CLEVELAND - An exclusive 5 On Your Side investigation has found residential air conditioning and heating technicians in Ohio are not required to be licensed despite potential fire hazards from faulty installation.
In fact, 35 other states require technicians, who come into your home to do such work, obtain state licensing--but not Ohio.
Homeowner Keith Coppridge built his own home and thought he had hired "experts" to install his heating and cooling systems.
"I figured they were professionals at their job--otherwise they wouldn't be doing it," said Coppridge.
But eight years later, the unit malfunctioned and Coppridge searched until he finally found a "licensed" technician.
"It was deadly," said Todd Daum, who took the test to obtain his license. "This could have injured them if they been asleep when the fire started." Daum said wiring in the unit was installed improperly.
In Ohio, where hairdressers and beekeepers are required to be licensed--residential heating and air conditioning technicians are not.
Robert Reilage is a former Ohio Fire Marshall who said licensing is not a popular topic among legislators.
"Most people in the state are looking at less government--not more," said Reilage. He said unless Ohio's contractors demand licensing, it won't happen.
Meanwhile, no one is keeping thorough records.
There were 863 fires between 2008 and 2011 that started in heating and cooling systems. But records fail to show whether poor installation is to blame.
In Ohio, only owners of heating and air conditioning companies are required to be licensed, as well as commercial technicians.
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