It is a little known secret that if you have your HVAC equipment installed or serviced by an unlicensed contractor, the warranty on your equipment might be void. Unfortunately, most consumers, even those who have done thorough research before purchasing an HVAC system, are not aware of this fact because it is rarely disclosed on the internet or by unlicensed contractors. In fact, there is usually no notice about this on the manufacturer’s website, the packaging, or on the equipment itself. As a result, most consumers do not learn of this restriction until they have to make a claim for repairs or until they read the fine print on the warranty, which is usually not provided until the HVAC unit has been purchased and installed.
Although an HVAC contractor may have a business license issued by a city or county, he or she is not necessarily an HVAC state licensed contractor. Under Georgia law, a person engaged in HVAC contracting is required to have a valid license from the Secretary of State’s Construction Industry Licensing Board’s Division of Conditioned Air Contractors. Every person holding such a license is required to display it in a conspicuous manner in his place of business. In addition, all commercial vehicles used by an HVAC licensee in the daily operation of business are required to prominently display the license number, and all qualified companies are required to prominently display this license number on any advertising found in phonebooks, newspapers, as well as all invoices and proposal forms.
To verify the validity and current status of a contractor’s license, or to determine if any disciplinary action has been taken against the licensee by the Division, consumers should go to the Professional Licensing section of the Secretary of State’s website (http://verify.sos.ga.gov/verification) and search under the Profession “Conditioned Air.”
It is natural to want your home repairs done as economically as possible, but given the high cost of repairing today’s sophisticated, computerized HVAC systems, the money saved by hiring an unlicensed contractor can end up costing you more in the long run if your system needs a repair.