Highly functioning HVAC equipment allows schools, businesses, churches and other organizations to avoid unneeded headaches. It also means residential customers can feel confident they have the best technology around them. Part of keeping an HVAC system working at full capacity requires the following of certain codes and rules.
Using products that are UL Listed in certain applications is just one of those requirements. These standards ensure the functionality of the products used to build or repair the system – without code compliance, the system will fail the inspection.
It’s certainly something that’s top-of-mind in the industry. See what our Mission: HVAC students learned about “meeting the code.”
Josue: Better to Be Safe than Sorry
According to its website, the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is “a global independent safety science company with more than a century of expertise innovating safety solutions from the public adoption of electricity to new breakthroughs in sustainability, renewable energy and nanotechnology. Dedicated to promoting safe living and working environments, UL helps safeguard people, products and places in important ways, facilitating trade and providing peace of mind.”
This mission is focused on UL code compliance. I sought someone who would be highly skilled in this area, so I interviewed the code analyst in charge of all the electrical and mechanical inspections in Clarke County, Georgia. It was a great learning experience, and I’m excited to share this information with you.
The code analyst’s name is Jeffrey Norman, and he has been working in the field for 21 years. In order to stay up to date with the codes, he has to study international, mechanical and federal energy code books. The codes generally must wait three-to-six years before being adopted in the state of Georgia, which is one of the top code enforcers in the nation.
Making sure that contractors are complying with code ordinances is extremely important since these rules act as a safety net for the customer by making sure they aren’t being taken advantage of. When all the work in a house is code-compliant, it ensures the customer won’t have to deal with health or safety hazards and that the installed equipment will operate to superb standards.
Here in Athens, Ga., you must be licensed by the state in order to be able to work with any air conditioning equipment. On any worksite, the contractor has to show a building permit and the electrician, plumber and HVAC technician must also be licensed.
The contractor will call for a roughened inspection once the framing, electrical, plumbing and air conditioning work is installed. Once all the gas appliances are installed, the code analyst will return for a startup inspection to see whether or not everything is properly ventilated. When all the work on the house is finished, the inspector will return for a final inspection.
Matt: Ensuring the Public’s Safety
For this mission, I was asked to interview a code compliance officer or a residential building inspector. I chose to interview Chuck Jarrell, who is the director of planning and development for Morgan County in central Georgia. Jarrell has been employed by Morgan County for 18 years.
Simply stated, “meeting the code” means that an HVAC system meets minimum safety requirements. “Code compliance is important for the safety of the public and a business’ customers,” Jarrell said.
This includes achieving complete system closure. Complete system closure – or no leaks in an HVAC system where energy, and therefore money, can escape through the gaps – is important because it prevents contaminants from infiltrating the air and adds to system efficiency.
Once the system is built, companies go through an inspection process to have it approved against various codes. This is done once the company submits an application to the county to request the system be inspected.
There are hundreds of codes that exist, so I asked Jarrell if he memorized any of them. He told me, “You don’t have to memorize them, you just have to know where to find them.”