Owning an HVAC system isn’t cheap. In fact, next to a car or home, an air conditioning and heating system is one of the more expensive purchases most people make, running an average of $4,000 to $5,000 for a central ducted system.
With such a big purchase under your belt, there is no reason you would want to spend any more than you absolutely have to on repairs and maintenance. If you have this mindset, you are in very good company—and you are also the driving force behind the estimated $71 billion-per-year HVAC industry.
However, if you want to avoid pricey repair calls (the average reported cost per HVAC repair call is $316), it is critical to take a proactive rather than a reactive approach to HVAC issues. In this post, learn three surprising ways you can save big bucks on A/C repair this year—and every year!
Tip #1: Change Those Air Filters On Schedule
You’ve put it on your to-do list for the last three months straight. It has its own place on your weekly shopping list. But somehow, you can’t ever seem to get to that oh-so-simple-seeming task of changing your darned air filter.
This can end up being a costly oversight in a number of ways, and not only to your wallet:
- Increase in allergy symptoms and respiratory issues. Your indoor air will become increasingly toxic as dust, pollen, and debris are carried through with the air being blown out of your duct system into your home.
- Clogged air ducts. Your air ducts will become increasingly clogged with debris because your filter is full.
- Rising energy bills. You will pay more each month for energy related to HVAC use, since your system will have to work much harder to push the air out through a clogged and dirty filter.
- Expensive repair calls. Your HVAC unit will have to work harder to do its job of cleaning, purifying, and cooling/heating the air, which will place more stress on the components and lead to earlier expensive repairs.
Conversely, simply replacing your air filters when they get dirty can save you 15 percent or more on your monthly energy bills.
What to Do to Save Funds on A/C Repair
Energy Star recommends taking this approach to changing your air filters to save on energy and repair costs:
- Check them each month and see how dirty they are.
- Change them each month in heavy-use months (very cold, very hot).
- Change them at least every quarter, even in light-use months.
Tip #2: Keep Your HVAC System Clean
Over time, debris, dirt, dust, pollen, and other detritus will build up in and around your HVAC system if you don’t clean it. This is especially true of the outside components, but is certainly an issue for inside components as well, especially if they are located in little-used areas such as an attic or basement.
The more debris that collects around and in your HVAC system, the more likely you are to wake up one day to a broken air conditioner or heater. The main reasons for this include:
- Tree limbs or other heavy debris fall on the HVAC unit, damaging the components.
- Debris and dirt gets lodged inside the HVAC system, clogging components and causing them to wear and break.
- Debris and toxins corrode HVAC wiring and cables and cause fuel leaks, blown fuses, and (worst-case scenario) home fires.
Probably the most compelling reason to keep your system clean is to reduce your risk of HVAC-related home fires. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), a simple failure to perform basic cleaning tasks causes more than 30 deaths and hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage on an annual basis.
What to Do to Save Funds on A/C Repair
The best approach is to do a visual inspection after any major weather event and at least once monthly otherwise. Brush away dust and debris on top of and around your HVAC unit. Keep the perimeter clear of fallen leaves, branches, and other items that could clog the unit or become a fire hazard.
Tip #3: Schedule an Annual HVAC Inspection & Maintenance Service
Unless you have a background in HVAC service and repair (or plenty of spare time to learn!), the best way to keep your HVAC repair costs low all year long is to schedule a maintenance and inspection service to be done at least once every 12 months.
This is important for many reasons, but chiefly the following:
- The inspection will highlight any brewing issues early on so you make only minor instead of major repairs.
- The maintenance service will give your HVAC unit a thorough cleaning both outside and under the unit hood, including all components and refills needed to keep your system clean and healthy.
- The technician will also be able to give you tips for how to save even more on your monthly energy costs through smart HVAC usage, especially during heavy-use months.
What to Do to Save on A/C Repair
Here at Shipton’s, our motto is, “it’s cheaper to prevent a problem than to fix one.” And our goal is to prevent as many problems as possible for our customers by ensuring each HVAC unit we inspect is in prime working condition.
Not only do our maintenance and inspection HVAC Protection Plans offer you 20 percent savings on the service, but we also give you a number of plans to choose from so you can select the level of service that best fits the age and condition of your HVAC unit.