Angie’s List: HVAC Yearly Service Agreements
That’s where yearly service agreements come in handy. Many HVAC companies offer them, but are they right for you?
“The older the equipment gets, the more maintenance it’s going to require,” says Curt Hicks, an HVAC contractor. “They develop leaks and things break more when they get old and tired.”
If you sign up for a yearly service agreement, you pay an annual fee. The company then comes to your home for a tune-up at the start of the summer and winter seasons. If something is wrong, these plans often come with added perks like priority emergency service and discounts on parts.
The most basic plans start at around $150 per year.
“The drawbacks are you’re paying for the expense upfront and you may not need it,” says Angie Hicks of Angie’s List. “For example, you may not have a repair on your unit this year.
Hicks adds, “It’s important to understand the condition of your unit before you make the decision to buy a maintenance agreement.”
You still have to pay for repairs under yearly service agreements, so if your unit is on its last leg, it may make more sense to go out and buy a new one.
“When deciding whether to repair or replace your AC unit, follow the rule of $5,000,” says Hicks. “If the repair cost times the number of years old the unit is is more than $5,000, you should go ahead and replace.”
She adds, “If it’s under, go ahead and repair — so, for example, if the repair costs $350 and it’s a ten year old unit that only multiplies to $3,500, so you should go ahead and repair in that scenario.”
When picking a plan, Hicks reminds homeowners to choose an HVAC company that is honest, trustworthy, and reliable. She says a maintenance agreement is only as good as the service provider backing it.