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Mike Smith Heating & Air Conditioning, LLC Blog

What Happens When Your Heater Isn’t Installed by a NCI-Certified Technician?


When your heater needs to be replaced, the installation is a significant part of the cost. It can be tempting to hire an amateur, someone with some home-improvement skills but no regular heater installation experience, and no specific training. They might be a cheaper option. Or, if you’re a DIY enthusiast, you might wonder if you can do the installation yourself. 

What are the benefits of having a qualified technician install your heater, and what are the risks of amateur installation? We’ll give you a full rundown of the reasons why a highly-trained professional should be the only person installing heating equipment in your home.

What Does NCI-Certified Mean?

The NCI, or National Comfort Institute, is an organization that trains and certifies HVAC professionals. In order to be considered for NCI training, there are prerequisites. Candidates must already have training and experience working with HVAC systems, and they must already have a basic HVAC certification. Then, they attend specialized training through NCI, and must pass an exam (written, hands-on, or both) to be certified. These certifications only last for two years, with additional training required to recertify the technician. Anyone holding a current NCI certification is a qualified professional at the highest level.


While heaters are always designed with safety as a primary concern, they are also designed to be installed by knowledgeable technicians. Mistakes or imprecise work during gas heater installation can cause major health and safety hazards, including combustible fuel leaks, carbon monoxide leaks, and even explosions. Electric heaters may seem safer, but amateur electrical work can lead to overloaded circuit breakers and an increased risk of house fires, as well as the immediate risk of electrocution to the amateur doing the work.


A heater is a big investment, and one of the ways to protect that investment is to make sure that your heater stays under warranty as long as possible. This will mean that if major repairs or replacement parts are required, or if the heater suffers a total failure, the cost may be partially or even completely covered by the manufacturer. Most warranty agreements have a clause that stipulates that the warranty will be void if the heater is not installed by a licensed professional. Don’t throw that warranty away before you’ve even gotten to start your heater up for the first time! 


In order to help you select a heater that is properly sized for your home, our technicians make careful calculations. Too small, and the heater will burn itself out struggling to keep up with the demand for heat. Too large, and it can damage your ductwork, damage itself with short and frequent heating cycles, and waste energy (and your money). Improper sizing is one of the major causes of heater malfunctions.

Repair Needs

Any small issue in installation can lead to a persistent problem due to mechanical stress on the heater. This means frequent repair needs, which are a big inconvenience and an additional expense, costing you all the money you thought you saved by choosing amateur installation. It can even shorten the life of your heater.


Another way to lose a lot of money is to pay more for your heat than you should. A common problem in amateur installation is a poor connection between the heater and the ductwork, or even damage caused to the ductwork during the installation. This means your precious heat is leaking out to places where you can’t benefit from it, and your utility bills could end up much higher.

In short, amateur installation can risk your safety, void your warranty, damage your HVAC system, and still end up costing more than hiring an NCI-certified professional for heating installation in West Monroe, LA.

Contact Mike Smith Heating & Air Conditioning, LLC. We provide “Professional grade service.”

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