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Iowa Plumbing and Mechanical Systems Examining Board

Frequently Asked Questions

How is the Plumbing and Mechanical Systems Board Office alerting licensees that there have been significant legislative changes that are affecting the licensing program?

Every licensee will be receiving information in the mail, please keep an eye out for postcards and letters that will provide more details about the legislative changes. In addition, our web site at has been updated with information to assist licensees in understanding the many changes that have occurred.

How do the changes in the definitions of the HVAC, hydronic, and refrigeration trades affect those who carry all three mechanical trade licenses? Do we need to purchase both the HVAC and refrigeration licenses?

The changes in these definitions may result in a reduction in the number of licenses an individual is required to purchase. Each individual holding a mechanical license will need to review the definitions and determine what trade licenses they are required to obtain. A link to HF392 is available on our web site at click on the green tab labeled Iowa Code. The updated definitions are also posted on the board website at

Does a individual who has a journey or master HVAC or refrigeration license still have to obtain a special electricians license pursuant to Iowa Code Chapter 103?

No, HF 392 provided an exemption. Questions regarding the Special Electrical license will need to be directed to the Electrical Board at 1-866-923-1082.

Does an individual who has a journey or master plumbing license have to obtain a special electrician license pursuant to Iowa Code Chapter 103?

The special electrician license was specifically for the HVAC or refrigeration trades. Questions regarding the Special Electrical license or any other type of electrical license will need to be directed to the Electrical Board at 1-866-923-1082.

Can a person perform volunteer work on an owner’s principal residence without having to obtain a plumbing, HVAC, refrigeration, or hydronic license?

Yes, although the volunteer is exempt from having to obtain a license please keep in mind that local jurisdictions may still have permit or inspection requirements. It is the homeowner and volunteer’s responsibility to contact the local jurisdiction prior to starting the work.

Did the term of a license change from two years to three years?

Yes, the change will impact licenses issued since January 1, 2011. Licenses issued on or before 12/31/2010 will remain at a two year license, when those licenses are renewed the license will be issued at a three-year term. If you renewed or purchased a license on or after January 1, 2011 you will be re-issued a new license to reflect the three-year term.

The online licensing application was taken down on April 28, 2011 when the Governor signed HF392 into law. Our licensing software is being updated to incorporate required HF 392 changes. Replacement licenses will be generated once the changes to our software occur.

While the online application is down, applications are being accepted by paper. The paper application fees are being waived. The relevant paper applications are available on the board website. Please note that the exam, Medgas, and apprentice applications continue to be available online at

For the calendar years 2011 and 2012 any license that is being renewed during this time will be renewed for free.

Anyone who has already renewed their license(s) in 2011 will be issued a refund of the license renewal fee. However, please keep in mind that CEU requirements must still be met at the time of renewal AND that late fees will be applied for licenses that are not renewed on time. It is expected that this refund process will take up to four (4) months, please be patient in receiving your refund.

Credit card payments will be refunded to the card that was used. Check payments will be returned to the payer.

Is there a new 30-day grace period for all licenses that allows renewing without penalty?

Yes, the grace period will apply for any reason, including completion of CEU requirements. A $60 late penalty will apply for renewals that are past the 30 day grace period. Licenses that have lapsed more than 60 days will be required to re-take the appropriate exam.

What should I do if I have additional questions regarding the changes?

If you have additional questions regarding these impacts, or would like to obtain more information, please first visit the board website at All available information is posted to this website. Phone lines are very busy due to licensure renewals, and callers will often have to leave a message and may wait a day or two for a return call. A few minutes on the website can save you a significant amount of time.

In addition, please consider joining our list serve; this will be the primary way for this office to provide updates regarding these changes in addition to the website. If you would like to join, send a blank email to You will automatically be enrolled.