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Heating System Maintenance FAQs

What is a maintenance agreement?
What are the benefits of a maintenance agreement?
Is a maintenance agreement different than a warranty?
Do I really need a maintenance agreement if my system is under warranty?
If I just want one tune–up, do I have to purchase a maintenance agreement?
Is a tune–up different than a service call?
Is it a problem if I don’t have my tune–up before I turn the system on?
Is there anything I need to know when scheduling a tune–up?
When’s the best time to schedule my tune–ups?
Can the air check and heat check be done at the same time?
Why can’t you complete my tune–up if it’s raining?
Do I schedule the tune–up appointment?
How do I schedule my tune–up?
Does my maintenance agreement automatically renew each year?
How do I renew my maintenance agreement?
Is the maintenance agreement considered a contract?
What methods of payment are accepted?
Are there any coupons or discounts that may be applied to my maintenance agreement?
Do I need to change the filter myself between tune–ups?
How do I know when to change my filter?
How often should I change my filter?
What happens to tune–ups I haven’t used when my agreement expires?
What happens if I have a problem before you’re here for my tune–up?
If I have a maintenance agreement, is there a fee if I need a service call?
My unit is acting up.  Should I schedule a tune–up?
If there’s a problem detected during my tune–up, is the repair included?
Does my maintenance agreement cover repairs?

 

1. What is a maintenance agreement?

A maintenance agreement is an annual agreement for your heating and/or cooling system(s), and includes several benefits:

  • One precision tune–up per system each year.
  • 10% to 15% off of any HVAC service or repair.
  • 10% to 15% off of any plumbing service or repair.
  • Guaranteed 24 hour service, 365 days a year.
  • Guaranteed same–day service, 365 days a year.

A tune–up for your cooling system is also called an "air check".

A tune–up for your heating system is also called a "heat check".

 

2. What are the benefits of a maintenance agreement?

  • Keep your system running at peak efficiency, saving you on utility bills.
  • Detect problems before they result in a costly system break–down.
  • Priority status means we guarantee same–day service, guarantee 24 hour service, and offer discounted pricing on any service or repair.

Please consider the following facts, based on studies performed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Louisiana State University and Gulf States Utility, and other manufacturer, utility company, university and government studies:

  • 9 out of 10 HVAC system failures are caused by dirt and dust build up.
  • 24 common problems cause 99% of heating system failures, and 16 of the 24 can be prevented with proper maintenance.
  • A buildup of just one 100TH of an inch of dirt or film on an evaporator coil can reduce its efficiency by 5%, and 0.042 inches of dirt can result in a decrease of efficiency of 21%.
  • A dirty evaporator coil, condenser coil or blower could increase air conditioning or heat pump electrical usage by 50% or more.
  • Oil furnaces and boilers produce greasy soot that can lead to build up quickly, therefore operating an oil furnace or boiler requires even more maintenance than other types of heating systems.
  • A study of five existing houses before HVAC system cleaning and after cleaning resulted in average savings of $32.76 per month (based on $0.08 per kWh) on utility bills. In addition, 9,250 BTU’s hour, or 0.79 tons of capacity, was restored and the units ran 1.7 hours less per day.

 

3. Is a maintenance agreement different than a warranty?

Yes.

A maintenance agreement includes routine maintenance visits (called tune–ups) for your HVAC equipment, and also gives you priority status (guaranteed service and discounted pricing).

A warranty covers fees associated with repairs for any problems you may have with the system.  The warranty coverage is typically through the manufacturer, your installing dealer, or both.

A good way to think of it is the difference between maintenance for your car, which usually includes a tune–up and oil change, vs. the warranty for your car which usually covers repairs.

 

4. Do I really need a maintenance agreement if my system is under warranty?

Yes.

All HVAC manufacturers recommend routine maintenance, generally suggesting one precision tune–up for your heating system and a separate precision tune–up for your cooling system each year.  Lack of maintenance may void any warranty you have on the system, and a manufacturer may request proof of regular maintenance prior to approving a warranty repair.

 

5. If I just want one tune–up, do I have to purchase a maintenance agreement?

Yes.

The price for your tune–up is the same as the cost of the agreement.  We simply offer the other benefits of the agreement (same day service, 24 hour service, and discounted pricing) as a free bonus to all of our loyal clients.

 

6. Is a tune–up different than a service call?

Yes.

A tune–up is a routine maintenance visit which must be scheduled in advance.

A service call is scheduled when you’re having a problem with your system, and may be scheduled the same day you request service.  During a service call, the technician will perform diagnostic tests to determine what the problem is, then will review pricing and information to rectify any issues he may find while he’s there.

 

7. Is it a problem if I don’t have my tune–up before I turn the system on?

No.

You do not need to wait for your tune–up to turn the system on, and it is safe to operate your system at any time before the tune–up.  Some of our valued clients even prefer waiting until the end of the season to schedule their tune–up, so the system will be ready to go for the next year.

 

8. Is there anything I need to know when scheduling a tune–up?

There are three important things to remember when scheduling your tune–up:

  1. Your tune–up may be scheduled anytime, and the time of year doesn’t matter (as long as it is completed once a year).
  2. We like it to be above 60°F when we complete an "air check", and below 40°F when we complete a "heat check".
  3. If you have an air conditioner, we will not be able to complete your air check if it is raining; if you have a heat pump, we will not be able to complete your air or heat checks if it is raining.

If you would like to schedule your routine maintenance visits for the same time each year, please let us know so we may note this on your account and ensure we reserve a spot per your preference.

 

9. When’s the best time to schedule my tune–ups?

That is a matter of your preference.

We schedule air conditioner tune–ups from April through August.

We schedule heating system tune–ups from September through March.

Routine maintenance visits are scheduled several weeks in advance, so if you are hoping for a certain time of year we recommend calling early in the season to confirm a date that is convenient for you.

 

10. Can the air check and heat check be done at the same time?

No.

In order to properly check your system, we will need to turn the unit on and let it run, and with some equipment we need a certain temperature outside to properly check your system.

We like to schedule air conditioner tune–ups during spring and summer when you are using your air conditioner, and heating system tune–ups during fall and winter when you are using your heat.

We always recommend bi–annual visits, to ensure that a certified technician is checking your system twice a year.

 

11. Why can’t you complete my tune–up if it’s raining?

Depending on the type of equipment you have, the technician may need to remove the protective cover or panel to service your outdoor unit.  We are not able to service any outdoor unit when it is raining, because we risk damaging the equipment by exposing it to moisture (not to mention it is a hazard to the technician to work on the machine in the rain).

 

12. Do I schedule the tune–up appointment?

Yes.

We will contact you at some point throughout the season (by mail and/or by phone) to remind you to call or email us to schedule your tune–ups.  If you prefer a certain time of year, we recommend contacting us early in the season to schedule the appointment at your convenience.

 

13. How do I schedule my tune–up?

 You may schedule the appointment by calling our office at 215–822–9029, or you may email info@carneyphc.com to make appointment arrangements.

 

14. Does my maintenance agreement automatically renew each year?

No.

We will contact you about a month before your agreement is due to expire, and will provide the price to renew the agreement.

 

15. How do I renew my maintenance agreement?

There are three ways you can renew:

  1. Schedule your next routine maintenance visit, and pay for the renewal upon completion of service that day.
  2. Call our office to pay over the phone with a credit card.
  3. Mail a check to our office (PO Box 79, Line Lexington, PA 18932).

 

16. Is the maintenance agreement considered a contract?

No.

This is simply an agreement stating that we will perform the tune–ups as promised, and offer the other benefits (same day service, 24 hour service, and discounted pricing) at no additional charge.

 

17. What methods of payment are accepted?

We accept cash, check, or any major credit card.

 

18. Are there any coupons or discounts that may be applied to my maintenance agreement?

Yes.

We often include coupons in our print newsletters, which are mailed in the spring and fall.

We also post coupons on our website from time to time, which may be found here: www.carneyphc.com/about/promotions.

If you ever receive a post card from our office with a coupon for future service, this may be used as cash toward your agreement renewal (or any of our other services).

 

19. Do I need to change the filter between tune–ups?

Yes.

A blocked air filter is one of the most common causes of the problems that we see, and we recommend that all of our clients service their filter between maintenance visits.

 

20. How do I know when to change my filter?

When you hold the filter up to a light, the less light that shows through the dirtier your filter is.  If no light shines through at all your filter is blocked.

 

21. How often should I change my filter?

We recommend checking your filter once a month, and changing it every one to three months as needed.

The frequency of the filter change will depend on several variables in your home, including: how many people live in the home, if you have pets in the home, if there are smokers in the home, if there is work being done in the home, etc.

 

22. What happens if I don’t use all of my tune–ups before my agreement expires?

We will honor unused tune–ups for up to one year after your agreement expires.  We will also contact you to schedule any unused visits before they expire.

 

23. What happens if I have a problem before you’re here for my tune–up?

As a loyal maintenance agreement holder, we do guarantee you 24 hour emergency service and same–day service.  You can call our office 24 hours a day to speak with a live representative, who will promptly dispatch one of our highly trained, courteous technicians to you in your time of need – whenever that time may be!

 

24. If I have a maintenance agreement, is there a fee if I need a separate service call?

Yes.

We are proud to offer among the least expensive maintenance agreements in the area, and in an effort to keep the price down, diagnostic fees and trip charges are not included in the price for your maintenance agreement.

Keep in mind that the majority of our maintenance agreement clients don’t need service beyond the tune–ups, since the tune–ups help maintain the equipment at peak efficiency and prevent costly breakdowns in the first place.

 

25. My unit is acting up.  Should I schedule a tune–up?

Not yet.

While a tune–up is recommended to keep your system operating at peak efficiency, your unit will need to be operational before we are able to perform a complete and proper tune–up.  If you are having a problem with your system, we would suggest scheduling a service call first to get the unit back up and running before completing the tune–up.

 

26. If there’s a problem detected during my tune–up, is the repair included?

No.

We are proud to offer among the least expensive maintenance agreements in the area, and in an effort to keep the price down, repairs are not included in the price for your maintenance agreement (but you are always entitled to discounted pricing should you need service).

Keep in mind that the majority of our maintenance agreement clients don’t need service beyond the tune–ups, since the tune–ups help maintain the equipment at peak efficiency and prevent costly breakdowns in the first place.

 

27. Does my maintenance agreement cover repairs?

No.

Your maintenance agreement will entitle you to discounted pricing on any service or repair.

The fee for repairs will be presented to you up front, in writing, and is separate from the fee for your maintenance agreement.