Understanding Air Conditioner Warranties
After replacing your air conditioning system, there is one crucial step that you should not let fall to the wayside: registering your new air conditioning system warranty. Air conditioner warranties do not have to be complicated, and they will give you peace of mind that your system will function normally throughout its lifespan.
So how do AC warranties work, and what do they include? Here’s everything you need to know:
Manufacturer vs. Installer Air Conditioner Warranties
There are two air conditioner warranty types that will typically come into play: the manufacturer warranty and the installer warranty. Together, the two warranties should entirely cover your new HVAC system, from parts and installation to maintenance.
Manufacturer Warranties: The manufacturer warranty guarantees your air conditioning system against defects in the components. In other words, the manufacturer warranty protects you if a major component comes damaged out of the box or fails before the warranty term ends. The manufacturer warranty only covers large system components, and requires you to regularly maintain parts like fan belts and lubrication via a qualified air conditioning contractor.
To make sure this warranty is in full effect, you will need to register your system with the manufacturer and have it installed by a qualified air conditioning contractor. A contractor will also be able to answer any questions about your HVAC manufacturer warranty and help you register and utilize your warranty.
Installer Warranties: This type of warranty comes from your air conditioning contractor, and it guarantees their workmanship on the installation. These warranties are important because AC performance depends heavily on whether the system was installed properly. And even if problems of workmanship arise after the air conditioning contractor warranty has lapsed, a trusted contractor will usually provide certain support.
Elements of an Air Conditioning Warranty
Both types of warranties should be laid out in detailed documents, available for your review. These documents should list the system components covered in the agreement, the duration of the warranty, and how problems will be addressed.
Though the exact terms of your air conditioning warranty will vary based on your contractor and manufacturer, here’s a brief list of terms you can expect to see.
Part Warranties: Your system will likely be covered as a whole, but there are also warranties for individual parts of your system. For example, your new furnace may be guaranteed for 10 years but its heat exchanger might be covered for 20 years. Your warranty should list these elements in detail.
Planned Maintenance Agreement: Air conditioner warranties generally include a clause requiring regular, qualified maintenance in order for the warranty to remain in effect. Some warranties include a formalized version of this, which is called a planned maintenance agreement.
Voiding The Warranty: Your AC warranty should include a list of actions that will void your warranty. Common things that can void your warranty are neglecting annual maintenance and working with an unqualified contractor to install and maintain your system.
Extended Air Conditioner Warranties: An extended warranty starts after your original manufacturer warranty expires. You can purchase an extended warranty, which can add 5-12 years to your parts or labor coverage, from your manufacturers or installer.
Evaluating Air Conditioner Warranties
How do you know if a warranty option is right for you? The first step in evaluating an HVAC warranty is to read it carefully. Air conditioner warranties can vary widely among manufacturers, and it can be easy to become confused. To better understand the terms, we encourage homeowners to review warranties with their air conditioning contractor. A trusted HVAC contractor can answer questions, help explain the differences in warranties from manufacturer to manufacturer and explain any language that you don’t understand.
Here are a few questions to help guide the conversation as you evaluate your AC warranties:
- How long is the warranty valid for? The scope of warranties often differs between brands and contractors. Find one that makes you comfortable that you’ll be getting all the bang for your buck in the long term.
- What components does the warranty cover? Be sure to ask what parts are covered in your air conditioner’s warranty. Remember, smaller parts like fan belts and wiring may not be covered.
- Does the warranty cover labor? Similar to covering the various parts of an AC system, a manufacturer’s warranty will not cover the labor costs of replacing a defective product. Your air conditioner contractor may also have special fees related to labor in their warranty.
Starting your air conditioner replacement journey? Modernize has a library of tools to help you along the way. Check out our AC system cost calculator, and contact us today for help finding a great contractor near you.