Flipping on your heater or your air conditioning at the start of each season shouldn’t fill you with fear wondering if it will keep you warm as the weather gets cold or cool as it heats up.
And don’t let worrying about how to save money on needed heating and air repairs stop you from paying attention to warning signs and conducting regular maintenance on your heating and air system.
Often, though, knowing how best to maintain and care for your HVAC system can seem like tomorrow’s problem – until age, lack of care or other issues lead to an immediate need to fix something.
Here, Jared Roach, owner of JR Construction Company, answers some frequently asked questions about what steps to take to save money on heating and air repairs and what to do to make sure your HVAC system is in tip-top shape.
Q: How can I try to prevent problems from happening in the first place?
A: Simple: Scheduling annual maintenance and regular cleanings of your HVAC system will help catch small problems before they become big ones.
“Prevention is the key to saving money on HVAC repairs,” Roach said. “Fifteen minutes and a few bucks twice a year could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars unexpectedly later.”
Schedule time with an HVAC technician to go over your entire HVAC system twice a year – as the weather changes between cold and warm – and make sure the unit is clean of debris, bugs, dust and any other items that could cause blockages or disturbances. Hose down the air conditioner and check and replace filters regularly. Filters should be changed every three months.
If you don’t feel competent to check out the unit yourself, that’s understandable, Roach said. Hire a professional to inspect your HVAC units each fall and spring. In fact, many local heating and repair companies offer programs and discounts for customers that sign up for regular maintenance checks on their units.
“And many HVAC companies will discount repairs needed during the season between maintenance checks if something comes up they didn’t foresee,” he said. “Or they can catch something small before it becomes big and save you a lot later for a little fix now.”
Q: When is it ever better to just replace the entire HVAC unit rather than repairing it?
A: Absolutely, replacing instead of repairing your HVAC could be a financial benefit in the long run. If you run into needing a large, costly repair to your HVAC, it might be cost-effective to replace the entire unit instead of repairing it, despite a new unit costing more than the initial repair.
“If your system is already pretty old, say 15 years old or older, you should consider replacing the unit altogether when major repairs come up,” Roach said. “The chances of having to replace something else on the unit is high, and you’ll save every month on your energy bills because of the energy efficiency increase you’ll see with a modern unit.”
A new HVAC system is one of the bigger home renovation purchases you’ll make. However, you’ll have a unit under warranty, so repairs will be unnecessary or free. And, you’ll save monthly with lowered energy bills.
“Yes, the initial cost is high,” Roach said. “But in the end, the installation costs will actually increase your home value and decrease monthly bills as new HVACs are highly efficient. And, it will add a lot of peace of mind to your life.”
Q: What kind of rebates are out there to offset the cost of new energy-efficient heating and cooling units?
A: Many states, cities and energy companies offer rebates to homeowners who purchase units or equipment that are more energy-efficient than previous units.
In fact, the Tulsa area has plenty of rebate options for consumers. Check out Tulsa’s Public Service Company of Oklahoma rebates for small businesses and residential customers.
“Rebates can really add up and lower the cost of new equipment and new units,” Roach said. “And, it’s easy to apply for the rebate. Just fill out some online paperwork and wait for your rebate to come back to you. It’s the easiest way to lower the cost of a new unit!”
This article is for educational purposes only and does not imply endorsement, paid advertisement or support of any of the services, accuracy, completeness, products, or providers. Nor does the information directly relate to Tulsa FCU products and/or services terms and conditions. Information provided should not be relied on or interpreted as legal, tax or financial advice.