HVAC systems, including furnaces, air conditioners, and heat pumps are a vital part of your home. They can control temperature and humidity while keeping you comfortable. But these systems 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? We’ll answer a few questions you might have about HVAC maintenance plans that should be able to help you make your decision.
What is Involved in HVAC Maintenance?
First off, let’s start by looking at what normal HVAC maintenance looks like. There are some basic things almost anyone can do to help keep their HVAC systems running smoothly like:
- Changing the air filter every month to 3 months
- Wash your filter if you have an electrostatic filter
- Remove debris from around the unit outside
- Spray the unit down with a hose if it becomes dirty
- Keep the inside registers unblocked by furniture or rugs
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 electrical connections – Loose connections are dangerous and can short out the entire unit causing damage.
- Inspecting 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 sludge or 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.
- Clean and adjust the blower – Issues with your blower can decrease equipment efficiency by up to 15%. When the blower is adjusted correctly you get proper airflow and perfect home comfort.
- Check the refrigerant (specific to AC units) – 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.
- Check fuel lines (specific to heating units) – 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 Serviced?
This is a question we get asked a lot. We recommend that you get your system serviced at least once per year, but twice a year is better. Ideally you’d have 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 attention. A few stats we like to show around here is comparing if your car ran as often as your home heating and cooling system.
So you can see why you should have your system maintained regularly. 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 Maintenanced?
Now that you know how often your HVAC system should be serviced, let’s look at some of the reasons why we would need service.
- Air conditioners collect dust, dirt, and debris not just while they are running, but constantly throughout the year. This build up can decrease the efficiency of the unit running which can cost you more money and prevent it from cooling.
- Regular servicing improves the overall lifespan of the air conditioner or furnace.
- Having your system maintenanced 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.
- Not having your system cleaned regularly can make more wear and tear and your condenser fail to function.
- 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 Phoenix area, where Simply the Best is located, the average price is between $70 and $150+. We often run specials on a Super Tune-Up & Condenser Coil Wash.
Why is there such a range in the price for a tune up you might ask? We’ll examine a couple of the cost factors.
The HVAC Contractor or Company You Hire to do The Check Up.
If you see a contractor that is well below the average price, you should be careful. Low priced maintenance visits are generally used when HVAC companies want to just get a foot in the door. Once they are done inspecting your air conditioner or furnace, they have a list of “problems” and look to charge you for unnecessary repairs.
You also have to watch out for AC maintenance prices that seem too good to be true. Super low prices can be a warning sign that you’re going to get scammed by dishonest techs or that you’re not going to get a quality maintenance visit.
Price isn’t the only thing you should have in mind when hiring a contractor. You’ll want to make sure that the HVAC contractor is:
- Bonded, licensed, and insured in the chance that something goes wrong
- Has quality customer reviews on sites like Facebook and Google Business.
The Time of Year You Schedule
Usually, HVAC companies give out good deals on AC tune ups in the spring, right before the heaviest usage of cooling occurs.
Contractors often offer these discounts to incentivize homeowners to get their annual tune-up in before the busy season begins. Once that happens most companies are spread pretty thin because of high demand.
Taking advantage of these deals is ideal as you not only save money on the check up, but your AC system is checked before the hottest months which can save money on energy bills.
What are the Benefits of an HVAC Maintenance Plan?
Now that you know why you should have regular HVAC maintenance, how often you should have it, and how much it typically costs, we’ll get into the benefits of a maintenance plan.
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 greater Phoenix area, AC units run often and you have to be pretty demanding of them in order to stay cool in the excessive heat.
- 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 feel comfortable doing even the basic maintenance tasks required? Maintenance tune-up plans cover all things required to keep your system running smoothly.
- Do you want priority service if something happens to your furnace or AC unit? Simply the Best’s Comfort Club maintenance plan gives you priority service if something goes wrong.
- Do you want to save money on costly repairs? Our Comfort Club offers discounts on all necessary repairs as well as new equipment and products.
- 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 Simply the Best we offer maintenance plans, which we call our Comfort Club that starts at just $16/month.
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!
Comfort Club 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