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Licensed HVAC Contractor in Columbus, OH

How to Hire a Good HVAC Contractor in Columbus

Electricity prices for residents in Columbus currently cost an average of $10.70 per 700-kilowatt hour. Typically, nearly half of an energy bill goes to pay for consumptions by your HVAC systems. Retaining the services of an experienced and qualified contractor to install and maintain your HVAC systems can help save as much as 30% off your energy bill without compromising the system's efficiency. When looking for HVAC contractors near you, you can only rely on referrals from friends, family, and other home improvement contractors. Asking the following questions is a way of confirming your HVAC contractor is duly qualified and experienced:

  • Are You Licensed to Practice as an HVAC Contractor in the City of Columbus?
  • How Much Do You Charge Compared to Other HVAC Contractors in the City of Columbus?
  • Do You Comply with the City of Columbus Building Code for HVAC Work?
  • Will You Get the HVAC Permits as Required by the City of Columbus Code?
  • What Kind of HVAC Services Do You Offer?
  • Do You Offer Emergency HVAC Services in the City of Columbus?
  • Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for HVAC Contractors in the City of Columbus?

Questions to Ask Before Hiring an HVAC Contractor in the City of Columbus

  1. Are You Licensed to Practice as an HVAC Contractor in the City of Columbus?

    To carry out HVAC work in Columbus, interested individuals must obtain a license from the Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board (OCILB). Any individual who performs any HVAC work without obtaining the relevant license is guilty of a minor misdemeanor on the first violation and a fourth-degree misdemeanor for subsequent violations, which attract several penalties.

    The OCILB issues only one kind of HVAC license to interested parties in Columbus, the state-level commercial contractor HVAC license. To qualify for this license, an applicant must:

    • Be 18 years of age and a U.S. citizen or a legal alien with proof to legally work in Columbus.
    • Obtain at least five years of experience working under a licensed HVAC contractor on projects that require a permit or be a registered engineer in Columbus with three years of business experience in the HVAC construction industry
    • Pass a licensing examination

    To sit for the required licensing examination, an applicant must complete and send a notarized Test Application Packet to the address indicated on the packet. Similarly, when completing the license application, the applicant must provide proof of at least one permit for each of the five years of working experience under a licensed HVAC contractor or provide proof of being registered as an engineer in Columbus. Applicants should note that they also need to obtain a BCI and FBI background check and send the result to the OCILB before sitting for the exam. Applicants who pass the licensing examination will receive a state license after sending a copy of their examination result, paying the requisite licensing fees, and obtaining contractor liability insurance with a minimum coverage of $500,000. Applicants should also note that per Section 608 of the Clean Air Act, they must obtain mandatory certification from the United States Environmental Protection Agency to carry out maintenance, servicing, or repair any equipment containing refrigerants.

    Ohio runs an HVAC licensing reciprocity program with Kentucky, Louisiana, Tennessee, West Virginia, and South Carolina, allowing individuals from these states to operate without taking the state trade exam. For HVAC contractor licensing and certification-related inquiries, interested persons can contact the OCILB at 614-644-3493 or by email.

    You can verify if your intended HVAC contractor has been duly licensed by utilizing the OCILB's eLicense Center.

  2. How Much Do You Charge Compared to Other HVAC Contractors in the City of Columbus?

    The average mean hourly pay of HVAC contractors in Columbus is $23.99. However, how much they charge is influenced by factors like the nature and scope of the services, cost of materials, permits required, labor, and qualification and skill set of your intended HVAC contractor. To ensure you are given fair estimates, you can get quotes and estimates from several HVAC contractors near you before hiring any for your projects. This enables you to compare prices and pick the most qualified HVAC contractor suitable for your budget.

    An HVAC Contractor in the City of Columbus earns an annual average wage of $49,890. The table below provides a cost comparison of the mean hourly wages for HVAC contractors in Columbus against those of HVAC Contractors in the rest of Ohio as well as other major cities in the United States:

    Columbus HVAC Contractors Mean Hourly Wage
    $23.99
    Ohio HVAC Contractors Mean Hourly Wage
    $28.13
    New York City HVAC Contractors Mean Hourly Wage
    $32.58
    Phoenix HVAC Contractors Mean Hourly Wage
    $24.07
    Houston HVAC Contractors Mean Hourly Wage
    $26.40
    Detroit HVAC Contractors Mean Hourly Wage
    $24.55
    Philadelphia HVAC Contractors Mean Hourly Wage
    $28.80

    Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

  3. Do You Comply with the City of Columbus Building Code for HVAC Work?

    The Ohio Mechanical Code applies to any project that involves the design, installation, alteration, maintenance, repair, replacement, and inspection of HVAC systems in Columbus. These HVAC systems include heating, ventilation, cooling, and refrigeration systems, incinerators, and other heat-producing or indoor climate regulating appliances. This makes it necessary for you to hire only qualified HVAC contractors conversant with the Code's provisions. This assures you your work is being carried out without infringing Code requirements, as non-compliance with this Code is considered unlawful, and it attracts the payment of a maximum fine of $1,000, or a maximum jail term of 180 days, or both. You can make code-related inquiries for your HVAC project by contacting the Columbus Department of Building and Zoning at (614) 645-7433.

  4. Will You Get the HVAC Permits as Required by the City of Columbus Code?

    Permits must be obtained from the Columbus Department of Building and Zoning to install, alter, or repair any heating or ventilation equipment or system within the City of Columbus. HVAC permits may be obtained by an HVAC contractor duly licensed by the OCILB or the occupying homeowner in an existing single-family dwelling in which the owner resides.

    To be issued a permit, applicants can complete an online application via the city's Citizen Access Portal by creating a new user account or logging in with an existing account. They must upload all the necessary documents like plans on the portal for reviews. Alternatively, applicants can download and complete a mechanical application form and submit the completed form, as well as applicable fees and specified numbers of plans if applicable, to:

    • Building and Zoning Services
    • 111 North Front Street
    • Columbus, OH 43215
    • Office: (614) 645-7433
    • Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., on Mondays through Fridays

    When the Department receives the application submitted, it will be reviewed for necessary approval. Before a permitted HVAC work is completed, a permit holder must ensure that all required inspections have been approved. A permit holder can request an inspection online, by calling (614) 645-8235, or in person at the address provided above. For more information or assistance with scheduling an inspection, permit holders can utilize the Basic inspection information resource provided by the Department of Building and Zoning. You can direct your queries regarding the permitting and inspection process in Columbus to the Department of Building and Zoning at (614) 645-7433.

  5. What Kind of HVAC Services Do You Offer?

    Before hiring an HVAC contractor in the City of Columbus, you should ensure they possess the necessary qualification and experience to perform the work satisfactorily. HVAC contractors in Columbus offer several services, like installing HVAC equipment and appliances, repairs, maintenance of HVAC systems, and offering emergency HVAC services. As such, you must confirm that your intended HVAC contractor specializes in the specific work they are being hired for and how much their services cost.

    Listed below are average cost estimates for common HVAC services in Columbus:

    Air conditioner installation
    $3,284 - $4,322 (for two-three ton unit)
    Air conditioner repair
    $76 - $87
    Window A/C unit installation
    $207 - $234 (for 5,000 btu window unit)
    Whole house humidifier installation
    $339 - $400 (for mid-grade central humidifier (flow-through)
    Central air purifier installation
    $867 - $1,195
    Thermostat installation
    $115 - $131
    Boiler installation
    $2,277 - $3,082 (for 80-120 mbtu/hour gas boiler)
    Forced air furnace installation
    $2,484 - $3,127 (for 80,000-100,000 btu electric furnace)
    Forced air furnace repair
    $87 - $115
  6. Do You Offer Emergency HVAC Services in the City of Columbus?

    When faced with emergency HVAC situations like thermostat malfunctioning, blown fuses or tripped breaker, poor or restricted airflow, and leaking ducts, you will need an HVAC emergency service. Ignoring these problems, and HVAC-related problems generally, only increases your energy bills and can result in extensive HVAC system damage, which will cost you more to repair. This is why it is necessary to hire the services of a professional HVAC contractor who can attend to your emergency problems within a reasonable time. You can use the Find a Contractor portal provided by the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association and the Contractor Locator platform provided by the Air Conditioning Contractors of America to find an HVAC contractor near you. You can also utilize third-party websites like Better Business Bureau to find HVAC contractors near you that can offer an emergency HVAC service. However, you should ensure you confirm the licensing status of any intended HVAC contractors found on these platforms by using the OCILB eLicense Center.

  7. Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for HVAC Contractors in the City of Columbus?

    According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4,764 work-related fatalities were reported across the United States in 2020. When hiring HVAC contractors in Columbus, you should hire only those who maintain the mandated contractor liability insurance of at least $500,000. As such, before completing a work contract with the HVAC contractor you choose, make sure you request a copy of their insurance certificate and verify the certificate with the issuing insurance provider. Doing this reduces your chances of incurring personal expenses if any bodily injury or property damage results from your HVAC project. You can also contact the Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board (OCILB) at (614) 644-3493 for more information regarding the state-mandated insurance requirements for HVAC contractors and if your intended HVAC contractor meets them.

    Note that HVAC contractors in Columbus must carry workers' compensation insurance where they have more than one employee working with them. You can contact the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation via its toll-free line at (800) 644-6292 for more information regarding Columbus workers' compensation insurance.

How to File a Complaint Against a Bad HVAC Contractor in the City of Columbus

Fraudulent contractors in Columbus always try to take advantage of unsuspecting homeowners in the city. Some of these contractors collect payment in advance and fail to deliver the work or end up delivering shoddy work. For instance, In August 2019, the Attorney General of Ohio filed legal action against an Ohio contractor after several complaints of the contractor failing to deliver as agreed, performing shoddy work, and failing to provide proper notice of cancellation rights. As such, when planning to hire an HVAC contractor, you can look out for the following signs indicating a contractor is probably deceptive:

  • High-pressure sales tactics
  • Door to door solicitation
  • The references provided are unverifiable.
  • Reluctance to provide copies of their licenses and certifications.

As such, you should always take the following precautionary steps when looking for HVAC contractors near you to prevent you from falling victim to a contractor scam:

  • Ensure you verify the licensing status of your intended contractor via the Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board (OCILB) eLicense Center and request a copy of their insurance certificate
  • Request customer references from your intended HVAC contractor and contact the references to inquire about the contractor's services and work quality
  • Get estimates to compare HVAC contractors' bids. Note that the cheapest price may not be the best, as the contractor with the cheapest price is likely to use substandard materials
  • Execute a written contract with the retained contractor before work starts
  • Be wary of door-to-door contractors
  • Avoid getting pressured into undertaking an HVAC project
  • Only pay a fraction of the agreed total pay upfront and do not complete the payment until the work has been completed as agreed

If you have been scammed or you suspect an HVAC fraud in Columbus, you can report to the Consumer Protection Office of the Ohio Attorney General's Office by completing an online complaint form. Note that the Attorney General's Office cannot guarantee restitution from the erring contractors. If you wish to seek direct restitution for the actions of the contractor, you can file a civil action at the Franklin County Municipal Court. For instance, you can file a small claims action if the money in dispute is not more than $6,000. However, it is advisable to seek proper legal advice before instituting an action in court. You can use the find a lawyer tool provided by the Columbus Bar Association to find an active lawyer near you. Alternatively, you can contact the city's Bar Association lawyer referral services at (614) 221-0754.