I hear a lot of people ask “why do I need a maintenance agreement”, “is a maintenance agreement a good idea”, or “why should I get a maintenance agreement”.
Well, let me tell you about maintenance agreements. Then you can decide if it is something you need.
So, what is a maintenance agreement?
A maintenance agreement is kind of like prepaid inspections and maintenance for your heating and air conditioning system.
That’s not all it is though.
Most maintenance agreements have added benefits like, priority scheduling, discounts on repairs, and not paying overtime rates for nights, weekends, and holidays.
So, with a maintenance agreement that covers your furnace and air conditioner, you are getting a service technician to check your air conditioner in the spring and your furnace in the fall. They will check everything for safety and make sure your system is running at peak performance. They will also pressure wash your air conditioner condenser unit in the spring.
They will also give you head of the line privileges for scheduling, discounts on parts, and no overtime rates for emergency service calls.
You might be thinking, that’s all great, but I can maintain my own system.
Well, you can maintain your own system. You can, and should, change your air filter every month too. Do you do that? Will you actually check all of your lines for damage, clean debris out of your air conditioner condenser unit, pressure wash your condenser unit, check your drain, check your wires, check your controls and safeties, and everything else that your maintenance agreement will check?
If you will do all that, that’s great. You are one of the very few that has the knowledge, equipment, time, and motivation to keep up on your heating and cooling system maintenance.
The burning question everyone wants to be answered is, do I need it?
If you have a new heating and cooling system, you should get a maintenance agreement. Having someone check and clean your system keeps it running at peak performance. It will decrease your chances of breakdowns, keep your operating cost down, and extend the life of your system.
You wouldn’t buy a brand new car and then never change the oil, would you?
If you have a system that is 5 – 10 years old, you should get a maintenance agreement. If your system is getting older you need to make sure it is maintained. If you bought a house and have not done anything with your heating and cooling system, you don’t know if maintenance has ever been performed. You need to take care of it to prevent breakdowns.
If you have a system that is older than 10 years, you need a maintenance agreement. Your system is getting old and it will break. Not paying the emergency overtime rate is worth the cost of a maintenance agreement.
Murphy’s Law says, “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”.
It’s Christmas day, your family is gathering around the tree to open presents. Then your furnace makes a loud sound and turns off.
You go look at it, play with the thermostat, flip the breaker, talk to the furnace, kick the furnace, and realize you don’t know how to make it turn back on.
If you don’t have a maintenance agreement, you are paying a service technician holiday rates to come out and fix your furnace or you are having a very cold Christmas.
If you have a maintenance agreement that does waive emergency overtime rates, you will get a service technician to fix your furnace at the normal hourly rate and you will probably get a discount on parts.
When don’t you need a maintenance agreement? If you have the equipment, knowledge, and time to check and maintain your own system, then you probably don’t need a maintenance agreement. You also will need to be able to troubleshoot and repair your own system to make not having a maintenance agreement worthwhile.
Do you hear that? That is your air conditioner making a weird sound. It’s your toilet overflowing. Maybe it’s your ceiling fan shorting out.
When something breaks in your home you want it fixed quickly. Not only that, you also want it fixed right. You also don’t want to pay a lot for the repair.
Well, the bad news is you can’t have fast, cheap, and good. You normally only get two of the three.
A cheap and fast job will normally result in poor quality work. You will most likely have to pay someone else to fix it correctly.
Good quality and cheap will take time. Companies will probably put other customers ahead of you.
Good quality work, done quickly will be expensive.
Most companies will give you a happy medium between the three. You will get good quality, done in a reasonable amount of time, for a good rate.
Why am I telling you this? Well, these are the things you need to think about when you are hiring a contractor. You will get what you pay for. Sometimes you will get what you didn’t pay for.
When you see an ad on Craigslist or Facebook from some random guy saying he can fix your problem cheap or install something for you, you might want to think about it a little before calling him.
Here is what you need to know before you hire someone to work in your home.
Are they licensed?
Licensing is regulated by the states. Michigan requires companies, or individuals, to be licensed if they are in the HVAC, plumbing, electrical, or construction fields. If an individual is working for a company, the company needs a license. If he or she is working alone then he or she needs to be licensed. There is a lot more to licensing but it is not important for this article.
If an unlicensed company or individual performs work in your home it could void the warranty of whatever they are working on. It could also affect your insurance. For example, an unlicensed individual installs a ceiling fan in your home. He leaves wires exposed in your attic. The wires spark and your house burns down. Then the insurance company doesn’t pay because you hired an unlicensed guy to install your fan.
That might be a bit extreme, but it is not out of the realm of possibility.
Are they insured?
A contractor should have two insurance policies. One for liability and one for worker’s compensation.
Liability insurance allows the contractor to file a claim for property damage, equipment damage, and things of that sort.
Worker’s Compensation insurance allows the contractor to file a claim for injuries to himself or his employees.
If an uninsured worker gets injured in your home or on your property you could be liable. They could blame you for getting injured and force you to pay for their medical bills and equipment damage. If this happens, your insurance company will most likely not protect you. A lot of insurance companies have an uninsured contractors clause that gets them out of paying.
Always ask a company if they are licensed and insured. If they say yes, ask them to prove it. Don’t take the risk of voiding your warranties or being sued just to save a couple dollars.
Ask what other projects they have done.
Just because they have a license and insurance doesn’t automatically mean they are great at what they do. Look for reviews and testimonials. If they only have one testimonial and it is two years old, you might want to keep looking.
Spend a little time researching the company or individual you are planning to hire. I’m not saying check references of the fire department while your house is on fire. An emergency is an emergency. If you have some time to do some research and ask some questions you should.
Pat Moody recently wrote an article about Jeff Street joining the Boss Heating and Air team. You can read it here.
Dryers are one of the biggest consumers of electricity in your home. Lint build up in your dryer vent restricts air flow. This causes the efficiency of the dryer to drop. You will have to run your dryer longer to get your clothes dry. A clean vent will allow maximum air flow and decrease your drying time.
Lint is extremely flammable. A small spark from anything can ignite the lint buildup in your dryer vent. Below is an Inside Edition report on dryer vent fires.
So how do you clean your dryer vent?
1. Start by removing your lint trap and cleaning it. This should be done every time you dry a load of laundry.
2. Use a vacuum to get as far into the lint trap as possible.
3. Pull your dryer away from the wall and disconnect the dryer vent. All you need is a screwdriver to do this.
4. Clean the vent.
If you have a long dryer vent you should use a dryer vent cleaner. This will ensure you get all of your vent.
If you have a shorter vent you can probably get all of it with a vacuum. Push the vacuum hose as far as you can into the dryer vent. Make sure you are gentle while you are doing this. You don’t want to put a hole in your dryer vent.
5. Reattach your dryer vent to your dryer and push it back into place. When you push it back into place make sure you don’t crush your dryer vent. The straighter the vent is, the better it will work.
This vent was installed about 5 months ago and it already had lint built up inside.
You should clean your dryer vent at least twice a year. If you notice your dryer taking longer than normal to dry your clothes, take 15 minutes to clean out your dryer vent. A little time will save money on your electric bill and make your home safer.
Ductless heating and cooling systems are also known mini-split systems. If you have been wondering if making the switch to a ductless heating and cooling system is the right choice for you, continue reading to learn all about how and why they might the solution to your heating and cooling problems.
What components make up a ductless heating and cooling system?
A ductless heating and cooling system is made up of two main parts. There is a condenser and/or heat pump unit that is located outside your house.
Inside your house, there is heat pump and/or air handler unit. It is sometimes referred to as a head. This is the part that pushes the warm or cool air out into your home.
What are the benefits of a ductless heating and cooling system?
In Michigan, most homes have a basement. If you use your basement and you have a standard HVAC system, your basement is most likely cooler than your main floor and your second floor is warmer than your main floor. Sometimes that temperature difference can be unbearable.
With a ductless heating and cooling system you can control the temperature of each individual head. That means you don’t have to worry about putting on a coat to go to the basement and sweating when you go to the second floor.
Ductless heating and cooling systems are also energy efficient and cheaper to install.
Why are you maintaining a comfortable room temperature in a room you never go in? With the ability to control the temperature in each room, you can adjust the temperature in the rooms you don’t use to save money on your monthly energy bills.
Installation costs are also cheaper with ductless heating and cooling systems. These units can be installed quicker and cheaper than traditional HVAC systems because there is no need to run ducts through your house.
Ductless heating and cooling systems can improve your indoor air quality.
With a filter in each head, it is cleaning the air in the room each time the head turns on. If you keep the filter clean you will continue to clean your home’s air and improve your indoor air quality more efficiently than with a traditional HVAC system.
Ductless heating and cooling systems are extremely popular. They are a great solution to your home’s heating and cooling needs. They provide a level of customization and comfort that your family will love.