When you buy a new furnace, your HVAC contractor must obtain, or “pull,” a permit before the work can begin. You won’t usually need a permit to do simple installations, such as stoves that don’t require you to move gas lines, but you should also never make any assumptions. Code violations can lead to delays and cost overruns and potentially fines and lawsuits. Here are a few frequently asked questions about furnace codes.

Where Can I Locate My Local Codes?

Most local building codes are based on the Uniform Mechanical Code written by the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials’ (IAPMO). The code is developed in response to current best practices and is updated every three years. You might also have local codes or HOA covenants in place regarding home improvements. Your HVAC contractor should be familiar with the local codes and procedures to pull the permits. New laws and regulations get passed on a regular basis, but the codes only apply to new construction and you won’t have to pull a new permit once the furnace is installed.

Why Are the Building Codes Important?

Your contractor has the responsibility to pull permits before the work begins and stakes their license on doing quality work and remaining in compliance with all local building codes and ordinances. Homeowners owe it to themselves to hire reputable contractors because they can be fined or even wind up in court if they’re out of compliance. A licensed contractor will be happy to show you their license, to answer any questions that you have about the building codes, and to show you all the paperwork and documentation that you need.

Your building permit typically also includes a third-party inspection, which is included in your permit fee. Furnaces and gas lines can leak carbon monoxide or even blow up if they’re improperly installed, and the inspector is there for your protection to ensure that the furnace was installed properly.

Will I Need a Permit?

You might not need a permit for installations that don’t require you to move your gas lines, but you will need to pull a permit when you install or remove a furnace or air conditioner. Be sure to also review all restrictions and covenants in place if your home is in a historically protected neighborhood or district.

What Should I Expect During the Inspection?

A third-party inspection is there for your protection, and the inspector is normally an experienced professional who’s familiar with furnace installation and who knows how to identify common installation mistakes. Common mistakes include improper ventilation or ductwork and obstructed airflow. Your inspector will ensure that the work is in compliance with all local and state building codes and that the installation is done according to the manufacturer’s specifications.

For a bigger and more involved furnace installation, you’ll want to pull a two-trip permit. During the initial “rough” inspection, the inspector will take a look at what’s behind the walls before the drywall and registers are in place. The inspector is only there to inspect the furnace but might note other unsafe conditions if they’re relevant to the installation. If there are any issues, the contractor is obligated to address those concerns before the final inspection. Any problems noted during the final inspection might require a follow-up inspection at your expense. Such an inspection typically needs to be completed within a year after your contractor obtains the permit.

Why Should I Hire a Contractor?

Unlicensed contractors can’t pull permits, and installing a furnace without the proper license is illegal. Even if you’re a very handy homeowner, your furnace should only be installed by a licensed contractor.

This recommendation is about more than just legal compliance. A contractor has to complete a lot of training and obtain insurance and usually a bond in order to operate. They will also have to undergo continuing education to maintain a licensure. Most licensed contractors are also members of professional organizations or trade unions. A professional contractor stakes his or her license and reputation on quality work, and the insurance and the bond are your legal remedies as the homeowner if a contractor fails to fulfill the terms of the contract or otherwise botches the installation.

Breckinridge Heating & Cooling is an EPA-certified company, and we’ve been providing top-quality heating and air conditioning services since 1954. We maintain an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, and our commitment to legendary service is second to none! Contact us today if you have any additional questions about furnace installation or if you would like to schedule a service appointment for quality air conditioning repair or heating installation services in Louisville, Kentucky, and the surrounding areas.

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