We are an Association of professionally licensed air conditioning, heating and refrigeration contractors established in Tampa in 1949. We provide ongoing educational and training programs for our member firms and their employees. We represent our industry before government and regulatory agencies. We assist in the development of codes and industry standards. We provide the public with free information and advice on matters relative to the industry. We are a not-for-profit corporation and our efforts are funded in large part by membership dues. Our members agree to and are expected to adhere to a “Code of Ethics”. Our contractors all deal with stationary air conditioning and heating central systems. If your questions concern automobile air conditioning or appliances such as window or wall units or refrigerators, we will not be able to assist you.
If you need more information, you can contact us at (813) 870-2607
A contractor may not be licensed if:
- Advertisements do not include the contractor’s license number.
- A large down payment is required before work begins.
- He or she makes numerous requests for money during the early phases of construction.
- You are asked to obtain the permit.
- You are informed that the job does not require a permit or inspection.
- The contractor is unwilling to put all of the terms in writing and prefers a verbal agreement.
- The contractor does not have proof of insurance.
- The contractor displays only an occupational license.
- The contractor won’t produce a copy of the Contractors Competency Certificate.
- The contractor prefers to work on weekends or after hours.
- You are told to make the check payable to an individual’s name or asked to make all payments in cash.
- There is neither a company name nor a license number on the construction vehicles.
If you are experiencing problems with your air conditioning system, there is no substitute for having a licensed contractor look at it and perform a diagnosis. We are not able to do this over the telephone. If you don’t trust a diagnosis you have already received or if the price seems exorbitant, we recommend that you seek a second opinion from another contractor. The price of paying for a second service call may end up saving you hundreds or thousands of dollars in unneeded repairs or replacements.
*It is always a good idea to get 3 estimates for very expensive repairs, replacement or new installations.
The Association cannot recommend equipment brand names. You will find that major manufacturers of equipment are fairly competitive and reliable. Some manufacturers build in additional technology which may make their products more expensive. The more expensive products may produce better operating efficiency and longer warranties. The contractor who installs the equipment is the key to a successful installation and quality of work.
- Always get at least 3 estimates.
- Make sure the contractor is licensed and that they do a thorough job in surveying your project and explaining their sales proposal.
- You should feel comfortable with the contractor you use. Ask him for past customer references and check them out. Be sure the references are not on jobs done just yesterday.
- Make sure everything you want or have been promised is “spelled out” on your contract proposal. Ask the contractors to do a “Manual J” Load Calculation on your home (this is the guaranteed difference between indoor and outdoor conditions).
- Do compare the differences in warranties and operating efficiency.
- Finally, if you can, don’t always let price be your guide. Cheapest is not always the best.
The best advice we can give consumers, regarding the selection of a contractor, is to ask relatives, friends, neighbors, business associates, etc. Who do they use and recommend? How long have they used them? Always check the contractor’s credentials such as competency licensing and insurance certificates.
Charges for routine maintenance can vary. Most contractors offer slightly lower “seasonal” specials on maintenance inspections just prior to cooling and heating seasons. While no one wants to spend too much for an inspection – you certainly can spend too little. If a business is “giving away” their services, they may attempt to sell other unneeded services and products in order to make the call profitable.
If we are talking about prepaid maintenance contracts for inspection of equipment, the Association recommends that consumers purchase these contracts one year at a time. If the consumer becomes dissatisfied with the service or the contractor (for whatever reason) is no longer in business – the loss due to termination will be minimal. The law does not provide for a prorated refund on maintenance agreements as it does for insurance-type contracts.
A difficult question, sometimes the circumstances are so obvious as to require no thought at all and other times the consumer may wish to risk the repair cost. It depends on the age of the equipment versus the cost of an item to be repaired. For instance; if the equipment has served a useful life span (let’s say 10 to 15 years) and the repair is 50% of the cost of new equipment, it’s a “no-brainer”. The customer will benefit from all new warranties on new equipment as well as today’s increased operating efficiencies. These two areas of saving will probably offset the other 50%.
This depends on the experience and knowledge possessed by each homeowner. As a broad statement, the Association only recommends filter changing and perhaps drain line maintenance for most homeowners. Since we are dealing with mechanical and electrical hazards – we recommend that consumers use a trained professional service technician. Today’s air conditioning equipment contains computer technology and much more sophisticated controls than the industry used years ago.
First, exhaust all efforts to resolve your problem with the contractor. If you fail to reach a satisfactory resolution contact your local Licensing Board or Building Department – they may be able to advise you or give help. You may also file a complaint with the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation. The telephone number for your local Building Department or Consumer Affairs office can be found in the Government Listings at the beginning of you telephone directory.
Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation (Tampa) 813-272-3742
Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation Hotline 800-342-7940
Florida Department of Consumer Affairs Hotline 800-435-7352