I have an HVAC system and usually just call my contractor up every couple of years when we’ve had problems. We replace our own filters on the regular. I’m not sure if it’s worth getting a contract when you may not have any issues for years at a time.
Now that I moved into a house from a condo, I had this question on my mind too! Should I get a contract with an HVAC company in my area? Would that save me money on filters or other services? Curious what other people think.
A question we recieve lots @eva_wood
You must consider that a service contract is much like any other insurance. You may not need it now, but when something major happens, it will be too late to get coverage at that point. So consider it BEFORE major failure occurs. Some people/systems do go years without experiencing failure. However, sometimes, those same systems will just up and kick the bucket one night/day unexpectedly.
Maintenance on your HVACR system is just like maintenance for your body. Most people don’t wait until their teeth are falling out to go to the dentist. They go twice a year and get a cleaning and a check up. This is what the annual maintenance is like for your HVACR system. Get yearly cleanings and check ups could give the company the ability to see something that could be a major problem in the future and prevent it from being an emergency.
Amp draw readings, flame sensor cleanings, igniter ohm readings, voltage drops and motor amp draws can all be measurements that can predict future failure or at least give us a sense of how the component is functioning.
Thanks @CustomVac! I’ve definitely been bitten once or twice with other types of insurance. Good way to think about a service contract.
Love that parallel you’re drawing with going to the dentist for a regular check up. Also appreciate your specific list there of measurements that can help you identify problems. Are all of these part of your usual check routine?
Yes these measurements are all standard part of our maintenance service procedures.
Fantastic. Would love to talk to you about what a normal maintenance visit looks like! I’ll shoot you a DM.
@bchouinard @CustomVac - it sounds like you are hvac professionals! I have a question as a homeowner… I always like to learn tips and tricks whenever I have trades people to my house. How do you find it when your customers want to be around when you’re performing services? I guess I should also ask, is there a time when it’s ok to be around and a time when I should just eff off and let them do their work without me lurking around?
Following I’m curious about the process and would love to learn more about my home…but I don’t want to be rude and make people feel like I’m watching over their shoulder
I encourage my customers to watch me work. I explain as I work what I am and doing and in laymen’s terms why I am doing it. This builds trust with my customers and helps them feel engaged in the process. Nothing we do in the HVACR industry should be “a trade secret”. Its the customers system and they should have an idea on what makes the system work. I’m not saying have a 4 hour training session with your customers, but do try to educate them in the what, how and why of their systems and the what, how and why of your services. Thanks for the question I appreciate it when customers want to get involved in their comfort.
Its never rude to want to know what someone is doing at YOUR home. However, please don’t get so involved that you hinder the services they are trying to provide. Ask questions and listen intently, most contractors are willing to help you understand the process. If they are not willing to do that, you may want to find a company that will.
Thanks for answering! It’s nice to hear that it can be part of the process. Sounds like I may need to find a different company. Mine hasn’t been as open to sharing info about the my system and what kind of maintenance they’re doing on it. Appreciate your help!
^I love this mentality! I’m a big fan of knowledge-sharing as well, especially when it comes to topics that affect people’s health and well-being (like HVACR and IAQ). Thank you for all the nuggets that you’re gifting us
I always tell people they are welcome to watch. I may not always answer back right away if you are asking me questions and i have my hands full at the time, but you are welcome to watch. If I am performing a task that is more risky, I will typically ask for some distance. There are definitely moments when it is not safe to be near, and some mechanical rooms that simply don’t have space for multiple bodies.
Educating homeowners is a big part of every call (IMO) and allowing them to watch is part of educating them.
Nice! Appreciate the reply.
Our main goal is to educate the customer about their system so when something is failing they will notice before it fails, and we can get it taken care of before they must bear any discomfort. Like if you notice your fan is louder than it used to be, maybe time to replace the blower due to bad bearings or time to clean and balance the squirrel cage. It is great when you can count on the information given to you before you arrive at the home. Its even better when you can diagnose it remotely.
So when I am doing preventative maintenance we have adapted a baseline of things we look at to determine performance. I think if there is a EASY way to see the Delta T of the RA vs SA temps in both heating and cooling, it would be a valuable thing. For instance we always look for approx 20⁰f temp drop on a properly functioning AC under normal conditions and always compare temp rises with manufacturer name plate… those two things are very useful in catching problems hopefully before thwy become costly. I use fieldpiece joblink psychromters and the layout may be a good way for a data page…
Even if you’re not experiencing any issues with your HVAC, it’s still important to have it professionally checked at least once a year. We always have ours serviced by Direct Air Conditioning and sometimes, they spot small issues, which is great since they can fix them right away.