves more than just picking a unit off the shelf. HVAC contractors assess your space, considering factors like size and layout, to recommend the best system for your needs. They handle the installation process, making sure your system is set up efficiently and effectively, which is important for minimizing energy consumption and costs.


When your HVAC system malfunctions, it can lead to discomfort and even health risks. HVAC contractors are skilled in diagnosing problems and performing repairs, whether it’s fixing leaks, replacing parts, or troubleshooting issues. Their expertise ensures your system returns to optimal operation with minimal downtime.


Regular maintenance from an HVAC contractor can make your system last longer, use less energy, and avoid expensive repairs. This includes routine inspections, cleaning, and servicing to keep everything running smoothly. Maintenance plans are often available, providing peace of mind and priority service. We recommend scheduling maintenance service at least once per year.

Commercial Specific HVAC Contractor Services

Commercial HVAC systems are larger and more complex than residential ones, requiring specific knowledge and experience. A commercial HVAC contractor specializing in commercial services ensures these systems meet the unique needs of businesses, providing a comfortable environment for employees and customers alike.

Related -> Read about Oxbow’s Commercial HVAC Services in Gresham, OR

Emergency HVAC Contractor Services

HVAC emergencies can happen at any time, often requiring immediate attention to prevent damage or address safety concerns. Emergency HVAC contractors are available around the clock to address urgent issues, ensuring your system is repaired quickly to restore comfort and safety. Here are some specific examples of when you might need to call on emergency HVAC services:

  1. No heat during a cold snap: Imagine it’s the coldest night of the year, and suddenly your furnace decides to take a vacation. Rooms start feeling like ice boxes, and it’s not just uncomfortable; it can be dangerous, especially for young children or elderly family members. An emergency HVAC contractor can come out to diagnose and fix the problem, often on the same night, to ensure your family stays warm.

  2. Air conditioner failure during a heatwave: if your air conditioning quits on you during the peak of summer, it can turn your home into an oven. High indoor temperatures are not just about discomfort; they can lead to heat-related illnesses. Emergency services can repair or replace parts on the spot to get your AC backup and cooling your home quickly.

  3. Gas leaks or strange smells from your HVAC system: If you ever smell gas or a strange odor coming from your heating system, it’s crucial to act immediately. This could mean a gas leak or a serious malfunction that could mean a potential fire hazard or risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Emergency HVAC technicians can identify the source of the smell, fix leaks, and ensure your system is safe to use.

  4. Sudden loud noises from the system: If your HVAC system starts making loud noises, such as banging, screeching, or rattling, it could mean there’s a problem. Calling for emergency help can quickly address and resolve issues before they become worse.

    This proactive approach can save you money in the long run. It is important to address problems promptly to prevent them from escalating. By seeking help early, you can avoid costly repairs or replacements down the line.

  5. Significant water leaks: If your HVAC system starts leaking a lot of water, it could lead to water damage in your home. This could be a clogged drain line or a malfunctioning component. Emergency services can quickly address these leaks, preventing mold growth and structural damage.

Other HVAC Contractor Services

HVAC contractors do more than just the basics. HVAC contractors offer more than just basic services. They also provide refrigeration services for businesses.

Additionally, they conduct inspections to ensure systems meet regulations. They can also set up smart home systems for improved climate control. Read about PGE’s Smart Thermostat Program here.

How to Choose the Right HVAC Contractor

How to Find a Contractors

Finding a reliable HVAC contractor involves research and due diligence. Start by asking for recommendations, checking online reviews, and verifying credentials. Any contractor you consider should be licensed, bonded, and insured in Oregon. Below is our list of research recommendation and tips

Seek Recommendations

Ask family, friends, and neighbors if they have any HVAC contractors they would recommend based on their personal experiences. If you have a trusted plumber, electrician, or another type of contractor, ask them for HVAC recommendations. Professionals often have networks and might know reputable HVAC contractors.

Check Online Reviews

Check out websites like Yelp, Angie’s List, or HomeAdvisor for customer reviews and ratings of local HVAC contractors. Check HVAC manufacturer websites as some recommend certified installers for their products on their websites.

consumer reviews concept with bubbles of people reviews and smartphone showing review summary with 4.2 average stars.

Verifying Credentials

The contractor should be licensed to work in Oregon. You can verify this through the Oregon Construction Contractors Board. Confirm that the contractor is bonded and has liability insurance. This protects you in case of accidents or damage during the project.

Look for contractors who have professional certifications from organizations like NATE (North American Technician Excellence), which indicates they have met certain industry standards.

Pro tip! Get multiple estimates & look for offers

Once you’ve identified a few potential contractors, get detailed estimates from at least three of them to compare prices, warranties, and project timelines. Prefer contractors who offer to visit your home for an assessment before providing an estimate. This indicates a thorough approach to understanding your needs.

Ask about special offers. Some contractors might offer seasonal discounts or special promotions on services and products. Also, inquire about any available rebates on energy-efficient HVAC systems.

Importance of Expertise, Experience, and Specialization

Selecting a contractor with specific expertise in the type of HVAC services you need is crucial. Experience matters, as seasoned professionals are more likely to diagnose and resolve issues efficiently. Specialization, particularly in areas like commercial HVAC systems or emergency repairs, can also be a deciding factor.

Questions to Ask

When you meet with potential contractors, make sure to ask them about their experience, how much they charge, what certifications they have, and if they provide any guarantees or warranties on their work. Inquire about their approach to installation projects and whether they provide ongoing maintenance services. Here are some specific questions to help guide you:

  • Are you licensed and insured for HVAC work in this state?
  • What certifications do you hold related to HVAC services?
  • Are you fully trained and certified to work with my system?
  • Do you charge a fixed rate or by the hour for your services?
  • Do you have any other fees I should be aware of?
  • Do you offer any guarantees or warranties on your installation and repair work?
  • What are your payment terms?
  • Do you offer financing?
  • Do you haul away old equipment after a project?

When to Call an Oxbow HVAC Contractor in Gresham OR

Knowing when to call an HVAC contractor is key to maintaining a comfortable environment. If you need a new installation, repairs, or maintenance, the first step is to contact a professional for help. For residents of Gresham, OR, Oxbow HVAC experts have 30 years experience and the knowledge to make sure your HVAC system is well-suited to your needs.


HVAC contractors play a vital role in maintaining the comfort and safety of our environments. If you need help with your home or business HVAC system, professionals can assist with repairs, upgrades, and emergencies. Knowing their services can help you make smart choices for your heating and cooling needs.

Choosing the right contractor is important for your system to work well and keep you safe and comfortable throughout the year. Read reviews, ask for recommendations, and make sure your contractor meets licensing requirements. You can trust and call on Oxbow HVAC contractors for all of your HVAC service, repair, and maintenance needs.