The air is crisp, and the leaves are changing color. We all want to hang onto the summer temperatures, but it's inevitable — winter is coming, and now is the time for homeowners to schedule an inspection of their HVAC system.

Unfortunately, most people wait until cold weather arrives — and a problem becomes apparent — to schedule an appointment. The result is costlier repairs and lack of heat.

How can you persuade your clients to schedule an HVAC inspection this fall?

It prevents equipment failure

Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night with icicles hanging off your nose? We've all been there. Your furnace has called it quits in the dead of winter, and now you need to find a quick solution. Furnaces and HVAC units see the most use in hot summer months and cold winters.

Fall and Spring are ideal for preventative maintenance appointments. Preventative maintenance can reduce the risk of costly breakdowns by up to 95 percent.

If you've got skeptical clients, use the example above. If their furnace heats water for their home, add a cold shower to the picture. A visualization of potential scenarios is an effective way to get your point across.

It saves clients money

Are stubborn clients not convinced by a cold house in winter? Do they relish at the idea of a five-minute shower in ice-cold water? Persuade them to schedule a preventative maintenance appointment this fall by breaking out some statistics.

A properly maintained HVAC system reduces the unit's energy usage by up to 20 percent. For example, if they pay $100 a month for heating, preventative maintenance could drop that bill to $80. On the flip-side, a poorly maintained system can use up to 60 percent more power — taking a $100 monthly bill to $160.

For some customers, money — and how much they can save — is all that matters.

It prevents fire hazards

Furnaces tend to need the most maintenance in fall to prepare for the coming cold months.

Both furnaces and HVAC systems can create fire hazards without proper maintenance. According to experts, one in every six home fires starts with heating equipment. It's also the second most common cause of home fires, behind cooking.

Ask clients when they last cleaned their combustion chamber? For gas furnaces, when did they adjust the air-fuel ratio? If they can't remember — or can only provide a vague guess — preventative maintenance is a must to prevent fire hazards.

Heading into fall

Your clients may not schedule an inspection appointment immediately. Still, it's crucial to have a conversation about preventative maintenance and their HVAC system. It may remind them to change an air filter or double-check the thermostat's calibration.

For most homeowners, the issue with HVAC systems is out-of-sight, out-of-mind. Most people don't think about repairs until an obvious problem comes up. Fall is the time to have the talk.

Remind clients about the need to prevent issues before they arise. Not only will they stay warm during harsh temperatures, but they can save a few dollars.