A new heating and cooling system is a large investment to make in your home, so as you look at and compare different units, pay special attention to the equipment warranties, just like you would the costs and different features. If something should go wrong within a few weeks or a few years after the installation, a good HVAC warranty will help lower the out-of-pocket repair expenses and minimize your frustration during a heating or cooling crisis.
Use this common-sense 4-point checklist to help you determine the things that your HVAC warranty should cover, so that you are not left with major expenses in the future:
- Warranty Term:
A warranty’s term refers to its length of time or duration. Major HVAC manufacturers stand behind their products for more than a couple of years, which is important with systems that are supposed to last up to 20 years or longer. Because an HVAC repair is usually costly, it is smart to look for warranties that have the longest terms. Keep in mind, units with lifetime warranties may not cover the cost of labor, or may only cover labor-related expenses during the first year.
- HVAC Parts Warranties:
Warranties sometimes have varying timeframes for different aspects of an HVAC unit, such as an air conditioning compressor or a furnace heat exchanger, for parts and labor. A heat exchanger, for example, might have a 20-year parts warranty with no labor warranty late into the warranty period, while other parts might have a 10-year warranty. As you work with a contractor, learn if the contracting firm or manufacturer has a warranty-processing fee. This is a fee that some companies charge to handle the warranty-related paperwork even when the replacement parts are covered.
- Extended HVAC Warranty:
Manufacturers and dealers will often offer extended warranty packages that add 5 to 10 years to parts or labor coverage. Be wary if a sales representative seems pushy about purchasing this type of warranty, as it may be indicative of the system’s quality. In addition, learn all the details related to the extended warranty, such as:
- When the warranty service is available
- How long you will have to wait for a technician to fix the HVAC system, especially during the busy seasons
- The number of years that the contractor has been in business; it would be unfortunate to purchase an extended warranty from a contractor that goes out of business before the warranty expires
- How to void the warranty: a simple, innocent mistake could void an entire warranty – such mistakes include:
- Not hiring a certified licensed contractor to install the unit or make repairs (make sure the contractor provides you with the paperwork that provides proof of the installation service)
- Not registering the HVAC system and the warranty with the manufacturer in the required amount of time
- Not using approved replacement parts
- Failing to schedule annual professional maintenance – we highlight this requirement as most equipment manufacturers demand annual preventative service be completed
- Failing to provide proof of maintenance services (e.g., not keeping service receipts and related paperwork)
- Installation Warranty:
In addition to a manufacturer standing behind its products, a reputable HVAC contractor should stand behind the services they offer. This means that in addition to providing you with the manufacturer’s warranty, the contractor offers protection in the event that an HVAC unit receives accidental damage during the installation process or problems develop later because of an installation-related issue. A good contractor provides a written 100 percent money-back guarantee on all its installation work. Contractors that go the extra distance also guarantee the service work that they provide, so you do not have to pay for a technician’s mistake.
An HVAC warranty should give you peace of mind and assurance that both your contractor and the manufacturer will protect your investment if something goes wrong with the appliance. Never hesitate to take your time to comb through the fine details of a warranty and ask questions if something does not make sense – a reputable HVAC contractor will insist that you do.
At ServiceMark Heating Cooling & Plumbing, we take pride in guiding our customers through this process making sure they do not under or over spend when buying equipment warranties. Please do not hesitate to call our 800-474-5200 number to ask questions about our HVAC installation warranties and workmanship. Established in 1951, we have the track record of expert energy efficient HVAC equipment installation.
Some information courtesy of our friends at AAA Heating and Cooling in Portland Oregon.