So you have decided to take care of your HVAC system by entering into an HVAC Maintenance contract. You know this is a good way to keep the house cool in the summer and warm in the winter before you sign know what to look for in that contract. You wouldn’t buy a home without having all the facts, you wouldn’t buy a car without a car history, and you shouldn’t enter into an HVAC contract without doing some research. Here’s a few items to watch for when reading the service agreement.
The contract is too short. This contract is a serious legal document that should spell out just what products are covered when the company should perform maintenance, and what is included in terms of emergency repair and maintenance. That can not be done on one single page. Good maintenance agreements are typically a few pages, and you should read every single one of them. A reliable company with a good contract will give you the time to read it.
Beware of the fine print. This statement is true with any contract; the devil is always in the details. Be sure to take your time and go over any fine print in the contract. If there is an overwhelming amount of tiny print, they are hoping you won’t go through all of it line by line!
The contract will list out all equipment covered under the contract. This one seems like common sense, but some organizations skip this step. Do not leave it up to a verbal agreement or explanation of what is typically covered. Everything they do for you and what you agree to should be right there in black and white.
The contract should have every task that is completed as part of routine maintenance. Do not accept the term “routine maintenance” as an umbrella term for everything that is done as part of the contract. Any work done by the company under the guise of the contract should be spelled out, so you know precisely what you get for the money you are paying. Also, look for exclusions – what doesn’t the contract cover. Those repairs will be coming out of your wallet.
When will the work be done? Do you need to be home for it? What hours are included in the contract? Does it cost more to call outside of those hours? Those are all questions that need to be answered before you put your name to paper.