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Are HVAC Protection Plans Really Worth the Cost?
HVAC preventative maintenance service plans are worth it. But only if you choose the right service plan for the condition, age and life stage of your HVAC components.
We stand behind this statement because our service technicians see these plans pay off for our customers every day during routine safety inspections.
Wouldn't you like to know about a frayed electrical wire, dirty gas burner, clogged blower motor or leaking coils before they put you and your family in danger?
Don't you want to be sure you get 100% value out of every dollar you spend on energy to run your furnace and air conditioner?
These are the exact goals that HVAC protection plans want to meet....as long as you pick the right plan for you.
What Is An HVAC Protection Plan?
HVAC protection plans go by many names.
Service contract. Comfort protection. Tune-up plan. AC protection. Energy savings.
Don't worry as much about what the plan or program is called. Instead, look at what it covers.
In summary, an HVAC protection plan is a plan designed to provide you with at least one annual safety inspection, general tune-up and routine preventative maintenance service for your air conditioner and one of the same for your furnace.
You will notice the purpose of an HVAC protection plan is broad - to keep your HVAC components running safely, smoothly and efficiently. To save you stress, time and money!
What Does An HVAC Protection Plan Cover?
Here is where it really pays off to read the fine print before you choose an HVAC protection plan.
In other words, not all heating and cooling protection plans are created equal. It doesn't matter how affordable an HVAC service plan might be if it doesn't cover the services you need.
What should you look for in a basic, all-purpose heating and air conditioning preventative maintenance plan?
1. The choice of annual or semi-annual service.
This is really important! If your furnace or air conditioner is brand new, you probably won't need a tune-up and inspection more than once per year for each unit.
But if your HVAC components are older or even nearing retirement, you will want a semi-annual inspection and tune-up service to spot small issues before they turn into major repairs or outages.
2. Labour and parts discounts.
One of the most common reasons homeowners don't invest in an HVAC protection plan is because their components are brand new. If this describes you, you may think your manufacturer warranty will cover all your needs. But we encourage you to go back and read through your warranty policy a second time.
In nearly all cases, new HVAC warranties are limited. This means they typically only cover some of the costs associated with an air conditioner or furnace repair.
For example, your warranty may cover the cost of parts but not the cost of the technician to install those parts. Or your warranty may cover the cost of the service call but not the cost of the parts or the labour charges to install those parts.
3. Accommodation with the terms under your new HVAC warranty.
Here is another wrinkle most homeowners don't see coming.
Many HVAC manufacturer warranties require that you schedule a routine safety inspection and preventative maintenance service for each component at least once per year.
What happens if you don't do this and then need to submit a warranty claim for an AC or furnace repair need? Often, your claim will be denied!
The way we see it, if you are required to have your air conditioner and furnace inspected, serviced and maintained at least once a year annually while it is under warranty, you might as well invest in a protection plan to get these services for less.
One final note on this topic: if you have HVAC components that are still under warranty, you also want to verify that you are able to choose your own service technician to perform preventative maintenance on your units.
4. The HVAC company you contract with services your specific HVAC components.
Another thing you want to verify upfront is that the company you choose is licensed, trained and certified to work on your make and model of HVAC equipment.
How to Choose An HVAC Protection Plan
Here is what we recommend. Always start by evaluating your current air conditioning and heating components in three areas: age, life stage, repair history.
Brand-new components typically require a bare-bones protection plan that simply delivers value-added discounts on maintenance you would already pay for to keep your warranty valid.
Components in mid-life (five years for AC and about seven years for furnaces and boilers) can benefit from a slightly more robust protection plan that includes some parts and labour discounts or savings perks.
Components in late life or components with spotty maintenance history or escalating repair needs would be best served with a semi-annual protection plan that includes twice-yearly inspections and service, discounts on parts and labour and priority service during busy times each year.
Consider Shipton's Value-Added Protection Plans
Our HVAC protection plans are the best of the best (if we do say so ourselves).
Choose from two money and time-saving protection plans:
Shipton’s Heating and Cooling Keeps Your HVAC Running Smoothly
Our family-owned small business has been serving your residential and commercial heating, cooling, hot water and indoor air quality needs for nearly 100 years. We are proud of our five-star track record of success in solving even the most complex HVAC issues!
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