Maintenance is a matter of time and money. Spend a little of each to save a lot of both in the future. This simple concept is one that car mechanics and HVACR technicians have been preaching for years. The issue for most of those neglecting preventive maintenance for their equipment is based on a three-legged stool — time, money, and knowledge. When it comes to time, consider how many instances you drive past the oil-change place and think, “I don’t have time to get my oil changed right now, I will do it later.” Too often later never comes until it is too late. Not changing the oil on a car doesn’t have immediately noticeable consequences, but dirty oil impacts the engine in ways that can border on irreversible damage. When the car is in the shop for a week having major repairs done due to preventive maintenance neglect, the twenty-minute oil change suddenly doesn’t seem like such an inconvenience. HVACR equipment needs to be looked at on a regular basis much like a car. Scheduling the maintenance call, contacting the contractor, and shutting down the system temporarily can seem like a hassle or even just slip the mind of the owner. A properly running system, however, is the cornerstone of system functionality and longevity. The second leg of the preventive maintenance neglect stool is money. Everything costs money and preventive maintenance is no exception to this rule. The key to justifying this expense, however, is understanding that the money is spent to avoid trouble, not to address trouble. The concept can seem like a matter of semantics, but psychologically humans often spend money more easily on instant gratification items than on items that require a long-term look at value. Face it, buying a new TV is much more fun and gratifying than paying an insurance bill. Without that insurance bill payment though, there are long-term consequences that most can’t afford. It is much the same with HVACR maintenance. Some of the new equipment being created by HVACR manufacturers is stunning. Justifying the cost can be easy as the new owner writes a check for this energy-saving, beautiful, and efficient equipment that comes complete with a calculable return on investment (ROI). Including the preventive maintenance agreement in that check writing can be tough to swallow though, especially when the ROI isn’t calculated in immediate figures, but in the prevention of catastrophic failures, loss of efficiency, and increased lifespan of the equipment. Knowledge is the final leg of this stool and arguably the most important one as purchasers and owners of HVACR equipment navigate the care of their systems. Being the customer, you don’t have the time to read the manual and figure out a maintenance schedule. That is the job for your HVACR contractor. When choosing an HVACR company to work with for installs, service, and preventive maintenance contracts, pick one that is trusted. To find this trusted contractor, don’t rely simply on Google and Yelp, although searching there might help some. Check the Better Business Bureau, read a few articles from trade magazines, and conduct interviews of different companies. Then hire the one that takes the time to solve your immediate problems and has the knowledge to keep your HVACR system out of crisis with proper preventive maintenance. This process is worth the time and money spent to knowledgeably build a long-term business relationship with your contractor.
AJ Milbes | July 18, 2019, 7:15 p.m.