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Heating System Service Contracts - At What Cost?

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There is a myriad of service contracts for both heating oil and propane heating systems.

Ask yourself the following questions to help you decide whether you want a service contract, and if so, what type: What would you do if your heating system stopped working on a bitterly cold winter’s night? How safety conscious are you? Do you worry about costly and unexpected expenses? 

The Cost of No Service Contract

As with any insurance you purchase, you are buying protection from a costly calamity. Same goes for heating system service contracts. A service contract for your heating system essentially protects you from costly repairs and a house with no heat during wicked winter weather.

A service contract might especially be a wise investment if your heating system is old, you just moved into a new house, and you don’t know how well the former owner maintained the system, or you simply can’t afford to fork out the big bucks to have a new system installed.

The few hundred dollars you spend each year to ensure that you have safe and reliable heat can be well worth the investment. After all, insurance buys you peace of mind.

Without a service contract, each time you call your vendor to look at your heating system, you’ll pay full price for both parts and labor. If you need your heating system repaired after business hours, you could be charged a premium for the labor, and you may not receive priority if contracted customers are in need of service.

With propane, it’s especially important that you keep the system in good repair. Should a leak develop, the consequences could be devastating.

It is highly recommended that you do not service your own propane heating system.

Types of Service Contracts Offered

Although service contracts for both heating oil and propane have some similarities, it’s important to note that there is a major distinction when it comes to service for propane heating systems. If you rent a propane tank, servicing your heating system is often included in the cost of the lease. If you own a propane tank, the company that installed the system or your fuel provider may or may not offer service contracts. In that’s the case, you can get a contract with an outfit devoted strictly to inspecting and repairing heating systems.

Although the types of service contracts are as numerous as the number of fuel providers, typically your vendor will offer some sort of variation on the following contracts:

  • Discounted Parts - A list of parts defined by the contract are discounted, typically 10-15%, but you’ll pay full price for labor and receive no annual inspection, and possibly pay overtime for service after business hours.

  • Discounted Parts and Labor - This type of contract discounts a pre-defined list of parts and gives a break on the hourly rate for labor. This type of contract may or may not include an annual inspection.  

  • Unlimited Service Calls and Covered Parts - The parts listed  in the contract are covered at full cost, you receive 24x7 service, with no extra charge for after business hours, and you get annual inspections. For parts not listed in the contract, you may receive a discount.

Which ever kind of contract you choose, make sure you get a copy, and make absolutely sure that you read the fine print.

If you purchase a service contract from the same vendor that provides your fuel, often you can make one monthly payment that covers both the fuel and the cost of the service contract.

If you have a propane heating system, some vendors may offer a contract that covers all the propane appliances in your house, not just the heating system. For each appliance you add to the contract, the cost of coverage for each appliance goes down.

Whatever type of service contract you choose, it can go a long way to ensuring that your heating system is in good repair without breaking the bank.

Click here to find local heating oil and propane vendors that provide fuel as well as maintenance contracts.

For additional information about heating system service contracts:

Refer to this vendor for an example of different heating oil service contracts

Review this PDF for an example of a propane service contract

Find a better deal on heating oil or propane from local vendors in 30 seconds or less:

Fuelwonk recommends comparing local vendor propane and heating oil prices before you make the decision to fill up your home tank - use our online comparison tool to find the best offers in your area.

Have questions about heating oil or propane, choosing the right vendor, or heating your home economically?
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