HVAC Service Agreements
The Basics Before you sign any HVAC service agreements(a.k.a. preventive maintenance), there are some basics you need to consider. All HVAC systems require some routine maintenance. If you are willing and able to do it yourself, you can save a lot of money. If you cannot remember to do the scheduled maintenance or cannot physically do the work, a plan may be right for you. There are many names for these agreements, such as HVAC maintenance contracts, service agreements, and comfort plans. But they are all basically the same thing. Most of them omit "contract," but that is what they are.
A win-win solution?
These contracts have two primary purposes. First, the HVAC dealer provides income during slow times. The HVAC service industry slows down in milder months, such as fall and spring. During these times, the dealer still has the same business expenses but usually less income. Therefore, offering service contracts can increase their income during the slow periods.
The other purpose is to ensure that preventive maintenance is performed on the equipment. A clean HVAC unit has fewer repair calls than one that is not maintained. Manufacturers require a minimum amount of service to their systems. This ensures that the parts last as long as possible, saving them money. Also, a clean HVAC unit operates more efficiently and saves you money on utility bills.
Types of plans
HVAC service agreements usually start with a basic plan. This usually includes an AC unit checkup and a furnace checkup. These usually only cover the labor costs associated with performing the routine service. Any worn parts or consumables (such as the air filter) are usually extra. The next level of coverage usually includes checkups, no charge for repair parts during the checks, and priority service.
During a heatwave or significant cold snap, HVAC service companies get very busy, and most cannot keep up with the volume of repair calls. The "priority service" is sort of like a guarantee that they will get to you on the same day you call for service.
Typically, the highest level of the contract includes checkups, no-charge emergency service, and priority service. This can be useful for those who want to budget and know they will not have any surprise expenses. As the plan level goes up, the price goes up. The basic plans usually cost about $200; the highest level can be $300 to $500 PER YEAR.
Is an HVAC service agreement right for you?
So how do you decide? First, you must decide how much routine maintenance you are willing to perform yourself. If you are a basic do-it-yourselfer, you can do the recommended maintenance (you can watch our training videos to assist you). Next, you need to look at your expected repair costs. Is the unit still covered by a factory warranty?
If it is, there is no need to purchase a contract covering repair parts. Those costs would already be covered. Is the unit old and no longer under warranty? Have you had a lot of repair bills in the past? If you answer yes to both questions, ask yourself how much you can spend. Consider this: if your unit is that old, replacing it might make more sense. In this case, you would probably pay $300-$500 per year for the contract. You will have spent enough in just a few years to buy a new unit.
By examining these things, you will be informed and make better decisions about whether HVAC service agreements are right for you and your home. This will keep some of your hard-earned money in your pocket. And your equipment will still receive adequate care.