In our last blog post, we discussed the evolving HVAC industry on a more global level, but there are local initiatives that continue to change and to affect Southern Comfort Mechanical clients in Corinth, Flower Mound, Lewisville and beyond. The changing regulatory environment is not just some broad-reaching future issue — there are immediate down-home implications for your new equipment purchases that you should be aware of. So, how does your location, or more specifically, your home address and city come into play?
Almost every city in the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex and some smaller enclaves have established municipal codes that exceed what is required at the state level. Typically, you learn more about your cities unique code requirements during the installation of new equipment, which is a two-part process: obtaining the Permit, which is required before any major HVAC installation is completed, and completing the Inspection, which is performed after installation and ensures that your system is configured up to code. Most commonly, inspectors are examining your system for proper installation of your HVAC components and that system safety measures have been taken:
- Duct work is free-hanging, accessible, not compressed, sealed and with appropriate clearance. The B vent is the the correct size and direction.
- P-traps are insulated, primary and auxiliary drain lines properly leveled, and float switches (if applicable) installed to prevent drain pan overflow.
- Gas line is made of appropriate material (flex or hard pipe) and has the proper amount of clearance, and a sediment trap installed to capture debris that could potentially cause the gas valve to stick open or cause system issues.
- The condenser is installed on a concrete base and is level, has the correct breaker size and electrical wiring throughout.
- Freon locking caps are installed. (Note: This a newer requirement you may not be familiar with – this prevents refrigerant theft, the accidental release of Freon, and discourages the dangerous practice of “huffing” this toxic and potentially lethal gas.)
Freon locking caps prevent theft, protect the environment, and prevent the abuse of Freon as an inhalant.
While those items are fairly standard, you should be aware that your local jurisdiction may have additional requirements. Here’s the list of some local, notable additional requirements.
Flower Mound heating and air conditioning code requirements include completion of a heat load calculation prior to installation. The heat load, known as a Manual S, is an in depth measurement of the heat loss or heat gain that is unique to your home. A measurement of your walls, windows, roof and other factors are taken and a calculation within proprietary software is then made to determine the amount of heating or cooling needed to maintain the desired temperature and humidity in your home. The heat load calculation ensures that we are installing appropriately sized equipment for your home. Additionally, all breakers to your Flower Mound HVAC system must be labeled in permanent marker.
Lewisville, Flower Mound, Highland Village and Frisco heating and air conditioning codes require Carbon Dioxide detectors be present in the home when new HVAC equipment is installed. Southern Comfort Mechanical feels strongly about the safety of our customers so we apply this potentially life saving precaution to all installations, even if not explicitly required under local code.
Holding ourselves to the strictest level of codes across the board helps ensure that as additional jurisdictions add to their city code requirements, we have already met that need for your installation.