This morning, I will be testifying before a Washington State Senate hearing on behalf of multiple facets of the HVAC and mechanical contracting industries on a bill that is currently under consideration. This bill, titled SB 5682, concerns the replacement of some common household appliances and the electrical work that is associated with such a replacement.
A passage of this bill and the resulting changes to current law would provide many working in the HVAC and mechanical contracting industries, specifically those with 06 electrical licenses the legal ability to replace household appliances such as hot water heaters and other basic appliances. Currently under Washington law, a fully licensed plumber or electrician must execute this type of replacement. Given that Bel Red employs both HVAC technicians and licensed plumbers or electricians, we are in a unique place to know that the electrical or plumbing work necessary for this type of appliance replacement does not require the specific skill set of the licensed plumbers or electricians.
Furthermore, it is legally allowable for homeowners to change these appliances themselves, with no training, supervision or licensing. Most of these homeowners certainly have much less training with plumbing and electrical work than certified HVAC technicians, which is another reason we support this change to the law.
We feel this revision would have a positive impact on our specific industry for a number of different reasons, including allowing companies like ours to:
· Get the work done more quickly for our customers (which is of critical importance when an appliance like your water heater fails)
· Be more responsive to our customers in scheduling the work, including in the evening or on weekends – saving them time lost form work, lost income, and inconvenience.
· Provide a more stable work load, less prone to seasonal swings, and a more reliable income to our HVAC technicians and installers
· Focus our licensed plumbers and electricians on work that actually requires their specific skill-sets and licenses to be done properly and safely
It is quite commonly known within the industry that there are contractors in almost every trade in our state that are performing these types of replacements without the proper license today. We feel this bill will have a significant impact on bringing this work out of the dark and provide a broader group of properly licensed skilled trades-people more work. I will be testifying this morning that this bill represents a common-sense change to current law that will provide many benefits to businesses and consumers within our industry.