Your HVAC system is one of your home’s most expensive features—and also one of the most important. Homeowners need to protect their investment by ensuring that their heating and cooling system stays in good working order for as long as possible. Although you’ll need a professional to perform regular HVAC maintenance, this cost is far less than that of emergency service if the unit suddenly breaks down.
We’ve researched average HVAC maintenance costs as well as some of the most common AC unit repairs. We’ll go over the benefits of keeping your air conditioner in good working order and what maintenance you can do yourself. For the rest, you’ll need to call in a professional HVAC technician, but there are annual maintenance plans that can help save you money in the long run.
HVAC Maintenance Cost
Typically, an annual maintenance visit for an HVAC tune-up costs a flat fee of between $75 and $200, depending on the contractor. If substantial repairs are required, you may need to pay as much as $2,000–$3,000 for the most complex parts.
HVAC Maintenance Cost by Type of Unit
The term HVAC system encompasses a number of different types of technology used to heat and cool buildings. The air conditioner is the part of that system that handles cooling and humidity control, typically through the use of a chemical refrigerant. A central AC system uses the same ductwork as a home’s furnace, usually pairing an indoor unit that cools the entire house with an outdoor unit that carries heat outside. Other types of units include these:
- Split or mini-split: In buildings without existing ductwork, split or mini-split systems consist of one or more indoor units that heat or cool individual rooms and are connected to an outdoor unit. These offer greater temperature control and are far easier to retrofit to older buildings, but they’re more expensive than central AC systems to install and maintain.
- Hybrid split: This type of split system is unique in that it can draw heat from either electricity or gas.
- Heat pump system: Heating and cooling your home with a heat pump transfers warm and cool air between the inside and outside of the house rather than generating it. This energy-efficient cooling system is most useful in moderate climates.
- Packaged heating and air system: This type of unit consists of a single unit that’s usually installed outdoors or on a rooftop. These are more common in commercial settings, but they can also be found in some residences.
Maintenance Cost by Unit Type
|Hybrid split system||$200–$300|
|Packaged heating and air||$450–$550|
HVAC Maintenance by Repair Type
An air conditioning system has many complex parts, so AC maintenance will cover a variety of potential problems. The standard tune-up cost will usually cover checks and adjustments to the working parts. If anything needs further repair, replacement, or cleaning, you’ll have to pay a higher price for the service.
Maintenance Costs by Repair Type
|Repair Type||Price Range|
|Condensate drain line cleaning||$75–$200|
|Evaporator and condenser coil cleaning||$50–$350|
|Fan motor replacement||$100–$700|
AC Service Call Costs
Since no two HVAC problems are the same, it can be a little more difficult to budget for this kind of HVAC service cost. For reference, most technicians charge $75–$150 per hour for labor. They will need time to inspect and diagnose the problem as well as repair or replace any malfunctioning parts.
Other factors that will play into repair costs include the age and size of the unit. Larger units take more time to service, and older systems may require special tools or replacement parts that are more difficult to find. Additionally, if the unit or its ducts require extra cleaning, this will take more time and thus more money. Finally, if you live in an area with hot weather that puts strain on your cooling system, it may cost more to maintain.
What Does HVAC Maintenance Include?
Many HVAC companies offer regular HVAC maintenance plans with annual, bi-annual, or quarterly service visits. If you sign up for a maintenance contract, you’ll usually receive priority scheduling, reduced fees, and repair discounts. The company may even contact you about scheduling so you don’t have to worry about it slipping your mind. Annual maintenance agreement plans have an average cost of $75–$150, and bi-annual plans tend to cost $150–$300.
Here’s what an HVAC technician will typically do during an annual service visit:
- Check your blower motor, filters, belts, fins, refrigerant levels, and safety controls
- Test thermostat and carbon monoxide levels
- Adjust fins and belts
- Clean condensate drain, coils, and burners
- Replace air filter
- Lubricate all moving parts
- Tighten electrical connections
Benefits of Routine HVAC Maintenance
A flat rate of $70–$200 per year for professional maintenance might seem like a large budget item, but not compared to $150–$200 an hour for emergency AC repair. A well-maintained HVAC unit is less likely to break down unexpectedly. You can also extend the lifespan and increase the energy efficiency of your system by keeping it clean and well-maintained, leading to lower energy bills and fewer overall replacement costs.
Additionally, if you have a home warranty that covers HVAC repair, you may need to show evidence that the system has received regular maintenance in order to be covered. Fortunately, some home warranties include an annual check-up as part of their premium service contracts.
How to Save Money on HVAC Maintenance
HVAC maintenance is an unavoidable part of keeping your heating and cooling systems running. However, you can do a certain amount of preventive maintenance yourself to reduce the likelihood of breakdowns and potentially save money on professional AC service calls. Here are the best preventive maintenance tips to save money on your HVAC maintenance over time:
- Keep system parts clean: Cleaning the condenser fan blades, indoor evaporator coil, grills, and ductwork will keep mold and other contaminants out of the system.
- Regularly change the air filter: Replacing the air filter every 30–90 days as recommended and making sure to keep debris away from the outdoor unit will help ensure airflow to keep the system working as efficiently as possible.
- Watch for heating and cooling problems: Keep an eye on your thermostat to make sure the system is working accurately. This way, you can catch problems before they snowball.
- Get multiple quotes: Shop around for the best deal on HVAC maintenance, and consider whether an annual maintenance agreement plan can help you save.
- Change your blinds’ position seasonally: Be mindful of passive solar heating, closing your blinds in the summer and opening them in the winter.
DIY vs. Professional HVAC Maintenance
There’s a reason most states require HVAC contractors to carry a professional license: This type of specialty work requires dedicated tools and training, making it extremely difficult to do yourself. Thankfully, you can follow the tips above to save money between maintenance visits.
No HVAC system, even the most well-maintained, lasts forever. Fortunately, you can get the most out of your air conditioner and keep your repair bills relatively low by scheduling annual tune-ups and performing preventive maintenance. It’s also a good idea to look into regular maintenance plans offered by your local HVAC company, as these can usually save you a bit of money on repair visits. To connect with local HVAC professionals near you, enter your information below.
FAQs About HVAC Maintenance
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