Ask The Contractor: HVAC warranties are great, even better registered
June is practically over, July is here and the monsoons seem to be on a hiatus — and life is grand. My column this week relates to the importance of obtaining HVAC warranty cards; either a copy of the registered warranty indicating the contractor has properly submitted the warranty to the manufacturer and/or you personally registered the HVAC system. This applies to both a new system installation and/or a replacement unit.
Local case and point: A homeowner called questioning a compressor failure with their 6-year-old HVAC unit. They called the manufacturer and were told the compressor was covered for five years only, since a warranty card was not submitted by their contractor. So you are asking now, what is up with HVAC equipment warranties? According to Regan Hamilton of Prescott Valley Heating & Cooling, “They are all pretty much the same, but there’s a little catch that you should be aware of.”
“First things first: Nearly all manufacturers offer a five-year warranty on their equipment no matter what. That’s true whether your system is a Trane, Carrier, Goodman, Bryant, Lennox, Rheem, or whatever brand. But for most brands, the warranty extends to 10 years if you register the product. Seriously, all you have to do is fill out a registration form and your warranty doubles in size!”
Had the contractor submitted the proper paperwork and/or given the warranty card to the homeowner to send in, the compressor would have been covered for 10 years and not five. A five-year warranty on a compressor is standard. An additional five years are covered if a warranty card is sent in. In this case, the HVAC company did not send in the warranty card for additional warranty coverage nor did they give a warranty card to the homeowner at the time of installation. The homeowner is out of pocket $2,000.
Some contractors offer a five-year warranty but promptly provide the information needed to register the product on your own and double the time frame.
Other contractors tell you you’re getting a 10-year warranty, but there’s an asterisk on the page next to “10 years.” When you look at the fine print on the contract, it says that you get the 10-year warranty only if you register the product on your own time. Basically, you should be getting a 10-year warranty if your system is registered with the manufacturer.
When you buy a new HVAC system, a warranty is included that covers certain repairs, replacement of major parts, guarantee of faulty equipment, and other items way too numerous to list.
HVAC systems are pricey and it is possible to void an HVAC warranty, unintentionally.
Ensure the warranty is registered. Let me repeat that statement. Ensure the warranty is registered.
Several of our local HVAC contractors prepare the warranty and submit it on your behalf. In talking with our local HVAC companies, their bids will say 10-year warranty. That is because they are filling out the warranty card and sending it in to the manufacturer. However, it is important to obtain a copy of the warranty. Always ask the HVAC company for the warranty. If you are purchasing a new home, make sure the HVAC warranty is completed and you have a copy. There is a short window time frame to send in the warranty, which is a certain number of days after the system has been fired up.
Unfortunately, not registering the warranty can create a headache, could void the warranty altogether and, with the issue that just occurred, can be costly.
Manufacturers almost always suggest using original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts in their equipment. Those parts have been thoroughly tested for compatibility and functionality. Although most third-party products are perfectly safe to use, there’s no guarantee they’ll work properly and won’t cause problems with the system. Using off-brand replacement parts will often void an HVAC warranty, so ensure that your repair company is using authorized parts.
If your HVAC system isn’t properly installed, it could face a number of problems throughout its life. Warranties stipulate that installation must be done correctly otherwise the warranty is void, the same with a roof installation and the applicable product warranty as well as windows. The manufacturer of these particular items cannot be held accountable for problems that stem from improper installation.
Equipment warranties are all pretty much the same. Just make sure your system is registered so you get a 10-year warranty instead of a five-year warranty.
Remember, at the end of the day, the most important part isn’t the brand you choose; it’s doing your research on the contractors you will use to install it.
Just like anything, some days it seems like every guy with a truck and a tool belt is out there saying that they’re a contractor and knocking on doors. Yes, it is a good idea to take multiple bids especially on HVAC units, and then when they call the Yavapai County Contractors Association (YCCA) and we see red flags, against our advice, decide go with the cheapest contractor available to “save money.”
Moral of the story: don’t skimp, do your research on the best HVAC contractors, not the cheapest. If you have questions, call YCCA, we love helping folks.
Enjoy your summer.
Remember to tune in to YCCA’s “Hammer Time” every Saturday or Sunday at 7 a.m. on KQNA 1130AM, 99.9FM, 95.5FM or online at kqna.com. Listen to Sandy to Mike talk about the construction industry meet your local community partners and so much more. You will be entertained.