Does annual HVAC preventative maintenance on your air conditioner result in an unnecessary expense or is there real value? Let’s look at some discernable financial figures to help you decide.
Of course, if you deferred regular oil changes on your vehicle, you could save some money—in the short run. Before long, performance and gas mileage would fall. A vehicle meant to last at least 10 to 15 years with maintenance, might last 2 years without HVAC preventative maintenance. The same principle applies to maintaining your HVAC system. But since HVAC preventative maintenance is our job, let’s get some more objective sources.
Find the paperwork for your furnace/air conditioner and you will find that overlooking maintenance will void the warranty. If a component of your new air conditioner fails, the manufacturer would not be required to make repairs.
When first installed, your system worked perfectly. However, the accumulation of dust and dirt will take a toll on the component parts, and energy efficiency slips. The US EPA estimated that a poorly maintained system can increase the utility cost by 30%.1 In 1983, LSU completed a study with a local electric utility company on the benefits of keeping HVAC systems maintained. They discovered maintenance reduced the utility bill by $32.76; adjusted to the current economy, the savings is about three times as much.
The result of neglecting maintenance is the accumulation of dust and dirt in sensitive components, specifically the air filter, the evaporator coil, and the condenser coil. The dust restricts airflow for essential functions and forces the system to work harder to accomplish the normal task of heating and cooling. The cost of repair or replacement of key components gets more and more expensive. They are far higher than the cost of annual maintenance visits.2
A well-maintained HVAC will last longer than a poorly maintained system; estimates range between 25% and 40% longer, or 5 to 8 years. That means the system that you purchased can service your home longer with proper maintenance. It also means that you can delay the purchase of a new system. The cost of maintenance visits is approximately 1% of the purchase price of the entire system. Since the purchase price of a new system increase by 5% or more annually, the accumulated cost of HVAC preventative maintenance will always be a fraction of the cost of a new system.
Manufacturers, HVAC professionals, universities, utility companies, and the Environmental Protection Agency agree cleaning and maintaining your HVAC system will save money. Hopefully, the information we have given is enough to help you calculate your saving.
Northwind offers a comprehensive residential HVAC service: installation/replacement, repairs, and a scheduled preventative maintenance program.