What qualifications do AC installers need?

Air Conditioning FAQs

Like all trades an air conditioning installer must be qualified to do their work.  To check the installer you are using has all the necessary qualifications, you can always ask directly.

Why should I check my installer’s qualifications?

An un-qualified installer could cause damage, void your warranty or not have the appropriate insurance, which can end up costing you more than anticipated. Checking your installers qualifications should help to avoid these issues.

Qualifications checklist

A qualified installation company will have:

  • A tick from the Australian Refrigeration Council (as we refer to it, the ARC tick). This means that they are qualified to handle refrigerants to industry standard.

Your technicians will need:

  • Refrigeration Council (ARC) Restricted Electrical Worker’s Licence
  • Certificate III in Air-conditioning and Refrigeration
  • To have completed an apprenticeship.

The appropriate certificates can be attained from a local technical college, in courses that run for well over a year.

Qualifications in air conditioning are vocation based, meaning that installers will learn to do the tasks we need them to such as moving units, taking out old systems etc. These qualifications train installers to not only do their job but also to teach them how to foresee and / or handle any complications as they arise. Working with electricity and refrigerants has the potential to be dangerous so you want a qualified person to do the work. Without getting too technical, installers learn how to:

  • Install split air conditioning systems and associated pipework
  • Dismantle, replace and assemble engineering components
  • Handle fluorocarbon refrigerants according to regulations
  • Commission and decommission split air conditioning systems
  • Install, service and repair domestic air conditioning and refrigeration appliances
  • Fault find and repair/rectify basic electrical circuits.

Installers can also specialise. There are, for example, companies who work on planes, installing and servicing the air conditioning on flights.  There are commercial qualifications for non-residential customers so we can enjoy air conditioning at work.

It’s also recommended that the person doing your installation has:

  • Strong understanding of Mathematics, English and Chemistry
  • Certificate II in Electrotechnology studies (Pre-vocational or Careerstart)
  • Certificate IV in Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Systems
  • Some first aid training (or at least one person on the job does).

A general electrician’s qualification is not acceptable on its own, but tradespeople can do a short course in order to become installation compliant. This course is not as extensive as a full certification. They will still need a refrigeration license issued by the ARC and to have proper insurance.

This is why we recommend seeking out someone who is fully qualified as an air conditioning installer. A fully qualified installer can and will:

  • Confidently assess your space and advise on the right size of unit for your environment, budget and what you hope to spend on utilities
  • Have insurance to cover all parties during the installation process
  • See you through your installation and assist in anything down the track
  • Provide warranties on their work so that if something does go wrong during the warranty period, customers are covered for repairs
  • Say no to a job if it presents safety hazards.

Many installers gain further training with affiliated brands on the job. This is really useful if you have a brand preference; not only do you want the installation to run smoothly but you also want a competent and knowledgeable person who knows your unit to provide after care and servicing.

How do I find out if my installer’s qualified?

Ask when you ring or email for your quote. Qualified installers have nothing to hide and will usually give the information freely. They will also want to encourage you to use someone who is qualified and up to standard.

If you don’t feel comfortable asking directly, have a look on the company website.  Most will list their credentials, including the ARC tick and these are also listed in our reviews. Have a look in the ‘about’ or ‘our staff’ sections. Installers are generally comfortable discussing their qualifications to reassure customers that they can do the job and do it well.

What if my installer doesn’t appear to be qualified?

If your installer weren’t certified we would encourage you to look for someone who is clearly and transparently qualified.

How do these qualifications help customers?

In the end an installer’s qualifications inform what kind of experience you may have with your installation. To operate legally they must meet professional standards and codes. These are to protect all involved – including your property and person. Air conditioning installation involves electrical work and chemicals, which have the potential to become hazardous.

A qualified installer will have knowledge that runs the full gamut of different types of installations; from units being installed in new builds to older and less efficient systems being replaced in new homes. This allows them to be more flexible in jobs they can offer you, their potential customer.

We recognise that all installation jobs have their risks and the potential for things to go wrong. A qualified installer will not only know what they are doing from the start, but will also be knowledgeable in avoiding complications and hazards. They will know what to do should a hazard arrives, protecting their customers from blown out costs.

The best professionals in the field of air conditioning meet a number of criteria. One of the most essential is meeting the codes and standards of their industry. An installer that meets these standards will deliver peace of mind, allowing you to have confidence in the work, so you don’t have to give it a second thought.


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