Manufacturer and Extended Warranties: Know What’s Covered

The only thing worse than a sudden air conditioning breakdown in the summer is overpaying for the repair. In many cases, homeowners may not be aware of what is covered by their HVAC system’s warranty. Additionally, it can be easy to void the terms of the warranty without even knowing it. This can lead to a frustrating situation where you’re suddenly on the hook for a much higher charge than you expected, with little to no help from the company that supplies your warranty. To avoid this, it’s essential to know the ins and outs of the two main categories of HVAC warranties: Manufacturer and Extended.

Guarantees vs Warranties

Before exploring the details of warranties, it’s helpful to understand how they differ from guarantees. A guarantee generally comes with an HVAC system or a service at no additional cost, usually in the form of the contractor promising to repair their work if something goes wrong or promising to offer a refund.

On the other hand, warranties are legal agreements between you and either the manufacturer or an HVAC company that makes them responsible for repairs and replacements if a break down or fault occurs. Warranties are legally enforceable, unlike guarantees which are considered informal agreements.

Manufacturer’s Warranties

All major HVAC manufacturers offer a 5-10-year warranty on their equipment. Some manufacturers offer the option to extend the warranty for an additional 5-10 years if desired. Manufacturer’s warranties are usually offered at no cost, with a small fee for renewing the warranty once it expires. A manufacturer’s warranty will only cover the main components of the unit, however some manufacturers may offer coverage for labor costs during the first two years of the warranty.

In any case, manufacturer’s warranties don’t cover additional components such as:

  • Refrigerant
  • EPA charges
  • Welding and recovery fees
  • Handling fees
  • Labor costs for the entire length of the warranty

While some manufacturers offer their warranties with no registration required, you should register your equipment in many cases shortly after your equipment is installed. Failing to register your equipment in a timely manner can potentially void the manufacturer’s warranty all together.

Extended Warranties

As opposed to manufacturer’s warranties, extended warranties are more lenient regarding terms and conditions, and many can be purchased several years after your unit was first installed.  Extended warranties also cover labor costs and other fees that manufacturer’s warranties do not. Extended warranties can last anywhere from 5-10 years and be used to further protect your HVAC unit after your manufacturer’s warranty expires, or used alongside a manufacturer’s warranty to provide complete protection.

Chas Roberts Extended Labor Warranties

At Chas Roberts, we offer two extended labor warranty options. Both include our comprehensive 26-point maintenance checks twice a year, along with priority scheduling. Unlike a standard manufacturer’s warranty, our extended labor warranties cover all areas of your unit—including parts, labor, and maintenance (limitations and exclusions apply). Our warranty plans are designed to protect you from potential breakdown expenses in the years to come, and to provide expert service if a breakdown should occur.

Questions to ask when choosing a warranty

When deciding on a warranty, it’s important to ask the right questions. This will help narrow down the warranty that’s right for you, and help you understand exactly what each warranty option entails.

Questions you should ask when choosing a warranty include:

  • How many annual maintenance visits are included?
  • Which parts of the heating and air conditioning unit are covered? How about the thermostats and exhaust fans?
  • How many units need coverage?
  • If you’re leaning towards a manufacturer’s warranty: how much will it cost to renew the warranty when it expires? How many years will it take to catch up to the cost of an extended warranty?
  • If you’re leaning towards an extended warranty, ask yourself: how many years you intend on living in this residence and are you here for the long haul, or short-term?

An HVAC warranty should give you the peace of mind that the manufacturer or HVAC company will do their part to protect your investment. If the details of the warranty seem vague, confusing, or even suspicious, don’t hesitate to ask additional questions. While many warranties are offered by reputable companies and contractors, some may be less reputable companies that are intentionally misleading.

Common conditions for voiding a warranty

Simple mistakes and oversights can void your warranty. Often, these conditions may be hidden in the fine print of a warranty. Common conditions for voiding a warranty include:

  • Not hiring a qualified licensed contractor for installation or repair
  • Not obtaining paperwork that proves your installation or repair was done by a qualified contractor
  • Not using approved replacement parts
  • Failing to schedule an annual maintenance call
  • Failing to provide proof of a maintenance call
  • Damage caused by unapproved contractors
  • Leaks and breakdowns caused by lack of maintenance

To ensure that you don’t accidentally void your warranty, know the ins and outs of its terms and conditions. If you’re ever unsure, don’t hesitate to ask the manufacturer or HVAC company that provides your warranty. After all, it’s better to get the correct answer than to assume and run the risk of being wrong and voiding your warranty.

Additionally, you should keep all receipts, invoices, and other documentation related to your HVAC system and any service it receives. Not only will these provide proof that you are obeying the terms of the warranty, they can also be valuable if you have a repeat problem and need to provide documentation in order to get the manufacturer involved.

Getting the most of your warranty

If a manufacturer or HVAC company refuses to honor part of your warranty, or you feel your warranty service wasn’t sufficient, you have several options. Don’t be afraid to escalate action—after all, your expectations for warranty service should be met. The best thing to do is contact the manufacturer or HVAC company directly. If you don’t know how to word a formal complaint, provides a template that can be used to accurately make your case against a company. Usually, the customer service department will be more than willing to make things right after receiving your complaint.

Next steps

If you’re looking to fill in the coverage gaps left by your manufacturer’s warranty, or have questions about anything else related to your HVAC system, contact the professionals at Chas Roberts. When it comes to the dos and don’ts of HVAC maintenance, we’re proud to call ourselves experts.