The Dirty Truth About HVAC Service Plans
What are HVAC Service Plans?
In the last few years, many HVAC companies have started offering maintenance service plans for furnaces. Homeowners pay a monthly fee or upfront yearly fee for furnace maintenance. Coverage length is usually one year at a time. Basic plans offer service maintenance on the furnace. Premium plans offer options that include repair discounts, repair coverage, and promise of priority repair service. Every company is different, but plans usually range from $15 – $35 per month depending on the coverage.
Understanding the True Value
Options are endless and the price seems right. But many homeowners are unaware of the drawbacks of signing up for a service plan. Repair discounts and priority service seem like great incentives for maintenance you need. Furnaces maintenance should prevent repairs, not prepare for them. In 30 years of providing maintenance, thousands of customers complete maintenance consistently with no breakdowns. If an annual service maintenance ranging from $119-$189 can prevent a potential repair ranging from $250-$800, a service plan becomes redundant.
The chance of mechanical failure falls significantly following proper and consistent maintenance by a qualified serviceman. Reputable service companies do not need to offer repair discounts to keep operating year after year. Generally, companies that install and repair furnaces offer 24-hour emergency service without needing to purchase a service plan. In Edmonton, temperatures can drop below -30 and homeowners can be left in real emergency situations with no heat. Damage to the home or health issues are a serious concern. Service priority should always be based on the severity of the emergency and not whether or not a customer has a service plan.
Repair Coverage and New Furnaces
Service plans are most attractive to purchase when installing a new furnace. Most homeowners do not realize that all furnaces in Canada come with standard 5 years limited parts straight from the manufacturer. This warranty is included with the furnace purchase and installation. Additionally, most manufacturers offer 10 years limited parts warranties when the furnace is registered with the manufacturer. Again, this registration option is included with furnace purchase and installation. A one year labor warranty is standard practice from a company that will stand behind their work. 10-year labor warranties are also available from furnace manufacturers. Why is the additional cost of a service plan needed to provide coverage on repairs when parts & labor are already covered? Maintenance is always going to cost homeowners out of pocket. The quality of maintenance is of bigger concern because there is always a cost involved.
The value of service plans is not really in the repair coverage you may receive, but the promise of the company to provide service. With a service plan, quality service at a fair price is only guaranteed when you are in an unexpected, and usually stressful emergency repair situation. Do you want to pay for the promise of service, or just the service itself? Maintaining your furnace should not be as complicated as insuring your house.
What About Furnace and Duct Cleaning?
Most of the furnace service plans offered do not include maintenance such as furnace and duct cleaning with a Powervac truck. Mechanical service maintenance is not the only essential service your furnace needs to prevent breakdowns. After 30 years of emergency service, there is no doubt that excessive dust and debris in the furnace and duct work causes failures. Service plans are over valued when this essential maintenance is left to other outfits. Then you are needing to hire two different companies to maintain your furnace system to avoid repair costs. Not only is that an additional cost to your service plan, it again makes the process of maintaining your furnace over complicated.
The Four Seasons Way
To the present day, Four Seasons does not offer service plans for furnace maintenance despite their popularity. We offer courtesy calls with all of our customers based on the maintenance recommendations from your last service. Why complicate a simple system to remember your furnace and complete the service it really needs? As a dedicated service company, we focus on providing the most convenient, affordable, and common sense maintenance service for homeowners. All of our pricing is up front and honest. You pay for the maintenance that you require, as you require it. Just like when you change the oil on your car. We want the same things as our customers – safe, reliable furnace operation. Service plans are just another unnecessary complication. We like to keep furnace maintenance simple and straight forward, as it should be.
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