Florida weather is typically hot and steamy for many months, and that means your central air conditioner works around the clock. When it suddenly stops cooling your home or office, it’s hard to deny how stressful it is. It’s impossible to focus on your household obligations or work tasks as you’re hot and sweaty. All you want to do is stand under the cool water in your shower or head out to the pool.
You need to choose a Florida AC expert in repairs and installations, and this can be challenging. While you could call the first company in the search results, is that the smartest option? How do you find and choose an expert to diagnose your AC’s issue and repair it in a cost-effective manner?
Gather Some Basic Information
Before you make the call or start an online chat, have some basic information ready. You’ll want to know the make and model of your AC system and the square footage in your home or office. See if you can come up with the exact or estimated date it was installed. Bonus points if you have the name of the installer and any companies that have serviced it.
If you do have information on who installed or serviced it, you can see if they’re still in business. That saves a lot of time. If they’re no longer around, you’ll have to progress to the next steps.
Ask Friends, Family, and Neighbors Who They Use and Trust
Start asking your friends, family members, and neighbors if they can recommend someone. Ideally, aim for people whose opinions you trust. If you’ve found your brother’s referrals have disappointed you before, you might not want to include him.
Jot down the names of companies they recommend. If they can’t help you, you’ll have to start searching for companies on your own. Go online and use search terms like:
- “AC repairs near me”
- “Best (city name) AC repairs”
- “AC repairs and installations in Florida”
Try several phrases like those and compile a list of possibilities. Use that list to do more research.
Search Online Reviews
Take that list you created in the previous step and check out reviews for those different companies. Don’t quickly discount a company due to one negative review; dig deeper. Sometimes, people have unrealistic expectations and blame a company when it doesn’t pan out.
For example, you spot a negative review that says, “The technician took two hours to arrive and didn’t have the part needed to fix my home’s original air conditioning system.” If you know the area, pay attention to the term “original.” If those homes were built in the 1980s, the parts on a very old system simply may not be available, so it was unreasonable to expect them to have those parts on the truck. Sometimes, there’s no choice but to order hard-to-find parts.
Try to find reviews from people in your area with a similar system or problem. This will be the best match for the type of repair service you need. When you find positive reviews and have some top contenders, learn more about them.
Learn More About Your Top Picks
You have three potential AC repair companies after reading reviews. Now what? Head to their websites and find answers to these questions.
- How long have they been in business?
- Are they licensed and insured? Verify licenses at the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation.
- What type of training do their employees go through, or do they outsource and use contractors? If so, what training do those contractors have?
- Is your AC system a brand they list on their page of systems they sell or maintain?
- Do they offer same-day repairs and installations?
- What kind of warranty do they offer with repairs or installations?
Make sure your finalist is licensed and insured. You also want them to have experience with your air conditioner’s brand and, hopefully, model. If they don’t, the repair could take longer as it’s the first time working with that unit. You want to avoid that.
Additional Questions to Ask About an AC Repair Company’s License
Having a license is a start, but it’s not the only thing to be concerned with. When you chat online or make the call, find out if it’s a certified or registered license. AC contractors with certified licenses are authorized to work anywhere in Florida. Registered licenses restrict technicians to working only in the approved jurisdiction. If a technician has a registered license that doesn’t cover your town or city, you’ll need to find someone else.
Next, ask if it is Class A or Class B. A Class A license allows an AC technician to work on most AC systems. Class B licenses restrict technicians from working on systems that are greater than 25 tons of cooling.
Ask About Free Estimates
Before the Florida AC company sends a technician, ask if you’ll be billed for this visit or if free estimates are provided. Should the technician arrive and say your AC system cannot be repaired, what is it going to cost you?
What benefits are there if you have to replace your system? Does the AC repair and installation specialist offer an extended warranty on parts and services? Are same-day installations possible? Does the company keep up with state and federal rebates and tax incentives that help you save money on a new central air system? Find out in advance and compare these benefits to ensure you choose the best company for your AC replacement.