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Regulation in the HVAC Industry

Posted by AC Contractor on May 21, 2013 at 11:45 AM

There is no shortage of regulation within the HVAC industry. A number of governing agencies at various levels throughout the distribution channel oversee the ethical and technical standards of the business.

The most important requirement for an air conditioning contractor is to be licensed in their state. In order to gain licensing, the potential contractor must pass business and technical testing. Maintaining their license also requires 14 hours of continuing education credits every biennium. Without state licensing, a contractor would be able to conduct very little business. New HVAC installations require permitting which can only be completed by a license contractor in Florida. Before hiring an AC company in Florida, you should verify their license.

Another requirement for for an air conditioning contractor is compliance with the EPA's refrigerant recycling rule. It is not possible to purchase refrigerants without this certification. Because so many air conditioning repairs require the addition and removal of refrigerants, doing business without the license would be impossible.

As previously mentioned, air conditioning system replacement requires permitting that can only be obtained with a license. After installation, an inspection by county authorities must be completed. The installation must adhere to building codes. Some recent changes (March 15, 2012) includes duct sealing and proper sizing calculations to be completed on every retrofit. Enforcement is not uniform throughout the state. At Melo Air, we work mostly with Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco code enforcement, we are familiar with municipalities throughout the state of Florida.

Many states have strict laws on warranty administration. Extended labor warranties are governed by Florida's Department of Financial Services. It is unlawful for an air conditioning contractor to offer a labor warranty outside of 365 days without a proper 2-52 license. Once a contractor has a 2-52 license, they will need an appointment from their preferred manufacturer. Here, the manufacturer agrees to sell the extended warranty to the contractor who in turn sells the warranty to the homeowner or end user. The manufacturer also agrees to compensate that particular contractor for labor on any repairs throughout the duration of the agreement. This system protects homeowners if a contractor were to go out of business and helps ensure the warranty will always be honored. You can conduct a licensee search prior to purchasing any labor contract.

Manufacturers have a number of regulations to comply with as well. The performance auditing done by AHRI is likely the most significant to an end user. When a new product is developed, the manufacturer sends the efficiency ratings to AHRI who then publishes them. AHRI audits the equipment to ensure the reported efficiencies, such as SEER, are accurate.

These are among the most visible regulations in the HVAC industry. Compliancy should not be mistaken for a ringing endorsement but that minimum requirements are met to conduct business. There are a number of certifications within the industry that accomplish the separation of quality which we will cover in a future post.

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