Timberline Blog

How to Select an HVAC Maintenance Contract

November 29, 2017 by Timberline

As any business owner will tell you, a problem with your commercial HVAC system can be every bit as disruptive as a problem with your computer network. Proper heating and cooling are essential to keeping your teams comfortable and productive. And in some settings such as manufacturing, failure to stay within a particular temperature range can lead to the shutdown of other mission-critical systems. Consequently, selecting the right HVAC maintenance contract can be critical to your company’s success.

What is an HVAC Maintenance Contract?

An HVAC maintenance agreement is a contract between your company and an HVAC service provider in which you pay an agreed upon amount monthly, quarterly, or annually to receive a defined set of services from the contractor. It serves multiple purposes, one of which is to ensure that that your heating and cooling systems will be brought back online quickly in the event of a component failure.

A commercial HVAC service contract also helps prevent a component failures through routine inspections, cleaning, and other services designed to keep your systems operating optimally. What’s more, properly maintained equipment lasts longer, which means your maintenance contract helps you get a greater return on your HVAC investment.

The services provided under a maintenance contract can be fairly general, such as:

  • Assessment and tune-ups. Regularly scheduled reviews of the key components of the system and cleaning, tightening of loose connections, etc. to ensure the system is operating efficiently.
  • Part replacement. Swapping out items such as filters and belts when they become worn or on a routine schedule.

Or, they might be very specific. For example:

  • Oil analysis of refrigeration compressors. A technician identifies compressor issues before they lead to a system failure by taking oil samples, sending them out for analysis and then evaluating the readings.
  • Vibration analysis and fan balancing. A preventative maintenance procedure that can decrease operational costs by reducing energy consumption and lengthening the life of the entire fan section.

An HVAC maintenance agreement will likely also place your organization higher in the service queue than other customers.

Key Considerations in Choosing an HVAC Contract

To be sure you are choosing the right contract (and the company behind it), consider these factors before making your selection:

Available resources
Is the contract with a provider that has enough technicians to provide all of its customers with excellent service? What training and certification does its technicians have? Is the company licensed, bonded, and insured? These are important questions you should ask when interviewing a potential contractor.

Standard preventive maintenance procedures
What processes does the contract provide to help keep your systems operating at peak performance? You want the provider’s checklist to be long and detailed so that it’s clear they don’t cut corners and have your best interests in mind. If they leave the tasking up to the technician to decide, you may or may not get good service. If it is defined, the technician will have a road map to good service.

Service levels
How quickly does the contract specify that the provider will respond in the event of a minor system issue? A major failure? The contractor may have the most skilled technicians in the business, but if they can’t attend to your problem promptly, that expertise isn’t of any value to you.

It’s not critical that your HVAC provider be right around the corner, but it is certainly helpful if they are relatively close by, especially in the case of a major system failure. The faster they can get to your location the more quickly they can bring your systems back up.

In commercial HVAC maintenance contracts as in all areas of business, you get what you pay for. While you don’t want your contract costs to be too high, going to the “bargain basement” provider is typically not a wise decision and may cost you more in the long run. The key is to find the right balance of annual cost and services provided.

Ensuring You Have the Support You Need

A final expectation that you should have about your HVAC maintenance contract is that it is customized to meet your specific needs. That may mean that the contractor works as an extension of your team on a selected subset of systems or takes on full responsibility for all of your maintenance services. But, ultimately you want to work with a contractor that conforms its offering to your requirements, not the other way around.

To learn more about our services and our HVAC maintenance agreements, contact us today.

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