How much does it cost to maintain an HVAC system?
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HVAC Maintenance Cost Guide
Updated: Jan 01, 1970
Your HVAC is an expensive investment that will need replacing over time. However, with proper maintenance and timely repairs, your system could last for many years. Regularly scheduled check-ups ensure that the HVAC unit doesn’t have to work overtime to make up for inefficiency or build-ups. It reduces expensive repairs and extends the life of your system. HVAC tune-up costs depend on repairs that may need to be done and on the size and extent of the maintenance.
The national average cost of HVAC maintenance averages from $150 to $300. The average homeowner spends $200 on an annual visit with a contract to maintain a boiler. At the low end of the spectrum, you could spend as little as $100 for a one-time visit to maintain a furnace. At the high end of the cost range, some people spend as much as $550 on seasonal maintenance with a contract on an HVAC split unit).
HVAC Tune-Up Price
|HVAC Maintenance Cost|
|National average cost||$200|
HVAC Maintenance Cost by Type of Unit
HVAC maintenance costs by type of unit run between $70 and $550. An HVAC system includes ventilation, air conditioning, heating, and the various components responsible for those functions. Some systems have separate parts that will require their own maintenance, including exhaust units like attic fans and roof vents. Additionally, different types of HVAC units impact the cost of maintenance. For example, while central air conditioner maintenance is relatively affordable, if you have a ductless mini-split system instead of a standard central air unit, you could spend two or three times as much on routine maintenance and care. The table and subsections below provide the details, including the unit type, system type, and cost per maintenance visit.
|HVAC Unit Type||System Type||Cost per Maintenance Visit|
|Central Air||Air Conditioning / Heating||$70 - $195|
|Air Duct||Air Conditioning / Forced Air Heating||$75 - $100|
|Roof Vent||Exhaust||$75 - $100|
|Heat Pump||Heating / Cooling||$75 - $150|
|Attic Fan||Exhaust||$90 - $120|
|Furnace||Heating||$100 - $200|
|Radiant Flooring||Heating||$100 - $200|
|Boiler||Heating||$100 - $300|
|Split||Air Conditioning / Heating||$150 - $550|
Central Air Conditioner Maintenance
The central air conditioner maintenance costs $70 to $195. The tune-up includes cleaning, adjusting, testing, and inspecting all parts of the unit. This ensures that repairs are kept at a minimum and that you don’t end up in the heat of summer with a broken-down system. It also assists with energy efficiency and long-term effects. A dirty or improperly set system won’t work well and will need to be replaced sooner.
Air Duct Maintenance
You can anticipate spending $75 to $100 on the maintenance of your air ducts when you have them serviced along with the rest of your HVAC system. If you need an inspection prior to maintenance, that could come with an additional cost of $75 to $125. Routine maintenance includes checking for leaks and damage and ensuring there is no buildup in the ducts that requires professional attention, either through duct cleaning, mold remediation, or another service.
Roof Vent Maintenance
The roof vent of your home can be maintained for $75 to $100. This vent is designed to remove hot air from the highest areas of your home. When vents are in good working order, HVAC systems operate at peak efficiency. If something happens to the roof vent to cause damage, it may become inoperable or need to be replaced. Be sure to have your roof vent inspected and cleaned at least once a year.
Heat Pump Maintenance
A heat pump costs $75 to $150 for a maintenance service call. The difference between a furnace and a heat pump is that the heat pump doesn’t generate heat. Using electricity and refrigerant, it draws outside air into the home, and during the summer, it can also remove hot air from the inside. This type of unit is not as efficient in areas where temperatures regularly go below freezing. A maintenance call consists of cleaning the filter, blower, and coils, measuring the refrigerant and airflow, lubricating, checking belts for wear, and ensuring that the thermostat works correctly.
Attic Fan Maintenance
Maintaining an attic fan costs between $90 and $120, depending on the type of fan that you have and what type of maintenance it needs. Usually, the fan blades will be checked to ensure they are intact and not blocked. The fan may also be cleaned and tested to ensure that it is offering proper ventilation. If extensive repairs are required, the costs could get much higher.
Furnace maintenance cost may be slightly higher in some areas at $100 to $200. This is especially true for gas-fueled units as the burners and valves must be inspected and cleaned during a maintenance call. The professional HVAC expert will have a checklist of items to work on during a routine tune-up. This would include checking the flue, cleaning or changing out the filter, cleaning and inspecting all interior parts, adjusting the gas pressure, burners, and air mix, checking for leaks, testing electrical components, and more.
Radiant Flooring Maintenance
You can expect to spend between $100 and $200 on the maintenance of radiant flooring if you have a water-based system. There are two options for radiant floor heating: electric and water-based. The electric systems require no maintenance once they are properly installed. The water-based systems require routine care to remove excess air, check the system pressure, analyze water discoloration or other issues, and check the boiler system that heats the water and sends it through the radiant flooring system within the home.
Heating and Cooling Split Systems
The HVAC service cost for a split system is $150 to $550. A split system allows for two separate units. One is the A/C or cooling portion that is located outside the home. The other is the heating portion that is generally installed in a basement or other area. The air conditioning portion uses electricity and refrigerant to cool the air inside and push the hot air outside. There are different types of split systems. The cost for maintenance of split HVAC system units varies depending on the complexity of the unit. Each unit would be cleaned, tested for proper air flow and refrigerant levels, motors lubricated, belts checked for wear, and all connections tightened if necessary. Gas lines would be checked for leaks, as well. The table below shows a breakdown of maintenance costs for each type of split system.
|System Type||Average Maintenance Costs|
|Split System||$150 - $250|
|Hybrid Split System||$200 - $300|
|Duct Free (Mini-Split)||$290 - $550|
HVAC Maintenance Contract Cost by Frequency
The average cost for annual HVAC maintenance ranges from $150 to $700, depending on the frequency of maintenance appointments. Most HVAC professionals offer annual and bi-annual maintenance plans, also known as seasonal maintenance contracts, for your HVAC unit. One-time visits not included in these maintenance plans cost $100 to $150, depending on the unit that needs maintenance and what needs to be done. Some plans allow for particular repairs. The consumer can save money by purchasing a maintenance plan. HVAC companies usually offer these plans with the promise to offer priority service, free diagnostics, no travel fees, a discount on necessary repairs, discounts on new equipment, and one or two yearly maintenance visits. The table below shows the cost of yearly contracts for monthly, annual, bi-annual, and quarterly maintenance. The subsections provide further information on each type of maintenance contract.
|Frequency of Visits||Cost per Year With Contract|
|Annually||$150 - $300|
|Bi-Annually||$240 - $540|
|Quarterly||$365 - $700|
HVAC Yearly Maintenance
The cost for an annual maintenance agreement is $150 to $300. This usually includes one visit for the year. The HVAC contractor will clean everything from the filters to the electrical parts, inspect all parts, check voltage, refrigerant, fuel lines, and look for leaks or corrosion. This is the minimum that a homeowner should have done to an HVAC system to ensure that it is working at top capacity and to protect the life of the unit.
HVAC Seasonal Maintenance
The HVAC seasonal maintenance cost, also known as bi-annual maintenance, ranges from $240 to $540. Seasonal maintenance comes with two visits each year. It also usually offers priority status for repairs, a warranty, inspections and cleaning, and other testing. Static pressure testing, coil cleaning and testing, and a combustion analysis are also performed. Customers on this type of maintenance contract will enjoy convenient pre-season scheduling and usually have no overtime charges for the maintenance alone.
Quarterly Maintenance Plan
Buying a quarterly maintenance plan will cost you about $365 to $700. This is a good choice if you have an older system that you are trying to keep working. The expert will come out once a quarter to clean and check on all of the parts of your system, voltage regulation, and inspect for leaks or corrosion. This plan also includes discounts for repairs and replacements and priority scheduling.
HVAC Technician Maintenance Cost by Billing Method
The cost for HVAC maintenance based on the billing method ranges from $75 to $150, depending on whether it is per hour or per unit, or $0.15 to $0.25 per sq. ft. if charged in that fashion. Usually, most companies and technicians charge by the unit, such as to perform spring maintenance on your central air unit. Some technicians charge hourly, but this is less common. Many companies offer flat-rate charges for simple maintenance, but additional charges may be added for more complex work. The table and subsections below show a breakdown of each maintenance type, its average costs, and what each entails.
|Cost per Sq.Ft.||$0.15 - $0.25|
|Cost per Hour||$75 - $150|
|Cost per Unit||$100 - $150|
HVAC Maintenance Cost per Square Foot
Typically, maintenance comes at an hourly or per-unit cost, but in the case of duct cleaning, homeowners can expect to spend between $0.15 and $0.25 per sq.ft. This depends on how much duct cleaning maintenance is needed, how easy the ducts are to access, and how severe the buildup is within the ducts. This maintenance service helps eliminate dust, allergens, and other buildup from the ducts, improving the quality and operation of your entire HVAC system.
HVAC Maintenance Cost per Hour
The average hourly HVAC service call cost ranges between $75 and $150 per hour for an HVAC technician to come to your home and do the work. Hourly maintenance is not as common as per-unit pricing, but it may be charged for certain jobs that take more time or that are cheaper to charge by the hour than by the unit. Ultimately, it will be up to your HVAC contractor to determine how they charge and the rates, so be sure to ask.
Cost per Unit to Have HVAC Maintenance
The average cost per unit for HVAC maintenance is $100 to $150. This depends on which part of the HVAC system needs maintenance and what kind of work needs to be done. For example, you may spend a lot less to maintain a forced air furnace than if you have a boiler that needs maintenance and care. This cost may also vary if you choose a maintenance contract instead of single-visit maintenance. Typically, the more complex the unit, the more it will cost to maintain.
HVAC Service Cost by Task
You can spend anywhere from $25 to $1,000 on HVAC service, depending on the task being performed. Although the maintenance call will handle various tasks, a few things should be done regularly to keep your system running clean and clear of dirt, debris, and other contaminants and ensure the unit is not working harder than it should. Unless otherwise specified by your contractor, these various maintenance tasks are generally charged as separate costs. Homeowners can request further preventative measures to ensure that their home is comfortable and safe.
Regular filter changes and/or cleaning will be required to ensure that any debris, dust, and potential allergens or bacteria are captured by the filter as the HVAC system runs. You will also need occasional cleaning of the drain line, the evaporator and condenser coil, and the rest of the system. This ensures that it is running efficiently. Over time, a refrigerant recharge may also be required to restore the cold air to the home’s cooling system. At the high end of the maintenance and cleaning task list is air duct cleaning, which includes cleaning all the ducts in your home to remove dust, allergens, and even potential mold and mildew. The table below shows the most common maintenance tasks and their average costs.
|Filter Cleaning||$25 - $50|
|Coil Cleaning||$45 - $350|
|Drain Line Cleaning||$75 - $200|
|Refrigerant Recharge||$200 - $500|
|Heavy Cleaning||$300 - $600|
|Air Duct Cleaning||$350 - $1,000|
What Does HVAC Maintenance Include?
HVAC maintenance includes different things based on your system. However, a basic maintenance check-up includes preventative procedures such as a thorough cleaning of all parts of the system, an inspection and lubrication of all components and parts, and a complete check on the system’s performance. The ductwork is excluded and costs extra because this service is time-consuming.. Items such as voltage or amperage testing will include a calibration if needed. Broken or corroding parts will cost extra to replace. If your system requires parts replacement such as a condenser, compressor, thermostat, or other components, it is an extra charge. Your HVAC professional will give you a written estimate on what needs to be done and the cost if this is the case.
How Often Should You Get Your HVAC Serviced?
Many professional HVAC companies advise that you have your system serviced at least once a year in the spring or even twice a year. It depends on several factors: the climate where you live, how old your system is, and what type of system you own. Locations with harsh weather may require twice-a-year maintenance to ensure that the system has not become damaged during ice, snow, or extreme heat. Older units of at least ten or more years need checking more often than newer units. The recommendation is typically at least twice a year and that repairs be done immediately to extend the life of the unit. Duct-free systems require maintenance more often and are expensive to fix if broken. As with other complicated, expensive machinery, it is always wise to call on a professional for servicing.
Benefits of HVAC Maintenance
An HVAC is a valuable asset for your home value as well as your comfort. If the system isn’t cared for, it is going to break down. Proactive homeowners understand that HVAC preventative maintenance is better than fixing repairs that come from ignoring your system. Most warranties require that proper maintenance be done for the warranty to be honored. A well-cared-for HVAC runs more efficiently and costs less money to operate. Just like your car, your home’s HVAC will last longer when maintained and serviced on a timely basis. Getting your system cleaned regularly will also keep out allergens and other potential health issues from dirt, debris, pests, and moisture.
Additional Considerations and Costs
- Permits. A permit is not required to have HVAC maintenance done.
- DIY. While you may feel capable of doing maintenance on your system, it isn’t a good idea. There are many parts to an HVAC, and each one has separate nuances. Ignoring them could result in an expensive repair or voiding your warranty. Professional HVAC staff are experienced and have been through a rigorous training program to receive the knowledge needed to take care of your HVAC.
- HVAC emergency maintenance. Sometimes, your HVAC unit or other system parts may fail outside of “typical” business hours. Weekend, evening, or holiday issues may qualify as emergency maintenance calls and incur an additional charge of $135 to $200 for the emergency service call.
- Why is HVAC maintenance important?
HVAC maintenance keeps your system healthy and working efficiently. Without maintenance, you will experience more problems, and your utility bills will be higher. It can also affect the life of your unit as a well-maintained system doesn’t have to work as hard to do its job.
- How long do HVAC units last?
HVAC units last 10 to 20 years, depending on the type of system, how well it is cared for, and the severity of weather in your area. All of this affects your unit’s life span.
- How to maintain an HVAC system?
Maintaining an HVAC system is done through regularly scheduled professional maintenance, as well as ensuring that your unit is not blocked or crowded so that it can vent correctly.
- Does an HVAC require annual maintenance?
As with all large equipment, annual maintenance is helpful to keep your HVAC running at its full capacity. Most professional companies recommend that you have at least annual maintenance performed,, and some recommend twice yearly.
- Is duct and vent cleaning included in HVAC maintenance cost?
No, you will typically have to pay an additional charge to have ducts or vents cleaned as part of your HVAC maintenance.
- Is HVAC maintenance cost worth it?
A new HVAC system costs from $3,200 to more than $12,000. Maintenance costs a fraction of that, between $100 and $150. These systems are responsible for keeping your home comfortable and need to be kept in their best condition, which means maintenance is worth every penny.
The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources. For more information, read our Methodology and sources.