As homeowners, we have a lot of responsibilities and it’s more than just paying the bills. We also have to maintain all the appliances we rely on day-to-day. None of it is glamorous but they are necessities. Living in Arizona, the most important appliance we own is our HVAC system yet we still seem to neglect this crucial piece of equipment.
Our HVAC (Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning) system does more than just help maintain a comfortable temperature inside our homes, it also plays an important role in indoor air quality and overall energy efficiency. So why do we forget to maintain such an important system? Mainly it’s because, unlike our refrigerator, we don’t look at it every day. For the most part, we only interact with our HVAC system when we set the thermostat or change the air filter. Plus the equipment itself is either on our roof if we have a package system, or in the case of a split system, one part is outside with the second part in the attic or behind the closed door of a closet we rarely open. Basically, we have no idea there is a problem until we hear a “funny” noise when it’s running or really when it stops working altogether.
This is why seasonal HVAC maintenance is so important.
Is Preventative Maintenance Really Worth the Money?
First, let’s address the different terms used for this type of service since different HVAC companies call it different names. The most common are “preventative maintenance”, “tune-up”, “seasonal maintenance”, and “rejuvenation”. At FACT HVAC, we call it a Seasonal FACT Check. With that out of the way, let’s answer that money question.
It’s absolutely worth it and a good way to think about it is to compare it to our vehicle maintenance. We know that every 3,000 to 5,000 miles we need to have our oil changed. Well, when we take our vehicle in for that service, the mechanic does more than simply change the oil and filter. They also inspect the belts, hoses and electrical components for signs of wear that will lead to a breakdown. By catching and replacing a hose that is about to fail, we save a lot of money down the road by avoiding a hefty repair bill.
Seasonal maintenance on our HVAC system serves the exact same purpose. It’s a proactive measure intended to catch the early signs of failure and prevent it from happening. Among other things, the technician will look for 3 main warning signs, leaks, corrosion, and dirt/debris. These are the red flags we know will lead to a costly breakdown. Of course we all hope that the technician will finish the inspection and tell us that everything looks great and there are no recommended repairs. In many cases, especially with newer systems, that will most likely be the case but it’s important to know about and address a problem early on before that $200 proactive replacement turns into a $2,000 breakdown repair.
A final note on this topic. Pricing for this service varies wildly but we think a fair and reasonable price for seasonal maintenance should be between $50 and $70 per system. Do yourself a favor and avoid those $14.99 “specials”. At that price point, the company can not cover the cost of sending a technician to your home. They will need to make up the money somehow and you can do the math on how that will happen. Conversely, if that price tag is $100 or more per system, we recommend asking the company what value they are providing for all that cash. In the end, it’s just like with any other service we may need. It’s best to shop around and compare. Find an HVAC company with a good reputation and one that charges a fair price for their services.
Why spring and fall? Can’t I have maintenance done at any time of the year?
Of course you can! The choice is yours but spring and fall are recommended for multiple reasons.
Spring Service: The purpose is to make sure our system is ready for the long, hot summer that is right around the corner. In Arizona, we know how important it is to have a properly running AC system. The last thing we want is to have a breakdown when it’s 110+ degrees outside. Not only is it dangerous for our family, but HVAC companies are very busy and we might have to wait for service. For those of us who have been in that situation, it is a nightmare, and spring maintenance is the best way to avoid it.
Fall Service: When it comes to fall maintenance, it serves two important purposes. The first one is to know the health of our system after working hard all summer. The equipment sits outside baking in the sun and that alone takes its toll on all the different components. The second reason is to make sure our system is ready to handle the upcoming cold weather. We may not have long winters in Phoenix, but we know how cold the desert can get especially at night. We want to make sure the heating elements of our HVAC system are clean and safe for operation. A buildup of dust and dirt will not only lead to a burning smell in our home, but it can also be a fire risk. This is doubly true if you have a system that uses natural gas. It is vitally important to make sure the gas line and connections are in excellent condition. Even the tiniest leak can mean real trouble.
Interested in seasonal maintenance for your HVAC system? You can find out more about the Seasonal FACT Check that includes our custom FACT Check Report by clicking HERE.