The State of Florida requires all contractors to hold a license. All contractors are required to meet state requirements, (insurance, experience, etc.) before they take the test for the license and every two years must complete the required testing to maintain it. Also most counties (like Sarasota, Charlotte, Manatee, etc.) and some cities (Sarasota, Venice, North Port, Bradenton, The City of Bradenton, etc.) also require the contractor to be registered with them in order to do work in their areas.
First you should know which air conditioning company you use. You may have a sticker on your refrigerator, your fuse box, or on the unit itself. This would give you a quick reference for the phone number when you need help if your unit is not working properly.
The company truck should have the company name and their contractor’s license number on it and the technician should have a uniform with the company name on it. This goes for all contractors. If you have any question about the company or the technician call the office immediately. We require our technicians to identify themselves before starting any work with a calling card bearing their name. If a contractor asks you to pay cash or if you pay by check and they ask you to make it out to someone other than the company name it should put up a red flag. For instance: If you pay cash and the contractor does not hold a license, the manufacturer may not honor the warranty. Also, be cautioned in this economy many homes are being burglarized and units removed and resold to unsuspecting homeowners.
A permit is required for all equipment replacements, it usually costs about $85.00. The completed job will be inspected by the agency that issued the permit and any discrepancies noted. These must be corrected before it can be approved. It is required by new regulations that all units must match. The age of the unit will determine if it can be matched. At times a match is not available and the condenser and the air handler must be replaced, along with any wiring and piping. If the equipment does not have an ARI match-up number, they cannot pull a permit for that equipment.
If a contractor does not produce a permit for a change out the city or county will not inspect the unit installed. A homeowner may not know if there are any problems until it is too late. It is the responsibility of the homeowner to make sure the permit is secured and posted in a conspicuous place on the outside of the home. If the city or county is alerted there is no permit the Contractor will be notified to Stop Work until they secure one and the amount of the permit will usually be doubled. A permit and the resulting inspections are for the safety and well being of the homeowner. If a company were going to do the job properly and according to the existing codes, why would they not want to pull a permit?
Go to http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/ to check that a Contractor license is valid.