How to Hire a Good HVAC Contractor in Detroit
Given the rising cost of electricity in the Detroit area, having your HVAC appliances operate at a less than the optimal state can unnecessarily increase your utility bills while bringing you little or no comfort from their use. Hence, it is critical to address your HVAC concerns quickly. When doing this, it is equally important to make sure that you hire a duly licensed and qualified HVAC contractor who is acquainted with the Michigan Mechanical Code. When in search of such HVAC Contractors near you, asking the following questions can help you determine the contractor best fit for the project:
- Are You Licensed to Practice as an HVAC Contractor in the City of Detroit?
- How Much Do You Charge Compared to Other HVAC Contractors in the City of Detroit?
- Do You Comply with the City of Detroit Building Code for HVAC Work?
- Will You Get the HVAC Permits as Required by the City of Detroit Code?
- What Kind of HVAC Services Do You Offer?
- Do You Offer Emergency HVAC Services in the City of Detroit?
- Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for HVAC Contractors in the City of Detroit?
Are You Licensed to Practice as an HVAC Contractor in the City of Detroit?
All HVAC contractors must obtain a Mechanical Contractor License from the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) before performing any heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration work in the City of Detroit. Failure to comply with this license requirement can result in fines ranging from $5,000 to $25,000, as well as a year in prison, or a combination of the two. Subsequent violations might result in a sentence of up to two years in prison.
To be eligible to apply for a license, applicants are typically expected to meet certain requirements. These requirements include being at least 18 years old and possessing a high school diploma or GED Certificate. Furthermore, applicants must have completed a formal HVAC diploma or certificate program or earned a two-year degree from a community college, vocational/trade school, or university. Alternatively, applicants can have a formal apprenticeship via a local union or trade organization or an informal apprenticeship through a sponsoring business as an entry-level worker overseen by a licensed contractor. In addition to the abovementioned requirements, applicants must have three years of experience in one or more of the mechanical contractor categories.
Having met these qualification requirements, interested applicants will be required to pass a licensing examination and fulfill any other relevant licening requirements that the state's Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs deems necessary. You can direct DEtroit HVAC contractor licensing inquiries to the Mechanical Division of this department's Bureau of Construction Codes via email or by calling (517) 241-9325. You can also confirm that your HVAC contractor is licensed by utilizing the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs' online verification portal.
Obtaining estimates from many HVAC contractors is an excellent approach to guarantee that you pay a reasonable price for your project. However, it should be remembered that the costs charged by HVAC contractors in the City of Detroit are heavily influenced by several factors. The type and scale of the HVAC project, the cost of supplies that this project may necessitate, the HVAC contractor's level of competence and local reputation, as well as the cost of obtaining the appropriate permits for the task are all factors to consider. Regardless, by comparing different quotations from at least three HVAC contractors in your area, you can guarantee that you do not wind up spending significantly more than the typical market cost for your intended project.
An HVAC Contractor in the City of Detroit earns an annual average wage of $51,070. The table below provides a cost comparison of the mean hourly wages for HVAC contractors in the City of Detroit against those of HVAC Contractors in the rest of Michigan State as well as other major cities in the United States:Detroit City HVAC Contractors Mean Hourly Wage$24.55Michigan State HVAC Contractors Mean Hourly Wage$25.28Los Angeles HVAC Contractors Mean Hourly Wage$31.31Chicago HVAC Contractors Mean Hourly Wage$29.31Houston HVAC Contractors Mean Hourly Wage$26.40Denver HVAC Contractors Mean Hourly Wage$27.35Philadelphia HVAC Contractors Mean Hourly Wage$28.80
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
It is critical to ensure that your intended HVAC contractor is acquainted with the Michigan Mechanical Code while looking for HVAC contractors near you. This code provides minimal rules for mechanical work to safeguard the lives, property, and public welfare of Detroit residents. It also governs the design, installation, change, maintenance, inspection, operation, and use of mechanical systems in Detroit City. These mechanical systems include, but are not limited to, air conditioning systems, ventilation and exhaust systems, boilers, heaters, and pressure vessels, and refrigeration systems.
One of the reasons it's essential that your HVAC contractor not only understands but also applies the provisions and requirements of this code when working on your project is that it ensures that your HVAC project will meet city standards and, in turn, protects you from the penalties that come with violating the Code. These penalties include a fine of no more than $500 or imprisonment for no more than 90 days, or both fines and imprisonment. You can reach the City of Detroit Buildings, Safety Engineering, and Environmental Department at (313) 224-2733 for information on code requirements for your HVAC-related project or to direct any code-related inquiries you may have.
Will You Get the HVAC Permits as Required by the City of Detroit Code?
According to Section 8-4-6 of the Michigan Mechanical Code, a permit is generally required for any HVAC work done in the city. However, some mechanical operations may be exempted from the need for a permit. These mechanical work include the repair of;
- A portable heating or gas appliance that has inputs of less than 30,000 BTUs per hour.
- Portable ventilation appliances and equipment.
- A portable cooling unit.
Permits are issued by the City of Detroit's Buildings, Safety, Engineering, and Environmental Department (BSEED), and interested applicants can apply online via the department's Electronic Licensing and Permitting System (eLAPS). You can explore some of the materials provided in the BSEED plan review webpage to develop a clear understanding of how to use the Electronic Licensing and Permitting System. Interested applicants can also make permit application-related inquiries by contacting the Department via phone number (313) 224-2733 or in person at:
- Buildings, Safety, Engineering, and Environmental Department (BSEED)
- Coleman A. Young Municipal Center
- 2 Woodward Avenue
- Fourth Floor
- Room 408
- Detroit, MI 48226 Phone: (313) 224-2733
Please keep in mind that if your mechanical project requires a permit, you must schedule inspections with the BSEED at various stages of the project. This is to guarantee that your project adheres to the city's Mechanical Code as well as any other applicable requirements. Inspections can be scheduled online or by calling the BSEED Mechanical Inspection Team Clerical Staff at (313) 224-2054. Inquiries concerning the inspection procedure can also be sent to the BSEED by calling the number above.
HVAC services may be divided into four categories: installation services, maintenance services, repair services, and emergency services. While many HVAC contractors are qualified to offer a variety of HVAC-related services under more than one of these categories, some contractors may choose to concentrate in one of these categories and perfect their skills there. Hence, when looking for HVAC contractors in Detroit, it's critical to confirm that the contractor you hire has the necessary skillset to deliver the specific type of HVAC work that you need to be done. In addition, it is also a good idea to find out how much these contractors charge for their services. Provided below are average cost estimates for common HVAC services in the CIty of Detroit:Air Conditioner Installation$3,374.84 - $4,441.18 (for two - three-ton unit)Air Conditioner Repair$78.60 - $90.01 (for central a/c tuneup)Window A/C Unit Installation$212.70 - $241.06 (for 5,000 BTU window unit)Whole House Humidifier Installation$348.83 - $411.22 (for mid-grade central humidifier)Central Air Purifier Installation$891.45 - $1,227.99 (for a typical two-story home)Thermostat Installation$118.17 - $135.18 (for mid-grade programmable thermostat)
Do You Offer Emergency HVAC Services in the City of Detroit?
In certain cases, your search for an HVAC contractor near you may be motivated by the need to address an unplanned HVAC emergency. Some of these emergencies may include a broken thermostat, faulty fans and heat exchangers, and refrigerant leakage. Ignoring these emergencies not only makes your house uncomfortable but also results in energy waste, which always raises your electricity bill. With the average cost of electricity in Detroit city being 18.3 cents per kilowatt-hour, it's beneficial to address HVAC-related issues as soon as possible to minimize excessive electricity bills.
However, while these emergencies should be dealt with as quickly as possible, it is also critical to ensure that the HVAC contractor you hire to address the problem is properly licensed, experienced, and acquainted with the City of Detroit Mechanical Code. Hence, you may use a variety of online resources to locate certified and competent emergency HVAC contractors in your area. These include third-party review websites such as the Better Business Bureau and internet directories maintained by trade organizations such as the Air Conditioning Contractors of America and the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 7900 non-fatal occupational injuries among HVAC contractors in 2020. By hiring a properly insured HVAC contractor, you can remain certain that you will not be held liable for any injuries that occur as a result of your mechanical project. As such, even though the City of Detroit does not require HVAC contractors to carry general liability insurance, you should always ensure that the contractor you hire is properly insured. You may find out if an HVAC contractor has general liability insurance by asking for documentation and then contacting the appropriate issuing organizations to authenticate the document.
When looking for a reliable HVAC contractor in Detroit to work on your HVAC projects, it's critical to do your investigation to prevent falling victim to contractor scams or getting scammed out of your money. In 2019, home renovation and construction issues ranked second on the list of Detroit's top ten consumer complaints, with the basis of evidence for these complaints being bad work and failure to start or complete funded works. In August 2021, it was reported that a house builder from the Upper Peninsula would be facing 15 criminal charges for failing to complete home improvement projects, despite receiving more than $1.2 million in advance payments.
Some common signs that you are dealing with an unscrupulous contractor or scammers are:
- The contractor makes high-pressure sales tactics
- The contractor tries to pressure you to pay well in advance.
- The contractor attempts to rush you into signing a contract without giving you enough time to read it carefully.
- The contractor claims to have leftover materials from a job that was allegedly completed within your neighborhood.
- The contractor lacks a local business name as well as local contact information.
- The contractor appears as an uninvited contractor and requests admission to your home to investigate an alleged problem or perform a free inspection of your HVAC system.
- The contractor offers cash-only payments
To protect yourself against contractor scams, you may take some preventive measures when hiring an HVAC contractor in Detroit. These include:
- Always ensure that your contractor is properly licensed. You may check if your contractor has a valid license by using the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs' online verification portal.
- Avoid contractors without recognized local addresses and contact information.
- Ensure that all necessary permits for the project are obtained and that the contractor is adequately insured.
- Request recent client testimonials from the contractor. This helps determine the contractor's level of expertise, professionalism, and service.
- Insist on a written contract. Make sure the contract specifies the project's scope, the kind and grade of materials to be utilized, the project's start and expected completion dates, and payment methods.
- Get at least two to three estimates from various contractors and compare them to see if the contractor's charge is appropriate.
- Before signing any contract, make sure you read and understand it completely, and avoid signing contracts with blank gaps.
- Avoid making cash payment or above 50% upfront payment
- Keep copies of all project-related documents. These documents include contracts, receipts, and warranties.
- Ensure that frequent inspections are done to ensure that the project is being carried out in accordance with the contract.
If you believe you have been scammed by an HVAC contractor, you can file a complaint with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). You can contact the Compliance Division of this department's Bureau of Construction Codes at (517) 241-9316 for assistance in filing this complaint or for complaints-related issues.