Most of us don’t like spending a lot of money on a service, especially when it wasn’t a planned expense. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’ve seen what people will do to save a few dollars, and that includes skipping routine system maintenance.

The fact is, routine maintenance can save you a lot of money, short term and long term. But it’s something people are not eager to schedule. After all, if your HVAC system is running well — or it appears to be running well — then why invest in maintenance? The same can be said for your plumbing system.

Think about how you go to the dentist. You invest in routine maintenance for yourself and your family. You know that when you don’t, things can go wrong. Health issues can arise down the road. If you don’t visit the dentist for a regular checkup, you won’t know if you’ve developed cavities or not. You may assume that because you’ve never had cavities in the past that you aren’t at risk.

However, if a cavity isn’t discovered during a routine checkup, and taken care of when it’s minor, it will cause big problems down the road. It might be a year later, or several years later, but either way, you will eventually have to deal with it, along with the discomfort it will cause.

The same can be said for your HVAC system. Not long ago, we received a call from a woman who was having trouble with her furnace. The furnace wasn’t running as well as she was used to, and she was concerned about the drop in performance. It wasn’t heating her house.

We asked questions and ran tests. We learned that the furnace was 12 years old, and during that time, it had not been looked at once. It had been installed and forgotten about. From there, we identified the issue, which turned out to be worse than we could have anticipated.

It wasn’t one or two parts that had gone bad. It was a catastrophic failure. Long story short — and $8,000 later — we had installed a new HVAC system. And, as you might have guessed, the failure of the system came down to one simple thing: maintenance.

If this system had been looked at regularly, the initial problem would have been caught early. There would not have been a costly and inconvenient failure nor a large and unnecessary bill. Chances are, the system would have run efficiently for a few more years, if not longer, had there been routine maintenance.

To add to this, the single most important day of any HVAC system is the day it’s installed. This goes for any part of the system — the furnace, the air conditioner, the duct work, you name it. If a system is not installed to the minimum standards, it’s not going to last.

There are a lot of things we do — myself and our technicians — that exceed minimum standards and are far above what local and national codes require. When a system is installed to a higher standard, it lasts longer. Couple that with routine maintenance, and you have the recipe for success. You’re left with a system that runs well and lasts a long time. And for homeowners, it doesn’t get any better than that.