Your HVAC system performs several essential services that keep your home comfortable, so you want to make sure you have an appropriate recourse if anything ever goes wrong with it. Older HVAC systems often need repairs, which can be quite costly in cases where a major breakdown has occurred. However, many newer HVAC systems may include a warranty. Learning more about HVAC warranties can help you choose systems with optimal coverage and prepare you to save the maximum amount of money possible when repair work needs completing.
Below, we’ve put together a comprehensive list of what you should look for in an HVAC warranty. Use this guide to help you shop for any new HVAC system you’re thinking of purchasing so that you can make sure it will have adequate protection for as long as possible.
What Are HVAC Warranties?
Before you can compare different HVAC warranties effectively, you must have a thorough understanding of what a warranty is. In the most basic sense, a warranty guarantees that the product a party purchases has been accurately represented by the party selling it. In most cases, this is accomplished by guaranteeing the buyer that the seller will undertake to perform certain actions if the product purchased does not function as promised. Typically, a warranty only lasts for a specific period from the purchase date of the product.
In the case of an HVAC system, the warranty may have several additional conditions. As such, it’s important to review a warranty carefully before you purchase the HVAC to which it applies.
Five Things to Check on Your Next HVAC Warranty
If you want to make sure that the warranty for your next HVAC is likely to cover you in all the ways you’ll need, pay close attention to the following areas:
1) The length (or term) of the warranty. The length of your warranty will determine how long you can expect the manufacturer to replace broken or worn-out parts after you buy the unit. Since most people expect to use their HVACs for decades, a typical warranty should last for at least a few years. Generally, the longer your warranty, the more value it will provide. However, you may wish to read the fine print when considering systems with lifetime warranties as these will often omit certain costs—such as labor.
2) Varying warranties for specific parts. In addition to (or instead of) the standard warranty, some parts in your HVAC may come with a warranty of their own. Part-specific warranties will usually supersede general ones, so be sure to look at each of them and make a note of them. Additionally, check with your HVAC service company to see if they charge a fee for filing the paperwork related to any of these warranties when you invoke them. These are called warranty-processing fees, and they are common throughout the industry.
3) Extended warranty options. Some dealers and manufacturers offer options that will add a certain amount of coverage for parts and labor to your warranty. If you are buying an extended warranty through a contractor, make sure they provide details on how long it will take them to complete work under warranty, and try to learn as much as you can about the history of their business. You don’t want to purchase an extended warranty from a company that’s on the brink of shutting down.
4) Conditions for voiding the warranty. Many warranties can be invalidated by simple mistakes on the part of an owner. Generally, it’s smart to avoid the following errors if you want to make sure your warranty will stay valid:
- Using an unlicensed contractor to install the unit or perform work on it during its lifetime.
- Failing to register the HVAC and warranty with the manufacturer by a certain deadline.
- Using unauthorized replacement parts for the HVAC.
- Neglecting to arrange for professional maintenance on a regular basis (normally defined as once or twice a year).
- Not keeping documents that prove you’ve been taking proper care of the unit (receipts from previous service calls, etc.).
It’s also common sense to look at what isn’t covered by your warranty in the first place so you don’t end up in messy disputes about it.
5) Warranties for installation. High-quality HVAC service companies can afford to guarantee their work, so there should be an installation warranty in addition to the warranty the manufacturer offers. An installation warranty generally covers damage that occurs while the system is installed, or any damage that occurs during use because of a mistake made during the installation process.
Always Review HVAC Warranties Closely
Now that you know more about HVAC warranties, you should be able to choose your next system with more confidence. Be sure to ask a licensed contractor about all of the points listed above before you put down any money so that you can make sure your purchase is as protected as it can be.