How to replace your air conditioner

Who should do this work?

While size and efficiency are certainly important, who you hire to install your unit is your biggest decision.

Try the Air Conditioning Contractors of America’s search tool.

Look for contractors who are NATE-certified; the North American Technician Excellence designation means they have passed tests demonstrating real-world HVAC knowledge.

Make sure the contractor is licensed, insured and bonded, and has been in business for many years. You want someone who will be there to service and repair your unit and honor the labor warranty.

A good contractor will perform an analysis of your home based on square footage, ventilation, windows and insulation before giving you an estimate or recommending an air conditioner.

The labor estimate should include installation; any adjustments to ducting, venting or electrical systems; and disposal.

The contractor should provide details about recommended brand, size, efficiency and parts warranty, as well as operating costs.

Get comprehensive, written quotes that leave no room for surprises from at least three contractors.