How did something as important and valuable as a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) service agreement get such a checkered reputation?
At The Hignell Companies, we think we know the answer: the same way that some HVAC companies got a checkered reputation – through shoddy workmanship, unscrupulous practices and inflated prices.
When inferior companies extend an inferior HVAC service contract, a certain stigma develops that affects even a respected and customer-centered company like Hignell.
With this, we've probably tipped our hand about HVAC service agreements – and we make no bones about it. Service agreements also are known as maintenance or service contracts because a homeowner signs a contract to ensure that his or her furnace is inspected and tuned up before winter and his or her air conditioner is similarly serviced before summer.
Advocating for Service Contracts
Hignell has been – and will always be – a staunch advocate of regular HVAC maintenance because we believe it is vital to the efficiency, reliability and longevity of an HVAC system. We've seen for ourselves, hundreds of times, in the course of doing a “routine” tune-up, how a sharp-eyed technician can quickly and easily remedy a glitch that, left untreated, would have triggered a far more costly repair and even a catastrophic system breakdown.
So while we're not exactly unbiased on the subject of service contracts in general – and Hignell's own straightforward HVAC service contract in particular – we do believe that we can make a strong case for them. As we often do, we rely on an authoritative source: the U.S. Department of Energy.
If you're like many Hignell customers, you might prefer to turn to a trusted next-door neighbor type like Angie Hicks – more commonly known as the author of Angie's List, the self-proclaimed “homeowners' grapevine.”
After assessing the “benefits and drawbacks” of service agreements, Angie concludes by advising her readers to “choose a company that is honest, trustworthy and reliable. Remember, the service contract is only as good as the service provider backing it.”
Hear other warnings through the grapevine
While not exactly a ringing endorsement for service agreements, Angie does note that regular maintenance “will improve your energy efficiency” while “helping your system to work more affordably overall.”
The department of energy is more direct: “Maintain your equipment to prevent future problems and unwanted costs. Keep your cooling and heating system at peak performance by having a contractor do annual pre-season check-ups.”
Yes, there are skeptics who question whether HVAC service contracts are worthwhile. Hignell regards these people with even deeper skepticism – much as we would a car salesman who would usher a car buyer out of the lot and encourage them to ignore regular maintenance on their new purchase.
Although obviously different, a car and an HVAC system are complex mechanical systems with interconnected moving parts that benefit from regular inspections, cleaning and adjustments. Just as you will get more mileage from a car you take in for regular oil changes, fluid checks and brake inspections, so too will you get more mileage and efficiency from an HVAC system that you maintain with care.
Your car may very well represent a bigger financial investment, but when you put your HVAC system in the context of the investment you've placed in your home, an HVAC service agreement makes smart economic sense.
We're proud of our straight-talk agreement
In saying this, we admit we're making two important assumptions about an HVAC service agreement:
- It's affordably priced
- It's straightforward and understandable – meaning that you don't need to hire a lawyer to interpret it
The Hignell Companies has seen HVAC service agreements that are cost prohibitive or contain confusing and ambiguous language. And so we understand why some customers might be wary of them. We would be wary, too.
At Hignell, we offer customers a simple, two-page HVAC service contract -- and for a reasonable price. The first page itemizes exactly what we will do during the air-conditioning check-up in the spring and the furnace check-up in the fall. All of these steps are recommended by the department of energy and are carried out by our team of expert technicians.
The second page spells out eight simple terms and conditions, all written in plain English and designed to protect our customers' best interests. A sampling: “Any repairs required beyond those specified in this agreement will be brought to your attention before repairs are made” and “Any repairs totaling 40 percent or more of the value of the equipment shall be brought to your attention for possible equipment replacement.”
There is no “fine print” in Hignell's HVAC service contract – only fine service backed up by our 67-year reputation for unparalleled customer service and satisfaction.