A permit is necessary only if you are replacing the main unit in your central air conditioner system. You do not need a permit to replace a window air conditioner. Window units usually are designed to cool just one room, while central air conditioner systems cool the entire house.
The main unit in a central air conditioner system is the condenser. It is shaped like a box and is installed outside the house. If you are replacing the condenser, have it professionally installed by a contractor. The contractor will file the paperwork for the permit.
Air conditioner contractors in Florida are regulated by county governments and the state. Counties issue licenses to contractors, and contractors must also register with or receive certification from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Busy contractors may visit county offices daily to file permits for installing air conditioner units.
Before hiring a contractor in Florida, get the contractor’s license number when he offers you a cost estimate for the replacement. Call the public library for telephone numbers for the local office of the Better Business Bureau and your county’s building department. Contact the Better Business Bureau to determine if the contractor has received complaints about his work. Also check with your county government’s building department to confirm that the contractor’s license is in good standing. This legwork will prevent you from hiring an unethical contractor with an expired license, who would never request a permit to do the work.
Utility companies in Florida usually do not install air conditioner units, but they may suggest contractors in your area. Some utility companies in the state may also provide financing on air conditioner units at reasonable interest rates. Contact your utility company for more information.