Just like roofing or insulation, installing or updating an HVAC system is a big investment in your home. Even the most modestly priced HVACs can be expensive, and keeping them in good condition through maintenance and repairs can also add up.
With so much money invested in these valuable parts of our homes, looking at hiring an unlicensed HVAC company to help you may be tempting. Unlicensed subcontractors often arrive in unmarked white vans (or personal vehicles), are often cheaper, and are nearly always the lowest quote when comparing your options. If that’s the case, what could go wrong with giving them a try? If they save you money and seem to know what they’re doing, what could go wrong?
Most warranties for HVAC systems require the company installing them be licensed or certified in some way before installing the system. If they are not, they can void your warranty. This isn’t always mentioned on the website of the HVAC being installed, and of course an unlicensed company is hardly going to inform you.
The first you hear of this may actually be when something goes wrong and you try to get it replaced—only to find you are out the full cost because of who installed it.
Most homeowners have home insurance to protect them in case someone gets hurt on their property. If you’re having an HVAC system installed and an unlicensed contractor is injured while doing the work, it may not protect you.
The problem with unlicensed contractors is that they often skip insurance, bonds, and other important protections meant to help keep you and them safe. If things go wrong, that means you’re not covered and neither are they.
On top of this, unless you hired a general contractor for the job, which makes you the responsible party if something goes wrong. Home owners insurance is meant to protect you if someone is injured on the property, but unless it specifically covers employees on the property, it may not help you here.
It can cost you thousands if something goes wrong and there is no insurance to help, so it’s better to stay safe and make sure everyone is properly licensed and insured.
In order to be licensed, an HVAC technician needs a certain amount of experience and knowledge. This is meant to keep you safe. This isn’t just a matter of the longevity of the HVAC system or how efficient it runs, but also how to avoid making the system itself hazardous.
An example of this are gas leaks. Gas is frequently used in an HVAC system to help heat the home, but if there is a leak in the pipes it can severely hurt your entire family through carbon monoxide poisoning.
This is a huge risk, and not one you should be willing to take. The safest bet is always going to be a licensed technician with the training to get the job done right.
There are a lot of reasons to choose a licensed company with trained technicians, over unlicensed and potentially untrained people. It’s the safest, and long term cheapest, choice to make. HVAC systems are an investment, so it is best to choose a high-quality company to install, repair, or inspect your system.