Typically, TV antennas are stationed in high places to escape the interference of tall structures with broadcast transmission signals, in strict adherence to the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Over-the-Air-Reception-Devices rule. An antenna installation attempt by an amateur is a very risky endeavor considering the high number of casualties suffered by professionals in the field. In 2019 alone, electrical and electronics installers and repairers, a group including TV antenna installers, witnessed over 20,000 non-fatal occupational injuries and 26 fatal occupational injuries. Electrocution and falling are the two leading accidents among this group of workers.
As such, it is a smart choice to hire a certified TV antenna installation contractor nearby who is conversant with the industry installation standards, experienced, and equipped to deal with the hazards associated with any type of TV antenna installation. The following questions will help you successfully vet prospective installation technicians and guide you to hire the best antenna installer near you.
Are You A Licensed TV Antenna Installer?
In most states including California, Florida, Arizona(R-67 License), Connecticut, Michigan, and Washington, TV antenna installers are required to hold the low voltage license/limited energy license. This is a specialty electrical license certifying technicians allowed to work with electrical systems with up to 95 volts. In states like Pennsylvania, Missouri, and North Dakota where a statewide specialty electrical license is not required, municipalities may mandate such licensure for TV antenna installers. Hence, contact your state licensing board, local government, or consumer protection agency to determine the licensure requirements for TV antenna installation contractors near you.
Note, it is fairly common for professionals in this trade to hold a certification in electrical works from a technical institution or industry leading association. Such certifications further attest to their mastery of required skills.
Hence, request to see a copy of your installer's license or certificate before you sign off on the paperwork. You can verify the status of the license or certificate by contacting the licensing or certifying authority.
Are You A Bonded and Insured TV Antenna Installer?
Technicians that spend a substantial amount of time on rooftops and generally high points are typically exposed to the risk of falling or slipping. Falls, slips, and trips were responsible for around 880 fatal occupational injuries in the United States in 2019. Besides, driving nails and screws into the wall may sometimes cause substantial property damages such as breaking electric wires or water pipes running through the walls. The high probability of an injury or accident occurring justifies the case for a good and comprehensive insurance cover.
A liability insurance plan covers damages to property as well as injuries caused to persons in the course of executing your project. On the other hand, if your technicians slip and suffer a fracture or joint sprain, worker's compensation insurance foots their medical care cost and ensures that a portion of income lost due to the injury is paid to them. It would help if you asked to see valid and relevant proof of insurance before you make the hire.
To save yourself from having to pay another TV antenna installation contractor near you to finish an uncompleted project, request to see proof of bonding. Surety bonds are insurance instruments that protect you against default by the contractor. It compels the company which issued the bond, the â€œsurety companyâ€, to cover the costs that will be required to complete the project.
What Kind of TV Antenna Installation Work Are You Specialized In?
This question will help you figure out the specialization of a prospective TV antenna installation technician, and whether their experience matches your project's requirements. Your contract may be a repair specialist and not an installation technician:
- Antenna Installation: This typically involves erecting and tuning a newly acquired antenna into working condition. This installation will usually involve erecting poles on the roof, drilling into the wall, and tuning the new device to become operational.
- Antenna Repair or Replacement: This describes rectifying a faulty antenna or upgrading to a better one. The contractor may not have to install new poles or do other new installation tasks. Nonetheless, the installer may have to climb to the rooftop to retrieve the damaged or old antenna to replace it with the rectified or new device.
Note, some TV antenna manufacturers have a list of specially trained installation technicians due to the uniqueness of their antenna system. Such installers usually handle installation, repair, and replacement of that line of product. It is good practice to make inquiries about in-house certified installers near you when you get a brand new antenna. In-house installers are sure to set up your antenna correctly and in compliance with the manufacturer's specifications and standards.
Who Will Do The Work?
It would be best if you asked your TV antenna installer whether or not they will be engaging extra hands on your job. If they will, you need to ask whether they are employees of your contractor or subcontractors. In case extra hands will be engaged, ascertain these technicians are covered by insurance and the contractor's bond. Also, ask about the past work experience of subcontractors to be sure they are skillful to complete your job.
Do You Offer A Warranty?
If you did not contract your TV antenna installer to purchase the TV antenna for you, then you may only ask for a service warranty. A typical service warranty for TV antenna installation is an assurance given by the service provider to the client about the quality of the service. It usually also agrees that the technician will rectify any defect or error found in the installation service rendered.
If you would prefer that your installation contractor buys the TV antenna, then you should instruct them beforehand that they should only buy a product that carries a warranty. This will protect you from any manufacturing defect that may be in the product. Some manufacturers offer lifetime warranties for their antennas and time-bound warranties for accessories and parts.
Warranties may be written, oral, or implied. Written and documented warranties are the safest and should be preferred above other types. Highly-experienced antenna installers near you will not hesitate to provide you a warranty for their workmanship.
Will This Job Require A Permit?
Local authorities typically issue permits for home improvement, installation, or repair works. To this effect, city or county ordinances require compliance with specific safety measures and standards. For example, the City of Santa Rosa in California and the City of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania require local permits to install TV antennas.
Any professional antenna installer near you knows what permit your job requires and how to obtain it. However, do not take this as given, you may contact the local building department to determine if a permit is required for your TV antenna installation work.
Will You Provide References?
References are the best mediums to evaluate the level of experience and expertise of a professional. In addition to asking past clients about the contractor's conduct and workmanship, you may have a first-hand opportunity to assess past projects' quality and how well the installations comply with safety standards.
As recommended by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), you should ask for at least three references. Also, ask if they have a business website or professional web profiles. Better Business Bureau, Google Business Reviews, and Yelp are other platforms that provide unbiased reviews of clients near you for local registered businesses. Make enough findings about your prospective contractor's reputation and customer feedback.
Do You Have A Business License?
Business licenses are documents issued by government agencies allowing a business to offer lawful products or services on a commercial scale. State Departments of Revenue are typically saddled with issuing business licenses.
Generally, before a business can obtain a business or commercial license, specific requirements must have been met. Some of these requirements include complete business registration, validation of operating license, tax filing, etc.
You may make inquiries at the Office of State's Secretary about a business license and ask your installation technician if they have obtained the required business license. Where possible, verify the status of the license from the issuing authority through their websites or official lines.
What Are Common TV Antenna Installation Problems?
TV antenna installation typically requires more job-specific knowledge and experience than physical strength, and can prove challenging when attempted without requisite skill. Some of the most common challenges to correct TV antenna installation include:
- Procurement of wrong antenna and accessories: It is not uncommon to have homeowners buying the wrong antennas or antenna accessories for their homes. This will most definitely constitute a problem after installation. Purchasing an antenna or accessory, such as an amplifier, which is right for your home's location, is better left to an expert antenna installation technician.
- Insecure antenna: Correct and firm positioning are important for TV antennas and not quite easy to achieve. How well a TV antenna picks up broadcast signals affects picture and general content quality. Sustained signal quality is in turn, determined by how tightly held an antenna is in its place. Storm, strong winds and rain can easily tilt a poorly installed antenna out of position.
- Tuning an antenna for the purpose of registering the TV stations within range also is quite dicey. It involves rotating the antenna in place to get the best signal reception position. It becomes particularly cumbersome if one person has to do a manual tuning, without a remote controller.
- Poor quality cables and accessories: A defective accessory, which may not be easily detectable can make TV antenna installation frustrating. These types of problems become more likely when users try to reuse old accessories, procure antenna parts themselves or attempt a DIY installation.
How Much Does TV Antenna Installation Cost?
The cost of installing a TV antenna varies by location, specifically, by the applicable standard of living in each state or locality. However, the ranges of installation cost are given below:
The prices above are only estimates of the actual costs, which are affected by other varying factors. Note, contractors near you may be willing to charge less due to the proximity.
What Are The Factors Affecting The Cost of TV Antenna Installation?
The primary factor that affects the cost of installing a TV antenna is the price of the TV antenna itself. The price of an antenna is further determined by the type of material (plastic, aluminum, or steel), quality, use, and size.
Some of the other common factors that affect the cost of antenna installation include:
- The nature of installation work: New installation typically costs more than replacement or repair work. In addition, new antenna installation may also involve setting up a wall mount which further increases the overall efforts, time and cost required.
- Location of worksite: This generally applies to all contracted works; the harder a worksite is to reach, the higher a contractor may charge.
- Type of building: This involves factors such as the number of floors in the building, and the number of families living in the house. The harder it is to reach the roof of a building, the riskier the installation work; and the higher the price charged.
- The device being installed: More sophisticated devices typically require a higher level of expertise. The elementary category of antennas will usually be easy to install. However, TV antennas that are more advanced and have more functionalities require more time. Also, outdoor antenna installations will require more labor and time compared to indoor installations.
- The number of television sets to be linked: Sometimes, a single TV antenna is set up to serve more than one TV set in a building. After the antenna's rooftop installation, the installation technicians have more in-house work cut out for them, as there are multiple TV sets to tune into operation. This type of antenna configuration may also require additional accessories such as cables and splitters to amplify broadcast signals.
What Qualifications Should A TV Antenna Installer Have?
A TV antenna is an electronic device, and as such, your installer should have a basic understanding of electrical components and how they work. Therefore, a good hire must have at least a high school diploma and a technical school certificate. You should give preference to installers who have also garnered substantial work experience.
Besides technical school qualifications and proof of experience, not much more is needed for a TV antenna installer. However, professional bodies such as the Electronics Professional Association (ETA), the International Society of Certified Electronics Technicians (ISCET), and the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) offer qualification examinations and certifications for several specifications and levels of competencies of electrical and electronics work.
Do You Need A TV Antenna Installation Professional or A Handyman?
While any handyman near you will claim proficiency in installing a TV antenna, note that securing an antenna firmly in place, tuning to get the perfect signal, and wiring cables appropriately require specific training, tools, and experience. Also, for a delicate task like installing an antenna at heights, working with an uninsured professional is a high risk to your financial well-being.
What Are Common Post TV Antenna Installation Expenses?
Beyond positioning the antenna on the roof or porch, there may be additional work for you or your TV antenna installer to get your TV relaying broadcast signals for viewing. Some of the other expenses include:
- Additional accessories such as signal amplifiers and boosters
- Cost of repainting the wall if it was substantially tampered with
- In the event of signal disruption as a result of wind tilting the antenna out of position, there will be an additional cost for repositioning
Does Homeowner Insurance Cover TV Antenna Installation Expenses?
Yes, if your previous television antenna was destroyed by fire, burglary, or any other event covered by your homeowner insurance plan, then the cost of buying and installing a new TV antenna will be covered by your insurance coverage provider. Homeowner insurance policies typically provide coverage for loss of property occasioned by an event that is protected by your policy, such as smoke, fire, and vandalism.
Homeowner insurance policies do not generally cover home improvement or maintenance expenses but usually provide coverage for replacement of property lost to a covered event.
Can I Use Digital Payment To Pay My TV Antenna Installer?
Currently, more and more businesses in the US, including TV antenna installers near you are willing to accept payments via digitized payment platforms. If your technicians prefer a safe, secure, and cashless payment mode of payment, they will most likely accept payment by bank transfer, mobile wallets, credit or debit cards, or digital currencies.
It is recommended by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) not to pay cash to technicians and to keep payments records safe. Digital payments have a reputation for being convenient and cheap. Digital transaction records are also saved in digital form, easily accessible, and indestructible.