It may happen.
I’ll be selected for this new government position – The Heating and Air Conditioning Czar of California.
Okay, maybe just the Valley. I’m a realist.

What will be different when I’m in charge? Well, for starters, I will proclaim that all contractors be required to apply for a building permit before they can even purchase any new equipment. This would insure that every heating and air conditioning installation is inspected. Currently, many jobs are installed without permits. L.A. is so big that there is no way to catch every contractor who didn’t pull a permit.
Please rest assured, in am in no way in favor of more government control, but homeowners need some help in this area. The rules need to be changed to protect innocent, trusting homeowners. Furnaces are connected to a natural gas line, and air conditioners to a 230-volt electrical circuit. You as a homeowner want that inspector to make sure that they were both connected properly.
The city inspector would have complete and total jurisdiction over all areas of the system, not just the issues that affect safety. Without his endorsement, the system could not be used.
If we as a country are really attempting to decrease energy usage, then why stop at initiating minimum efficiency ratings for just the furnace and air conditioner? The inspector should be able to make sure that refrigerant lines are properly sized. He should be able to check the duct sizing as well. These two components will certainly cause any system to use significantly more energy if they are not sized per industry standards and manufacturer guidelines. Efficiency ratings will mean little if the system design is poor.

What about these digital programmable thermostats that nobody older than 12 can even operate? They definitely help save energy if they are used correctly. But let’s face it – who uses them the way are intended to be used? Nobody! So what is their true benefit? Nada. I say nix that rule.
The size of a heating and air conditioning system is key to its working properly, saving energy and lasting as long as it should. The capacity of every system installed should be verified. This is done with a product – a computer program known as a Manual J Load Calculation. This report is an industry standard, although it is currently not required. Better contractors will perform this calculation to insure that the system is sized correctly. But what about the guy working out of his garage? Will he take the extra time and effort to correctly size the equipment? Don’t bet on it.

Okay, I’m climbing down off of my soapbox. My blood pressure is returning to normal, and I’m OK for another couple of weeks, until my next rant. See you next time.

For more detailed information about heating and cooling systems, join us at our next Homeowners Workshop. All questions will be addressed, so bring your list. There is no cost, so bring your friends, neighbors, and relatives. If you are interested in attending, call Alex at (818) 886-2600 to make a reservation, as space is limited. Join us for a couple of hours and you’ll take home some useful information.

Jim Berry was a heating and air conditioning service technician prior to becoming a Sales Consultant for
Kahn Air Conditioning. Kahn hosts free workshops to help homeowners learn more about heating
and air conditioning systems.

For questions regarding heating or air conditioning, send an e-mail to
Jim at

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