The cost of HVAC preventative maintenance is fully dependant on whether or not your system requires a typical maintenance check, or an emergency repair. Traditionally, the cost of standard HVAC maintenance is a low-budget endeavor, much of which can be done by you. In certain cases, it is recommended to hire a professional contractor who is an HVAC expert, but more often than not such maintenance tasks can be handled by you, yourself! Standard HVAC unit maintenance includes cleaning condenser coils, hosing down the exterior AC unit, and changing the filter in the furnace when necessary. All of these maintenance items are low cost, DIY projects that can be completed by homeowners and without professional assistance.
However, there will be times in the life of your HVAC system where the services of a licensed professional will be required. Every HVAC company preaches the need for yearly scheduled HVAC maintenance service, provided by a technician. The gospel truth of HVAC maintenance is that your system needs a professional inspection every year. Professional checkups are crucial for the continued operation and longevity of your HVAC system, and many Air Conditioner warranties require regular servicing for the warranty for your AC unit to remain valid. This is where a maintenance agreement comes into play. Here are some of the categories of hvac maintenance costs, and examples of the work you can expect to pay for.
Proactive Maintenance Costs
Proactive maintenance costs refer to any out of pocket, tune-up cost that has to do with standard HVAC preventative maintenance. These costs can range from something small like replacing a part, or something slightly more expensive like a standard professional HVAC service call. Here are some examples of the usual prices of proactive maintenance for heating and cooling systems:
-Standard service call and HVAC system tune-up…$100-$150
-Inspecting the vents and changing the air filter…$5-$40
-Cleaning the external AC Unit…$5 in cleaning supplies and about an hour of your time
Reactive Maintenance Costs
Reactive maintenance costs refer to any cost that requires immediate attention to your AC unit for it to function and maintain energy efficiency. Often reactive maintenance costs are the result of a fan belt breaking or a coolant leak. These costs are exponentially higher than proactive maintenance costs and often require a surplus of spending depending on what parts need to be replaced. Examples of Reactive maintenance costs include:
-Replace condenser coil…$1,900 to $2,900
-Replace blower motor…$450
-Repair refrigerant leak…$200 to $1,500
-Replace pressure sensor/circuit board…$350
As you can tell, reactive maintenance repair does not have the same tune-up cost as a proactive maintenance service.
Specialty jobs are typically a more expensive category of maintenance projects than the standard cleanings and system checkups. Specialty jobs often require intense labor of a skilled technician, which in and of itself is going to be a higher premium than a standard visit. Additionally, specialty jobs usually require specific parts that are often special ordered or just downright expensive.
One example of a specialty job for HVAC maintenance is ductwork. This intricate process requires specialized equipment and may even necessitate you leaving your house for a couple of days. Clean ducts are integral for ensuring that your heating and cooling systems are running as efficiently as possible, and specialty jobs like duct cleaning can run anywhere between $300-$500. Damaged ducts can affect energy efficiency, eventually leading to elevated energy bills.
One of the biggest dilemmas facing a home or business owner is whether to take advantage of the service contract (maintenance agreement) offered by their HVAC system company. The terms of these service contracts vary depending on the HVAC systems provider, but almost all service contracts cover some form of regularly scheduled maintenance. Additionally, priority service is included in a service contract, which can make the whole contract worthwhile, especially if you find yourself in need of immediate assistance. This could be a beneficial option for business owners who have to look after commercial HVAC units.
The typical price for an HVAC service contract ranges from $100-$500 per year but often does not cover parts. Most commonly service contracts are offered while the AC unit itself is still under warranty, which puts homeowners in a bit of a pickle. If your AC unit fails while still under warranty than the cost to repair it is covered by the manufacturer.
Without the priority assistance of a service contract, you could find yourself waiting somewhere between two and four weeks for a repair. Especially during the summer months when HVAC companies are busy with all sorts of emergency repairs due to high temperature, the yearly cost of a service contract seems worth it, just in case.
Regular HVAC maintenance service is crucial for the longevity of your HVAC unit. Often it is the upfront costs like regular professional service visits and performance contracts that yield the best results for your system. While these upfront costs may seem pricey, they are much less costly than the out of pocket cost that comes from a major HVAC malfunction that could call for installation of an entirely new system. To best protect your HVAC system and your wallet, make sure you have the best possible protection plan and are getting the necessary regular maintenance.