I Don't Need a HVAC Service Plan. I’ll Fix It When It Dies!
HVAC Contractors use different approaches for inspecting and maintaining heating and air conditioning systems. There are many types and intensity levels of “seasonal tune-ups”, “clean and checks”, and “maintenance visit” performed on HVAC systems.
HVAC Maintenance Procedure
It is essential that residential HVAC systems provide a comfortable, healthy indoor environment and operate efficiently. The Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) provides a nationally recognized, manufacturer-endorsed set of inspections that meet this need if used. Using the ACCA guidance, homeowners can compare the value of the additional recommended repairs needed to remedy identified faults. For contractors, it provides a baseline for creating a customized HVAC maintenance plan, allowing for bundling different recommended repairs at a competitive price.
Many heating and air conditioning systems do not achieve performance objectives because the system:
- Was incorrectly designed, selected, or installed, or
- Is beyond the normal service life, or
- Has suffered neglect for long periods of time.
No HVAC Service Plan... It’s a slow death.
At first, your AC is just a little dirty
Your brand new air conditioner if installed and matched correctly is running at top efficiency. Even after a couple of years, there is no apparent sign of slowing down. But as time passes, your outdoor coil has layers of dirt and debris, contactors start sticking, capacitors start diminishing, and the bugs and things start to make a home of that warm, dry casing. The motors and compressors begin running hotter. That coil just isn’t transferring heat as that layer gets thicker.
Now, it's dirty, loud, hot, and costing more money.
The compressor and motors start to work harder, draw more current, and remove less heat. Hotter motors have hotter bearings that wear much quicker and it’s getting noticeably louder than it used to be. Because we measure everything in dollars and cents, the slow loss of efficiency in your heat pump or air conditioner goes unnoticed until… There’s a big bump in your utility bill or it just stops running all together. Of course, it never stops running on a pleasant Tuesday afternoon when you have your windows open anyway. It’s 10 or 90 degrees and the in-laws are on the way.
How often do you need AC Maintenance?
All of these things are going to happen. But they happen at a much more rapid rate if they are neglected. Your HVAC system will last a very long time with fairly minor maintenance practices and inspections. ACCA recommends inspections and maintenance twice a year based on the type of equipment and the environment in which they are operated.
East Tennessee’s changing weather, especially during season transitions, requires many Tennesseans to cycle their units between heat and cool. This frequency of operation makes semiannual inspections imperative to the health of your heating and cooling system.
The Benefits of HVAC Service Plans
Preventive maintenance checks on your heating and air system will:
- Reduce service calls and prevent unnecessary failures and emergency service visits for your air conditioning unit, furnace, and air handlers that start adding up over the life of your unit.
- Promote the efficiency of your HVAC system saving you money on your annual energy bills. Your heating and air system is the largest energy consumer in your home. More than half of your monthly utility bill is from heating and cooling your home.
- Predict costly failures on your HVAC system that provide peace of mind and allow you to plan rather than be caught off guard by an unplanned air conditioner installation.
- Extend the life of your heating and air system, getting the most from the most significant investment that you make in your home.
What Contractor has the best HVAC Service Plans?
HVAC companies who perform HVAC maintenance on residential systems should be properly licensed and insured. Some HVAC companies have a practice of delegating HVAC maintenance to junior technicians. Contractors should strive to have the highest quality technician perform maintenance for their customers. These technicians should be fully knowledgeable with the proper operation of the systems they are working on, including the individual components.
Technicians that are certified by a national program have demonstrated the knowledge needed to perform annual maintenance checks on any air conditioning system .
What Do HVAC Service Plans Entail
A proper HVAC preventive maintenance plan will identify deficiencies that degrade or impair the HVAC system, including its components. The HVAC contractor shall recommend repairs to correct these deficiencies.
Responsibilities for a HVAC maintenance inspection:
HVAC contractor’s responsibilities:
Appropriately licensed HVAC contractors shall:
Inspect HVAC unit and components to identify faults using the following references: manufacturer instructions, building codes, safety or health standards, environmental regulations, and recognized industry practices.
Inform the customer of improper operation finding(s), corrective action(s) taken, repair(s) recommended, and the price to complete the repairs.
The homeowner is ultimately responsible for the HVAC unit's required preventive maintenance. They must choose their own licensed and certified HVAC company to either perform tune-ups or implement the HVAC maintenance plan.
The homeowner must understand which corrective actions are covered in the maintenance contract and which repairs require their authorization to perform service on the equipment.
HVAC Maintenance inspection elements:
Initial interview: During the first service visit to a home, HVAC contractors will ask questions that help them assess: Customers concerns and opinions of their comfort, indoor air quality, utility costs, and equipment performance
Known home history (when built, renovations, etc.)
Subsequent interviews: During following service visits, HVAC contractors shall have the discretion to simplify the questions to reveal changes since the last visit.
Inventory of heating, air conditioning equipment, controls, components, and accessories. Includes the following:
- Equipment Type
- Serial number
- Year of manufacture
- Start-up date if known
Equipment maintenance checklists:
Identify appropriate maintenance checks for each piece of equipment in the inventory,
Identify and observe the applicable code references.
Identify minimum performance criteria and data and industry standards.
Testing and maintenance procedures:
Follow maintenance procedures and guidance.
If during the maintenance procedures, it is determined that there is a condition that could result in unsafe operation, the contractor shall shut off the equipment and advise the occupant and/or owner, in writing, of the unsafe condition.
Each region of the country has its own unique set of characteristics (e.g., extreme temperature, humidity, high altitude, fuel sources options, etc.) and special environmental concerns (e.g., sea salt spray).
The HVAC contractor shall have the discretion to modify the inspection task list for each piece of equipment to reflect these unique characteristics based on regional guidance from the equipment or accessory manufacturer, municipal ordinances, applicable codes, and other industry standards or good practices.
Smooth Sailing Service Plan
We offer high-quality, affordable maintenance plans that keep your HVAC system running dependably for many years to come. Here at Blue Water Climate Control, we have combined excellent options for regular inspections, yearly tune-ups, and discounted repairs into a superb package known as our “Smooth Sailing Service Plan.”
Under this low-cost annual contract for preventive maintenance, you can expect:
A comprehensive 40-point diagnostic inspection, which thoroughly examines every aspect of your HVAC unit, along with your ducts
A discount of 10% off for any repairs, along with the labor involved in repairing any malfunctioning component
Zero overtime costs, even if you need an emergency service visit on the weekend or in the middle of the night
Options to pay in affordable monthly segments
Seasonal examinations and routine tune-ups twice a year
Priority response whenever you require a service visit
Savings of $100 each year which will be eventually applied for any AC system replacement as part of our loyalty plan
Written by Jeremy James
Jeremy is the founder and CEO of Blue Water Climate Control. He is a Navy veteran with 24 years of naval service in the Navy's Nuclear Propulsion Program. He has broad engineering experience having worked on submarines and aircraft carriers. LinkedIn