If you’ve ever bought a new HVAC unit, you know that there is often a short-term warranty on the unit. In some cases, the manufacturer will guarantee the system’s continued performance, so any faults that occur under this coverage don’t cost you anything. Similarly, HVAC contractors may guarantee their work, thus giving you protection in case there were any unnoticed problems during the installation. What these plans have in common is that they only last for a limited period. Generally, these 1-10 years coverage warranties will protect you against the worst for a period, but afterward, you’re expected to cover the costs yourself. Those who would like additional protection, however, may enroll in an HVAC maintenance agreement to protect their investment and keep their home comfortable year-round for many years to come.
Advantages of an HVAC Maintenance Agreement Plan
These agreements are designed to provide ongoing support for HVAC systems. If you’re a homeowner, you may occasionally receive unexpected expenses. When big-ticket items such as your roof or HVAC system need emergency maintenance, it can easily cost thousands of dollars that don’t fit into your monthly budget. An HVAC maintenance agreement can help you avoid these unexpected costs in two ways:
First, the ongoing maintenance that comes with a maintenance agreement can identify potential issues with your HVAC system before they manifest into emergency repairs. Your technicians can identify the trouble spots and make spot fixes or minor repairs that will prevent the problem from worsening. As these contractors are familiar with your specific system, they can also identify when something has changed that may be a sign of future issues. Additionally, routine maintenance ensures that your system stays in better condition and is less likely to fail suddenly.
Second, these agreements can include an “insurance” component, wherein the HVAC contractor would cover the cost of parts, labor, or both for any system repairs that you need. These comprehensive contracts are ideal for those who don’t want to be caught by surprise with a major expense, as the contractor will handle the repairs for you without any special billing. Some people prefer the peace of mind that comes from knowing that regardless of anything that happens to their HVAC system, it will be repaired without needing additional expenditures.
The Costs Associated with These Agreements
Nothing good comes without a cost, and HVAC service agreements are no exception. While they offer the advantages listed above, there are significant costs associated with them. These agreements include periodic charges regardless of any service conducted. If you routinely need preventive maintenance, then it’s easy to justify these expenses. On the other hand, more comprehensive policies tend to be more expensive. The policies that cover all parts and labor expenses regardless of the problem’s cause tend to be the most premium options and are the most expensive.
Many people appreciate the comfort of having full coverage when a problem occurs with their HVAC system, but in the months or years before using that coverage, it can be a struggle to maintain the expense. Less expensive systems may not warrant the full coverage, either, as the cost to replace the system might not exceed the cost of maintenance coverage. On the other hand, if you have a highly efficient system that uses the latest technology, you may find that periodic repairs cost far more than a preventive maintenance contract. When in doubt, you can get quotes from a local HVAC contractor and seek their professional opinion regarding how much value you’re likely to get from such a contract.
How to Determine Which Contractors You Should Trust with an HVAC Maintenance Agreement
Ultimately, you’ll decide on which contractor to use based on the contract cost and the comfort level they give you. The best contractors are those who give you well-formed advice that helps you save money. No matter what happens, your system will cost money to repair, so an HVAC maintenance agreement can simplify the process. These agreements are impacted by the amount of coverage you need, the kind of system and number of units, how large the system is, how advanced its components are, how accessible the system is, and how far you are from the contractor. When each of these factors are considered, your contractor can deliver a reliable quote.
There are also a few ways that you can distinguish between credentialed contractors. First, ask them for references. If they consistently do good work, then the homeowners they’ve helped in the past should be able to vouch for their quality. You can also look for online reviews to see what kind of organic feedback they’re receiving. Finally, you can rely on word-of-mouth if your family or other people in your neighborhood have used the contractor before. Remember not to commit to any service agreements with a contractor that doesn’t make you feel comfortable. After all, the point of this agreement is to give you security, so you should only work with those whom you trust.