When Should Your HVAC Contractor Have Plumbing Experience?

HVAC and plumbing may not seem like similar fields initially, but there's a surprising amount of overlap between HVAC contractors and plumbers. In many states, licensing for these two professions may even be related. While your plumber doesn't necessarily need to be familiar with HVAC equipment, there are situations where working with heating or cooling will require plumbing services.

If you need to have work done on your home's air conditioning or heater, you may be surprised to find that you'll need the assistance of a plumber. Below, you'll find three situations where plumbing experience can be invaluable for any HVAC contractor.

1. Gas Installations

Most states combine their licensing requirements for water and gas plumbing. When you need work done on the gas line for an appliance, you usually call a plumber, but what about new heating installations? Many people choose natural gas as a fuel source for furnaces and boilers, and installing one of these appliances can require running new gas lines in your home or from the meter.

When you're performing this type of work on your house, ensure that your contractor has the appropriate licensing to meet any local or state codes. You'll often need to have this work inspected, so it will pay to make sure that it's performed correctly by a licensed professional. In some cases, HVAC contractors may subcontract this work to licensed plumbers.

2. Hydronic Heating Systems

Forced air heating may be one of the most common ways to keep homes warm in the US, but it's far from the only option. Hydronic heating systems range from old-fashioned radiators to luxurious radiant floor heating. Unlike furnaces that distribute heat through air ducts, these systems warm your home by moving hot water or steam through traditional piping.

As with gas installations, your contractor must have plumbing training and experience to install, maintain, or repair these systems. Issues with hydronic heating can lead to costly water damage behind walls, ceilings, or beneath slabs, making it all the more crucial to perform the job correctly.

3. Drain Line Installation

Although the plumbing for these items may seem relatively straightforward, your HVAC appliances typically still require some drain lines. For example, your air conditioner produces condensation as the evaporator pulls heat from the air. Modern high-efficiency furnaces also make a significant amount of condensation.

Problems with drain lines in your appliances can lead to error codes that may cause your heating or cooling system to stop functioning. An HVAC contractor must have experience working with these lines to install them properly and diagnose any issues.