As our culture has shifted toward an “instant gratification” mindset over the last decade or so, our ideas about long-term planning and purchasing have changed as well. Rather than maintain things, many of us tend to wait and replace them when the time comes. And for some things, that’s fine.
But you wouldn’t just buy a different car every time your current one has a problem, would you? And you wouldn’t jump into that decision without saving some money and doing some research, right?
So why treat your heating and cooling system any differently? After all, the average cost for a new system is $7,500 to $10,000 – that’s like a used car!
Investing in an HVAC maintenance program is important – it can extend your HVAC lifespan and bring down your energy bill, both of which could cover the investment pretty quickly.
The maintenance your system requires depends on its age, your usage and some other factors around the home (for example, the age of your windows). Don’t assume you need the most expensive maintenance program just because your house is older. An HVAC provider can help you pick the right membership package for your specific home and heating and cooling needs.
So what should I do?
It’s pretty simple: Keep up on the maintenance of your HVAC system. Just like you get regular oil changes and tire rotations on your car, you need to schedule regular maintenance for your heating and cooling equipment.
Remembering to have annual maintenance on your AC and furnace is easier when you join a membership program. Bell Brother’s membership program is the Comfort Club. Members of the Comfort Club receive two system cleanings per year to keep things running smoothly, and diagnostic fees are waived for any issues we may discover. It also includes priority status when something goes wrong and up to two years of warranty on repairs made.
Here’s an insider tip: HVAC pros get pretty busy in the summer and winter, so it’s a great idea to schedule your AC checkup in the spring and furnace maintenance in the fall. That way, you aren’t stuck waiting, and you can trust that your system will be ready for the hottest and coldest days of the year.
What if I don’t enroll in a maintenance program?
Many heating and cooling equipment manufacturers’ warranties specify that if you don’t keep up on routine maintenance, your warranty can be voided. So, if you choose to forgo regular maintenance, be ready for the potential inconvenience of a some extra hot or cold – and expensive – days if your system fails.
Regular furnace and AC service help extend the life of your heating and cooling equipment, so it can save you big money in the long run. Plus, you’ll be happier with your air quality and temperature when things are working the way they’re supposed to, and you get the peace of mind that everything is running safely.
Annual maintenance programs typically run from about $180 to $575 a year – which isn’t much at all when you consider that $10,000 sticker shock you might face if you ignore the problem for too long.
What maintenance can I do on my own, and when do I need a professional?
You can handle changing your furnace filter monthly – that’s an easy one. It also helps not to run your furnace or AC at extremes. We recently wrote a post outlining the ideal temperatures for your home, which provides a helpful guide. Make sure the seals on your ducts are intact, and don’t block vents with furniture. Finally, be sure to keep the batteries in your thermostat up to date.
For anything more complicated than these tasks, you may want a technician to take a look, so you don’t hurt your chances of warranty coverage if something isn’t right. Sure, the internet can show you all kinds of “hacks,” but you’ll kick yourself later if things go awry.