You never know when an emergency will strike. Unfortunately, 25 percent of American households have no savings on hand to help them pay for an emergency HVAC repair, according to a recent report. And of the remaining population that does have cash set aside, half has less than $1,000, not nearly enough to cover the cost of a new furnace. Read on to learn how to avoid getting stuck in the cold if your furnace kicks the bucket in the middle of winter.

The Most Common Causes of HVAC Breakdowns

A faulty heat and air conditioning system was the most common home emergency cited in the report, accounting for a fifth of all unexpected home services breakdowns. Some of the more frequent causes of furnace breakdowns are:

  • Dirty filters
  • A faulty ignition or pilot
  • Wear and tear due to old age
  • A malfunctioning thermostat

Meanwhile, some of the most common air conditioner problems, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, are:

  • Refrigerant leaks
  • Electric control failure
  • Problems with the sensor
  • Improper drainage

An empty bank account leaves you in a precarious situation if you do have a problem: Either go without heat and air conditioning, which is not an option in many climates; borrow money from friends, relatives or a bank, which can lead to interest charges and other complications; or settle for a potentially shoddy discounted repair that could end up costing you more in the long run. Instead, it's better to take the proper steps to make sure you are prepared for a breakdown.

How to Avoid an Emergency With Your Heat and Air Conditioning Equipment

If you experience any of the above problems, you could be on the hook for a major repair bill, up to and including replacing your entire furnace or AC unit. Follow these tips to lower your risk of an emergency and remain prepared in case one occurs anyway:

  • Keep your heat and air conditioning gear well-maintained: By performing regular maintenance, you prolong the life of your equipment and decrease the odds of a breakdown. You're also more likely to have an advance warning if part of your system is starting to fail.
  • Build up Your Savings: There are so many good reasons to put aside part of your check every payday. Having the cash on hand to repair your furnace if it fails in the middle of winter grants you peace of mind as well as safety from the cold.
  • Consider a home warranty program: If you purchase a warranty or maintenance program for your heat and air conditioning equipment, you are assured that your gear is maintained in the best possible condition, and you are protected in event there is a breakdown.

Trust the Experts to Keep Your HVAC Running

To schedule a tune-up for your heat and air conditioning system, or for emergency assistance, get in touch with an expert HVAC technician right away.