AC repair service is a fact of life when owning a home. While it can be costly to replace ac components, buying an air conditioner warranty can cover the cost of repairs for your cooling system and save some big headaches. Most AC manufacturers offer a standard 5-10 year limited air conditioner warranties. While major components, such as the compressor is often covered, labor warranties are typically offered for a set term following installation. But, how do you know you have a warranty, and if so, does it cover enough to meet your needs? Introducing the pro guide to buying air conditioner warranties, the first in Black Hill’s series of expert warrantee buying guides.
Determining If Your AC Has Warranty Coverage
If you recently purchased an air conditioner, you most likely registered it for a warranty. It’s an important step in the installation process, and you could void the warranty if you fail to register your equipment. However, if it’s been some time since you installed a new AC, your recollection may be a bit hazy. You can check to see if your existing equipment is covered by:
- Reviewing any documentation that came with your air conditioner, which should include warranty information.
- Using the warranty look-up tool on the manufacturer’s website, if one is available, using the AC’s serial number to find the information.
- Contacting the manufacturer or equipment dealer directly to obtain warranty information for your equipment.
Understanding an Air Conditioner Warranties
The warranty term is one of the most important aspects to look at, namely the duration of coverage. If an HVAC manufacturer is confident in the quality and durability of its products, they will offer a reasonably long warranty. Check for the longest terms available, although lifetime warranties might not cover labor costs after a certain time.
Air conditioner warranties sometimes cover certain parts, such as the compressor or a furnace heat exchanger, over different timeframes. The warranty for some parts may just be a few years while one for a major component may be up to 20 years. Also, keep in mind some contractors and manufacturers charge a processing fee to handle warranty-related paperwork. You may have to pay something even if the warranty covers replacement parts.
Why Do I Still Have to Pay for Replacement?
While the equipment may be covered, you may still be charged for the cost of labor and additional materials. An air conditioning company can charge you for the trip to your home or business, looking up and verifying a part is under warranty, taking a trip to a parts warehouse, and the work of removing the bad part, installing the new one, and verifying the issue was fixed. Plus, the contractor has to report on what was fixed and may need to deliver paperwork to the parts warehouse. Oftentimes, faulty parts need to be shipped back to the manufacturer to verify they are indeed faulty.
What Is a Limited Warranty?
In many, if not most cases, you must register equipment and replacement parts to receive a warranty. Failing to do so violates the terms and the warranty will then not apply, no matter what goes wrong. Limited warranties also apply to installations in new homes. They start at the date of closing and may or may not be transferred to a new owner or if you take the equipment with you during a move.
Depending on the manufacturer, a limited warranty can last up to 10 years. It could revert to five years if you were late in filing. If you do have a 10-year limited warranty, and replaced the covered equipment at year 8, your new equipment will be covered for 2 years; generally, you’ll have coverage for one year, or the remainder of the existing warranty period, whichever is longer.
Should I Be Cautious About Extended Warranties?
When buying air conditioner warranties, an extended warranty will likely be offered, look for warning signs such as pushy sales representatives. This could indicate the manufacturer is aware of equipment quality issues. But you could get 5 to 10 years of additional coverage for parts or labor. When offered this option, look at when the service is available, how long you’ll have to wait for a technician, and the amount of time the contractor has been operating; if they go out of business during the warranty period, you’re out of luck.
Should I Accept an Installation Warranty?
Getting an installation warranty is often a good idea depending on your installer. An installation warranty covers the contractor’s services in case damage occurs during installation. Also, it covers problems that may develop later due to an issue with the installation process. Look for a written 100% money-back guarantee on installation work. Many contractors guarantee service work so, if a technician makes a mistake, you don’t end up paying for it.
Voiding an AC Warranty
If you void the air conditioner warranty, no repairs or service will be covered. One simple mistake, like hiring an uncertified or unlicensed contractor (or attempting to fix the unit yourself), not registering the HVAC system and warranty with the manufacturer, or failing to use approved replacement parts can void the entire warranty. Other ways to void it include failing to schedule annual maintenance or provide proof of maintenance services, such as receipts and other paperwork.
Contact Black Hills Home Services
Serving Olympia and surrounding areas, we back all our services with a 100% money-back guarantee and offer comprehensive maintenance plans. Our company is licensed and bonded, while our technicians are trained and experienced in all types of repairs for any brand of HVAC equipment. To schedule repairs, discuss new AC installation, or inquire about warranties, call 888-884-6365 today.