HVAC check ups?

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thefoggycity
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HVAC check ups?

Post by thefoggycity » Sat Oct 26, 2019 7:50 am

Dear Bogleheads,

How many folks get their furnaces, etc. checked annually?

I’ve always been advised of this but it sure is expensive.

Necessary in your opinion, or is it as simple as reporting anything hazardous and swapping filters yourself?

Thanks!

runner3081
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Re: HVAC check ups?

Post by runner3081 » Sat Oct 26, 2019 8:14 am

Ours is relatively new and we do it every 3-years.

andypanda
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Re: HVAC check ups?

Post by andypanda » Sat Oct 26, 2019 8:23 am

We will be paying $200 per year for two checkups starting this coming spring. I wrote a check for $19,000 in early spring for a new high end variable speed Lennox heat pump, air handler and rigid insulated steel duct work and the first year of service is no-cost. I figure $200 per year is cheaper than what we spend on car insurance and being retired we spend more time in the house than in the vehicles.

And the system is quiet, clean and draft free, something the old system wasn't. The heat pump was 14-years-old and the flex ducts were from 1991 I'm told. Flex ducts and duct board. Nasty. It was money well spent.

I might be cheaper for you to catch a small problem before it becomes a major expense.

Smoke
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Re: HVAC check ups?

Post by Smoke » Sat Oct 26, 2019 8:24 am

Depends on your system, some are more complex than others.
IF... you have a good tech doing the service then it's worthwhile especially if you know nothing about doing any checks maintenance yourself.
Problem arises that most (in my experience) just show up tinker a bit and charge you with actually doing little.
Most HVAC installer companies rely on doing "service" during off season just to keep techs getting a paycheck.
After all if it isn't a warranty contract, if something does go wrong down the line because they didn't do service properly, how would you know?
And repair bills are very expensive. They make out on your dime.
Arguing for the sake of arguing is something I am not going to engage in.

stan1
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Re: HVAC check ups?

Post by stan1 » Sat Oct 26, 2019 8:28 am

What type of system do you have and what do you consider to be expensive?

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: HVAC check ups?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Sat Oct 26, 2019 8:50 am

andypanda wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 8:23 am
We will be paying $200 per year for two checkups starting this coming spring. I wrote a check for $19,000 in early spring for a new high end variable speed Lennox heat pump, air handler and rigid insulated steel duct work and the first year of service is no-cost. I figure $200 per year is cheaper than what we spend on car insurance and being retired we spend more time in the house than in the vehicles.

And the system is quiet, clean and draft free, something the old system wasn't. The heat pump was 14-years-old and the flex ducts were from 1991 I'm told. Flex ducts and duct board. Nasty. It was money well spent.

I might be cheaper for you to catch a small problem before it becomes a major expense.
We are undergoing a similar “peeling an onion” situation. Great variable speed geothermal installation exposed the inadequate ducting in the master suite. So we have great conditioned air trying to “breath through a straw.” We are redoing the ducts on that floor.

People always talk about how an expensive bed is worth it because they spend 1/3 of their life in bed. Well, many of us spend a much higher percentage of our lives breathing indoor air. Paying for checkups and high quality filters is inexpensive over time.
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

Rudedog
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Re: HVAC check ups?

Post by Rudedog » Sat Oct 26, 2019 9:28 am

Pay for Fall and Spring service. Bill is generally around $ 100 per visit, so $ 200 per year. My furnace and a/c (Carrier) are almost 18 years old, so we expect to replace in the near future. Last December, technician found cracked heat exchanger, Carrier has 25 year warranty on heat exchangers, so replaced for free, so that visit was well worth it.

graeme
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Re: HVAC check ups?

Post by graeme » Sat Oct 26, 2019 9:41 am

No HVAC checkups for us, no problems so far other than one fall when the furnace failed to run. Two companies wanted to sell us new furnaces for $6000 to $8000. Another shop said the fan motor was just worn out, so he replaced it for $300 and it's been fine for several years now.

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FrugalInvestor
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Re: HVAC check ups?

Post by FrugalInvestor » Sat Oct 26, 2019 9:48 am

We live in a very hot climate so keeping our A/C running and running efficiently is a high priority. For that reason I have it inspected every year.

When we lived in a more mild climate I had it done every 3 years or so until it started showing signs of age (around ten years). Then I went to every year or two.
IGNORE the noise! | Our life is frittered away by detail... simplify, simplify. - Henry David Thoreau

Mr. Rumples
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Re: HVAC check ups?

Post by Mr. Rumples » Sat Oct 26, 2019 10:17 am

I have a heat pump so I have it inspected twice a year by a company which does all of my HVAC, electrical work and plumbing. My house was flipped/renovated and only later did I find out something in the install was not up to code. It costs $250 a year, but at this point in my life, I worry a lot so I do it for peace of mind. I do feel like I get my money's worth from the company I deal with; they are not cheap, but they stand by their work and cut me slack on some things...installing some new light fixtures for free when some other work went faster than they had planned and during a huge rain storm last March on a Sunday night, the main breaker blew on my old panel. The guy was here within one hour of the call, he had to find a rebuilt breaker since they are not made anymore, drive across town to get it, install it and so forth...for a total of three hours. The charge was $99 and that was waived by the company the next day.

MarkerFM
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Re: HVAC check ups?

Post by MarkerFM » Sat Oct 26, 2019 3:56 pm

Our winter place is located in a region that is hard on AC systems (we have never used the heat there). We have a maintenance contract for two visits a year. They change the filters and inspect the system. They have made several repairs under the 10-year warranty. Anything not covered by the warranty is done at a discount.

Our summer place has a boiler that is used to heat the main house and also to heat the water. We have this cleaned and serviced every year. I just change the AC filters myself every year, we don't have them serviced.

Big Dog
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Re: HVAC check ups?

Post by Big Dog » Sat Oct 26, 2019 4:01 pm

never have. HVAC systems are not that complex. Just call when it 'breaks'.

I do swap filters on the recommended schedule, but that is easy to do as our furnace is in the garage. Also have a CO monitor in the house.

sport
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Re: HVAC check ups?

Post by sport » Sat Oct 26, 2019 4:21 pm

I get the AC checked in the spring and the furnace in the fall. The AC check could be less frequent. However, we get some cold winter weather and I would not want the furnace to fail, especially if we happen to be out of town. Frozen pipes and fixtures would be a major problem.

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Bammerman
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Re: HVAC check ups?

Post by Bammerman » Sat Oct 26, 2019 5:15 pm

I've also been thinking about having a checkup on my heating system recently, since our last "checkup" was some eight or so years ago (no central AC in this house, just heating). But our natural gas-fired furnace and boiler (11 years old) and radiators (original to 1925 construction) keep on tickin' year after year. I have never turned off the pilot light on the furnace. When I did have a technician come out, years ago, he looked at it and said, "if it it ain't broke, don't fix it" and I guess I've been following his advice since then. I did just install a Nest smart thermostat. We are in the house most of the time so I don't expect to save any money from the Nest, but I've also installed a Nest remote sensor upstairs so our bedrooms won't get so hot during the winter. If that works, I'll be satisfied.

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RickBoglehead
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Re: HVAC check ups?

Post by RickBoglehead » Sat Oct 26, 2019 6:34 pm

Most of these annual service calls are simply unnecessary. I change my own filters, install new humidifier pads in early December, flush the humidifier water line, ensure that the drains are open. Also vacuum the burner.

I've replaced capacitors twice, igniter, and draft inducer fan.

Love the internet!

Edit - put new systems in my mother's some years back. Owner of company said no service calls needed.
Last edited by RickBoglehead on Sat Oct 26, 2019 7:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Toons
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Re: HVAC check ups?

Post by Toons » Sat Oct 26, 2019 6:57 pm

New Rheem ,couple years old.
Will probably wait another few years.
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shunkman
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Re: HVAC check ups?

Post by shunkman » Sat Oct 26, 2019 8:06 pm

I have a Rheem gas furnace/AC. The system was new when I moved into the house in 2005. I have never had the system serviced. I change the filter twice a year and make sure that the outside condensing unit is clear of any debris. That's it. Maybe I have been lucky.

sport
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Re: HVAC check ups?

Post by sport » Sat Oct 26, 2019 8:28 pm

If you have a system that is new enough to still be under warranty, the warranty may require annual servicing.

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RickBoglehead
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Re: HVAC check ups?

Post by RickBoglehead » Sat Oct 26, 2019 8:32 pm

sport wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 8:28 pm
If you have a system that is new enough to still be under warranty, the warranty may require annual servicing.
Do you know any major brand that states this in their warranty?
Avid user of forums on variety of interests-financial, home brewing, F-150, PHEV, home repair, etc. Enjoy learning & passing on knowledge. It's PRINCIPAL, not PRINCIPLE. I ADVISE you to seek ADVICE.

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fortfun
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Re: HVAC check ups?

Post by fortfun » Sat Oct 26, 2019 8:35 pm

Been in my home for 15 years. Have not had it inspected. If I did, I'm sure there would be all kinds of things that needed to be fixed. One note, the blower motor went out on my furnace about 7 years ago. I replaced that myself.

Big Dog
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Re: HVAC check ups?

Post by Big Dog » Sat Oct 26, 2019 8:49 pm

RickBoglehead wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 6:34 pm
Most of these annual service calls are simply unnecessary.....
That's what my HVAC guy told us. He said he's always happy to come over for a visit and pocket $95, but if the system still works, he doesn't need to touch it. Just change the filters on schedule, eyeball the flame when its on to make sure all are working, and hose down the external compressor every spring to wash away leaves, dirt and the like.

nguy44
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Re: HVAC check ups?

Post by nguy44 » Sat Oct 26, 2019 8:51 pm

andypanda wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 8:23 am
We will be paying $200 per year for two checkups starting this coming spring. I wrote a check for $19,000 in early spring for a new high end variable speed Lennox heat pump, air handler and rigid insulated steel duct work and the first year of service is no-cost. I figure $200 per year is cheaper than what we spend on car insurance and being retired we spend more time in the house than in the vehicles.

And the system is quiet, clean and draft free, something the old system wasn't. The heat pump was 14-years-old and the flex ducts were from 1991 I'm told. Flex ducts and duct board. Nasty. It was money well spent.

I might be cheaper for you to catch a small problem before it becomes a major expense.
We have done this for the last 3 years and it has been worth it. We also bought a Lennox system. Our dealer extended the maintenance and additional 2 years with the added maintenance contract, and it has paid for itself. Not just for the system (which magically started to have a few issues soon after the standard maintenance expired :happy ), our dealer also gives us discounts on any items they can service.

sport
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Re: HVAC check ups?

Post by sport » Sat Oct 26, 2019 8:54 pm

RickBoglehead wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 8:32 pm
sport wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 8:28 pm
If you have a system that is new enough to still be under warranty, the warranty may require annual servicing.
Do you know any major brand that states this in their warranty?
We bought our new home in 2006 with the builder installed Carrier HVAC system. I believe the warranty required annual service. However, I am going from memory and after 13 years, I might be incorrect.

HereToLearn
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Re: HVAC check ups?

Post by HereToLearn » Sat Oct 26, 2019 8:59 pm

I have a contract to have the oil burner serviced annually. They don't look at the air handler, so other than changing the filters, that piece of equipment is ignored.

Pipes would freeze here in the winter if the oil burner failed, and if I did not have a contract, I would be in line behind all of the customers who do have a contract. Perhaps a waste of $350/year, but I will continue to pay for the service. They have replaced random things on the oil burner free of charge, so I assume if they had not replaced the parts, something would have broken down along the way.

I do not have the central air systems serviced, but do change the filters regularly. Fingers crossed that the 23 year old system on the ground floor continues to function.

suemarkp
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Re: HVAC check ups?

Post by suemarkp » Sat Oct 26, 2019 9:22 pm

RickBoglehead wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 8:32 pm
sport wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 8:28 pm
If you have a system that is new enough to still be under warranty, the warranty may require annual servicing.
Do you know any major brand that states this in their warranty?
My recently installed Daikin AC unit has a 5 year warranty by default, and 14 years if you register online AND have an annual service contract by someone.

I'm on the fence with annual maintenance. You certainly need to do the air filter at some interval (yearly being the longest). I'd clean a gas furnace probably every 3 years. A heat pump or AC unit should not need much maintenance other than coil cleaning, but they can possibly see problems earlier with an inspection. Not sure how that helps though, as most AC or heat pump repairs require the refrigeration lines be opened which causes a massive cost in time (evac, purge, refill) and materials (refrigerant, drier, and whatever broke).
Mark | Kent, WA

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Watty
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Re: HVAC check ups?

Post by Watty » Sat Oct 26, 2019 9:58 pm

When I bought my furnace and AC at the same time I got a ten year parts and labor guarantee but only if I had the annual service done.

Even before that I had the annual service done in part because that gets me a high priority if I ever have problem. In the last 20 year that has happened twice an it has always been during an unusually hot or cold spell which would have made getting a service call scheduled difficult. In one case they were out out my house within about four hours and in the other case I called at maybe 8:00 PM on Memorial day and they were out at my house by noon the next day.

criticalmass
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Re: HVAC check ups?

Post by criticalmass » Sun Oct 27, 2019 6:53 am

thefoggycity wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 7:50 am
Dear Bogleheads,

How many folks get their furnaces, etc. checked annually?

I’ve always been advised of this but it sure is expensive.

Necessary in your opinion, or is it as simple as reporting anything hazardous and swapping filters yourself?

Thanks!
You didn't mention the type of system. It makes a big difference. In all cases I assume you check drains and replace filters regularly.

1.) Oil. If you heat by burning oil, you should have the burner professionally cleaned and checked once per season.

2.) Natural Gas. Professionally checked every 3 years for a younger system, maybe more often it's more than 15 years old. If you're handy and understand the systems, you can do this yourself. Inspect the burner, clean if necessary, and inspect the had exchanger. Inspect the outside air intake (if applicable) for bugs. Double check your CO detectors are working throughout the house.

3.) Heat pump and cooling. Have checked every 3-5 years. Or you can clean outdoor coils yourself. Inspect indoor coils. If you change the filter as necessary, the indoor coil should stay clean. If the indoor coil is dirty, call for service. Inspect condensate drains.

I'm comfortable changing capacitors, but you should know what you are doing and precautions needed for this. (Capacitors have dangerous electricity even when power is off, until safely discharged).

To be continued.

andypanda
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Re: HVAC check ups?

Post by andypanda » Sun Oct 27, 2019 7:31 am

Does a natural gas low pressure hot water boiler count as HVAC?

My 1916 house has radiators and a Burnham gas boiler. It isn't anything fancy, just a standing pilot and a pump to circulate the water from the basement to the 2 upper floors. I've had it checked/serviced 5 times - once to replace the pump, twice to replace the thermocouple, and twice to have it cleaned, etc.

That's not too bad considering I had it installed in 1980. I almost hate to sell the house now that I'm married again and have moved to my wife's house in the country. When it was put in they told me it could last anywhere from 50 to 100 years.

The new heat pumps are supposed to be good for 10 to 15 years if you're lucky.

livesoft
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Re: HVAC check ups?

Post by livesoft » Sun Oct 27, 2019 8:13 am

I have never paid for any HVAC checkups. I am capable of examining the two systems in my house and making any decisions about them.
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andypanda
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Re: HVAC check ups?

Post by andypanda » Sun Oct 27, 2019 8:46 am

"I am capable of examining the two systems in my house and making any decisions about them."

Do you have manifold gauges for your system so you can check the operating pressures and figure the superheat and supercooling numbers, etc?

Smoke
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Re: HVAC check ups?

Post by Smoke » Sun Oct 27, 2019 9:35 am

My experience ... others may vary.

Heat pump units original 21 yrs old (package unit) Amana
Replaced by, split unit Rheem, replaced after 11 yrs, only because I installed geothermal 30% tax write off.

First two units, a/c tech local in business for himself told me he could charge me to come every year to look around and hose off the outside coils, or I could do it myself. I did it myself.

Geothermal installed 9 yrs ago, I had them come out every year for $69 per year for 8 yrs.
Different Tech almost every yr.
I watched them every time, they never did much, open it up, look around. Only once did they use a sniffer to check for charge leaks.
They never cleaned the coils. I do it. I also change the air filter.
They NEVER checked the run capacitor, which is one of the main reasons for a/c or HP units causing a repair call.
Never had an issue or a repair. Fired them last year.
Bought a multimeter running amps and to check the capacitor, rated at 45 it was bad... only showing 31.
Which can overheat the compressor and cause damage, I replaced it $18. I tested the new cap and it matched the label rating from the factory with my meter.
Purchased a Water pressure tester with a water adding device for the ground loop. $59
Checked my loop, it was zero pressure, it is suppose to have pressure for my system. Techs never added water.
I set it to 30 psi. and air bled the loop pump motor.
I already had the thermometer to check the incoming and outgoing temp difference in the ground loop, only about 10 bucks anyway.
So for aprox the cost of one yr service I bought the same tools they used, and now do it myself.

I was told they never check charge pressure on a geothermal unit, and they never did. for 8 yrs.

I have 10 yrs parts warranty but not labor.
I have spent almost $600 in 8 yrs for what I perceive is nothing.
Any problems they might have found would have cost me to repair anyway.
If I had a trouble call and they came out, it would have cost another $69 or more if a weekend or a holiday or same day service Plus the repair.

If I have an issue going forward, I will call them or someone else, and it will cost me the same for the call and the repair with or without the yearly maintenance.

So yes, I now agree with the first tech I had 26 yrs ago, yearly maintenance is not necessary, if something goes wrong it will happen between visits and an emergency call will be needed anyway. and the cost to repair will be the same.

Is it possible that a yearly maintenance done properly might catch something at the time of the visit... of course.
But it is highly unlikely percentage wise and depende on the quality of the Tech doing the service.

But that's me, others mileage may vary.
Arguing for the sake of arguing is something I am not going to engage in.

andypanda
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Re: HVAC check ups?

Post by andypanda » Sun Oct 27, 2019 9:49 am

"I have spent almost $600 in 8 yrs for what I perceive is nothing."

That's the way I feel about what I've spent on car insurance every year since 1965. But I keep paying it.

More on point, has anyone else been following the rapid increase in R22/Freon prices? Since new Freon-using units were banned in 2010 and 2020 will be the last legal manufacture of Freon, having to replace just one pound of Freon in an existing system can run from $35 to $150 plus labor. If you system loses the entire charge due to a leak you can figure the cost. If it takes between 10 and 20 pounds of Freon to fill a typical system and Freon costs, reasonably, $50 per pound... ouch.

And 410a isn't as cheap as it used to be either.

Smoke
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Re: HVAC check ups?

Post by Smoke » Sun Oct 27, 2019 10:21 am

andypanda wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 9:49 am
"I have spent almost $600 in 8 yrs for what I perceive is nothing."

That's the way I feel about what I've spent on car insurance every year since 1965. But I keep paying it.

Except if you had an accident or injury the insurance would have covered the cost.

Having a tech check your system is not insurance, as it doesn't cover the cost of repairs if needed.
Unless you have a contract that states that.

apples and oranges.
Arguing for the sake of arguing is something I am not going to engage in.

harrington
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Re: HVAC check ups?

Post by harrington » Sun Oct 27, 2019 11:03 am

I have a relative in the heating and cooling business. He said it’s the biggest scam going and an annual checkup is not needed. I’ve never had my furnace checked except when I needed a repair done.

ADAMNOGGI
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Re: HVAC check ups?

Post by ADAMNOGGI » Sun Oct 27, 2019 11:16 am

Big Dog wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 4:01 pm
never have. HVAC systems are not that complex. Just call when it 'breaks'.

I do swap filters on the recommended schedule, but that is easy to do as our furnace is in the garage. Also have a CO monitor in the house.
Agree. A HVAC maintenance employee told me the same thing - "Call when it breaks".

My personal view: There is no preventive maintenance needed or required.

andypanda
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Re: HVAC check ups?

Post by andypanda » Sun Oct 27, 2019 11:36 am

"Having a tech check your system is not insurance, as it doesn't cover the cost of repairs if needed.
Unless you have a contract that states that."

I said it's the way I feel - it's been unused and not needed. I can afford to self-insure, but Virginia requires auto insurance or you can pay the $500/year penalty fee for uninsured motorists.

Service contracts can be wonderful things, especially when you have a wifi thermostat that communicates with the variable speed outdoor unit and the variable speed air handler and slows the compressor when demand is low and slows the air handler. The monthly bills are much lower, but I'll never break even on the installation cost. The total lack of heat pump noise is a wonderful improvement over the original layout and original equipment. We can sleep at night now even with the air handler in the crawl space near the bedroom and the outside unit next to the bedroom deck and sliding door.

It's a great multi-acre lot and fine neighborhood, but the house was her/their starter home almost 30 years ago. We could drop a million on a new house, but we're looking at river property or a cottage on the Outer Banks.

lazydavid
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Re: HVAC check ups?

Post by lazydavid » Sun Oct 27, 2019 12:30 pm

Our system has a 30-year warranty (parts and labor) from the installer, that requires annual cleaning/maintenance to remain valid. So we do it. They have done some minor repairs during these visits--things like sticky vacuum switches (not sure if that's what they're called) and hoses that deteriorated--at no charge.

At our previous house, we used the same installer, and at that time the annual maintenance was free for as long as we owned the house. Unfortunately in this house we only got the first 3 or 4 years free, so now we pay.

Big Dog
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Re: HVAC check ups?

Post by Big Dog » Sun Oct 27, 2019 12:35 pm

andypanda wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 11:36 am

Service contracts can be wonderful things...
Personally not a fan of service contracts, unless you know the servicer. Otherwise, the 800 number will send out whoever is available, regardless of technical ability or training. (A lot of young 'ens learn the trade by apprenticing for contract servicers.) IMO, much better to build a relationship with a local HVAC company that works a lot with your system manufacturer.

brianH
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Re: HVAC check ups?

Post by brianH » Sun Oct 27, 2019 12:58 pm

andypanda wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 9:49 am
More on point, has anyone else been following the rapid increase in R22/Freon prices? Since new Freon-using units were banned in 2010 and 2020 will be the last legal manufacture of Freon, having to replace just one pound of Freon in an existing system can run from $35 to $150 plus labor. If you system loses the entire charge due to a leak you can figure the cost. If it takes between 10 and 20 pounds of Freon to fill a typical system and Freon costs, reasonably, $50 per pound... ouch.

And 410a isn't as cheap as it used to be either.
Well, that's what they charge you, anyway. It only takes a few seconds on Ebay or various online supply houses to see what refrigerant, even R22 for now, is going for. R22 is around $10-20/lb and 410a is maybe $5/lb. The R22 already has the speculator markup, and many HVAC companies are sitting on pallets of the stuff gambling on a payday.

HereToLearn
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Re: HVAC check ups?

Post by HereToLearn » Sun Oct 27, 2019 1:34 pm

Big Dog wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 12:35 pm
andypanda wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 11:36 am

Service contracts can be wonderful things...
Personally not a fan of service contracts, unless you know the servicer. Otherwise, the 800 number will send out whoever is available, regardless of technical ability or training. (A lot of young 'ens learn the trade by apprenticing for contract servicers.) IMO, much better to build a relationship with a local HVAC company that works a lot with your system manufacturer.
I didn't even know there were 800 service numbers.

I don't know if this is regional (I live in the Northeast), but my service contract is with my home heating oil company. They are the ones who installed the new oil burner, but they also serviced the oil burner that came with the house. There are several local home heating oil companies to choose among. I found the same with my A/C, although I don't have that serviced!

andypanda
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Re: HVAC check ups?

Post by andypanda » Sun Oct 27, 2019 3:19 pm

" It only takes a few seconds on Ebay or various online supply houses to see what refrigerant, even R22 for now, is going for. R22 is around $10-20/lb and 410a is maybe $5/lb. "

That's just peachy if you know how to properly evacuate the system and add the correct amount of refrigerant. I don't know how and I don't have the tools, so what good is ebay to me? What tradesman is going to sell parts at cost?

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Ged
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Location: Roke

Re: HVAC check ups?

Post by Ged » Sun Oct 27, 2019 4:24 pm

thefoggycity wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 7:50 am
Dear Bogleheads,

How many folks get their furnaces, etc. checked annually?
I’ve always been advised of this but it sure is expensive.
I think it's advisable if you either live in a very cold climate or have a gas furnace.

In a very cold climate having the furnace go out can lead to frozen/broken pipes which can lead to a lot of water damage that may not be covered by your insurance.

A gas furnace problem with the combustion chamber can lead to carbon monoxide leaks which are very dangerous.

Smoke
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Re: HVAC check ups?

Post by Smoke » Sun Oct 27, 2019 4:33 pm

andypanda wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 3:19 pm
" It only takes a few seconds on Ebay or various online supply houses to see what refrigerant, even R22 for now, is going for. R22 is around $10-20/lb and 410a is maybe $5/lb. "

That's just peachy if you know how to properly evacuate the system and add the correct amount of refrigerant. I don't know how and I don't have the tools, so what good is ebay to me? What tradesman is going to sell parts at cost?
Why not ask your service contract provider? after all... "Service contracts can be wonderful things"

"We could drop a million on a new house, but we're looking at river property or a cottage on the Outer Banks."

Why would you care about the price of R22 ? :confused
Arguing for the sake of arguing is something I am not going to engage in.

brianH
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Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 12:21 pm

Re: HVAC check ups?

Post by brianH » Sun Oct 27, 2019 6:07 pm

andypanda wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 3:19 pm
" It only takes a few seconds on Ebay or various online supply houses to see what refrigerant, even R22 for now, is going for. R22 is around $10-20/lb and 410a is maybe $5/lb. "

That's just peachy if you know how to properly evacuate the system and add the correct amount of refrigerant. I don't know how and I don't have the tools, so what good is ebay to me? What tradesman is going to sell parts at cost?
None, but it gives you a good idea of what the margins are in this business. It's not the cost of the refrigerants or their scarcity that is the issue, it's price gouging plain and simple.

Just saying... you're paying a 5x+ markup on 'parts' (refrigerant), plus labor (probably $100/hr or more) for something that requires <$150 in tools, and an EPA test anyone could pass with 2 hours of studying. If you can change your own brake pads, you have the ability to check/add charge to a AC/HP unit.

squirm
Posts: 1943
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 11:53 am

Re: HVAC check ups?

Post by squirm » Sun Oct 27, 2019 6:27 pm

I do it myself. Pretty simple, clean all the coils too.

andypanda
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Location: Richmond, Virginia

Re: HVAC check ups?

Post by andypanda » Sun Oct 27, 2019 8:08 pm

"Just saying... you're paying a 5x+ markup on 'parts' (refrigerant), plus labor (probably $100/hr or more) for something that requires <$150 in tools, and an EPA test anyone could pass with 2 hours of studying. If you can change your own brake pads, you have the ability to check/add charge to a AC/HP unit."

Well sure. I had an M.S. before my 23rd birthday. I've learned how to do all sorts of stuff over the years. But now I'm 69 and I have more money than time left. A lot more money and a lot less time. I'll stick to fishing and tinkering on my boat and buying things for my wife.
__________________________

Fwiw, I learned how to make a standing seam copper roof from scratch 5 years ago after I retired. We started with 3' x 10' flat sheets of 16 oz copper and a few tools. A friend of mine used to own a roofing company that specialized in copper and slate and he agreed to put a copper roof on my 10' x 23' front porch with soldered trough gutters on three sides and also the gutter above the second floor windows and the downspouts, etc. He ended up trimming the attic dormer with copper while he was at it.

He made me audition to be the helper before he would agree to do it. He came over with a bent extension ladder and had me cut the bent legs off, smooth them and drill them and install new swivel feet.

He got into it once we got rolling and he suggested we take the hundreds of old Buckingham slates off the roof and replace the ones that had been stained with roofing tar or paint since 1916. Those suckers are heavy. And each copper nail to rehang them cost right at a nickel. I've forgotten what the 10-foot sheets of copper cost, but a standard-sized downspout 10 feet long was $90. This is a freestanding town home in a historic district. While we were at it we rebuilt the dental molding and did a fair amount of belt sanding hanging on ladders and scaffolding two and three stories up. Lots of fun and I must have saved $20k or $30k on the job not counting my time. We pretty much reded the entire front of the house. He didn't charge me much; maybe a quarter of the $105/hr he used to charge for his time when he was in business. And I bought breakfast and lunch. He didn't eat much.

Okay, back to watching the Nats.

rich126
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Re: HVAC check ups?

Post by rich126 » Sun Oct 27, 2019 8:51 pm

I’ve often wondered about this and felt it was mostly a way for companies to profit. Not sure if that is true. When I bought a house in 2011 the system was old so I figured why do anything with it. At least 15 years, probably more. Gas heat and heat pump a/c. So I did nothing.

In 2018 the a/c stopped working and I got a replacement estimate from one company, but when the old company showed up, they said it was only the capacitor and the freon was fine. So for a small fee it was fixed. When I sold the place the buyers wanted me to buy a new system but I refused and instead gave them some money. Maybe I’m wrong but I don’t think most systems require much maintenance.

If you have a new system and the warranty requires it, I guess you are stuck but it seems like a way for the company to make a profit.

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