Get Quotes from Top HVAC Contractors in Austin, TX
Questions to Ask Before Hiring an HVAC Contractor in the City of Austin
More than 50% of HVAC systems in homes across the United States do not perform to optimum capacity due to improper installation. Soliciting the services of a good HVAC contractor near you to properly install your heating and cooling systems will not only save you money but boost the capacity of the equipment by up to 30 percent.
When looking for a quality HVAC contractor, it is very important to do a thorough research of the contractor's abilities before making a hiring decision. To ascertain the quality and qualifications of your HVAC contractor it is recommended you ask the following questions:
- Are You Licensed to Practice as an HVAC Contractor in the City of Austin?
- How Much Do You Charge Compared to Other HVAC Contractors in the City of Austin?
- Do You Comply with the City of Austin Building Code for HVAC Work?
- Will You Get the HVAC Permits as Required by the City of Austin Code?
- What Kind of HVAC Services Do You Offer?
- Do You Offer Emergency HVAC Services in the City of Austin?
- Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for HVAC Contractors in the City of Austin?
- How to File a Complaint Against a Bad HVAC Contractor in the City of Austin
Before hiring an HVAC contractor, it is always in your best interest to make sure that they have been duly licensed for the job. Per Section 1302.453 of the Texas Occupations Code, it is illegal for any person to intentionally partake in air conditioning as well as refrigeration contracting in the City of Austin without being appropriately licensed. The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) is the agency responsible for receiving HVAC license applications, reviewing, and approving said applications, and issuing HVAC licenses. Any person looking to have an HVAC license may acquire either a Class A or Class B license.
A contractor with a Class A license can carry out air conditioning or refrigeration work on a unit of any size. On the other hand, a Class B license holder is limited to air conditioning or refrigeration units of 25 tons or less and an output of 1.5 million btu per hour. In order for a person to be eligible for an HVAC license, interested parties must fulfill the following requirements:
- They must not be below the age of 18
- They must have a minimum of four years of practical experience in work relating to air-conditioning and refrigeration under the guidance of a licensed air conditioning and refrigeration contractor in the previous 6 years. Alternatively, they must have, at a time, been in possession of a technician certification for the past year and have a minimum of 3 years of practical experience in work relating to air-conditioning and refrigeration. Note that this experience must be gotten under the guidance of a licensed air-conditioning and refrigeration contractor in the past 4 years.
You can confirm the licensing status of your intended HVAC contractor by utilizing the TDLR license search portal.
Obtaining and comparing cost estimates from different HVAC contractors will give you a sound idea of the overall cost of your intended HVAC project. Hourly wages differ from contractor to contractor, depending on the scale of the work, the cost of materials, the cost of obtaining permits, and the level of difficulty of the work to be carried out. Nonetheless, the mean hourly wage for HVAC contractors in Austin is around $22.
An HVAC Contractor in the City of Austin earns an annual average wage of $46,210. The table below provides a cost comparison of the mean hourly wages for HVAC contractors in Austin against those of HVAC Contractors in the rest of the State of Texas as well as other major cities in the United States:
You must ensure that any HVAC contractor you wish to hire is conversant and familiar with the Mechanical Code of the City of Austin, which is adopted from the 2021 Uniform Mechanical Code. The Mechanical Code regulates and governs the erection, installation, alteration, maintenance, and use of mechanical systems within the City of Austin. It also provides for the minimum requirements and standards to ensure the safety, well-being, and health of the public. Failure to adhere to the provisions of this code can lead to city and state-imposed civil and criminal sanctions. Thus, hiring an HVAC contractor who has proper knowledge of the relevant laws not only ensures that your job is done professionally but also helps you avoid possible code violations and the penalties that come with them.
Residents of the City of Austin are required to obtain an HVAC permit before commencing any erection, installation, alteration, repair, and replacement of HVAC systems within your home or building. Note that, per Section 5.5.3 of the Austin Building Criteria Manual, only a registered and adequately licensed HVAC contractor can pull these permits. However, some HVAC-related jobs are exempt from this requirement. You should note that HVAC works that do not require permits must still follow Code standards and requirements. The following are a few examples of HVAC works that do not require permits:
- Work involving portable HVAC devices, appliances, and equipment
- Work that involves the installation of self-contained refrigerators or freezers
- Work involving refrigerating equipment that is a component of equipment that requires the issuance of a permit under the Code
- Works that involve the replacement or relocation of controls and thermostats less than 24 volts
- Servicing and repairing ice machines
The Permitting and Development Center (PDC) under the city's Development Services Department is responsible for receiving and reviewing permit applications. Additionally, the Center also issues permits after permit applications have been approved. Permit applications can be completed by utilizing this department's online Service Center Request Form.
Applicants will be required to submit HVAC plans alongside their permit application in duplicate and should be drawn to scale. Additionally, plans can either be in print or ink as long as they can sufficiently show your plans are in accordance with the provisions of all applicable Codes. Note that these plans are typically not required for work involving one-family or two-family dwellings.
Inquiries concerning the Austin permitting process and procedures can be directed to the PDC at (512) 978-4504.
HVAC contractors who operate within the City of Austin provide a variety of HVAC services. These services include installation, repair, and replacement services for residential and commercial structures. In the process of searching for a competent HVAC contractor in Austin, it is essential you ensure that the contractor you find can adequately provide the particular service you need, as some HVAC contractors specialize more on certain types of HVAC works. For example, an HVAC contractor who just specializes in the installation of a split system will most likely not have the necessary skill and ability to install a hybrid split system.
HVAC services in the City of Austin cost between $144.00 and $451.00. The following is the cost of different HVAC services within the City of Austin:
You should note that these prices do not include the cost of obtaining a permit or inspection fees.
You may require the services of an HVAC contractor near you due to urgent HVAC issues that need to be resolved as soon as possible. Typical instances of these types of issues include defective fans and heat exchangers, and damaged thermostats and refrigerators. These issues require urgent attention and leaving them unattended can result in unnecessary energy use, which in turn increases the cost of your utility bill.
As such, you must ensure to address any malfunctions or defects in your HVAC system as soon as possible by reaching out to qualified HVAC contractors near you. You can find these contractors by getting referrals from friends and family or via online platforms like the Better Business Bureau. Note that you should always confirm the licensing status of any HVAC contractor that you intend to hire before finalizing any arrangements with them. You can do this by utilizing the online license search portal provided by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.
In 2020, there were 7,900 non-fatal occupational injuries involving HVAC contractors in the United States. Hiring an HVAC contractor with the necessary insurance coverage will offer you the financial protection you need against on-the-job injuries or accidents. To this end, the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation provides minimum liability insurance requirements for all HVAC contractors that wish to operate in the City of Austin. These insurance requirements vary by license class. Class A license holders must have minimum insurance coverage of $300,000 per occurrence for property damage and bodily injury, while Class B license holders are must have minimum insurance coverage of $100,000 per occurrence for property damage and bodily injury.
You may contact the TDLR for more information on its insurance requirements for HVAC contractors by calling (512) 978-4504. To confirm if the HVAC contractor you want to hire holds the required insurance coverage, request a copy of their insurance certificate and contact the organization responsible for issuing this certificate to authenticate it.
In 2021, the Texas Attorney General's Office issued a warning to homeowners across the state urging them to be wary of unsolicited door-to-door home renovation pitches, adding that these unsolicited individuals were typically con men looking to take advantage of, and defraud them. As such, you should always ensure to confirm the legitimacy of your HVAC contractor to avoid falling victim to HVAC scams. While scammers in the City of Austin make use of different scam techniques, some of their most common techniques include:
- Coming to your home uninvited and offering to inspect your HVAC systems and fix whatever alleged problems they find at a discounted rate
- Attempting to use technical jargons to confuse and overwhelm you
- Offering oral assessments rather than written and detailed estimates of what is required, so that they can charge ridiculous prices
- Attempting to rush you into signing a contract without giving you the time to properly look at it
- Insisting on you paying them in cash to avoid being traced
However, you can protect yourself against these sams by taking the following precautions:
- Ensure to confirm that your HVAC contractor is duly licensed by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations. You can do this by utilizing the TDLR license search portal
- Request references from clients that have previously hired the contractor. It is in your best interest not to hire any contractor that fails to provide verifiable references.
- Beware of contractors who do not have local addresses or business names you cannot verify
- You may utilize websites such as Better Business Bureau when searching for authentic HVAC contractors
- Never sign contracts with blank spaces
- Prior to making final payments, ensure to inspect the work upon completion to confirm it was done in accordance with the stipulations of your written contract
You can register a complaint with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation if you believe you have been a victim of an HVAC scam in the City of Austin. Alternatively, you can submit a consumer complaint to the Consumer Protection Division of the Texas Attorney General's Office. To file a complaint with this Division, you would need to complete a complaint form, available in English and Spanish, and mail it to:Office of the Attorney General
Consumer Protection Division
P.O. Box 12548
Austin, TX 78711-2548
After your complaint has been received, it will be reviewed to determine the best course of action for you. You should be aware that your complaint may be forwarded to another agency if necessary. If you are not satisfied with the resolution provided by any of the aforementioned agencies, you can file a small claims lawsuit against the fraudulent contractor at the Travis County Justice of Peace, Precinct 1. You should note, a claim for damages in a small claims suit cannot exceed $20,000, and it is recommended you seek legal assistance and an assessment of your case from an attorney before going ahead with the case.