One of the sure signs of spring is the “$69 tune up special” for cooling systems. But what is it and what should you consider before taking someone up on this offer?
First, if you’re wondering whether annual central air conditioner maintenance is necessary, it is. A dirty air conditioning unit can lose efficiency quickly – about 15% or more each year you put off maintenance. That’s just from dirt and debris alone. A loss of 15% of operating efficiency will quickly translate into higher electric bills and lower comfort levels in your home. What you “save” by not having your system inspected and cleaned, you’ll lose in the form of higher energy bills.
The real story behind the $69 tune up
So, is a $69 tune up a good price? Strictly from a bottom line perspective, $69 is a great price. (It’s akin to buying a brand new car for $5,000.) But there’s a catch. (There’s always a catch.) Perhaps the deal doesn’t apply to your system, or there’s an extra charge for high-efficiency systems. Maybe it doesn’t include rooftop systems, or it’s limited to certain manufacturers. The $69 special often has an expiration date, and you could end up waiting behind other, higher priority customers for your appointment.
$69 appointments may have limited availability, and you may have to take time from work to accommodate a service appointment. They also include a lot of “inspections” but not much in the way of actual system tuning or maintenance. That’s mainly because the service provider uses the $69 tune up to find opportunities to sell you a more expensive AC repair. They may not even include something as basic as a filter change, unless you happen to have one on hand.
In most cases, the goal of the “$69 tune up” is to get you to purchase a more expensive service contract for your AC system. The more expensive service contract may cover the maintenance and repairs that will really keep your system operating at peak efficiency – and those will not be included in the $69 special.
One way that some companies pressure you into signing service contracts is to raise the price as the days go by. The longer you wait to sign a service contract, the more expensive your contract will be. So, your $69 special soon turns into an expensive, high-pressure pitch for a much more expensive AC service contract.
A better approach is to work with an experienced heating and cooling professional that doesn’t simply waste your time and money pointing out what’s wrong with your system. A true precision tune up for your cooling system includes inspections, but it also includes the preventative AC maintenance that can help you avoid costly and inconvenient breakdowns. When the professionals at Boston Standard Company leave your home, you can be sure that your cooling system is ready to handle the summer heat.
Photo Credit: Wendy Diedrich, via Flickr