Department of Public Protection
New Law Extends Inspections to HVAC Systems
A law passed during the recent General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Ernie Fletcher on March 23, 2007, establishes a state inspection program for heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems in all new homes and other buildings in Kentucky. Senate Bill 10 goes into effect July 1, 2008.
The HVAC inspection program will be administered by the Office of Housing, Buildings and Construction (OHBC), an agency in the Department of Public Protection. OHBC expects to conduct about 25,000 inspections annually.
“This new law will ensure that heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems are properly installed under appropriate code requirements,” said Tim LeDonne, commissioner of the Department of Public Protection. “It also enables all contractors to operate under a uniform set of code requirements with a single fee structure.”
Sen. Gary Tapp (R-Waddy) sponsored Senate Bill 10 to enhance consumer safety and lower energy costs. Improperly installed HVAC systems do not use energy efficiently and can be dangerous.
“Senate Bill 10 is a step in the right direction for consumer safety,” said Sen. Tapp. “With rising energy costs today, this new law will ensure that citizens in the commonwealth get their HVAC systems installed properly, which will increase energy efficiency and consumer safety.”
Currently, Louisville and Lexington have their own HVAC inspection programs. They will continue to operate under guidelines established by the state. Other counties in the state will now be served by state inspectors. The law applies only to new heating and air conditioning installations as of July 1, 2008. Existing installations and future equipment replacements are exempt.
The HVAC inspection program is expected to be financially self-sustaining, with the inspection fee covering the costs of hiring an estimated 60 to 70 new inspectors.
The inspection fee, along with the code procedures each inspector will follow, will be set forth by the eight-member Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Board, chaired by Van Cook, OHBC’s executive director.
“This legislation will go a long way toward making changes at the front end of a construction project, when it is far easier for the contractor to make changes,” Cook said.
Inspectors will examine a new installation for issues such as adequate clearance space for a furnace, appropriate venting and sufficient room space to allow a furnace to take in oxygen to work properly. The inspector will also ensure that the HVAC system is the right size for the building.
Each year, OHBC receives as many as 500 consumer complaints about improperly installed or improperly sized HVAC systems. When this law goes into effect, OHBC expects a reduction in the number of HVAC-related complaints.
OHBC is an agency of the Department of Public Protection in the Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet.