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Heating service contracts are detailed agreements between a residential or commercial customer and a heating service company for the servicing and repair of heating equipment. Most contracts specify the terms of service, the length of service, and the cost for the service. Contracts can range in length from one year to multiple years and can cover a variety of services depending on the situation. The customer may have the option of paying for the heating service contract on an annual basis, which is more typical for a commercial heating service contract, or a monthly basis, which is more typical for a residential heating service contract.
Most heating service contracts are specific about the types of circumstances that they cover and those that they do not. It is common for these contracts to cover the replacement of some parts for heating systems and provide for certain routine maintenance activities, such as energy evaluations and tune-ups. These same contracts may specifically exclude the replacement of other types of parts or services that are non-routine. Heating service contracts often cover the replacement of parts such as air and oil filters, gauges, motors, fans, and transformers, among others, but usually do not cover parts such as humidifiers, air cleaners, or heat exchangers.
Some heating service contracts will provide the customer with 24-hour emergency heating service. The contract, however, may limit this emergency service to situations in which the customer has no heat or no water, as opposed to any sort of services or repairs needed at any time. Any necessary routine maintenance is unlikely to be available on a 24-hour basis under this type of heating service contract. This type of emergency provision can be quite advantageous, particularly for the commercial customer whose operations are dependent on operating heating systems.
For some customers, particularly commercial businesses that may have large heating expenses or specific operating needs, paying for a heating service contract is a means of budgeting costs on a monthly basis without unexpectedly incurring exorbitant repair bills. Even for the residential customer it may be within his or her monthly budget to pay a certain amount toward a heating service contract instead of paying an annual or semi-annual repair bill that comes at an inconvenient time. From an economic perspective, it is often wise to consider entering into a heating service contract.