AC Repair and Maintenance Costs
When it comes to air conditioning & heating system replacements, Magic Touch offers a multitude of brand and model options. Recently a client was stuck trying to figure out which one was best for her and comparing cost to own. She asked about AC repair and maintenance costs, wondering if one brand was more expensive than the other to maintain.
She explained she’d once owned a Mercedes-Benz and how expensive it was for repairs and maintenance compared to other brands. I can relate as I owned a BMW which has one of the highest cost-to-own reputations amongst most auto brands. This is partially due to proprietary parts and partially a result of BMW Certified mechanics usually found only at dealerships.
AC Repair & Maintenance Costs: Trane vs. Bosch
She and her husband had narrowed down their options to Trane and Bosch. Her husband was inclined to choose the Bosch, she however felt Bosch repair & maintenance costs would be like the Mercedes-Benz.
Before I go further, I should stress one very important point: We “sell” Magic Touch Mechanical and the quality of our installations and ongoing service & support – not Trane or Bosch. We think both brands are good options in general… and either would be good for this client’s home and application.
In fact, we carry not only Trane & Bosch, but also Lennox, Mitsubishi, Goodman, Amana (Franklin), First Company, and others. Bottom line, we’re not partisan towards one brand over the other – we’re partisan towards our client’s happiness and satisfaction. If only Congress worked that way, huh? But I digress, this article is about AC brands and the cost to own them.
Does it Cost More to Repair & Maintain Bosch or Trane?
Let’s start with maintenance costs:
Air conditioning units all have condenser & evap. coils, circuit boards, fan motors, relays, etc. In fact, most brands utilize components made by the same manufacturers – some are practically indistinguishable from one another.
Magic Touch fixes, tunes, and maintains every brand of air conditioner and heating system ever made. Our AC repair & maintenance costs are the same regardless of the brand. For example, our special promotions such as AC tune-up & cleaning coupons apply to every brand. Frankly, the procedures, component testing, and cleaning needs do not differ all that much from brand to brand. In other words, the maintenance costs between Trane and Bosch are the same no matter which model our client owns.
Bosch vs. Trane Repair Service Costs
As I said, having owned a BMW I understood where our client was coming from regarding her Mercedes ownership experience. My experience with BMW was – everything from an oil change to an electronics repair was significantly more expensive than other vehicles I’ve owned in the past.
When it comes to AC unit repair service, there are two repair categories to consider “universal” parts & “proprietary” parts.
AC Repair Costs for Universal Parts – Capacitor
Let’s use a voltage absorber aka a capacitor as an example: Neither Trane nor Bosch make their own voltage absorber. In fact, none of the air conditioner manufacturers do. Every manufacturer purchases voltage absorbers from a supplier and installs them in their machine during assembly at the factory. In other words, this is a universal component, and this repair costs the same for any brand of equipment. Note: There are many sizes and types of capacitors which effects the repair cost, however, point being, comparing the same capacitor the repair cost is the same for Trane as it is for Bosch.
AC Repair Costs for Proprietary Parts – Printed Circuit Boards
A good example of a proprietary part in an air conditioner is a PCB (printed circuit board). Although both Trane and Bosch air conditioners utilize PCB’s, they are different boards and not interchangeable. That said, neither company manufactures their own circuit board – they both purchase them from independent circuit board manufacturers. This is true of every brand not just these two. To my knowledge none of the air conditioning manufacturers in the US or abroad make their own PCB.
In this scenario, there can be cost differences between manufacturers and even specific models as all the PCBs are different. Replacing PCB’s can get costly nowadays – especially recently due to microchip shortages in our post-pandemic world. However, I can’t really say there’s an unreasonable difference in cost from one brand to the next.
Trane vs. Bosch: Failures and Breakdowns
AC Repair and Maintenance Cost impact my wallet directly as well! I’m not talking about the fact that I’m a homeowner also (and AC parts fail in HVAC technicians’ units too). What I’m talking about is Magic Touch Mechanical’s costs when a unit needs repair service or maintenance.
Magic Touch includes repair warranty coverage & free maintenance for an agreed period of time whenever we install a new AC unit. The costs and risk exposure for warranty repairs and maintenance costs are not shared by the manufacturer. Contractors like Magic Touch assume 100% of the costs for the labor warranty and any included maintenance.
For that reason, just like our clients, we only want to recommend and install the most reliable brands. In other words, if we install it, you can bet on the fact that we vetted it first. Not only was it well vetted before we recommended it, but we also continuously monitor failure rates for each brand.
There are certain brands we no longer sell or have never sold because their failure rate is/was too high. Not only would that hurt our reputation and trust factor in the community, but it also costs us money. Both Bosch and Trane have proven very reliable over the years. So, while mechanical components do break (it’s just a fact of life), the percentage of failures on both brands is very low.
Just Choose the Right AC Company and it Won’t Matter!
The #1 cause of equipment failure of any AC brand is a tie between poor installation and lack of maintenance. Even the best brands money can but don’t stand a chance if installed incorrectly or poorly maintained.
If you take nothing other than the following statement away from this article, your brand choice will be easier:
You’re far better off choosing the best contractor to install the most budget-minded air conditioner than the “cheapest contractor” to install the “best” unit on the market!
Sure, component failures are inevitable on any appliance, but poor installation and lack of maintenance pretty much guarantee failures. In most cases, a “low bidder” is just that because they’re taking shortcuts their competitors won’t. Unfortunately, unless you know the ins & outs of HVAC Installation – you won’t ever know the shortcuts that were taken – only your wallet will.
AC Repair & Maintenance Costs – Summary
If you choose the right AC company to install & maintain your equipment, your cost to own will be less than choosing the lowest bid – every time.
Keep in mind, that also means making recommended preventative maintenance measures your trusted technicians make. Not every service technician is out to “upsell” you (although I certainly acknowledge that is the M.O. in some companies).
A trusted company like Magic Touch will recommend any preventative repairs based on manufacturer specifications alone. In other words, if a component tests within those specifications – it passes. If a component tests out of manufacturers specifications or tolerance – it fails, and repair or replacement of that component will be recommended.
“Nice to Do” Recommendations
Certain recommendations a service technician may make are more “nice to do” than “required”. A specific example that comes to mind are surge protectors. I like the surge protector example because most of us use a surge protector for our TV and computer.
Neither a TV nor computer require a surge protector to function properly. However, these are expensive items and we’re protecting them against rare, but possible electrical surges, lightning strikes, etc.
Chances are your air conditioning system cost more than all the TV’s and computers in your house combined. So, if your service technician recommends a nice to do item like a surge protector he or she is looking after your best interest. If you’re not interested, politely decline, but don’t assume his or her motivation is “upselling”. Another reason I like the surge protector example is I personally had to replace my home’s Trane air conditioner as a result of not having one! I even wrote an article about what happened and why my home’s air conditioners are now all protected by surge protectors.
Bottom Line – Trane vs. Bosch Cost to Own
AC repair & maintenance costs depend more on your choices and decisions of installing contractors and recommended maintenance than the brand you choose. In this example, the cost to own a Trane vs. a Bosch are approximately the same in my experience.