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You Can Be Liable for Unlicensed Heat and Air Conditioning Installation

07/30/15

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Purchasing a new heat and air conditioning system can create a huge boost to your home efficiency and a dramatic drop in your energy bills. New HVAC systems are more reliable, more effective and more efficient than ever. However, a word of caution if you are considering upgrades to your heat and air conditioning equipment – always make sure you’re dealing with a licensed contractor to install the systems. Local building code imposes numerous regulations for installing HVAC gear, and if you don't bother finding a licensed contractor who follows the rules, you could be liable for any mistakes, inadequacies or safety failings in your installation.

Follow the Heat and Air Conditioning Code

Local building code exists for a reason. The seemingly complex rules for heat and air conditioning systems are there to make sure the equipment is installed safely and correctly. Regulations deal with everything from the type of gear you are able to use to the size and ventilation requirements for the space where it is installed. Compliance is particularly important when it comes to HVAC because you are dealing with toxic, combustible fuels, dangerous gases and potentially harmful cooling chemicals.

Unfortunately, homeowners occasionally run into contractors who take shortcuts when it comes to code, ignoring the rules and not bothering to pull the proper permits or schedule official inspections. This means the job is likely to be cheaper, but it also means that you have no checks against shoddy work, which could result in an inefficient heat and air conditioning system or even a safety hazard.

Avoid Shoddy Work and Liability

Furthermore, even when it's the contractor who doesn’t follow the rules, the homeowner is still responsible for correcting any work that wasn't done properly. You can even be legally liable if a sub-par HVAC installation in your home kills or injures a guest.

The best way to avoid paying for inadequate heat and air conditioning work is to verify that you only hire licensed contractors to work on your home, and request copies of any permits that they are required to pull. Licensed HVAC technicians can lose their credentials if they don't follow the rules, so they have a stronger incentive to do everything by the book. You also have a better chance at finding recourse if you aren't happy with the work of a licensed contractor, since you can complain to your municipal government or to the local professional organization.

You Deserve the Best

There's nothing worse than having to shell out for an expensive fix for improperly-done work that you already paid for. Hire only licensed heat and air conditioning contractors with sterling reputations, and rest assured that the job will be done right the first time.



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