Hire experts to keep cool in summer

Victorians wanting to install and connect refrigerated air conditioning units need to play it safe and only use licensed plumbers and electricians.

The joint warning comes from the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) and Energy Safe Victoria (ESV) with summer now in full swing.

Despite the temptation in warm weather, trying to install a refrigerated air-conditioning unit yourself can create bigger problems than being hot and bothered, it is a complicated task that requires a qualified person.

The VBA’s State Building Surveyor, Andrew Cialini, said it was important to use a licensed practitioner to install the system, to ensure things are done properly, saving you time and money.

“Installing a refrigerated air-conditioning system is not something you can do yourself, if you get it wrong the consequences could lead to damage to your property, or even be deadly,” he said.

“You must use a practitioner who is licensed in the appropriate class of plumbing to carry out the work to make sure things are done properly.”

ESV General Manager Electrical Safety & Technical Regulation, Ian Burgwin, said that installers were also required to be a licensed electrical worker.

“Any electrical work involved in the installation must hold electrician’s licence (A grade). Some plumbers hold both plumbing and electrical licences,” he said.

“If they don’t, the tradesperson must engage a Registered Electrical Contractor (REC), licensed by Energy Safe Victoria.”

If refrigerated air-conditioning is being installed on upper-storey balconies, it’s important to consider the placement, protection or enclosure of the outdoor unit, to prevent children climbing on them which could result in tragic consequences.

After the work is completed, the plumber must provide a compliance certificate within five days of completion, which is required for all plumbing works costing $750 or more. The installer must also provide a Certificate of Electrical Safety if the installation includes electrical work.

A compliance certificate is evidence of certification by the licensed practitioner that the work carried out complies with the relevant standards, codes and regulations. It also provides a warranty for the installation for six years.

“Plumbing compliance certificates provide Victorians with a level of confidence that their plumber has the experience, qualification and insurance protection to complete the works,” Mr Cialini said.

A potential purchaser of a building may request copies of these certificates as evidence that work complies and where not available may impact the sale. A fact sheet on air conditioner installation is available on the ESV website.

To report a case where plumbing work has been done by someone who is not a registered or licensed practitioner, or you believe you should have received a compliance certificate, you can visit vba.vic.gov.au.

You can also visit vba.vic.gov.au/check to check if your plumber is registered or licenced and esv.vic.gov.au to find a licensed electrician.