Heating and Air Conditioning Certifications? Which ones should my contractor have?
The state of California only requires a C20 contractor’s license to be an “official” air conditioning contractor; however, there are several certifications out there that may differentiate one contractor from another.
If your contractor does not have an EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) certification, he or she should not be handling refrigerant. That is a federal law. Plus, the EPA exam is very simple and even people with very little experience can pass it. Most technical schools have their students pass the exam before graduating. So this certification is a must.
This certification allows an entry level technician to demonstrate a basic understanding of heating and cooling systems. In our opinion, the test is much easier to pass than the N.A.T.E. exam but does show that the technician put forth some effort to hold a level of professionalism and knowledge above the other technician who just graduated from a technical school.
N.A.T.E. (North American Technician Excellence)
This certification sets apart the beginners from the more experienced technicians. This exam requires a base level of knowledge in the industry plus a more in-depth understanding of a particular specialty that a technician may choose, such as gas heating, air conditioning, or heat pumps. This does not prove that the technician is going to diagnose your system properly and hold the standards that he or she should but it does demonstrate a level of knowledge far above just the basics.
B.P.I. (Building Performance Institute)
The building Performance institute certifies companies to do an energy efficiency analysis on a home. This is not directly tied in with heating and air conditioning repair but many contractors are getting the certification in order to expand their knowledge base and allow them to participate in programs that some utility companies are sponsoring in California.