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5 Things to Look for in an HVAC Warranty

hvac warrantyA new heating and cooling system is a large investment in your home. As you compare different units, pay as much attention to the warranties as you would the costs and different features. If something goes wrong within a few weeks or a few years after, a good HVAC warranty will help lower the out-of-pocket repair expenses and minimize your frustration during a heating or cooling crisis. Use our checklist to help you determine the things that your HVAC warranty should cover, so that you aren’t left with major expenses down the road.

HVAC Warranty Guide

  1. Warranty term: A warranty’s term refers to its duration. Good HVAC manufacturers stand behind their products for more than a couple years, which is important with systems that are supposed to last up to 20 years or longer. Because an HVAC repair can be costly, it is wise 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.
  2. HVAC parts warranties: Warranties sometimes have varying timeframes for different aspects of an HVAC unit, such as an air conditioning compressor, furnace heat exchanger, parts and labor. A heat exchanger, for example, might have a 20-year warranty, while other parts might have a 10-year warranty. As you work with a contractor, learn if the contracting company or manufacturer has a warranty-processing fee. This is a fee that some charge to handle the warranty-related paperwork even when the replacement parts are covered.
  3. Extended HVAC warranty: Manufacturers and dealers often offer extended warranties that add 5 to 10 years to parts or labor coverage. Be cautious 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:
    1. When the warranty service is available
    2. How long you’ll have to wait for a technician to fix the HVAC system, especially during the busiest times of year
    3. The amount of time the contractor has been in business; it would be a shame to purchase an extended warranty from a contractor that goes out of business before the warranty expires
  4. How to void the warranty: A simple, innocent mistake could void an entire warranty. Such mistakes include:
    1. 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)
    2. Not registering the HVAC system and the warranty with the manufacturer in the required amount of time
    3. Not using approved replacement parts
    4. Failing to schedule annual professional maintenance
    5. Failing to provide proof of maintenance services (e.g., not keeping service receipts and related paperwork)
  5. Installation warranty: In addition to a manufacturer standing behind its products, an HVAC contractor should stand behind the services it offers. 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 its installation work. Contractors that go the extra mile also guarantee the service work that they provide so you don’t have to pay for a technician’s mistake.

An HVAC warranty should give you peace of mind and assurance that a manufacturer has your back 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 doesn’t make sense. A reputable HVAC contractor will insist that you do. Take a look at our checklist on HVAC warranties to learn more. It will provide you with the information you need to know prior to purchasing a new HVAC system.