Are you the proud new owner of an HVAC system? Did you just buy a home or have a new system installed? If so, you might have questions about the HVAC warranty on your system and when you can utilize it to cover repair and replacement costs.
First, we will cover what an HVAC warranty is and does for you.
What is an HVAC Manufacturer Warranty?
An HVAC manufacturer warranty is a written guarantee to the purchaser from the manufacturer and or brand of a product that promises to repair or replace the item within a certain period. Look at it as a contract between you and the brand of your HVAC system. The main thing to remember about HVAC warranties is that they cover the cost of the equipment replacement, not the labor cost you would pay to an HVAC company.
However, this is not the only type of warranty associated with your HVAC system. There are also labor warranties, which come from your HVAC dealer/installer and not the system's maker.
What is the Difference Between a Labor Warranty and a Manufacturer Warranty?
Typically, a manufacturer warranty covers any parts on the machine on behalf of the HVAC brand. A labor warranty will cover the service charges, labor costs, and associated fees to install that part. Look at it this way, the manufacturer warranty covers just the parts, and the labor warranty fills in the gaps.
However, there’s an essential distinction between the two. The manufacturer warranty rarely covers labor costs. Your HVAC installation company typically provides this. So unless, you’ve purchased a separate labor warranty or your dealer or installer includes one, expect to pay repair costs for your system’s mechanical or parts failure.
How long is my HVAC Warranty Valid?
The validity of your HVAC warranty largely depends on the brand and type of product that you have. Current code regulations require HVAC installers to have a labor warranty of at least one year if they have pulled a permit. Manufacturer warranties vary, but many have extended them to 10 years or more.
At Fire and Ice, we have a labor warranty on every system we install for up to one year. If the client has a mechanical failure on their system within the first year of installation, we will come and fix it at no additional cost.
Your HVAC manufacturer warranty, however, will usually include some exclusions or items that are just not covered. These may vary from brand to brand, so look at the information in your manual to be sure, but here is a list of some everyday items that are excluded.
What Doesn’t My Manufacturer HVAC Warranty Cover?
The manufacturer's HVAC warranty often excludes items such as:
- Certain Parts
- Maintenance items
- Certain Circumstances or Natural Disasters
- Ownership Changes
As mentioned above, labor is not typically included in a manufacturer warranty. Unless you purchase an extended warranty separately through your HVAC installation company, expect to pay any associated labor costs.
Certain Parts May Not Be Covered
You might anticipate that all parts would be covered, right? Think again. The warranty may exclude certain parts completely, such as sheet metal, but others may protect them for a certain period. To be sure, check the wording of your warranty section inside your manual for any specific exclusions.
Certain items are typically not covered, including items that should be changed during regular maintenance, such as furnace filters, as these should be replaced often. Capacitors and contactors are sometimes also in this category because they are typically not expected to last the complete lifetime of your system. Carefully read your warranty to determine what items that brand may consider to be under a maintenance category and exclude from being covered.
Circumstances or Natural Disasters
An item frequently excluded from many products' warranties is sometimes called “acts of God.” This refers to natural disasters, fires, physical property destruction, and electrical surges. Think of this as anything that is not ideal, normal operating conditions. Check the wording of your warranty to be sure about these exclusions.
How Should I Register my HVAC System for the Warranty?
You can register your machine with the manufacturer by using the information in your manual or by registering the machine online. At Fire & Ice, we typically register our client's machines for them. This eliminates client failure from the equation, so the warranty can not be invalidated. Our clients can also call us with any questions about their warranty, and we can look it up in our system.
If you have lost the manual and your installer has not already done so, you can call the manufacturer, and they can register the product using the serial number. You can locate this yourself, it is typically a number on the front of the unit. But the manufacturer should be able to look it up for you if you cannot find it.
Typically, most manufacturers require certain measures to be met in order for the warranty on a system to be considered valid.
What Can Invalidate An HVAC Manufacturer Warranty?
A variety of things can invalidate a warranty on a system, such as:
- No proof of regular service
- The warranty was not registered within a certain period of time
- Improper installation
- Lack of annual maintenance
No Proof of Regular Service
If you cannot prove that you’ve had regular maintenance done on your machine, the manufacturer might consider it void. Proof of service is typically defined very loosely, but save all of your paperwork after any service, tune-up or installation done on your HVAC system. This way you can rest assured that you will have everything that will make your warranty valid. If you are buying or just purchased a home, ask the seller for any documents related to the HVAC, especially if it is still under warranty.
Think of it like a car; you’ll know about everything that has been done to the system and anything that may need to be fixed for future repairs.
Warranty Was not Registered within a Certain Period
As mentioned above, most manufacturers require you to register your machine within a specific. So if the machine was registered just outside of that window, say at day 65 then day 60. It would be considered invalid.
A manufacturer can also invalidate your warranty because of a bad installation job. Again, hiring a company or contractor with the proper certifications is essential to ensure this does not happen. Making sure the company or contractor you hire is well versed in the specific equipment you have, especially for an already existing unit, will keep the warranty valid.
Commissioning Process for HVAC Equipment
At Fire & Ice, On every installation we do, we perform thorough commissioning that tracks 57 different variables. This ensures optimal equipment performance and sets benchmarks for future service technician visits.
Commissioning is not always performed industry-wide, or not as thoroughly. So there’s a chance that your installation is just as good without testing it this way, but there is no way to know for sure unless it’s commissioned.
Commissioning can take up to an hour of extra time. Rather than racing to the next job, we do it every time to ensure our work is up to the standards you deserve.
Final Quality Inspection
Additionally, a Fire & Ice representative will return to your home a week or two after installation and perform an FQI. This helps to ensure everything is functioning correctly, to make sure you understand your thermostat and comfort options, and to inspect the quality of the installation. If anything is amiss, it is reported to our training and management staff and is used to inform changes to our installation practices and training.
We’re proud to be the only contractor in the area who will return for this visit to look you in the eye and ensure you’re satisfied with the job.
But, what if you want to use the homeowner's warranty on your new home or just purchased one and would like to use it to keep up with the regular maintenance your warranty requires?
What is the Difference Between my Homeowners Warranty and my HVAC Warranty?
A homeowner’s warranty is a policy for a homeowner that covers the cost of repairing appliances if they break down. This is different from a manufacturer warranty as it is typically transferred from the previous owner if you’ve recently bought a home or purchased by the homeowner and is not issued by a manufacturer.
While these policies cover a wide variety of appliances within your home, they can cover HVAC service but can be incredibly complicated to use.
Why Doesn’t My Home Owner’s Warranty Cover my HVAC Repair?
Frequently, our customers ask us about their home owner’s warranties and why HVAC repairs seem to not be covered. Typically they’re perfect for small appliances, but for HVAC systems, they’re a headache. Rarely have I ever seen a homeowner’s contract cover, or fully cover, something HVAC related. If they do cover it, the companies in our experience usually offer a meager amount or do everything they can to deny coverage.
Typically, they have to have someone on their preferred provider list come out and see it first. Usually, these people are not the most outstanding service technicians in the world, and they are more than likely trained to look for things to get the consumer out of being able to use their warranty.
This is not to say home warranties are wrong or that all providers operate this way, but they are not an excellent solution to your HVAC issues.
We do not accept funds directly from a home warranty company at Fire and Ice. Our clients are more than welcome to use a home warranty, but we will not wait for the home warranty payment to go through to complete the service. Instead, we will accept compensation from the client, and the home warranty company can reimburse the client.
Don’t Wait to Register and Use Your HVAC Warranty
If you still have questions regarding HVAC warranties, labor warranties, and homeowner warranties, we are available to help with anything you might need. If you live in the Columbus, Ohio, area and need service on your system, give us a call today. Check to see if you’re in our area using the zip code map below.
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