Are Preventative Maintenance Plans Really Worth the Money?
Your AC system, including furnaces and heat pumps are a vital part of your home. They can control temperature and humidity while keeping you comfortable. But these systems, just like your car, usually require some regular tune-ups in order to keep them running smoothly and prevent expensive breakdowns.
Many companies offer different types of HVAC preventive maintenance plans that are meant to mitigate that cost or at the very least, spread it out over a year. But are these plans worth the cost?
What is Done in a HVAC Maintenance Plan?
Below are a few items the homeowner can take care of themselves. These are basic items that almost anyone can do to keep there system running as it should:
- Changing the air filter every month to 3 months depending on your allergies and how many pets you own.
- Wash your filter every month if you have a washable filter.
- Remove debris from around the unit outside. This includes removing weeds.
- Spray the unit down with a hose if it becomes dirty. Keep it clean.
- Keep the inside registers unblocked by furniture, rugs, and pet toys.
But there are other things that are a little more difficult for the average homeowner to complete. Some of these require HVAC tune-up knowledge and tools that only an experienced technician can offer. Things you should probably leave to the pros are:
- Tightening connections - Loose electrical connections are dangerous and can short out the entire unit causing damage.
- Clean the condensate drain - AC units create condensation when they are running. This typically runs in to a drain outside, but sometimes these drains can become filled with debris and become blocked.
- Lubricate moving parts - High friction can cause units to overheat and break down. Lubricating the moving parts helps things move smoothly which decreases electricity use and lowers your energy bills.
- Adjust and clean the blower - Issues with your blower can decrease equipment efficiency by up to 10%. When the blower is adjusted correctly you get proper airflow and better home comfort.
- Inspect the refrigerant level - And overcharged air conditioner could have you paying much more than necessary to cool your home. If you have an undercharged system, that usually means there is a system leak. An experienced technician can check for this and repair any leaks that are found.
- Inspect fuel lines - Poor gas or oil connections are a dangerous fire hazard which can also cause health problems. If fumes are able to escape into your home, you need the connections tightened to continue safe operation.
How Often Should I Have My HVAC System Maintained?
It is recommended that you get your system serviced at least once per year, but twice a year is ideal. You should schedule one tune-up in the spring before the air conditioner needs to run the most and again in the fall before the furnace needs to start kicking on.
But, if you are only going to do it once, we recommend to have your AC system tuned up in the spring. In the same way a car needs regular maintenance to run efficiently and to prevent breakdowns, your home AC or furnace unit needs to be cleaned and conditioned. You want your air conditioning system to run as efficient as possible in the hottest summer months while also having a lower chance to break down when you need it most.
Why Should I Have My HVAC System Maintained?
- Air conditioners collect dust, dirt, and debris This build up can decrease the efficiency of the unit running which can cost you more money and headache down the road.
- Regular servicing improves the overall lifespan of the air conditioner or furnace.
- Having your system maintained regularly greatly reduces the chance of water leakage issues that can cause damage.
- Regular service keeps the motors in good working condition which reduces your electricity bill.
- Dirty systems can cause more wear and tear and your condenser may fail.
- Improper cleaning can cause your drain pipe to get blocked.
- A clean HVAC system provides better indoor air quality.
- A properly service AC system lowers your chance for expensive repair bills.
How Much Does an HVAC Tune-up Cost?
There are quite a few factors that come into play for heat and air conditioning tune up costs. In the Atlanta area companies like to charge a fee per unit. At The Air Company of GA we have a flat fee of $159 for all your units and we don't surprise you with hidden costs.
The Time of Year You Schedule
We typically like to do Preventative Maintenance in the Spring (just before summer hits) and the Fall (just before Winter hits). However we do have the ability to do them any time of year.
Are HVAC Maintenance Plans Worth It?
There's just a few more things to consider before we can answer the question, are HVAC maintenance plans worth it?
- Do you live in an area where you furnace or air conditioner runs a lot? Here in the Atlanta, AC units run often and you have to be pretty demanding of them in order to stay cool in the excessive heat. Winter has also surprised us a few times with extreme weather.
- Does the manufacturer of your new HVAC system require annual maintenance in order to keep the warranty in good standing? Many people assume that because they have a new system, they don't need a maintenance plan. But you should be careful and check if you void your manufacturer's warranty if you don't have regular maintenance and proper documentation.
- Do you want priority service if something happens to your furnace or AC unit? The Air Company of Georgia's maintenance plan gives you priority service if something does go wrong.
- Do you want to save money on costly repairs? Our Preventative Maintenance plan offers discounts on all necessary repairs.
- Do you want peace of mind? Maintenance plans offer you comfort in knowing your HVAC system will run efficiently for a long time.
If you answered yes to any of these questions, a maintenance plan is probably worth it for you. Here at The Air Company of Georgia our maintenance plan is $159 and includes all your units.
But, whether you have a maintenance plan with us or not, we would be more than happy to service any make or model furnace or air conditioner that you have. Want a tune-up? Does something seem wrong with your system? Give us a call!
With The Air Company of Georgia's Preventative Maintenance Plan members can expect ALL of the following as part of their Simply the Best Maintenance Plan:
- Thorough cleaning of exterior/interior cabinet
- Check for carbon monoxide
- Measure amperage draw; blower and vent
- Check all safeties and limits
- Check all pressure switches
- Inspect blower assembly
- Inspect venting and check for obstructions
- Inspect flue draft
- Measure temperature rise
- Verify integrity of all burners
- Check outlet gas pressure
- Clean ignition assembly
- Tighten electrical connections
- Check and adjust blower speed if necessary
- Clean blower motor exterior
- Clean out drain and trap
- Lubricate all moving parts
- Calibrate thermostat if necessary
- Replace filter if applicable
- Humidifier inspection inapplicable
- Water heater inspection
- Clean condenser coil
- Measure suction pressure
- Measure amperage draw; compressor and fan
- Check contactor and capacitor
- Clean electrical disconnect
- Measure temperature drop