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Does Your 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 2018 version that is now available for free on-line at:

HVAC contractors grow or die based on their reputations.  Citing the practice of an ACCA national standard can simultaneously help ACCA’s standards to be recognized by consumers, and presents your business as one that takes a recognized nationally approved approach to services offered. Wouldn’t it be nice to support ACCA as you highlight your company’s professionalism by advertising on your maintenance sales blurb, and maintenance agreement “Our maintenance program exceeds (or meets) ANSI/ACCA 4 QM – 2018 Maintenance of Residential Systems requirements.”


ACCA hopes you answered yes to the question above because, we want 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 a leader you have a very busy schedule.  This article summarizes the changes made during the 2018 update to the ACCA QM-4 Standard. 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 entitled “Maintenance Task.”  Th3 second “Service Task Recommended Corrective Action,” is entitled informative and is not required to meet the maintenance inspection’s goals.  Two definitions were also included in the update to clarify the difference between a maintenance task and a service task.  The additional definitions are:

“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.”

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


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).

Based on the ANSI review process, most contractors agree 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.

Table 1: Equipment Covered by the ACCA 4 QM Standard

Component / Equipment Component / Equipment Description Checklist Number
Air Distribution System Plenums, trunk ducts, fittings, branch ducts, boots, grilles, registers and diffusers 5.1
Steam Distribution System Piping, radiator, controls, steam traps. 5.2
Controls and Safeties Thermostats, outdoor sensors, humidistats, zone controls 5.3
Furnace Gas-fired air heating system 5.4
Oil-fired air heating system 5.5
Electric air heating system 5.6
Evaporator Coil The cased or field enclosed evaporator coil, metering device, condensate drain, and associated refrigeration tubing 5.7
Condenser Unit The outdoor section of a split system: air conditioner or heat pump 5.8
Fan Coil The filter rack, evaporator coil, metering device, associated refrigeration tubing, blower assembly, condensate drain, and electric auxiliary heat 5.9
Boiler Gas-fired water heating system 5.10
Oil-fired water heating system 5.11
Electric water heating system 5.12
Package Units Packaged air conditioners or heat pumps 5.13
Geothermal/ Water Source Heat Pumps Packaged geothermal/water source heat pump units 5.14
Evaporative Coolers Packaged cooling only equipment using evaporative heat transfer 5.15
Accessories Heat and energy recovery ventilators, central system humidifiers, central system dehumidifiers, electronic air cleaners, media air cleaners, ultra-violet lights, economizers, and condensate pumps 5.16


Don Prather

Posted In: ACCA Now, Technical Tips

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