If you’re considering furnace maintenance, the first thing you’re probably wondering is how much it will cost you.
You can expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $400 for furnace maintenance, depending on the contractor you hire and whether you purchase a one-time tune-up or subscribe to a maintenance plan (more on that later).
In this blog, we’ll answer 3 common questions about furnace maintenance:
- Is furnace maintenance really necessary?
- How do contractors charge for furnace maintenance?
- How do I know which contractor to hire for a furnace tune-up?
Our goal in answering these questions is to help you make an informed decision about whether you should invest in furnace maintenance, and who you should hire for the job.
Is furnace maintenance really necessary?
Some homeowners wonder if furnace tune-ups are necessary, or if they are just a service pushed by HVAC companies to make a quick buck.
When done correctly and frequently (once a year), maintenance actually boosts the performance and lifespan of your furnace.
In fact, furnace maintenance provides 3 key benefits:
- Improved energy efficiency: During a tune-up, a technician will clean dirty parts, which makes the furnace run more efficiently. The higher the efficiency of your furnace, the lower your monthly energy bills will be.
- Less likelihood of major repairs: In addition to the benefit of increased efficiency, having a technician clean and check parts reduces the chance of a major system breakdown, which saves you money on expensive repairs. Also, well-maintained furnaces generally have a longer lifespan.
- Increased safety: Gas furnaces produce potentially harmful gases during the combustion process. These gases are carried outside of your home via an exhaust vent. During a tune-up, a professional will make sure the exhaust vent is properly connected and unblocked so that the combustion gases are safely exiting your home.
While it’s true that some less-reputable HVAC companies use tune-ups as a way to get in the door and upsell people on repairs they don’t actually need, a reputable contractor will do a thorough tune-up that will give you the benefits listed above.
Now that you know why professionals recommend regular furnace maintenance, let’s look at how contractors charge for maintenance visits.
How do contractors charge for furnace maintenance?
An HVAC contractor can charge for maintenance in one (or both) of the following ways:
- A one-time tune-up: This is the standard pricing method where a contractor charges a fee for a one-time maintenance visit. The cost for a single tune-up ranges from $50 to $200.
- An annual maintenance plan: Some contractors offer annual maintenance plans, where the customer pays a monthly or annual fee to get furnace maintenance. The cost of a maintenance plan ranges from $200 to $400 annually. Most maintenance plans include 2 HVAC tune-ups per year (one for your AC and one for your heating system) and benefits such as discounts on repairs that are exclusive to maintenance plan customers.
While an annual maintenance plan is more expensive, the added benefits make it more valuable compared to a one-time tune-up. Whether you choose a one-time visit or subscribe to a maintenance plan depends on how much you’re willing to pay upfront and how much you want to save long-term.
In addition to how the contractor charges for maintenance, you’ll also want to consider what they will check during a maintenance visit. We’ll explore that in more detail below.
How do I know which contractor to hire for a furnace tune-up?
When looking for a contractor, you’ll want to consider two things:
- The contractor’s maintenance checklist
- The overall quality of the contractor
The contractor’s maintenance checklist
The more parts a contractor checks during a maintenance visit, the more they will likely charge for a furnace tune-up. However, you want to hire a contractor who will do a thorough tune-up of your furnace to get all of the benefits we listed earlier.
Most HVAC contractors have a checklist of tasks a technician should perform during a tune-up. The more tasks on the checklist, the more thorough the tune-up.
According to the Department of Energy, a contractor’s checklist should include (at minimum) the following tasks:
- Make sure thermostat is set correctly
- Tighten all electrical connections
- Replace dirty filter
- Check all gas (or oil) connections
- Verify gas pressure is at a normal level
- Make sure the burners and heat exchanger are working properly
Before hiring a contractor, be sure to ask for their tune-up checklist and compare it with the recommended checklist above. If their checklist doesn’t include the tasks recommended above, look for a different contractor.
See our comprehensive maintenance checklist by visiting our HVAC tune-up page.
The overall quality of the contractor
There’s no shortage of HVAC contractors out there. That said, some contractors offer more thorough furnace tune-ups than others.
When it comes to hiring a technician to maintain your furnace, you want to hire a professional who will go the extra mile to make sure your furnace operates at its highest capacity. That way, you can enjoy lower energy costs and extend the lifespan of your furnace.
To determine if a contractor does high-quality maintenance work, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is the contractor licensed? If the contractor is licensed, it means they will obey local regulations when they service or repair your furnace.
- Does the contractor have a comprehensive maintenance checklist? Make sure the contractor’s checklist includes the maintenance tasks recommended by the Department of Energy.
- Does the contractor have positive customer reviews? You can check sites such as Google and Home Advisor to see customer ratings.
If you answered “yes” to the questions above, the contractor will likely do high-quality maintenance work and you’ll have a good experience working with them.