Look, we think that regular HVAC maintenance is super important. But do we think that high-pressure, cookie-cutter heating and cooling maintenance service contracts are a waste of money? Yes, East Nashville, we do.
In fact, we got so tired of using scare tactics to pressure customers into unnecessary service contracts that it’s a major reason why we stepped off the industry treadmill and opened up our very own, very local shop, Cumberland Cooling.
What are heating and cooling maintenance service contracts, exactly?
HVAC service contracts are agreements between a homeowner and an HVAC service provider in which the customer — you — agree to pay a set monthly or annual fee for ongoing maintenance services for your heating and air conditioning systems.
Most companies offer plans that wind up costing you around $200-300 per year. These plans typically include two tune-ups per year, pre-season scheduling, discounts, and priority, “front of line” service.
Let’s break it down.
Why Cumberland Cooling Will Never Make You Sign a Service Contract
Over time, the cost of service contracts may end up costing you more than paying for maintenance or repairs as needed.
Here’s what the Federal Trade Commission has to say: “some consumer advocates suggest that you might be better off skipping service contracts. Instead, they recommend putting that money in a savings account. That way, if you need repairs, you’ll have savings to fall back on. And if you don’t need repairs, you’ll have some cash in the bank.”
We tend to agree.
For many companies, those advertised “tune-ups” are cursory, at best. Unfortunately, they often wind up becoming an opportunity for the vendor to recommend “necessary” (and costly) services. If you do sign on a service contract’s dotted line, make sure you know what you’re paying for. We recommend downloading the Air Conditioning Contractors of Americas’ HVAC maintenance checklist to make sure you’re getting what you need out of a contractor.
“Pre-season scheduling” is code for: they’ll send you an email or call you to remind you to schedule an appointment. We do that twice a year for our customers and we do it for free. And we’ll never recommend a service or product you don’t strictly need.
Those “discounts” simply bring rates in line with the competition. Call around and make sure you’re getting the best rate.
Finally, we believe you shouldn’t have to pay for “front of line” service. Great service should stand on its own. At the front of the line.
Yes, we do offer preventative HVAC maintenance. It’s $75 for one HVAC system and $50 for additional systems at the same location. That’s it.
Live in East Nashville or Near East Nashville (also known as Madison, TN)? Contact Cumberland Cooling at 615-576-0742 to discuss heating and cooling installation, annual furnace maintenance, or to figure out whether or not it’s time to repair or replace your HVAC unit. As always, estimates and opinions are always free.