Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Annual Inspections of HVAC Systems Law

The Law Concerning HVAC System Operation, Inspections and Maintenance – Clarified (At least to a degree)

Below is the wording of the Title 8 law concerning yearly inspections of HVAC systems.  This is a law that has seldom, if ever, been enforced.  I am calling it to your attention due to the current state of the California economy and with the state being strapped for cash.  I’m sure no one would be surprised to find that various state departments might be encouraged to increase enforcement of some laws with at least an underlying purpose of increasing revenue via fines.  Title 8 certainly falls in this potentially revenue-lucrative category.  Very few organizations that I am aware of comply with this law and thus are easy prey for California State inspections and fines.

Interspersed with the text of the law below are my comments that to a degree explain what it takes to comply with it.  This obviously is not coming from a legal perspective, but from what I know by delivering inspections and testing in order for organizations to comply with it.

My comments are in this font.

TITLE 8, Sub Chapter 7.
§5142 Mechanically Driven Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Systems to Provide Minimum
Building Ventilation.
(a) Operation:
(1) The HVAC system shall be maintained and operated to provide at least the quantity of outdoor air required by the State Building Standards Code, Title 24, Part 2, California Administrative Code, in effect at the time the building permit was issued.  For office buildings the volume of outside air is 15 cubic feet per minute (CFM) per occupant or 0.15 CFM per square foot of space served.  Older buildings might be “grandfathered in” at as little as 5 CFM per occupant.
(2) The HVAC system shall be operated continuously during working hours except:  The supply fan must run continuously during working hours in order to supply outside air even when there is no temperature demand.
(A) during scheduled maintenance and emergency repairs;
(B) during periods not exceeding a total of 90 hours per calendar year when a servicing electric utility by contractual arrangement requests its customers to decrease electrical power demand, or;
(C) during periods for which the employer can demonstrate that the quantity of outdoor air supplied by nonmechanical (operable windows) means meets the outdoor air supply rate required by (a) (1) of this Section. The employer must have available a record of calculations and/or measurements substantiating that the required outdoor air supply rate is satisfied by infiltration and/or by a non-mechanical-driven outdoor air supply system.  Along with records that the fan runs continuously, a written report showing the volume of outside air provided is needed.
(b) Inspection and Maintenance:
(1) The HVAC system shall be inspected at least annually, and problems found during these inspections shall be corrected within a reasonable time. A written report showing problems with recommended actions to correct would be needed along with evidence that correction has taken place.
(2) Inspections and maintenance of the HVAC system shall be documented in writing. The employer shall record the name of the individual(s) inspecting and/or maintaining the system, the date of the inspection and/or maintenance, and the specific findings and actions taken. The employer shall ensure that such records are retained for at least five years.  Same as the above statement and of course the records retained for five years.
(3) The employer shall make all records required by this section available for examination and copying, within 48 hours of a request, to any authorized representative of the Division* (as defined in Section 3207), to any employee of
the employer affected by this section, and to any designated representative of said employee of the employer affected by this section.  Besides state officials, employees can request the records and if now forthcoming can report this to state officials.

For a reasonable price Machado Environmental, along with many reputable environmental companies, can provide an inspection service that enables easy compliance  with the annual inspection and maintenance portions of this law [§5142, paragraphs (b)(1) and (b)(2)].  For more information, contact Machado Environmental at 1 (800) 358-3828.


  1. Thanks for sharing this! I think that it is important to get regular HVAC service mainly because it is important that your area of space gets as much circulation as possible. Since I use mine in my restaurant, it has to be maintained regularly so that it stays on a consistent temperature to not ruin the stock.

    1. Good point. Good circulation and air change which involves sufficient outside air.

  2. The cleaning of the ducts of the heating and the cooling systems should be carried out at the regular intervals. This will increase the efficiency as well as the lifespan of the HVAC units. The duct cleaning stops the growth of the fungus.

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    1. True! I recommend complete cleaning every 5 to 8 years based on use and physical environment.

  3. Improving indoor air quality is having a preventative plan in place..!!

    Indoor air quality


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