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  • Writer's picturePhil Evans

Local Business Sportlight: AAA Heating and Cooling

This month we are speaking with Charles Ray, co-owner and Vice President of AAA Heating and Cooling. A local third-generation-owned heating and cooling company helping families keep their homes comfortable with friendly service.

Phil: Thanks for meeting with us today, can you give a little history about AAA?

Charles: Yeah, AAA was started by the grandfather of my business partner, Tony Spezza, over 60 years ago. I originally was in the mortgage industry before HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) back during the recession but we all know what happened there. Tony bought the company from his dad and asked me to come on board in 2011. When we took over the company was struggling. The trucks were old, the process and procedures were not working very well, and the technicians were not to our standards.

Phil: How did you build the business to have the reputation you enjoy today?

Charles: We worked hard and lived hand-to-mouth for about two or three years until we got it back to where we wanted to be. We invested heavily in our equipment, training, and technology. We now have all new trucks so we don't have maintenance headaches or risk being late for an appointment. We focused our systems and procedures, and we became super selective of who we send to people's houses. There is a joke in the HVAC industry that if you lined up a group of HVAC technicians, you wouldn't have a full set of teeth between them. Our crew is not like that. They are all clean-cut professionals that I wouldn't hesitate to send into my own mother's house. We have an extremely strong moral code and we stand by our work no matter what.

Phil: You have a billboard with funny sayings, how did that get started?

Charles: Ha! Yeah, that was started about 7 years ago. It's been put in newspapers and has even won awards. The best way to advertise is by word of mouth. If you can grab people's attention, make them think, and give them something to talk about then that's our goal.

Phil: What advice can you give homeowners about their furnaces and air conditioners?

Charles: The furnace and air conditioner units really need to be serviced yearly. People often don't pay attention to them until they stop working, but not having them serviced regularly is like not giving your car an oil change until it runs out of oil. HVAC companies are two weeks out for appointments so if you go to use your AC during a heat wave and it fails, there's no emergency technician coming out to fix it. We recommend giving us a call at the beginning of the Fall for a furnace

checkup and in the Spring for an AC checkup. A heat wave tip is to turn your thermostat UP. I am setting my Thermostat at 80. Your poor little AC just wants to keep you happy. If you ask it to get to 70, it may fail trying to get there. A rule of thumb is to expect 20 degrees difference between your house and the outside temperature. If it's 100 degrees outside, your AC in Oregon is designed to get it to 80 degrees inside. The biggest tip though is to call us now, before the next heat wave if you haven't had your AC unit serviced in a year.

AAA Heating and Cooling can be reached at 503.549.4183 - More info at

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