Is it good idea to buy yearly maintenance from HVAC company

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sksbog
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Is it good idea to buy yearly maintenance from HVAC company

Post by sksbog » Wed Dec 13, 2017 9:14 pm

My heat pump malfunctioned.
Now I got two quotes.


$427 with 1 year of membership of 24 dollars a month (270 /yr). Comes with discounts on future repairs and 2 free yearly checkups.

Or

$497 without membership.

I went with 497.
Thoughts?

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JDCarpenter
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Re: Is it good idea to buy yearly maintenance from HVAC company

Post by JDCarpenter » Wed Dec 13, 2017 10:00 pm

I never buy yearly maintenance. BUT if equivalent units and companies, I would have considered going with one year membership and then cancelled at earliest opportunity. then again, that would only save me $46....
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Sandtrap
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Re: Is it good idea to buy yearly maintenance from HVAC company

Post by Sandtrap » Wed Dec 13, 2017 10:22 pm

There are not many components that can go wrong with a standard HVAC system on a yearly basis, nor are there preventative maintenance work that is critical beyond changing the return air filters to prevent overheating, etc. And, what does go wrong is typically something that must be replaced rather than repaired except possibly coolant leaks which would mean finding the leak and a recharge. Companies pay for yearly maintenance which includes regular filter changes, monitoring for coolant leaks and repair and recharge as needed, etc. This may be critical for a restaurant or retail store, etc, etc, but non critical for a residential where the homeowner can be as vigilant.
As for discounts on future repairs. It seems that locks one onto one company. And since you're paying an annual fee, you would be prone to have them do a needed repair rather than getting several estimates from competitors in your area for a good price for the same work.
j :D

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saltycaper
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Re: Is it good idea to buy yearly maintenance from HVAC company

Post by saltycaper » Wed Dec 13, 2017 10:48 pm

Sandtrap wrote:
Wed Dec 13, 2017 10:22 pm
There are not many components that can go wrong with a standard HVAC system on a yearly basis, nor are there preventative maintenance work that is critical beyond changing the return air filters to prevent overheating, etc.
I suppose this depends on the system you have, its age, and the climate. An outdoor unit located in an unfortunate spot can be clogged with leaves and debris pretty quickly and should be cleaned. Some inside units, older furnaces for instance, have parts that could stand to be lubricated from time to time, and fan belts can be inspected and proactively replaced if worn. Better to put on a new belt when it's not below freezing outside on a Saturday night when no places that carry a belt will be open until Monday morning. (Maybe keep an extra on hand.) Also for older gas furnaces, the gas line fixtures can work loose and might need to be tightened. Can this happen within a year? Perhaps not, I don't know, but it also doesn't hurt to take readings of the surrounding area with a CO monitor. Cleaning to be done as well. That's not to say you have to have a contract with a company to do these things, or that you can't do many of them yourself.

A modern heat pump? That sounds like an awful lot of trouble. I'd probably avoid the service contract to save up $$$ for parts, replacement units, and utility costs. :happy
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2comma
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Re: Is it good idea to buy yearly maintenance from HVAC company

Post by 2comma » Wed Dec 13, 2017 11:11 pm

I would have gone with $497 as well as you know they've run the numbers and on average it works out in their favor. They also benefit for having guaranteed work during the off season.

I agree with Sandtrap there's not much PM you can do on the AC or heat pump, basically I think it includes the check/replace the filter, make sure no debris is around the coils check that the capacitor is within spec, check contactors. If you had a furnace then you would definitely want them to clean and inspect the combustion chambers but even that doesn't need to be done too frequently early on, more as the age.

I think you'll be better off shopping around for someone to come do preventative maintenance and you get to decide how often to get it done.
If I am stupid I will pay.

carolinaman
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Re: Is it good idea to buy yearly maintenance from HVAC company

Post by carolinaman » Thu Dec 14, 2017 8:15 am

Most of these big HVAC companies pay commissions to their maintenance people which incents them to find more problems. I used one for about 5 years after installing new HVAC system. I quit doing that because I got tired of dealing with their mythical problems and sales pitches. Some of these come off like used car salesman. Example: One told me that the blower on my gaspac needed to be replaced at cost of $800. I said that price was ridiculous. He asked me "well, how much will you pay?". He called his manager to see if he could get a lower price. While he was doing that, I checked my warranty (the same company installed my system) and, sure enough, it was still under warranty. I got the new blower for no cost but reluctantly paid $400 for installing the blower, which was still way too much.

I found a one man company who comes highly recommended. I will use him as I need to. I will do annual maintenance of AC coils, etc. and while here, have him furnace. These independents are harder to find nowadays, but are the way to go if you can find a good one.

miles monroe
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Re: Is it good idea to buy yearly maintenance from HVAC company

Post by miles monroe » Thu Dec 14, 2017 8:58 am

i'm not handy at all so i have an annual contract.

i've never been sold something i haven't needed in the 30 years i've had the contract. HVAC is a dirty industry -- find someone honest and keep em around.

stan1
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Re: Is it good idea to buy yearly maintenance from HVAC company

Post by stan1 » Thu Dec 14, 2017 9:00 am

I'm not a fan of HVAC maintenance contracts. One advantage in our very HCOL area where there aren't a lot of HVAC technicians is that the company you have the contract with will put you to the head of the line if you have a problem during a heat or cold wave. If your AC fails during a heat wave here it can take a month to get someone out to look at it. That benefit alone is not enough for me to do the maintenance plan. I'd also need to have older equipment that was more likely to need repairs or replacement or had already proven unreliable.

likegarden
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Re: Is it good idea to buy yearly maintenance from HVAC company

Post by likegarden » Thu Dec 14, 2017 10:19 am

I have a contract for about $270/year to check and service our furnace and AC system. The company I use does this work for at least 50 years and installed both systems new a few years ago. We are happy with their work. By having that contract from an experienced company I am more certain to get repeatedly good work. We bought these systems recently because we had only window ACs before and wanted a whole house AC, and the furnace was the original one and 35 years old, needing better efficiency too.

Rupert
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Re: Is it good idea to buy yearly maintenance from HVAC company

Post by Rupert » Thu Dec 14, 2017 10:30 am

Whether having a contract is a good idea depends on (1) your climate, (2) what kind of unit(s) you have, (3) how big a deal it would be if the units broke, (4) how handy you are, and (5) the cost of contracts in your area.

I have a contract on my primary unit, but it only costs about $130/year. The company (which is the company who sold and installed the unit) sends out a technician twice a year to inspect and clean the unit, which, this being an old house in the Deep South, is a package unit. That means my furnace and AC are in one unit, outside the home. Given the harsh climate here and the quantity of pollen we see, it definitely needs to be cleaned biannually. I also sleep better knowing the gas furnace has been inspected at the beginning of each winter season. I have a smaller separate AC and furnace (traditional split system) that services only the seldom-used second floor of my home. I don't have a contract on those units because (1) it's no big deal if they break and (2) the furnace is electric so no carbon monoxide fear there.

In the 20+ years I've had the contract, the company has never tried to sell me anything I didn't need. One year they did warn me my primary furnace was on its last leg and could soon become a carbon monoxide threat. I called another company for a second opinion, and they told me the same thing without knowing that the first company had even been there.

mouses
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Re: Is it good idea to buy yearly maintenance from HVAC company

Post by mouses » Thu Dec 14, 2017 10:49 am

I have the system checked annually, but I have no contract to do so.

overthought
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Re: Is it good idea to buy yearly maintenance from HVAC company

Post by overthought » Thu Dec 14, 2017 10:54 am

My take: If they're pushing it, it's because it makes them money. The harder they're pushing, the more money they think they will make off you.

Take a hard look at (a) what you could (and are willing to) do yourself and (b) what it would cost to bring in somebody to fix the problem without the contract. Take the plan only if you like the value proposition (it would be more valuable to a single parent, aged/disabled homeowner, etc. than somebody who likes tinkering).

mike512usa
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Re: Is it good idea to buy yearly maintenance from HVAC company

Post by mike512usa » Thu Dec 14, 2017 11:04 am

I have been at my home almost 16 years now. The home was brand new when I moved in. I have had the HVAC tech out twice over that time and it cost around $100 each time. Minor stuff like blown fuses. I have not had it serviced once. One company put in new energy efficient fans etc. through some energy conservation deal that cost me zero. I am sure at some point I will have to drop some money into it or just replace the whole thing. I don't a service plan would cover a major overhaul or replacement so it has all been money saved in my opinion. I don't generally believe in insurance/service plans/warranties. I carry term life and health and that is it. That has been my experience.

Nowizard
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Re: Is it good idea to buy yearly maintenance from HVAC company

Post by Nowizard » Thu Dec 14, 2017 11:09 am

When an inspection occurs, the workman will look at your heat exchanger. If cracked, he will disable your system entirely, giving you no choice but repair or replacement due to carbon monoxide concerns. If you trust the company, they have discovered a potential issue that could be extremely serious. If you don't, then you possibly have unnecessary, expensive repairs.

Tim

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bottlecap
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Re: Is it good idea to buy yearly maintenance from HVAC company

Post by bottlecap » Thu Dec 14, 2017 11:18 am

You done good. Don't sweat it.

JT

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