Replacing an old HVAC unit with a newer, more energy efficient model can result in huge savings on your monthly energy bill. Recent advancement in HVAC technology has made newer units more effective and efficient. However, installing a new unit is not a weekend DIY project. If you are considering any type of upgrade to your system, make sure to use a professional licensed contractor.
State and local building codes impose many regulations regarding HVAC installation. These codes are in place to ensure standards of safety. Using a reputable licensed contractor or technician is necessary to ensure all codes are met. Otherwise, you could be liable code violations, safety failings, or flaws in the installation of your new unit.
Hefty fines accompany code violations, so you’ll want to be careful.
Licensed HVAC Technicians Understand Building Codes
To the uninitiated, state and local building codes look like a huge collection of complex and arbitrary rules. Building codes deal with everything from size and ventilation requirements to electrical wiring. In some localities, the municipal building code can be thousands of pages of detailed rules and procedures.
State and local governments don’t put together these complex codes just to give homeowners a headache. Safety is actually the motivation behind the large number of rules in the code book. Therefore, compliance is important, especially when it comes to HVAC installation. Because you are dealing with combustible chemicals and toxic coolants in your HVAC unit, it is particularly important to find a contractor who follows code to the letter.
Licensed HVAC Technicians Avoid Shortcuts
Installing a new HVAC unit is expensive, and it can be tempting to cut corners to save some money. Be wary of any contractor who takes shortcuts or ignores code. Also, make sure that your contractor pulls together all the necessary permits and paperwork and also schedules a final official inspection.
Even though an unlicensed contractor may be cheaper, it could cost you more in the long run. A shoddy, sub-par installation will result in a system that runs inefficiently or is even a potential safety hazard. Plus, there is the possibility of incurring a fine when your HVAC unit doesn’t meet code.
Ultimately, You Are Responsible for Code Violations
Even when a contractor does a substandard job on your HVAC installation, the homeowner is ultimately responsible for any violations to the building code. As the homeowner, you will have to correct anything not installed properly. Usually, this means finding another qualified contractor to finish the job properly or fix any mistakes.
Not only will you be responsible for fixing any code violations, you can also be held legally responsible for injuries a sub-par HVAC installation might cause to occupants or guests.
To avoid paying fines or footing the bill for inefficient HVAC installation, you should always hire a professional. However, don’t just shop around for the best price. Never settle for anything less than a licensed HVAC technician. A licensed professional is more likely to follow code and perform a thorough job. Otherwise, they risk losing their license. By hiring a licensed technician, you also have more options available to you in the event the work is not performed to standard since you can file a complaint with the local municipal authorities or professional organizations.
Once you have hired a licensed HVAC technician to install your new unit, be sure to request copies of all required permits and other paperwork. You will want to keep these on file for future reference.
Have It Done Right the First Time by a Licensed HVAC Technician
Hiring a licensed HVAC technician at the very beginning of the installation process helps safeguard you against having to fix improperly done work later. Even though it may cost more money to hire a fully licensed professional, it will potentially save you the cost of repairing improper equipment or installation. With a licensed professional you can have peace of mind the job will be done right the first time.