Angie's List: Tips when signing yearly HVAC service agreements/contracts

LEWISTON, ID - The key to keep your AC humming along during the summer is proper maintenance.

But if maintenance often skips your mind, many HVAC companies are offering yearly service agreements. Are these plans right for you?
We weigh the pros and cons in today's Angie's List report.

"When deciding whether to repair or replace your AC unit, follow the rule of $5,000," said Angie's List Owner, Angie Hicks. "If the repair cost times the number of years old the unit is more than $5,000 you should go ahead and replace. If it's under, go ahead and repair. So, for example, if the repair costs $350 and it's a ten-year old unit, that only multiplies to $3,500, so you should go ahead and repair in that scenario."

"The best thing I can do for homeowners is compare them to cars," said HVAC Contractor Curt Hicks. "You use them almost daily. They require service. You hit the eight, ten year mark and they start to breaking and you have to make some repairs."

"A maintenance agreement for your HVAC system can offer you some predictability in your costs," said Angie Hicks. "It may lower the cost of a service call, for example. It also can help you prevent having to pay after hours charges or emergency costs and can get you priority in line. The drawbacks are your paying for the expense upfront and you may not need it. For example, you may not have a repair on your unit this year. So it's important to understand the condition of your unit before you make the decision to buy a maintenance agreement."

"Maintaining it is important because of the efficiency," said Curt Hicks. "You want it to run as efficient as possible. You'd like it to last so little things that may cause it to break you want to fix them now before it causes a major malfunction."

"One hiccup you can have with a maintenance agreement is, what happens if you move," asked Hicks. "So if you are considering moving in the next year be sure to read the fine print to see whether it will move with you."

When picking a plan, Angie's List reminds homeowners to choose a HVAC company that is honest, trustworthy, and reliable. Remember the maintenance agreement is only as good as the service provider backing it.