DECEMBER 23, 2021 BY MR COOL
Whether you’re renting an apartment, renovating a home, or reinventing a space like a tiny home, garage, man cave, or she-shed, chances are an HVAC unit has been beneficial to you at one point in time. In most parts of the country, heating or cooling are required to stay comfortable for at least part of the year and in many places, it’s necessary for HVAC units to run every day. Unlike other appliances, HVAC units come with different types of warranties. Wear and tear are common for a machine that’s used daily, but its parts and installation are different from something like a car’s.
For this reason, there are several types of warranties you can get for your HVAC unit. But is having a warranty necessary — and what are the reasons it may be important for you? Read on to explore the ultimate HVAC warranty guide and choose the best plan to suit your lifestyle.
Why Are Warranties Necessary?
Many manufactures and appliance companies offer warranties when you buy their products to offer peace of mind. It takes the stress away from any incidents or faulty parts that may come with a new appliance. In the long run, it saves time and energy for the buyer and gives them a better experience with the appliance.
Specifically, with HVAC units, warranties can be necessary if you expect that you’ll use your unit every day — or the majority of the year. Warranties can last up to 10 years — so even if you’ve had the unit for eight years, you can still have parts or services under warranty without worrying about extra costs. Plus, the new parts will carry out the remainder of the 10 year warrant with some plans. Ultimately, this gives owners a stress-free option of owning an HVAC unit for an allotted amount of time.
What Are the Main Type of HVAC Warranties?
Most HVAC warranties promise 10 years for equipment or two years for labor. Rarely will these two types of warranty come together. Therefore, you’ll likely pay for one or the other, depending on which one is the issue with your HVAC unit. Let’s take a look at both types to give you an idea of which one to look into for your HVAC needs.
Parts and Equipment
Most manufactures require you to register a new HVAC unit in order to receive the full, limited warranty. This will confirm that contractors can perform a warranty service if any part needs repair. Registering can be done online and the coverage period starts as soon as the unit is installed — for new homeowners, the warranty will start on the closing day. Equipment or parts warranties are typically the ones you find for up to ten years.
A labor warranty is another popular type of coverage for equipment like HVAC units. This just means that the manufacturer will pay for the cost of service it will take to repair the unit. Although this warranty usually has a shorter time limit, it can still be useful as the certified HVAC technicians needed to make most repairs can be expensive. Similarly, this is why it is important to understand what type of machine parts are covered, in case you need to buy the parts under the labor warranty that comes with your air conditioner/HVAC unit.
What’s the Difference Between an Initial and an Extended Warranty?
Even though your initial warranty comes at no extra cost when you buy an HVAC unit, some people feel inclined to also purchase an extended warranty. With quality, state-of-the-art equipment and machines from a reputable company, buying an extension on your warranty isn’t always necessary. These deals are either handled through the manufacturer or through a third-party selling the units.
Getting an extended warranty truly depends on the level of reliability you have with your HVAC units or the experiences you’d had with past products. If you feel as though having an extended warranty will give you a peace of mind and one less thing to stress about, then it’s worth purchasing. An extended warranty will grant you more time to cover the costs of equipment or labor past the date of the original warranty or installation.
What Are Warranty Exclusions?
Although warranties will cover most parts or labor costs that come with the HVAC unit, there are certain special parts and circumstances that are not included. In many cases, regular maintenance must be maintained in order for the warranty to stay in effect and not become void. However, the things that are not covered tend to be bigger, more long-term or unpredictable occurrences that happen to the machine. Here are a couple of exclusions you may find listed in your HVAC unit warranty.
- Compressors: These parts are the most expensive parts of HVAC units — they require proper installation and electrical power fluctuations. Warranties can vary when it comes to this particular component because it is so sensitive to the inner working of the system. You may want to ask your salesperson or HVAC technician to clarify whether your compressor is covered.
- Heat Exchangers: Problems with heat exchangers can be as simple as a clogged air filter or as severe as a rusted or cracked exchanger. They undergo serious wear and tear as they constantly expand when heating up and contract when cooling down. As with many HVAC unit components, it is common for a warranty to cover heat exchanger parts but not the labor needed to replace them, and this is another aspect of your warranty you will want to know in detail.
- Maintenance Items: Like any machinery, some parts need to be replaced regularly in HVAC units to ensure they work properly. This category includes filters, capacitors, and other small parts within the machine. In particular, these parts are less likely to be covered under warranty because they are not expected to last the entire lifespan of the HVAC unit. Always check with your particular warranty to confirm.
- Uncertain Circumstances: Unfortunately, many warranties do not cover the damage caused by natural circumstances, such as storms, fires, electrical surges or other random occurrences. For this reason, along with appliance warranties, it’s always good to have a homeowner’s insurance policy. Most likely, the incidents that are not included in the warranty will be covered by an insurance policy. To avoid uncertain circumstances, always have both and know what each one covers.
- A Shift in Ownership: If the HVAC unit is located in a house or townhome, once the property is bought and sold to new owners, the full warranty may not transfer. However, this can easily be fixed as long as the original owners leave the right paperwork. Request a copy of any warranties on the HVAC systems and read over the coverage carefully during the home inspection and before closing on the property. It may be possible for the old homeowner to transfer the warranty to the new owner.
What Type of Warranty Do You Have?
These are several ways to confirm which type of warranty your HVAC unit comes standard with. If you don’t already have this information, then there are three ways to look up the information that can provide more details about your warranty:
- Check the documents and manuals that came with the unit during installation. The paperwork will more than likely have the type of warranty as well as the dates and terms that apply.
- Search through the manufacturer’s website. If you have a serial number of your HVAC unit, which you can also find on the paperwork or rating plate of the equipment, you can use it to find additional information.
- Contact your HVAC professional for assistance with your warranty information.
Why Does an HVAC Warranty Require Sending in a Broken Part?
It’s not uncommon to have the manufacturer require a broken part to be returned if you have a warranty that covers the cost of the repair, but why?
Ultimately, it’s a way for them to confirm that the part is faulty. Depending on the results, it will determine who is responsible for the payment of the replacement and repair. If the part is still good but has been replaced already, the contractor will be liable for the cost — and potential penalties.
Why Doesn’t Homeowners Insurance Cover Air Conditioner Units?
Although it’s typical for many homeowner’s insurance policies to cover the cost of replacing an HVAC unit, it will not always cover the wear and tear of the machine, unless, as previously mentioned, an uncertain circumstance occurs that results in the unit becoming damaged or broken. Weather-related damages, fire, water, or even theft and vandalism are all probable causes for homeowner’s insurance to cover the cost — or the reimbursement for the HVAC unit.
The general upkeep and aging of the machine do not qualify it for coverage through homeowner’s insurance because it is not classified as an emergency, especially if the homeowner fails to maintain the system properly and have it checked routinely. For this reason, it’s important to choose an HVAC policy that will allow you to be covered with a long-standing warranty as well as homeowner’s insurance. You never know which one you might need.
To file a claim with your homeowner’s insurance to get the HVAC unit repaired or replaced, you will need to take some steps. Take pictures of the visible damage, write down the unit’s serial number and model, and collect a police report if necessary. Then, file the claim and meet with an insurance adjuster for the final verdict. If damage is covered by homeowner’s insurance, submit your receipts to receive a reimbursement for the repairs made by the manufacturer or professional. Of course, your individual situation will depend on the details of your policy.
Will Home Warranties Cover HVAC Repairs?
Homeowners insurance should not be confused with home warranties — which are usually included when a home is bought and sold to new owners. Home warranties are contracts that generally cover appliances, usually last for a year after home purchase (unless they are renewed), and cover normal wear and tear rather than unexpected events.
If you have a broken HVAC part or system, the home warranty will advise which contractor can repair it. Typically, they will choose newer technicians who have less experience and lower reimbursable labor rates. The homeowner doesn’t have a choice on who works on their unit under a home warranty coverage.
On top of that, homeowners also do not decide whether or not to repair or replace a piece of equipment. Many home warranties recommend repairing because it will almost always be the cheaper option — even if it ends up being a constant fix. When the part is replaced, they usually pick the lowest cost option available.
Home warranties contain limits on what they will actually cover. If you have one of these plans, read through the paperwork thoroughly to avoid confusion during a stressful situation — like a broken AC in the middle of the summer. The types of HVAC systems most often covered by home warranties include:
- Central Air/Heating Systems
- Heat Pumps
- Mini Split Systems
Much like manufacturer warranties, home warranties do not cover weather-related damages or repairs. They require annual HVAC maintenance as well to avoid major repairs or issues that go unchecked. If you have a home warranty, be sure to check the fine print and know exactly what is covered — however, manufacturer warranties are always your safest bet.