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.
With the record setting temperatures, homeowners with air conditioning are relying more than ever on central air for some relief. Air conditioners are notorious for using a large amount of electrical energy, especially with older R-22 units or units with low SEER ratings. And because this large amount of electrical energy is consumed in the summer when electrical rates usually hit their peak, staying cool can really burn a hole in your wallet if your not careful.
There are many ways to ensure you strike the right balance with your air conditioner usage to stay cool and comfortable and happy with your electrical bill. Following these simple suggestions will ensure that you are conscious of your environmental impact and also receive the best performance from your equipment.