Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractors

The Air Conditioning and Refrigeration program regulates contractors who install, repair, or maintain systems related to air conditioning, refrigeration, or heating.

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) would like to remind the owners of homes and businesses that contracting with an unlicensed individual for air conditioning and heating repairs can be hazardous.


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News and Updates

Commission Adopts Rules

The Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation adopted amendments to an existing rule at 16 Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 75, §75.100, regarding the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractors program. The adopted rule amends §75.100 by stating that compliance with Section 210.8(F) of the 2020 NEC is not required until January 1, 2023.

The adoption justification was published in the November 12, 2021, issue of the Texas Register (46 TexReg 7782). The updated rule chapter will be made available upon its effective date of November 17, 2021.

On The Level - July 2021 Edition

Articles in the July 2021 edition of TDLR On The Level include:

  • Commission Adopts 2020 National Electrical Code, Delays Implementation of section 210.8(F)
  • IHB Says a Fond Farewell to Donna Lipke
  • Summary of ASHRAE Guidelines for Post-COVID Building HVAC Operations
  • Recent License Revocations

On The Level is a periodic newsletter that provides news and information about TDLR’s building-related programs. Please see the On the Level page for archives of past editions.

TDLR's ACR Program Stands Ready To Provide Guidance in Disaster Recovery

When natural disasters strike Texas, the TDLR Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Program stands ready to provide air conditioning and refrigeration contractors with guidance to help them complete recovery efforts safely.

Justification for Emergency Adoption of Administrative Rules.

The Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation adopted amendments to an existing rule on an emergency basis at 16 Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 75, §75.100, regarding the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration program. The emergency rule amends §75.100 by adding new subsection (a)(5) to state that compliance with Section 210.8(F) of the 2020 National Electrical Code is not required until January 1, 2023.

Commission Votes to Delay Effective Date of 2020 NEC Requirement

On Tuesday, May 18, the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation held an emergency meeting in response to an imminent threat to public health and safety. It has been found that compliance with Section 210.8(F) of the 2020 National Electrical Code (NEC) can interfere with the proper functioning of certain types of air conditioning and heating systems. With summer heat approaching in Texas, failed or malfunctioning air-conditioning systems can pose a danger to public health and safety.

To help alleviate this threat, the Commission voted to amend rules in the Electricians and Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractors programs to delay the effective date of Section 210.8(F) of the 2020 NEC until January 1, 2023.

“There’s a large and growing concern from air conditioning and refrigeration stakeholders, supported by anecdotal and empirical evidence, that adding GFCI protection to air conditioning and heat pump equipment that uses DC Inverter technology can cause repeated tripping of the circuit protection, making the systems effectively inoperable,” said William Weatherly, TDLR Program Chief and Chief Inspector for Air Conditioning and Refrigeration. “To protect public health and safety, agency staff took quick action to have this issue reviewed by the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation.”

Specifically, the rules amended were 16 Texas Administrative Code (TAC), Chapter 73, §73.100 in the Electricians program rules, and 16 TAC, Chapter 75, §75.100 in the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractors rules.

The amendments are effective May 20, 2021 and expire in 120 days, unless renewed by the Commission. TDLR has begun working on non-emergency rulemaking to implement this change on a permanent basis.

What does Section 210.8(F) of the 2020 NEC do?

Section 210.8(F) of the 2020 NEC requires that certain outdoor outlets for dwellings supplied by single-phase branch circuits rated 150 volts to ground or less, 50 amperes or less, have ground-fault circuit-interrupter (GFCI) protection. The emergency rules adopted by the Commission would remove this requirement until January 1, 2023.

Why is this change being made?

There have been widespread reports of certain types of air conditioning units connected to a GFCI device not being compatible with the GFCI protection, which causes the GFCI device to trip. This incompatibility poses a substantial risk to the health and safety of all Texans who rely on air conditioning, especially during the summer months.

What does this change mean for electricians and air conditioning and refrigeration contractors?

Beginning May 20, 2021, neither electrical contractors nor air conditioning and refrigeration contractors will be required to comply with the requirement of Section 210.8(F) of GFCI protection for certain outdoor outlets until January 1, 2023.

A code-compliant installation, with emphasis on a proper bonding of the equipment to the equipment grounding conductor and to the electrical grounding system, will ensure electrical safety for fault conditions, even when terminated to a normal overcurrent protection device.

COVID-19: Continuing Education Waived

TDLR continuing education requirements are waived for all individual licenses expiring in March, April, and May 2020. Licensees still need to submit their renewal applications, pay the required fees, and TDLR will check their criminal histories, but they will not need to complete any TDLR-required continuing education this licensing cycle. (§51.405, Occupations Code)

Note: TDLR is not authorized to waive continuing education requirements imposed by a certifying or credentialing entity other than TDLR. If a certifying entity requires continuing education to maintain certification, and certification is required for Texas licensure, then that continuing education must be completed. If the certifying entity waives continuing education or allows it to be completed on a delayed basis due to COVID-19, then you may follow the certifying entity’s policy.

Please check the TDLR COVID-19 webpage for the most up-to-date information.


Advisory Board Meetings

September 7, 2021

The Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractors Advisory Board met September 7, 2021 via videoconference. The agenda and staff reports are available online. The meeting was archived and is available on TDLR's YouTube channel.