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City of Houston Inspections / AC Process

October 21, 2013 | Blog


Are you replacing equipment on your air conditioning and heating system in Houston?  If so, you’ll need the HVAC work permitted and inspected.

Above is an approved air conditioning inspection for a high-efficiency system installation. If the installation and inspection go smoothly, this is what you will end up with in the end.  A magnificent, florescent green piece of paper to say that the government is now off your back.

Yes, you need it… it’s the law.  All new air conditioning or furnace system equipment must be inspected by the City of Houston. Every home that undergoes major replacement of any air conditioning equipment requires:

  • A City-issued permit
  • A City inspection (by a City inspector)

Now, there are exceptions to every rule. In this case, you do not need a permit if you don’t live in the City of Houston. The easiest way to check this is by going to the Hays County Appraisal District website to find out if you live in unincorporated Harris County or within the city limits.

Why are mechanical HVAC permits required by the City of Houston?

The City of Houston requires permits and inspections for several reasons. It can be inconvenient, but the primary function of the City is to protect its citizens, and this includes protecting them from HVAC work that doesn’t meet the standards of the International Mechanical Code. Permitting also ensures that your contractor is licensed by the State of Texas and is registered with the City.

WARNING: Never use a contractor who is not licensed and will not have the home inspected after completing any HVAC system replacement. This protects you from liability and ensures quality HVAC services.

Process For a Residential City Permit

1. Registration: All contractors must register with the City of Houston if they intend to perform work within the city limits during the year. Contractors cannot pull permits without being registered. There are also many smaller cities in and around Houston. Contractors must register in those cities as well (if they intend to perform work there). Examples include Bunker Hill Village, West University Place, Sugarland, etc. There are also many areas in Harris County that are NOT incorporated. These homes have no municipality that requires inspection. Registration typically includes a fee paid to the city, which can be between $20 and $200.

2. Pulling Permit: Once an HVAC contractor and a homeowner agree on a date for a new AC installation, the contractor will contact the City of Houston(or other municipality) to apply for and pay for the required permit. Fees are often charged based on the amount charged to the customer. Currently, this charge is 6% of the total ticket, but it normally raises each year.  This fee covers the inspection of the system.  Permits are to be applied for before work begins on a home.

3. Scheduling Inspection: Once work is completed on the house and shown to be working, the homeowner and HVAC contractor will work together to schedule a time for the city to arrive and give the final inspection. These visits by the city are often very quick, lasting no longer than 30 minutes unless there are issues. An inspector will then give either a passing grade or a fail and notate what needs to be altered. These appointments can be very inconvenient for customers, but the city has also allowed for the time frames to be narrowed down to two-hour windows.

4. PASS – FAIL: If the job passes, you are through. Your home is more comfortable and the city has provided their seal of approval for the work. If the system failed inspection, the AC repair company must then make the necessary alterations and reschedule the inspector. This process will repeat if the system is still not up to standard.

You can count on Mission AC & Plumbing to do the job right the first time, streamlining your HVAC replacement with proper paperwork and high-quality workmanship.

Contact us today to get started on your service request.


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