Buying a new air conditioner for your home is a huge investment and undoubtedly one that you want to protect with a warranty.
You want to make sure the warranty favors you and is not easily voided by checking some key points of the warranty’s fine print.
What to Look for In a Warranty
How Long is the Warranty?
One of the first things you should note is how long the air conditioner’s warranty is good for. Most air conditioner manufacturers today have a standard 5 to 10-year warranty on all of their equipment. This is a warranty that you do not have to pay extra for but comes with the purchase of the air conditioner.
Seeing as how the life expectancy of an air conditioner is 10-15 years you may feel the need to extend the warranty to ten or more years. This will cost you extra and require you to register your warranty to validate it.
Another thing to remember is that when you purchase an extended warranty the requirements for keeping the warranty valid become much more strict.
Is the Salesman Pushing too Hard?
If you find that the sales-person is too pushy when it comes to the HVAC warranty this could be a cause for concern. They very well may just be trying to upsell you, but usually, the case is that they are selling you equipment that is known to be faulty.
If this happens I would hold off on the purchase and do some extra research on your own about the reliability of the specific equipment in question.
Is there a Warranty Processing Fee?
This is a relatively new trend in warranties and it allows the supplier to charge you a fee if they have to replace any parts or equipment under warranty.
It is important you know whether or not they do this and how much their fee is if they do.
The upside is that the fee is usually a fraction of the cost of repairs or replacement – so while you want to try and avoid processing fees it should not be a dealbreaker when deciding on a warranty.
What Voids the Warranty?
Warranties on air conditioners can be voided for a number of reasons so you’ll definitely want to check the requirements for keeping the warranty valid.
Most of the time you will be required to have the machine installed by a licensed technician and serviced annually by the same.
You will need to keep a record of the installation and any maintenance or service you have done so that you can prove to the manufacturer you only allowed a licensed person to work on your equipment.
Three Types of Warranties
There are three main types of warranties used for air conditioners and they are all different in their duration and coverage – manufacturer warranty, installation warranty, and an extended warranty.
The HVAC manufacturer’s warranty is just that, it is the standard five to ten-year equipment warranty offered by the manufacturer.
You are not required to purchase this warranty, but it won’t cover every part of the air conditioner so you need to check with the supplier, or in the owner’s manual, for the specifics and requirements of the manufacturer warranty.
This type of warranty does not cover repair bills for labor.
Installation warranties are offered by most HVAC contractors and they are usually included in the overall cost of the installation itself.
This warranty covers any malfunctions that are directly related to the installation of the air conditioner. These are also known as labor warranties.
An extended warranty is going to cost extra and it is going to have tighter restrictions on what you have to do to make sure the warranty stays valid.
While the manufacturer warranty usually covers all of the parts the extended warranty pays for any parts and labor involved in repairing or replacing parts.
The thing to consider here is labor costs versus the cost of the extended warranty and required maintenance.
If the warranty and required service are higher than average labor costs then it makes more sense to rely on the manufacturer’s warranty for replacement parts and to just pay for the labor out of pocket.
What Does It Cover?
Air conditioner warranties usually only cover specific components of the unit so you want to check and make sure before deciding to purchase an additional extended warranty.
Standard manufacturer warranties usually cover the compressor, and other internal components of the air conditioner as long as their malfunction wasn’t caused by neglecting to properly care for the unit.
What is Not Covered?
If you have all of the equipment warranties offered on your air conditioning system then everything will be covered.
The only time your air conditioner equipment won’t be covered is if there is sufficient proof that you neglected to care and regularly maintain your equipment per the warranties requirements.
Register Your Equipment
For air conditioner warranty coverage to be valid, you are required to register the warranty with the manufacturer or installer depending on who the warranty is through.
Who Has the Best AC Warranty?
Manufacturer warranties on an HVAC system are typically for either five or ten years. The best warranty offered by a manufacturer on the market today is the one offered by Daikin brands. This includes all Goodman and Amana air conditioner units.
This includes brands like Maytag, NuTone, and Broan and they offer a unit replacement warranty for a year or an extended warranty for 12 years, and a standard 12-year compressor warranty.
With big names like Trane, and American Standard to their name Ingersoll-Rand offers good warranties on their heating and cooling equipment.
Their units come with a standard 10-year parts replacement warranty but they do not currently offer a complete unit replacement warranty.
UTC offers three brand names – Carrier, Bryant, and Payne. Each one of their systems comes with a 10-year parts replacement warranty and a three-year unit replacement warranty.
Lennox brands offer a 10-year general parts replacement warranty and a 5 to 10-year warranty on the compressor. They do not currently offer a unit replacement warranty.
Do You Have an AC Warranty?
If you are not sure whether or not your air conditioner is covered under warranty you should start by reading through the owner’s manual that came with your air conditioning unit.
This should inform you about the manufacturer’s warranty. To check for an installation warranty you are going to want to call whoever you hired to install the unit.
New Home Air Conditioners
If you just moved into a new house with an existing air conditioner start by checking with the previous homeowner and asking them for the owner’s manual to the system.
If they don’t have it and cannot tell you whether or not the system is under warranty, go to the manufacturer’s website and enter the air conditioner’s serial number to check for an active warranty.
How Important is a Warranty?
Considering the sizable nature of the cost of purchasing a new air conditioner for your home, HVAC warranties are very important.
The national average cost for minor air conditioner repairs is around $250 and can be upwards into the thousands. Unless you like expensive surprises you need to have at a minimum a manufacturer’s warranty on your air conditioner.
While you may not need all three types of warranties for your air conditioner you should have some kind of coverage protecting you from unexpected and costly repairs.
Oftentimes the manufacturer’s warranty that comes standard with the unit, and the installation warranty that comes from the HVAC contractor that installs your new equipment is more than enough to protect your new unit. If you are still unsure you might decide to go with a more costly but more inclusive extended warranty.