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Questions to Ask Before Hiring an HVAC Contractor in the City of Indianapolis
Nearly half of your energy consumption goes to power the heating and cooling system at home, and improper installation of your HVAC equipment can further increase your consumption by 30 percent. With residents in Indianapolis paying 9.06Â¢/kWh, this energy wastage may translate to a huge cost when running an inefficient heating and cooling system. To save this cost, it is recommended to engage the services of a good HVAC contractor near you. However, before concluding on hiring a HVAC contractor in Indianapolis, ask the following questions to ensure the technician is competent:
- Are You Licensed to Practice as an HVAC Contractor in the City of Indianapolis?
- How Much Do You Charge Compared to Other HVAC Contractors in the City of Indianapolis?
- Do You Comply with the City of Indianapolis Building Code for HVAC Work?
- Will You Get the HVAC Permits as Required by the City of Indianapolis Code?
- What Kind of HVAC Services Do You Offer?
- Do You Offer Emergency HVAC Services in the City of Indianapolis?
- Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for HVAC Contractors in the City of Indianapolis?
- How to File a Complaint Against a Bad HVAC Contractor in the City of Indianapolis
Are You Licensed to Practice as an HVAC Contractor in the City of Indianapolis?
The Indianapolis Department of Business and Neighborhood Services (IDBNS) regulates the activities of HVAC contractors in Indianapolis in compliance with Section 875-301 of the Indianapolis-Marion County Code of Ordinances. Under this section, a license is required to carry out the replacement, modernization, installation, repairs, or replacement of refrigeration equipment, space cooling or heating equipment, heating or cooling systems, or ductwork for an exhaust hood that exceeds four square feet. However, there are some situations where an unlicensed person is permitted to carry out some heating and cooling work this includes:
- Where the person is working under the supervision of a properly licensed HVAC contractor. However, note that the unlicensed individual cannot enter into a contract for HVAC work and the unlicensed individual can only carry out work within the scope of the licensed contractor.
- Where the work involves ordinary repairs and maintenance of heating and cooling equipment, provided that this work is done in line with the ordinary course of business for which that individual was employed.
Although there are no penalties for hiring an unlicensed contractor in Indianapolis, it is always in your best interest to work with duly licensed HVAC contractors, as this gives you a measure of assurance that your work will meet the required standards. Note that HVAC contractors that carry on work without a license can be subject to a fine and even a civil suit as stipulated by the Building Standards and Procedures of the Consolidated City of Indianapolis.
Interested persons that wish to obtain a HVAC contractor license from the IDBNS must have at least 5 years of work or practical experience and they will be required to take an examination and then complete an application form. Applications for a license must be accompanied by the appropriate insurance, bond, and worker's compensation insurance where applicable. You can find out if your preferred contractor is properly licensed by accessing the IDBNS' Licensed HVAC Contractors List. If you have any inquiries regarding Indianapolis HVAC contractor licensing, you can contact the IDBNS at (317) 327-8700.
How Much Do You Charge Compared to Other HVAC Contractors in the City of Indianapolis?
The amount charged by an HVAC contractor differs from one contractor to the next and is based on a couple of factors. These factors include the expertise of the contractor, the type of work to be done, the cost of materials, and the cost of getting the necessary permits to execute the project. Before you hire any HVAC contractor, it is advisable that you get multiple estimates on the particular project you want to execute so that you get a fair price.
An HVAC Contractor in the City of Indianapolis earns an annual average wage of $58,600. The table below provides a cost comparison of the mean hourly wages for HVAC contractors in Indianapolis against those of HVAC Contractors in the rest of Indiana as well as other major cities in the United States:
The replacement, installation, repair, maintenance, replacement, and general work done on heating and cooling systems, space cooling or heating equipment as well as other related heating and cooling equipment and appliances in Indianapolis is regulated by the Indianapolis Building Standards and Procedures. The code helps the city maintain minimum standards for HVAC work and also ensures that the public health, safety, and welfare of residents of the city are not jeopardized in relation to the use of HVAC systems. The code identifies the minimum standards for materials, and for carrying out installations, repairs, and other ancillary services concerning these systems while also identifying areas where permits and inspections are required. Consequently, it is important that you hire HVAC contractors that are familiar with the city's building code in order to ensure that you do not flout any of the rules and end up with sanctions. You can contact the Indianapolis Department of Business and Neighborhood Services at (317) 327- 8700 if you have any questions relating to the Code.
Will You Get the HVAC Permits as Required by the City of Indianapolis Code?
Nearly all heating and cooling work within the City of Indianapolis require a permit. However, there are some exceptions to this permit requirement. Examples of HVAC-related work that typically do not require permits in Indianapolis include:
- The extension of cooling or heating ductwork
- The identical replacement of a water heater with another that has the same venting arrangement, energy input, and type of fuel.
For any other HVAC project that you want to execute within Indianapolis, you must obtain a permit from the Indianapolis Department of Business and Neighborhood Services before its commencement. The City of Indianapolis issues two categories of permits, Class One permits for commercial developments and Class Two permits for residential developments. If you intend to carry out a commercial project, you can apply for a permit by completing a Heating and Cooling Permit Application, while applications for a residential permit can be made by completing a Heating and Cooling Homeowner Permit Application. The completed forms are to be submitted toBusiness & Neighborhood Services
1200 Madison Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46225
Alternatively, applications for either of the HVAC permits can be made online via the Indianapolis Accela Citizens Access Portal. Note that an account is required before applications for permits can be made. After the completion of your project, an inspection will be required to ensure that the work done has complied with the city's building code and other laid down regulations. You can contact the Department of Business and Neighborhood Services if you have any other queries regarding permits by calling (317) 327-8700 or you can make inquiries in person by visiting the aforementioned address.
What Kind of HVAC Services Do You Offer?
There are different kinds of services offered by HVAC contractors, so it is very important that you verify that your chosen contractor is capable of handling your project. In Indianapolis, the services offered by HVAC contractors include the installation and modernization of HVAC equipment, maintenance of already existing HVAC systems, and emergency services. With this in mind, it is vital that you make sure that your chosen professional is properly specialized in the area you need the service and is also properly licensed to carry out the work. Listed below are average cost estimates for common HVAC services in Indianapolis:
Do You Offer Emergency HVAC Services in the City of Indianapolis?
There are times where you might find yourself with an urgent need to find an HVAC contractor because you have an emergency. Some common situations where this might happen include where you have a faulty or broken thermostat, a clogged ac drain or a broken air conditioner, refrigerant leaks, malfunctioning heat exchangers and fans. Failing to properly attend to these issues, or not handling them on time, could result in massive inconvenience to you and also result in an increase in your energy bill due to energy waste. Considering that energy prices in Indiana increased by 36.7% in 2021, you should make sure that you hire a skilled professional to take care of any HVAC problems as soon as you can. However, even when you have an emergency, you should still ensure that you only hire a competent HVAC contractor that is capable of handling the particular problem you have. You should also ensure that your chosen contractor is located closeby, is familiar with your area of residence, and can get to you within a reasonable time. You can find HVAC contractors near you that offer emergency services by using the Licensed HVAC Contractors List provided by the Indianapolis Department of Business and Neighborhood Services or you can utilize reputable third-party sites like the Better Business Bureau website.
Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for HVAC Contractors in the City of Indianapolis?
The Indianapolis-Marion County Code of Ordinances mandates that all HVAC contractors within the city must have general liability insurance, bond, and worker's compensation insurance if an employee works under them. Per this law, all contractors must have a minimum of $500,000 general liability insurance coverage for bodily injury or death or a minimum of $100,000 for property damage. Alternatively, the HVAC contractor can get a combined insurance cover that has a minimum value of $500,000 for any incident of bodily injury, death, or property damage. This law also requires that the City of Indianapolis is named as an additional insured entity. The contractor must also post a bond with a minimum value of $5,000 and the bond must name the City of Indianapolis or an unknown third party as the Obligee.
Hiring an insured HVAC contractor is very good practice because this insurance coverage protects you from liability if there is any unforeseen accident or work-related injury during the execution of the project. You should verify that any HVAC contractor you intend to hire has the proper insurance before hiring. You can do this by asking for a copy of the contractor's certificate of insurance and contacting the insurance provider. A good way to ensure that your preferred contractor is duly insured is by hiring only properly licensed HVAC contractors. This is because having valid insurance and bond are compulsory for any license application. However, it is still advisable that you confirm that the insurance of the contractor is still valid by requesting a copy of their certificate of insurance.
When you want to hire an HVAC contractor in Indianapolis, you must be extremely careful so that you do not end up a victim of scammers. The National Association of Airduct Cleaners has warned that HVAC scams are prevalent and take on different forms. Oftentimes, these scammers might charge you for a job like the cleaning of your cooling or heating system, and end up performing a shoddy job often referred to as a blow and go'. In April 2021, an Indiana homeowner was saddled with more than $1,600 in bills and a poorly done job after responding to a discount mail advert for air duct cleaning priced at $49. Here are some common techniques adopted by scammers:
- Offering unsolicited repairs and attempting to pressure you into making an immediate decision.
- Offering to do preventive or maintenance work for you and charging outrageous prices for materials.
- Charging you for materials more than was actually used, particularly materials like refrigerants.
- Not executing a job properly or completely in order to receive a callback
- Insisting on cash payments for jobs.
Due to the prevalence of scammers, you need to be alert to ensure that you do not fall prey to these individuals. Listed below are some precautionary steps to take when hiring an HVAC contractor in Indianapolis:
- Only hire licensed contractors. Always make sure that you confirm that the contractor you want to hire is properly licensed by searching the Licensed HVAC Contractors List provided by the IDBNS for this purpose.
- Make sure you obtain recommendations from trusted persons like neighbors and friends.
- Avoid hiring contractors that show up at your doorstep uninvited and offer to carry out work for you.
- Check online for reviews on the contractor you intend to hire particularly from reputable sites like the Better Business Bureau and Yelp.
- Make sure that all the agreements you make with your chosen contractor are put in writing in the form of a contract.
- Obtain multiple estimates before deciding on a particular contractor.
- Request references from the contractor and contact these references to verify the work of the contractor.
- Avoid making full or substantial payments before the completion of the contract. Where possible, agree on milestone payments and never pay more than 10% of the total value of a job upfront.
If you have been the victim of a contractor-related scam or suspect that a contractor might be a scammer, you can contact the Consumer Protection Division of the Office of the Indiana State Attorney General to file a complaint. These complaints can be filed by completing an Online Consumer Complaint provided by the Division for this purpose. Alternatively, you can complete a Printable Consumer Complaint Form and send it toOffice of the Indiana Attorney General
Consumer Protection Division
Government Center South
302 West Washington Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204