Owning a home, for the majority of Canadians, is the largest investment an individual will make in their lifetime, whether it is a primary residence or as a source of income. Regardless, a home is a sophisticate structure that shelters us from the elements and provides spaces to bathe, cook and entertain ourselves. To enjoy these day-to-day amenities our home relies on major systems and appliances, such as plumbing, electrical and HVAC to name a few. The HVAC system is the most expensive appliance we rely on for our daily comfort.
An HVAC system consists of some critical parts, such as, the furnace, a/c unit, supply & return plenums and air filtration. If there is a deficiency with any of these parts one can expect to experience a negative impact on the appliance and the system’s efficiency. From an owner or tenants’ perspective, what is the most important feature of an HVAC system – heating and cooling. As property managers, Fuse PM has coordinated hundreds of service calls for HVAC systems; from basic maintenance calls, to no heat/cooling calls, major repairs, new installations and or full replacements. In our experience, the systems that have the most deficiencies and associated costs are those that are not maintained.
Maintenance of a home’s most important appliance would seem common-sense and non-debatable. Yet there are a number of homeowners and or landlords that struggle to invest in the continued maintenance of their biggest asset within their property. Why? The answer is simple, it costs money to do so. As in many situations in life, individuals typically will not invest in something that is not broken. However, this is a flawed notion. For instance, let us use something like our vehicles to compare the investment and maintenance costs associated to maintaining one’s investment.
On average, individuals spend between $30k-$60K for their vehicles and can expect to spend between $900-$1400 on maintenance a year. In Canada, we rely on our vehicles as much as the homes we live in. Yet, when it comes to maintaining our greatest investment, we often fall short. In comparison, Fuse PM charges roughly $50 to visit a property to change a furnace filter. That includes the travel, time, gas, and installation of the filter; the filter is also included in the fee. In a best-practice-best-case scenario, an owner will agree to a quarterly maintenance schedule that will cost them roughly $200 a year. A simple filter change has the greatest impact on the efficiency of an HVAC system and yet costs so little in the scheme of things. It can be compared to the lungs of the human body. Take away the air or oxygen and we know what the end result is. Same goes for the furnace. And comparably, $200 is a far cry to the maintenance costs of a vehicle. And yet, few are willing to invest in this basic of maintenance practices.
It should be mentioned that a furnace filter is not the same as the fountain of youth. There are many factors that affect the life expectancy of a furnace. The furnace filter is merely the one thing that we can control that will arguably have the most impact on the life expectancy of a furnace. So, if you own a home or have an income property and you do not have a maintenance schedule for your furnace, now is the time to adopt one, you will save money in the long-run.