HVAC systems offer many advantages, but maintaining them requires a certain amount of investment. As such, people try many things in an attempt to save money on their HVAC systems. These money-saving ideas normally fall into two categories: ideas that work, and ideas that don’t. The best way to tell whether an HVAC cost-cutting strategy will work or not is to consider the following: does it improve or imperil the health of your HVAC system? For example, you might decide to reduce future repair costs by arranging for regular service by a licensed contractor, or you might decide to save money by hiring a “budget” professional without official qualifications. The truth is that unlicensed and uncertified contractors almost always have lower rates than professionals who have earned the relevant credentials, but there’s a reason for that, and it doesn’t pay to ignore it. Keep reading to learn more about why HVAC certification requirements matter, and why you should insist on them before letting anybody touch your system.
Do HVAC Certification Requirements Really Matter So Much?
It might seem that we’re taking a bit of a hardline stance here. After all, if uncertified contractors were that risky, wouldn’t it be illegal for them to operate? Here’s the thing, though: in many places, it is—at least when it comes to most important operations.
California is an excellent example. Throughout California, all HVAC technicians are required to hold a C-20 license before they can work on any fix over $500. That automatically rules out installations, and the ability to replace most of your system’s critical components. For example, most compressors cost over $1000, so it would be illegal for an unlicensed contractor in California to replace one. However, that doesn’t stop unlicensed contractors from advertising their services throughout the United States, and it doesn’t prevent people from using them. Even so, those that choose to may find that they are doing more harm to their HVAC systems than good.
The Risks of Using an Uncertified Contractor
It might sound like a good idea at first: save a little money by using a less expensive technician, even if their credentials aren’t exactly ironclad. After all, aren’t certifications just formalities for the most part?
Actually, they’re not. The truth is that HVAC certification requirements matter a great deal. A contractor who does not have certification may be inexperienced, unskilled, or willing to cut corners in their work. As a result, they can miss key details when working on your HVAC, or even make mistakes that can cause damage to occur as you continue using it. Let’s say that your HVAC contractor is uncertified, and you’ve called them in to perform a routine service call. They might remember to check your ductwork for leaks and blockages, but if they don’t check your filters, it will hardly matter. You’ll still end up with dirty air circulating through your home, and your unit will suffer from efficiency problems that could even lead to compressor failure. In such scenarios, the money you save by calling a cheaper contractor is eclipsed by the expenses that will arise from their negligence.
What You Can Expect from Certified Contractors
When you hire a contractor who has been properly certified by their State Licensing Board, you will be able to trust that their work meets certain standards. This is because contractors often have to spend years in the industry before they qualify for a license. That’s not all, though. You’ll also be able to rely on certified contractors to be careful and attentive. Most states require contractors to pass several exams before they can obtain licenses or certifications, which means that a certified technician will be someone who knows their work in detail.
HVAC Certification Requirements in California
The process of achieving certification for a C-20 license in the State of California requires applicants to sit for two exams: one to do with business and law, and the other specifically about their industry. The State Licensing Board must approve every applicant before they are able to take the exam, and qualification for approval requires four years of industry experience at or above the “journeyman” level. A certain amount of working capital is also required. These restrictions are in place to protect consumers and make sure home and business owners can feel confident hiring licensed professionals.
The next time you are wondering about HVAC certification requirements, don’t dismiss them as mere bureaucratic red tape. In actual fact, they exist to ensure that your service is always efficient and cost-effective. The best way to save money, in the long run, is to invest in quality help, even if it costs a bit more up front. Remember to look for properly certified professionals whenever you are seeking professional service for your HVAC system, and you should be able to enjoy reliable climate control in your home or office whenever you need it.
Check with us here at Valley Comfort Heating and Air, our customers love our attention to detail and our friendly, affordable service. (707) 800-6287