Should You Buy A Maintenance Agreement For Your Furnace?

You wake up cold one morning, and find your furnace didn't turn on. There's no easy fix, and you can't even remember the last time you hired a furnace repair technician to come to your house. Who should you call, and how can you minimize the amount you have to pay?

In this case, you might be out of luck. You'll have to quickly call around, see if you can find a repair person who has availability, and hope that he or she is trustworthy. But if you'd had a maintenance agreement, you might not even have seen a problem with your furnace in the first place!

Maintenance agreements are contracts with a trusted heating repair company to maintain and fix any problems with your heating system. Generally, you can choose from different levels of service. Here are the benefits:

1. You establish a relationship with a company.

When you wake up cold, you don't have to scramble to find someone who can come troubleshoot. You know who can make the repair, you call them and it gets taken care of quickly. You are a priority customer.

2. You get preventative maintenance.

Your maintenance agreement will include regular check-ups for your entire heating system. That means that any problem areas will be identified before they fail.

3. Your system's energy efficiency is better.

If you care about the environment, a maintenance agreement makes it more likely that you'll have your furnace running at peak efficiency. Filters will be clean and other areas will be running smoothly, so you aren't wasting energy. This makes your electric or gas bills cheaper, too.

4. You can get credit toward new equipment.

Some (but not all) furnace repair companies will give you discounts or points toward a new furnace or heat pump when it comes time to replace yours. Not only are you keeping your current equipment running for as long as you can; you'll get a reduced-cost new system when it comes time.

What are the downsides? Well, you'll have to pay out of pocket for an agreement -- anywhere from $150 to $500 depending on your area and the services you want. But one service call for a broken furnace and parts can exceed this cost.

If you have a new furnace that is under a manufacturer's warranty, you'll want to check with your heating contractor to see if parts and repair are covered. If so, you may wish to wait until the warranty is expired to sign a maintenance agreement.

Talk to a local heating and furnace repair company like Advanced Appliance Service Inc to see what kind of agreements they offer and what would be right for you.