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Why Florida Homeowners Should Opt for Licensed, Bonded and Insured HVAC Techs

Published on: November 24, 2014
Contractor with a clipboard | AC Southeast

Looking for a high quality HVAC contractor in your area is a daunting task. How can you be sure that you’re getting someone competent, capable and accountable before you you set them loose on your system? Who’s responsible if something goes wrong while they’re working? This is why it’s essential, before hiring an HVAC contractor for your Florida home, to make sure that they’re licensed, bonded and insured.

Licensed

Contractor licensing indicates a basic level of competency in their field. It indicates that they have met the minimum requirements for the work they’re doing, as required by that state. In Florida, an HVAC contractor license requires four years of documented experience in the field, along with two different certification exams, as administered by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. One exam covers the basics of the HVAC field, and the other covers business and finance issues.

Licensing is required for all HVAC jobs in Florida, from installation to tune-ups to ductwork repair. There are two levels of HVAC licensing in Florida: a Class B license allows a technician to perform work up to 25 tons of cooling or 500,000 BTUs of heating on a single system, while a Class A license removes that limit and allows a tech to perform any amount of service in the HVAC field.

But HVAC licensing is about more than just competency. It helps to hold contractors accountable for their work. In larger jobs, they’re responsible for obtaining any required permits related to the task. And if the work they do is subpar, or more issues develop as a direct result of the work they’ve done, there are very few options for recourse unless the contractor is licensed, bonded and insured. Licensed contractors sometimes contribute to compensation funds, which provide restitution to customers that have been negatively impacted by their services. Unlicensed contractors have no accountability.

Bonded

Bonding is one of the things that holds a HVAC contractor accountable for the work they perform. It’s usually a prerequisite for obtaining a license. If a contractor is bonded, it means that the contractor has purchased a surety bond that ensures that they complete the contract as specified.

It also protects their customers monetarily if they don’t. For instance, if the contractor fails to obtain a necessary permit, the money for that permit comes out of the bond rather than out of your pocket. Bonds also cover things like poor workmanship, property damage, unpaid workers or subcontractors, and more.

To keep the bond current, contractors generally pay regular premiums to a surety company. Then, if there’s a problem with your service that demands restitution, you would contact the surety company and provide proof that the contract wasn’t fulfilled as agreed upon. Before hiring a contractor, make sure that they’re bonded, and that the bond is current, by asking them for their bond number and checking it with their surety company.

Insured

The surety bond covers compensation for poor workmanship on the part of the contractor. But what if property damage occurs that’s beyond the contractor’s control? What if they fall off your roof and become seriously injured? That’s what insurance is for.

Insurance is also usually a requirement for obtaining a contractor license. There are two types of necessary insurance. Liability insurance is for the customer. It provides them with compensation in the event of property damage or injury that comes about as a result of the contractor fulfilling their contract.

Workers’ compensation is for the contractor. If they’re injured on the job, it covers medical expenses and provides them with payment for any lost work, or benefits to their family if they’re killed. Workers’ comp is provided regardless of who is at fault in a particular incident, which protects you against lawsuits, should the injury occur on your property.

To be sure that an HVAC contractor is insured, ask to see their Certificate of Insurance. Then call the insurance company to ask them about the policy and what it covers to make sure that it’s sufficient for your purposes.

It’s essential for both your protection and that of your HVAC contractor that anyone you hire be licensed, bonded and insured. Be sure to verify each of these things independently before hiring them, and keep all verification paperwork in case any issues arise later. A licensed, bonded and insured contractor will keep you safe, save you money, and ensure better quality work.

For help finding a licensed, bonded and insured HVAC contractor in your area, contact us at AirConditioningSouthEast.com.