As a homeowner, I’m painfully aware there’s more to owning a house than paying the mortgage lender every month. In addition to my ever-rising property taxes and homeowners insurance premiums, I’m also on the hook for maintenance and repairs. In my case, paying a little more for the former has saved me money on the latter. In fact, right now, I’m dealing with a heating system issue that will cost me $250 less to address because I signed up for a service contract.
Why it pays to sign up for a heating and cooling maintenance contract
As homeowners, we rely on our heat and air conditioning to function when temperatures drop and climb. These systems need regular maintenance, namely because they have a lot of components that can degrade or malfunction over time.
I learned this the hard way when I had to replace my entire air conditioning unit at a price tag of about $7,000. But that bill would’ve been a lot higher had I not been on a service contract with the company that did the work.
Most heating and air conditioning companies offer homeowners the option to sign an annual service contract that includes a yearly checkup. That checkup is maintenance we’re supposed to be doing anyway.
The cost of a service contract, which is prepaid at the start of each 12-month covered period, is slightly more than the cost of paying for heating and cooling maintenance by itself (in my case, we’re talking about $80 more). The upside is that in signing that contract, we enjoy other money-saving benefits.
For one thing, most of the time, when you need your air conditioning or heat repaired, you’ll be charged a service call fee just to have someone come out and assess the problem. That fee is waived for us because we’re on a maintenance contract.
Furthermore, these service contracts also come with discounts for repair work that needs to be done. My husband and I are able to save 15% on repairs. That came in handy when we had to have our air conditioning unit replaced, as it shaved down our cost by a good $1,000.
So getting back to my heating system issue. When we found that our heat didn’t seem to be kicking in as well as it should’ve been, we called the company we have our contract with out to take a look. They found an issue that will cost several hundred dollars for us to repair once the right parts come in. But because we’re on that maintenance contract, we weren’t charged a $150 service call fee, and we’re saving about another $100 on the work itself.
All told, between my air conditioning system replacement and my heating system repair, the money I’ve saved has more than made up for the extra $80 I pay to be on a contract. And just as importantly, I get priority when issues arise so I don’t have to wait too long for someone to come out and help.
Protect yourself from added costs
If you own a home, it pays to see if heating and cooling companies in your area offer a service contract. Heat and air conditioning are really difficult to go without — especially heat, since having yours off for too long could cause pipes to burst and other damage.
For me, my service contract is worth the money for the priority status alone. But the fact that it’s saved me a bundle of money makes me even happier that I have it in place.