I have two different A/C contractors under consideration for replacement of the 3.5 ton 12-year old Rheem system in my 1837sf lakefront single story Florida retirement home built in 1980. I grew up in the neighborhood but have been away working for the Government for the past 40+ years.

Among the 8 or 9 contractors I invited to bid, I dismissed those who were either morons, textbook salesmen, or otherwise unconcerned with what I wanted in MY house. This was after I’d narrowed down my choices and only called those who’d been in business over 20 years and had an A+ BBB rating.

I've pretty much decided on Trane equipment and both contractors under consideration are Trane comfort specialists who seem to know the equipment and have offered me options, leaving the choice up to me.... not trying to push me into buying something just to make a sale. That’s what I like about both, and they're fairly close in pricing of the various options and have both offered the Trane fall rebates coming next week without my having to inquire. They both identified the need to add a return without my having to suggest it, where most of the others didn’t even look until I brought it up.

My concern is that one of my contractor choices also has a license as an electrical contractor, but the other does not. Both have included electrical modifications in their bids. For example, the wiring from my breaker panel to the air handler is currently aluminum. It must be replaced with copper and POSSIBLY the breaker might have to be changed to a different amperage, depending on which equipment I choose. My home wiring is already copper, and I had the old Federal Pacific panel and main replaced last year. It wasn’t cheap, so I'm concerned when anyone talks about messing with the panel. The other electrical mod would be replacement of the old, corroded outdoor disconnect and possibly changing the size of wiring to the panel and upgrading the 24 volt wiring.

The one contractor with the EC license told me he's authorized to do the electrical, but said if I go with another company without the EC license, I'd have to hire an electrician in addition to an A/C contractor. He had me speak to the county licensing office and she confirmed that the other contractor did not have the license required for “running whips” or otherwise modifying my electric.

When I asked the other contractor without the EC license, he told me he's authorized to do limited electrical, such as wiring to the existing electrical breaker box. He said I could call the county to verify. I do intend to call next week and maybe I’ll get a different answer by speaking to someone different from the other contractor’s “contact” at the licensing office, if you get my drift.

Do any of the pro's here know whether I should trust the guy with the EC license over the guy without it? The licensed guy knows who the other guy is and told me he's been "written up" a number of times for doing electrical work, as have the other A/C guys in the county whenever they "get caught".

Advise, please. Do I trust the tattletale with the EC license, or the other guy without it?