I am writing this not as a grumpy old man upset with those who choose to have someone install equipment as side jobs but someone who sees the results of what we call “Side Job Joe” work.

Dear editor:

Buyers beware!!!!!

I am writing this not as a grumpy old man upset with those who choose to have someone install equipment as side jobs but someone who sees the results of what we call “Side Job Joe” work. I have a friend here in Ballinger last year who had an addition put on their house for her dad and they spent lots of money to have this work done. The builder subcontracted the HVAC to a guy to do the work for him. The “subcontractor” did have a business card with a license number on it but that number was a stolen number from an Arlington company without their knowledge and the builder knew the guy was not a licensed contractor nor was the guy even a certified technician in the state of Texas. There were so many things wrong with the job that Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations got involved and fined both people for doing work without the proper credentials. Due to the way the gas furnace, coil and condenser were installed the house is a fire hazard. The exhaust pipes were mounted against the wood causing the wood to overheat which could burn the house down, the exhaust piping went through the foamed in walls which was melting the foam which will eventually cause a fire, the pipe was not extended out of the house into a dryer vent connections, which is plastic and will cause a fire. Plus, a foamed house needs to have a 95% furnace for it to properly work in a foamed in house. There is a huge possibility there will be black mold built up in the house due to the incorrect sizing of the unit. The unit was a ton and a half too big for a foamed in house and there was no fresh air brought in the house that will lead to black mold.

About a year and a half ago we were asked to quote a house that was in the process of being remodeled. We gave a quote but were told they went with another company. We understand we will not get all the jobs but when we found out later the home owner bought used equipment and had a guy that does AC work for another company from San Angelo to put it in. The unit broke down and we were asked to go to this house because it was not working. When I got there, I remembered the house and realized the equipment was used, the duct work was done wrong, and I wrote down over 15 things we found wrong.

Here are some of the issues that are a result of non-licensed contractors doing the work for you, no matter if it is a plumber, electrician, heating and air conditioning, fire systems, and the list goes on.

1. The no brainer is that they are not licensed. Inspectors and the state can give fines for each item they find and up to jail time for the person doing the work and the person knowingly hiring a non-licensed contractor.

2. They are no insured. People that do side work do not carry any liability insurance. As a contractor, I have to carry a minimum amount of insurance to maintain my contractor’s license. If something major happens, are you going to be able to sue Side Joe Job for damages, mold/mildew, or God forbid death?

3. Will you be able to get hold of them in the future when you have problems? People come and go, they move to different towns, change numbers and flat out ignore phone calls. Now that is not every person, but these are things we have seen and heard from people when we go out to fix something that was done wrong.

4. The equipment is not inspected. Inspections are a check and balance for all contractors to keep us on our toes and not get lazy. Inspections catch small details we all tend to miss and we have to fix. Non-licensed Side Job Joes do not call for or get permits. If an inspector catches them doing this work, they have the legal authority to make them stop and take out all the equipment. This will also cost you the home owner more money in fines if you hired them knowing they did not have a license. Then you will have to pay again to have someone come over and do it correctly with a permit.

5. Buying equipment from a contractor you will know, or you should know you are getting new equipment with a warranty.

6. Contractors have to go through continuing education and training in order to maintain their license.

7. People flipping houses and remodeling houses to flip them are not going to tell you they had a non-licensed person install your unit and a home inspector is not going to know the difference. Home inspectors do not look at the whole system, nor do they know all the ins and outs of installing air conditioning. I highly recommend getting an air conditioning company to give a report on a house you are looking at buying. I cannot tell you how many times we have gone to a job on a house someone bought only to find out someone had a friend of a friend come out and “fix” it long enough to sell the house.

Do you research before hiring a company that you are not sure about.

Donnie Parsons

Parsons Heating, Air Conditioning & Appliance Services