Why Won’t My Home Improvement Store Let Me Buy HVAC Parts and Supplies?

It seems like it would be simple enough to go to your local home repair store to buy the heating and air conditioning parts you need to repair your HVAC system, but if you’ve tried to buy HVAC supplies after 2010, you may find yourself facing unexpected restrictions.

If you’ve been denied the purchase of HVAC supplies recently, it was probably a result of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Refrigerant Sales Restriction.

CFC and HCFC refrigerants and other refrigerant blends contained in bulk containers like cylinders, cans and drums can only be purchased by technicians with specific HVAC certifications. Usually, this doesn’t restrict people from purchasing appliances that contain these refrigerants, but this can differ from region to region, and appliances with certain refrigerants aren’t allowed to be imported.

The restrictions aim to reduce the proliferation of refrigerants that reduce the ozone layer. It also aims to reduce the release of these refrigerants into the environment through venting and waste disposal.

Wholesalers are charged with monitoring sales to certified contractors, so they may be more or less cautious depending on where you shop.

HVAC filters are fairly simple to repair and you can usually get them from your local home improvement store. Since HVAC air filters should be replaced at least once every three months, this is usually a repair you can and should do yourself. Dirty filters circulate indoor allergens, dust and dirt if they aren’t changed regularly.

For repairs that require more restricted or complex HVAC supplies, it’s often best to stick with an HVAC contractor for purchase and installation. Installing an HVAC unit incorrectly can increase energy costs by as much as 30%, so you might end up spending more if you do the work yourself, even if it seems like you’re saving money.

Contact an HVAC contractor in your area to get access to the parts and knowledge you need to fix your system.