What is a Virginia HVAC license? It is something every homeowner in the state should be familiar with. Why? Because it’s a good indication of who’s worth giving business to and letting into your home.
Sure, you may know a team that can do it cheaper, but can they fix the problem – especially an HVAC problem? And will they do it in a way that isn’t dangerous to the equipment or your home?
What is an HVAC License?
In Virginia, an HVAC license is required for HVAC companies. A license shows that you have the proper level of training to work in the field. It also shows how much experience you do have and what you are allowed to do.
There are three types of HVAC licenses in Virginia:
- Journeyman: The basic level that allows you to work in the field. To attain a journeyman license, you must complete the following:
- 80 hours of formal training and six years of experience
- 160 hours of formal training and five years of experience
- 240 hours of formal training and four years of experience
- Degree or Certificate from a two-year training program and two years of practical experience
- Master: Allows you to supervise installation and repair services. To obtain a master’s license in Virginia, you must have at least one year of experience as a Journeyman or ten years of verifiable experience.
- Contractor: Allows you to oversee the operation of HVAC services, including repair, installation, and maintenance. Class A, B, and C contractor licenses are available. A class C license allows you to oversee projects that cost up to $10,000, Class B will enable projects that cost up to $120,000, and Class A contractors have no limitations. To obtain a contractor license, you must complete the following:
- Have minimum experience—five years for a Class A, three years for Class B, two years for Class C.
- Complete an eight-hour course.
- Pass specialty exams required for the trade.
- Pass the General, Law, and Advanced exams.
- Carry insurance
Do the Different States Have Different Licenses?
Licensing varies by state, and what is governed in Virginia may not be the same in other areas. Some countries may have more licenses and different requirements for each, while others have no licensing system whatsoever.
Is a License Different Than a Certificate?
Licenses and certificates are not the same things. As mentioned above, different states have different licensing requirements, but no matter where you are in the country, you must receive an EPA certificate to work in the HVAC field.
The EPA section 608 test is something all technicians must complete. This is a closed-book exam that measures a technician’s knowledge of refrigerant containment laws set by the clean air act.
This certification virtually ensures that whoever is entering the field works safely for workers and the environment. There are four different certification levels one can obtain from this exam, the best being the Universal.
Keep in mind that without this certification, a person cannot get their HVAC license in the state of Virginia.
Is There Anywhere a Customer Can See if Their License Is Up to Date?
There are a few ways to check your HVAC company’s licensing. On their website, they should have this information available to you. But, if they don’t, you can call them and request that they show you their credentials. You can also contact the local licensing department to verify whether the company and its workers have licenses.
You should always check this information, even if a company has an excellent reputation. It’s also a great idea to read testimonials and reviews of the company. Of course, you want to read both the good and the bad. It will help you learn as much as possible about who you are letting into your home.
The Company I Use Doesn’t Have a License, Should I Still Use Them?
Who you choose to do business with is up to you. However, there are several risks to not working with someone who does not have their HVAC license.
An HVAC license is given to an individual based on their experience in the trade and their knowledge. The EPA type 608 also ensures they are an individual who can work with refrigerants safely.
Someone who doesn’t have a license may not have the proper knowledge to work on your system properly. In doing so, they can fail to correct the issue and even cause more significant problems in an attempt to. If this happens, you are the one who has to deal with the damages.
Furthermore, damage to the system can create several hazards for your family. Carbon monoxide levels can be compromised, toxic refrigerants can be released into your home, and faulty equipment can present fire hazards.
It always pays to ensure you are working with a reputable company. Keep in mind that even if they are licensed, it doesn’t mean they are committed to treating you right. That means you need to do more research on who you are dealing with.
But, in the world of information, that isn’t all that hard. Multiple platforms like YELP provide reviews and suggestions about the best HVAC companies in your area.