My AC Unit is Brand New & Under Warranty – I Don’t Need a Tune Up Right?
You’ve just spent thousands of dollars replacing an older air conditioner with a new AC unit, and now your air conditioning company is telling you that it needs maintenance every six-months. That can’t be right can it, can it? Your AC Company is just being greedy, aren’t they? After all your last cooling and heating system lasted for many years and you didn’t get two tune-ups a year!
I’ve owned JC Heating & Cooling, Inc since 1997. My company is a Hodgkins, IL based HVAC Contractor & Energy Efficiency Contractor that serves South West Suburbs.
I can’t tell you exactly how many times I’ve heard a client tell me they don’t need a tune up because their air conditioner is brand new – but it’s A LOT! Before, I go on let me just clear up the fact that an HVAC System that has been through several summers and winters is no longer “brand new”!
I Don’t Need an Oil Change & Lube – My Car is Brand New!
The analogy I always use is a “new” car. Other than a new home, a new car is for most people, the most money they’ve ever spent on anything – and their new central air conditioner and heating system, the third most expensive item most people buy in their lifetime.
I just bought a new Jeep…and it was expensive. Based on the fact that I average twenty-thousand miles a year on my cars, that means I will have to have maintenance done four times a year – including the first year. That’s on average every 3-months!
None of us ever question that we need to get an oil-change, lube, tire-rotation, fluids check, etc., etc., when it comes to our “new” car or truck to keep it in good running condition (and protect our investment) because we’ve been conditioned since we were young that this was important and necessary. Have you ever said, “I don’t need to bring my car in for service – it’s brand new”? I hope you just answered no – if not plan on needing another new car soon!
We run our new AC units in Illinois from May through October, most of which is practically non-stop 24-7, because of hot summers. We don’t drive our cars non-stop 24-7 eight months out of the year in extreme conditions, so why don’t we have the same mentality about machines we depend on day in and day out that we do about our vehicles?
My guess is because there are some things we’ve adopted more of a “Don’t fix it if it aint broke” mentality about, and air conditioners are one of those things. After twenty plus years working in the HVAC Industry, trust me when I tell you this just isn’t true of AC and Heating equipment. If you don’t fix it – it will break, and if you don’t maintain it – it will break! If that weren’t the case, we wouldn’t need HVAC Service Technicians, we would only need HVAC Installers!
Every HVAC Manufacturer Requires Maintenance Twice a Year
You’d be challenged to find an air conditioning equipment manufacturer website that doesn’t at least mention that they recommend maintenance two times a year. More importantly, and probably more telling, is the verbiage on their limited warranty certificates which state; a homeowner may be required to submit proof that the unit has received the “required” semi-annual maintenance or warranty coverage may be denied.
This is especially true when multiple warranty claims have been filed for the same serial number. My company has received numerous requests for proof of maintenance from multiple manufacturers over the years. In almost every case we were the homeowners regular air conditioning contractor, so we had evidence in our database to send to them. However, I can remember one case where we were not the homeowners regular service company and the homeowner did not have evidence of maintenance (and by the shape of the unit it was questionable whether they really had been maintaining the unit). In that case the manufacturer did deny the claim and the homeowner had to pay for the parts and labor – they are now a member of our maintenance CGMA (Comfort Guard Maintenance Agreement) so we maintain the records on their behalf.
New AC Units That Are Maintained Regularly Last Longer and Have Fewer Breakdowns
Years ago, I ran a report from our database to compare how much money customers spent with us annually over the course of ten years. At the time, the point of it wasn’t to compare our regular maintenance customers spend to non-maintenance customers – it initially started because I was trying to see if there was a certain city or zip code that generated more revenue than others for target marketing purposes.
Accidentally, I noticed a pattern; customers that only called us when they needed a repair, generated significantly more revenue than customers that had a maintenance contract with us.
FYI – The reason AC Companies like ours want clients to become members of their maintenance club isn’t to sell them things like some people believe. The reason is; new customer acquisition and advertising is more expensive than generating steady business from existing customers. Eventually everyone needs AC repair or replacement and we want people to use us because they already know and trust us. The less money a company spends on advertising the lower they can keep prices for their customer, which in turn should mean more business and profit.
As I dug a little deeper, I noticed that a lot of the additional revenue generated from non-maintenance agreement holders was from unit replacement. I also noted that the age of the units we replaced for these customers was younger than the age of units that were being maintained regularly.
Of course, there are many more variables in play than just maintenance vs. lack of maintenance, but it stands to reason that this factor played a large role in the outcome.