Does Your Residential Maintenance Service Plan Meet Minimum Standards?


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Consumers and contractors don’t know that there is such a thing as a minimum standard for maintenance on residential systems. Many ACCA contractors are already exceeding the standard’s requirements in their maintenance contracts. Even if you were aware of the minimum requirements in ANSI/ACCA 4 QM – 2013 Maintenance of Residential Systems, it is now a great time to reevaluate your offerings based on the updated 2019 version that is now available for free on-line at: https://www.acca.org/standards/quality

We all know HVAC contractors grow or die based on their reputations.  Citing the ACCA national standard can help present your business as a “state-of-the-art” professional organization that undertakes industry approved maintenance. Wouldn’t it be nice to highlight your company’s expertise by advertising on your maintenance sales blurb, and maintenance agreement “Our maintenance program exceeds (or meets) ANSI/ACCA 4 QM – 2019 Maintenance of Residential Systems requirements.”

I hope you answered yes to the question above because, ACCA wants to help your company grow, and we want consumers to understand that as an ACCA member, you are among the industry’s innovators, and leaders.  As leaders in their businesses and community, our members have very busy schedules.  For those who already have implemented QM 4 practices, this blog summarizes the updates made during the 2019 ANSI cycle process.

The largest change is in the maintenance tables themselves.  The updated standard now has two new columns. The first new column contains the recommended minimum frequency for the recommended maintenance task items.  The second new column is a hybrid of the old recommended corrective actions column.  The old “Recommended Corrective Actions” column is now divided into two columns, the first is required work; and that is listed under the heading of “Maintenance Task.”  The second heading “Service Task Recommended Corrective Action,” is listed as informative and is not required to meet the maintenance inspection’s goals.  This was done to clarify to consumers the difference between maintenance and service. Two new definitions were also added to the Standard:

“maintenance task: is a work item, requiring a minimum of tools to adjust components and restore expendable materials (such as fluids and filters) to their agreed upon condition.

Informative Note: Typical examples of such tasks include cleaning, adjusting, tightening, calibration, measurement, and lubrication.”

“service task: is a work item indicated by an inspection or maintenance task or as determined to be required on a routine basis by the maintenance plan.”

Additionally, the purpose was broadened to include all residential unit types and the three-story building height limit listed in the earlier versions of the standard was removed. The purpose now states:

“The purpose of this standard is to establish minimum inspection requirements in the maintenance of HVAC equipment found single-family and multi-family dwellings.”

This change that can be relatively large, or meaningless depending on your local market.

Section titles and their order remained the same in the updated standard:

  1. Purpose
  2. Scope
  3. Execution
  4. Documentation
  5. Maintenance Tasks (see Table for Equipment Checklists)

As in the previous edition of the standard, the definitions are found in Appendix A

Based on the ANSI review process, there is industry consensus with the requirements in the standard. However, during the review process, a concern was submitted by a contractor who has annual maintenance agreements on seasonal equipment that required semiannual servicing for compliance with the standard.  Thus, the exception to the frequency for seasonal systems was added to section 5 in the standard along with language that allows homeowners or contractors the ability to adjust service frequencies based on equipment usage.

Note: If you do work on commercial HVAC systems, a similarly structured national standard is available for that purpose: ANSI/ASHRAE/ACCA Standard 180 – 2018 (Standard Practice for Inspection and Maintenance of Commercial Building HVAC Systems).

 

Don Prather

Posted In: ACCA Now, Technical Tips

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