Russell's HVAC, Notebooks and hard hat HVAC codes, VA
Russell's HVAC, Notebooks and hard hat HVAC codes, VA

Make sure your contractor's work is up to code!

Get in touch with us to schedule a service with our knowledgeable team.

(VA) 757-995-2807
(NC) 252-489-4431

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Pretty soon you'll start to realize that most of what you already know about purchasing a new system (size, brand, etc.) doesn't really help you that much. That's because it's the stuff that you don't know about that really makes the most difference.

Remember when I said that a lot of the costs of purchasing a new system are "installation-related" and don't have much to do with the cost of the equipment? This section should give you a better idea of what I mean.

There are a lot of city and state codes that must be followed when a contractor installs an air conditioner or furnace. How many of those codes are you familiar with? Do you think the contractor knows that you don't know the codes and requirements? It's so easy for them to skip required steps and that's one way installation costs can be lowered, and estimates can range dramatically.

Don't assume that all codes will be met.

Don't assume that all permits will be "pulled."

Take at least a small amount of time to ensure your work is being done properly. The most diligent inspector is you.

As we stated in the previous section, in order for a system to work right and give you the rated efficiency, it's got to be matched and installed perfectly. Anybody who installs HVAC equipment should follow the same codes and requirements to make it work right. If one company is selling their equipment for $1,000 less than the others, it might be because they're cutting corners. And they're not cutting corners that make them more efficient, they're cutting corners that make your purchase less efficient.

I'll give you some examples of how a "discount" company can cut corners. In most states, whenever you replace a furnace or air conditioner, you have to install (if it's not already there) an electrical disconnect (switch) and a different kind gas safety shutoff to meet code. Now if I didn't tell you that, would you have any clue that that was true? Of course not. But, by skipping these steps, cheaper companies can save some money.

Most people would never know any better, until it's too late.

A lot of furnaces that are replaced require a new flue pipe to bring them up to code. This is incredibly important! It's used to vent poisonous gas out of your home! Does that sound like something you'd like to have done right? I hope it is. Believe it or not, that's one of the biggest cost-cutters a company will use. See what I mean about finding a company you can trust?!

A flue pipe also requires proper clearance, pitches, angles, sizes and materials that are easy to ignore when your trying to put in a fast, cheap system. It's frightening to think about the systems that have been installed by "discount" companies trying to give their customers a "great deal."

Other items that can be ignored by some contractors (either intentionally or through ignorance) are a level slab for your air conditioner (the concrete or plastic pad it sits on), proper evacuation procedures for the recycling of refrigerant, clearances, refrigerant lines (which must be sized to your new system), combustion air for your furnace and service accessibility. As a consumer, you have no idea what's really needed, so you're really at the contractor's mercy.

That's why I've said before and I'll say it again, find a company that you can trust!

Now, if the city and state have all these codes to protect us, how come they don't have inspectors to make sure everything is done right? Well, they do. The problem is, a lot of these contractors don't pull the necessary permits (another burdensome expense for them) and so no one knows the installation is being done. Even if they do, some of the systems never get inspected. And, believe it or not, in some states, even if they spot something, they don't even notify the contractor of the violation. They just add it to his record and leave a red tag at the job! It may never get fixed.

Codes are good. They make everything safer. Yet even if a company abides by all the city codes, that doesn't necessarily mean the system will work at it's best. An inspectors job is to inspect for codes - not the check for quality standards. The codes are primarily in place to address concerns for minimum safety. The key word there is minimum. They do little or nothing for the consumer from a standpoint of efficiency or longevity of the system. There are other ways a contractor can cut corners (your corners) on your installation. Hire cheaper (untrained) labor, use less expensive materials, and do lower quality work. Remember when I mentioned the way a furnace, condensing unit and coil all have to match exactly? That means they have to match in terms of efficiency, capacity and physical size.

One of the common ways a lot of contractors save money is by using what we call "uncased" evaporator coils on their installations. They stock one small size coil that will fit just about anywhere. These coils are simply set in place, regardless of the way they fit, and then boxed in with sheet metal (you can hide a lot with sheet metal). Most of the time this is done because it allows the company to use a "one coil fits all" system. Instead of stocking 10 or 15 different coils, the company can just stock one and make it work on every job. Again, the result is that you could be getting something other than what you think you're paying for.

A lot of installations are done this way because it's fast and cheap and the customer doesn't know any better. Insist on a "cased" coil from whichever company you choose. There can be no surprises when everything's in plain view.

The problem is that oftentimes, the coil that is used is not the right one for the furnace. It doesn't match physically, so the air flow across the coil is not as it should be. Then your furnace is subjected to overheating, short cycling, and premature part failures. That not only causes your cooling system to be less efficient than it should be, it can and will also damage your compressor and make you think you bought a bad condensing unit. As I said, most of the problems with heating and air conditioning equipment arise due to a poor installation, not faulty equipment.

If you were buying a house, you wouldn't have to know every detail of how the whole house was built, you'd just have to know that you could trust the builder to do it right. The same thing goes for heating and air conditioning, but most people just don't realize how involved an HVAC installation really is. You have to look out for yourself, and that means finding someone that you know will do the job right.

Anyone disappointed with new HVAC equipment for not solving their comfort issues, savings on their utility bill, or durability are probably disappointed due to poor installation.

What Our Customers Are Saying

  • I can't complement your team enough on the wonderful job done with regard to the installation of the new system in our home. More specifically, we want to recognize the outstanding efforts of: Roberto-- the initial visit and diagnosis of the problem.

    Dan & Connie, Virginia Beach
  • I recently had your team install a new gas package unit including all new duct work at my house in Chesapeake. I had a split system that had undersized ducting which was removed by your installers.

    Mike & Sandi, Chesapeake, VA
  • We purchased a one time service for $79. They came out on time, checked out the geothermal system...they were very professional and kind.

    Nicholas H., Chesapeake, VA
  • We would like to thank your company for an excellent job. We are very pleased with the new (Mitsubishi ductless mini split) system that was installed last week. It works wonderfully at heating our home.

    Danny and Teresa S., Chesapeake, VA
  • Not one single idea for improvement. Keep doing what you do. OUTSTANDING!

    Charles J., Norfolk, VA
  • Great job!...World class employees!

    Colleen & Jim C., Suffolk, VA
  • Everything went great! This is the second big project we've had done through Russell's and we couldn't be more happy! We had the most dedicated, polite, and respectful crew! The team consisted of Elliot, Chase and Sean. Sean was here for the removal process on day one, and did awesome!

    J. Luhan, VA Beach
  • Hi Nate, please pass along our appreciation for you, Elliot and Steve. We are very happy with you being able to arrange our ( Lennox ) replacement system so quickly!

    T. Johnson, VA Beach
  • Thank you for running a top notch company and sending over to us two excellent folks Terry and Shawn. They did an awesome job putting in our new furnace system. Also thank you for Donald and Nate who did a superb job as well. Please reward these guys with some sort of commendations or rewards....

  • ...folks need to know how wonderful working with Russell's Heating & Air Conditioning is. They were very professional all the way thru the process of getting our unit installed down to the payment plan. I have been telling our neighbors and my co-workers about the experience.

    Pamela F., Chesapeake, VA
  • Every moment from the time an appointment was set up until the day the work was completed was a pleasure. Every employee was a delight to work with. The proof that the product was great came when the electric bills started coming in the airconditioning season.

    Douglas P., VA Beach
  • I am extremely satisfied with both the Lennox unit I purchased and the employees of Russell's. Even with poor window and door quality in this overly tired house, I am actually cooled off sufficiently enough to call it chilly.

    Robin W., Chesapeake, VA
  • Over the years I have gained the utmost trust in my service technician Corey Lesko's knowledge and work ethic while servicing my system.

  • I am writing this letter to commend your company on a great job! We were very pleased with how the company performed in every area...the installers did an impeccable job. They were very knowledgeable, efficient, and hard workers—staying focused to the task in the extreme heat.

    Pastor Larry E. O'Brien, Churchland Assembly of God
  • A year ago, I contracted with Russell's to tune up and clean the heating and cooling system. How impressively your specialist cleaned my system...he also found a defective automatic (programmable) thermostat. Quite quickly, he replaced my automatic thermostat. The results?

    R. Snider, Norfolk, VA
  • You recently installed a new Trane unit for us. We want you to know we are completely satisfied. The outside unit is now a hum versus the roar of the old one...we also want to recognize the installer...we cannot overstate what we think of his workmanship.

    K. Hawkins, Portsmouth, VA
  • Great and prompt service – as usual. Everything from ordering the a/c unit to installation went smoothly. Thanks for everything.

    B. Fenstermaker, VA Beach
  • Everyone was very nice. I felt well informed about my purchase. Your staff is great! I don't usually return opinion forms, but you need to know you have a staff you can be proud of!

    V. Horn, Chesapeake, VA
  • You have a new customer for life and I will definitely tell all my friends about your prompt, courteous service, your knowledgeable technicians, and your very reasonable prices. Thank you very much Russell's. You warmed much more than just my heart!

    G. Knoop, Chesapeake, VA
  • Your company was very responsive to my needs. The quality of your work was extremely high.

    Ms. Bright, Chesapeake, VA
  • Your workers actually made this total replacement project an enjoyable learning experience...they were always willing to stop and answer any questions. Their pleasant and cooperative attitudes cannot be praised enough!

    J. Wellons, Portsmouth, VA
  • Very pleased with both the price and service. The installation went off without a hitch and everything exceeded our expectations. When finished, the work areas, including the attic, were so clean you couldn't tell anything had been done.

    T. Marsh, VA Beach
  • Great expertise and timely service.

    H. Turbeville, Chesapeake, VA

Maintenance Plans

Russell's HVAC, HVAC service technician, VA

Regular annual maintenance keeps your system operating at peak efficiency. Experience has shown that a system that runs well keeps your utility costs in line — in fact, independent 3rd party research shows that you can save over $30 per month on utility bills.


Just like your annual physical at the doctor’s office keeps you healthy, an annual tune-up or safety and efficiency check on your heating and cooling systems can keep your home working smoothly.