As if you hadn’t made enough decisions by the time you’ve chosen a new heater or air conditioner. Now, someone’s offering you a service contract, saying it will save you money. But, apparently, you have to spend money to save some, because what they’re offering will cost you a few dollars a year.
But is it true? Will buying a service contract for your new HVAC unit save you more money than it costs in the long run? Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer to that. But, if you consider your equipment and needs, and how much work you can do yourself, you can determine if the service contract will save you money or not.
A service contract is basically like a yearly subscription from an HVAC provider. It’s an agreement where they provide ongoing service year-round for a set fee. It can save you money by covering some or all of the costs for most maintenance and repair work.
However, different contracts cover different services, and they generally run anywhere from $100 to $500 a year. To make it worthwhile, you have to know your needs and what a particular contract will cover.
Here’s how to determine if a service contract is right for you...
Although each service contract is a little different, they generally fall into three tiers.
The simplest contracts usually cover routine maintenance. That’s normally two or three checkups and cleanings a year. They often take place at the beginning of a season, when you’re getting ready to fire up your heater or a/c for a few months. The contract covers the cost of the service call, but probably not any parts or extra labor if something’s worn out or broken.
The next level includes routine maintenance, no charge for parts or labor on basic repairs and also priority service. This means that if you call with an emergency, you’ll jump to the head of the line. Priority service comes in handy during peak times, such as during a heat wave or cold snap when a lot of people suddenly have problems with their units.
The highest level of service contracts gives you all that, plus no charge for emergency services. So, you get the regular checkups and priority service, plus the emergency calls are covered. This is often a good idea for people who are willing to pay a little each month to avoid surprise expenses when something breaks at a bad time.
Airquip crafts a service plan that is made for you! Not every system and situation is the same, and we want to make sure you have the best quality plan that fits your needs. With a customized plan for you, Airquip makes sure your equipment is running efficiently all year long.
For some people, a service contract saves them money because what the contract offers fits their needs. In other cases, you might be paying for services you don’t want, or will never use.
For instance: Are you handy, or at least a do-it-yourself kind of person? If so, you may not need routine maintenance. DIY maintenance starts with swapping out an air filter on an indoor unit, or cleaning debris out of the fan and fins of an outdoor a/c condenser. Some people are comfortable taking apart a few components to clean them, or checking for worn out parts.
If you’re willing and able to do that, there’s no reason for this work to be in your plan, but maybe just regular checkups to make sure everything is in order with your system. On the other hand, if you’re busy or just not handy, maybe it’s worth paying someone else to do.
Either way, routine maintenance saves you money. It ensures your unit always operating at peak efficiency. It also heads off major repairs if you replace a part before it breaks.
Next, check if your equipment is under factory warranty. If so, you may not need to have parts covered in your service contract until the warranty expires. Also a lot of HVAC System warranties require you to have regular service in order to keep your warranty valid. Finally, if your warranty is up and your equipment is old and constantly getting fixed, maybe it’s time to consider a new unit instead of more service.
Other things to consider: Do you have a rainy day fund for emergency home repairs? If not, a service contract that covers emergency repairs saves you interest fees on a large credit card charge, or late fees for other bills if you have to divert your budget for an unexpected repair.
Do you often have severe weather where you live? Does getting bumped to the front of the repair line mean you’re not suddenly shelling out for space heaters or window unit air conditioners, plus the extra cost of running them?
Knowing your circumstances and needs go a long way toward determining if a service contract will save you money!
Let’s say you’ve decided the right service contract will save you money. Now all you have to do is make sure the service contract will do what it says it will. A little research goes a long way here.
First, read up on the provider that’s offering you the contract. If priority service is a priority to you, check out when they’re open and if they have after-hours service. You want to be sure they can get someone out to you ASAP if that’s what you want from your contract.
While you’re doing your research. Check out their reviews. Are they reliable? Do they do good work without needing to come back fix things?
And, here’s a big one: Does the company offering your service contract have a reputation for somehow “always” finding something wrong that’s not covered, every time they come out for routine maintenance? If so, maybe the same basic contract with a different provider is the way to go.
There’s a lot to consider when determining if a service contract will save you money. So, do your research on the contract, the provider, and what you need before you sign up. You may discover that it’s a waste of time. Or, it might turn out to be worth every penny — and then some.