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.
We’ve all heard the old saying “they don’t make things like they used to.” In some instances there is a reason for this. Like the engine of an old car, old furnaces (20+ years) were simple systems build to last. These systems were not intensive to maintain. But like your old car, old furnaces are gas guzzlers with a fuel efficiency that is less than optimal.
In recent years the government has created efficiency regulations for furnaces to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Canada. As of December 31, 2009 the required AFUE rating for gas furnace is set at a minimum of 90 percent. AFUE stands for annual fuel utilization efficiency. It is a measure of a gas furnace’s efficiency in converting fuel into usable energy.
Aggressive door-to-doors sales companies are using the new Carbon Levy as a loophole to legislation set in early January. It is now illegal for companies to sell furnace and air conditioners installations door-to-door in Alberta. Under the Fair Trading Act, companies conducting this business face harsh penalties. Companies are subject to a maximum $300,000 fine and two years in jail if found guilty. This was good news for Albertan’s until companies discovered a new tactic.
CBC recently released an article detailing a homeowner’s experience with a company slyly getting around the new legislation. The company phoned the homeowner stating that she has a rebate not yet collected. The company insists they have to make an in-home visit for the homeowner to receive the rebate.