Almost 90% of Americans have some sort of air conditioning in their homes. Whether you own or rent a property, chances are, you probably have an HVAC unit.
But when you’re a homeowner, all the services pertaining to your HVAC unit becomes your responsibility. All of a sudden, there are a lot of costs (both expected and unexpected) added to your plate.
If you’re wondering about how much HVAC repair, service, and maintenance costs, then read on. In this article, we’ll provide you with all the details you need to make an informed decision.
General HVAC Information
Perhaps you have no clue how an HVAC unit works or how long it’s supposed to last you. Then you’ve come to the right place.
In general, if you have an older HVAC system, it’ll probably last you a few decades. However, newer units are more complicated, which puts their life expectancy around 12 to 15 years.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing though. If you follow a good maintenance schedule and get it promptly serviced and repaired, it can actually save you a lot of money in the long run.
You see, modern technology’s made it so HVAC units are much more energy-efficient nowadays. So if you have an HVAC system that’s a few decades old, it might actually save you money in the long run to get it replaced. It may be worth it to consult with an HVAC specialist to see what’d be best in your situation.
HVAC Service Cost for Repairs
Unfortunately, our HVAC units aren’t built to last forever. Even if you take good care of it, there comes a time when a part will unexpectedly break down and cause your system to fail.
When it comes to pricing, understandably, this category will have a larger range in possible costs than the others. This is because it can be something as small as a broken condensate drain tube (which costs around $20 to replace) or something as serious as a broken condenser coil (which costs around $1,900 to $2,900 to replace).
The good thing is, on average, American homeowners pay around $300 for HVAC repairs in a year. And if you keep up with regular maintenance, the chances of having to get one of the pricier repairs goes down.
In addition to paying for the actual repair, you’ll also have to factor in service fees. Essentially, this covers the labor and any overhead the professional may experience when coming out to your property.
In general, you should expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $100. If you call and use a company outside of their normal business hours (such as Monday through Friday from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm), you’ll most likely have to pay a higher fee.
Many specialists will also charge an hourly rate, which ranges from $100 to $150. However, they’ll usually apply the service fee to your first hour of service, so this means if it’s a small fix, you usually won’t be paying over $200.
Ask About Financing
Some HVAC repair costs can be quite expensive. If your system’s unexpectedly broken down and needs major fixes, then you may not have all of the necessary funds to pay for them.
In this case, you shouldn’t panic just yet. Most of the time, HVAC companies will work with you to come up with a payment plan so not only do you get the repairs you need, but they get paid for doing so as well.
So when you call around, be sure to inquire about financing options so you’ll have peace of mind should you need a pricey fix.
You’ll need to get an HVAC repair if there’s something noticeably wrong with your unit.
But what if there’s not? Then you’ll still want to have HVAC service performed. This is because your unit might actually be very inefficient with energy consumption, which not only drains its lifespan but also drives up your utility bills. A technician can run diagnostics and perform a tune-up for your HVAC system.
HVAC service prices can also vary widely, considering many of the services performed overlap with HVAC repairs.
For instance, the technician may find that your outdoor fan motor could use a replacement, even though it’s not completely broken. This can cost you anywhere between $200 to $650.
Or maybe they’ll even suggest that you have a new HVAC unit installed, especially if your old one is inefficient and on its last legs. In that case, the national average is just under $5,000.
Just like with HVAC repairs, HVAC services will also come with a call-out service fee that ranges from $50 to $100. In addition, you’ll need to pay an hourly rate of anywhere between $100 to $150, with the first hour applied to your service fee.
We mentioned diagnostics and tune-ups in an earlier section. These will all tack on extra costs to your total bill.
Diagnostics cost around $100, as do tune-ups. With a tune-up, the technician will find and replace any parts that are worn out.
One of the most important things you can do to avoid high HVAC repair and service costs is to properly and regularly maintain your unit.
Of course, this involves having an HVAC professional come visit your property on a predetermined schedule. This schedule will differ from each household, depending on the area you live in and how much you use your HVAC system.
At the very least, you need to have a professional come check it once a year. However, there are some very affordable plans out there; you can pay as little as $15 a month for them to come and check it every 30 days.
It may be worth subscribing to a maintenance plan because many HVAC specialists will offer discounts on repairs for subscribers. They may also give you priority scheduling, which can make the subscription worth it if it’s a popular and busy company.
Things You Can DIY
If you want to save a little bit of money, there are some things you can DIY when it comes to HVAC maintenance.
For example, you can inspect and clean out your air filters every month. After 3 months, you’ll need to change to a new one to ensure there’s proper airflow in your HVAC unit. That way, not only will your utility bills be as low as possible, but you’ll also breathe in better quality air.
Another thing you can DIY is cleaning your evaporator coil. If it becomes clogged with dirt and grime, it may cause your HVAC unit to not properly cool your rooms.
For everything else, you shouldn’t risk DIYing unless you know how an HVAC unit works. A specialist will know how to check refrigerant levels, as well as search and repair any leaks. If you try to do it yourself, it may cost over $2,000 to replace the refrigerant in your HVAC unit.
Always Shop Around
As you can see, the range of prices for HVAC services can vary widely. Not only does it depend on where you live, but it also relies on who you go to.
Of course, the quality of service doesn’t always correlate with the price quoted. It’s true that in general, reputable companies will charge a bit more than inexperienced and/or shadier ones.
But you still have to do some background research on the most expensive companies, especially if the prices seem outrageously high. They may have some unscrupulous practices, and you don’t want to be draining your bank account for mediocre services.
Make sure you shop around and get quotes from every HVAC specialist you’re interested in. It’s pretty standard for them to offer free quotes, so take advantage of that.
Once you have at least 2 or 3 quotes, then you can compare them. If any quote seems significantly higher than the others, then that’s a red flag.
If a company isn’t upfront about their services and is hesitant to provide references or anything else you ask for, then those are also red flags. The one you choose should be transparent and willing to accommodate your requests and needs.
Make Sure Your HVAC Unit Is in Good Condition
Don’t wait until you need HVAC repair to call a professional. Usually, by that time, it’s too late and you may need costly fixes or maybe even an expensive installation of a new unit!
Make sure you not only service your HVAC system, but also maintain it regularly. Have a trusted and reliable company perform these services for you, and your unit’s lifespan will be extended for much longer.
Need your HVAC unit repaired or serviced? Then get in touch with us now. We have almost 20 years of experience!