A new HVAC system is an important investment in your home, and an HVAC warranty is a contract that provides you with some peace of mind. Typical warranties range from 10 to 15 years, and they are a guarantee that should the unit fail within that time period, the manufacturer will make you whole. A common issue is that homeowners often view warranties as simpler than they are. Warranty claims can be complex, and many people void their warranties without even realizing that they are doing it.
Not Registering the Warranty
Failing to register a warranty is not technically voiding it but failing to activate it in the first place. Often, the HVAC company that performs the installation will handle the registration for you just as they do the permit and other documentation, but you should avoid assuming all is well.
At the completion of the job, discuss the warranty with the project manager. Have him or her show you all of the important paperwork. If the company has registered the new equipment on your behalf, contact the manufacturer to confirm the registration and ensure that all of the dates and details that you have are correct. If you have to oversee the registration yourself, most of the major companies now have online systems through which you can enter all of the pertinent information and even upload documentation.
Every HVAC manufacturer has guidelines for who can install their equipment and how it must be installed in order for the warranty to be valid. Consider a company like Lennox. It designates HVAC companies as Lennox Authorized Dealers, which lets you know that this company is authorized to install that equipment and that they will perform the installation according to the Lennox requirements. If you do it yourself or choose an unauthorized installer, the warranty is likely voided. It is worth noting that some manufacturers do not require authorized installers. However, a manufacturer will stand by a mistake made by an authorized installer, which is not the case with an unauthorized installer.
If you want to ensure that the system was installed appropriately, you can schedule an inspection to be performed by a third party. Many home inspection companies will have HVAC specialists who can conduct such inspections and ensure compliance with warranty requirements. This is an additional cost and not something many homeowners opt for, but it can provide added peace of mind.
Lack of Seasonal or Annual Maintenance
It is very important that you read the fine print of your HVAC warranty and note what your obligations are as the homeowner. Be mindful that HVAC warranties generally only cover parts and, in particular, part defects. If appropriate maintenance is not performed, then the manufacturer will likely deny the claim, deeming the failure to be due to wear and tear rather than a defect.
Most warranties require an annual inspection and maintenance. Be mindful that if you purchased both an air conditioner and a furnace, inspection and maintenance are required in spring for the air conditioner and fall for the furnace. It is also important to ensure that the company is performing maintenance per the requirements of the warranty. Many homeowners will opt to use the installing company, but if you opt for another, it is best to check with them prior to proceeding.
Use of Unapproved Replacement Parts and Supplies
Most manufacturers have strict requirements for which parts and supplies can be used. This is another reason that it is imperative to ensure that the HVAC maintenance company you choose is performing the inspection and upkeep based on the manufacturer’s requirements. Something as simple as using the wrong filter or an unapproved refrigerant could void your entire warranty. Should you require a repair that is not covered by the warranty, it is also very important to ensure that the fix is performed in accordance with all requirements. This is another easy way in which a warranty can be entirely voided.
Performing Unauthorized Repairs
The most common unauthorized repairs that homeowners get into trouble with are the minor do-it-yourself fixes. This may seem like an easy way to save money, but it can come back to bite you. Consider that when you make a claim, an inspector will come out to your home to inspect the system. If he or she notices any type of fix that you cannot support with paperwork, your claim is likely to be declined. Even when you have a noncovered repair performed by a professional, it is a good idea for the HVAC company to call the manufacturer and have them sign off on it.
Performing Unauthorized Upgrades
Whole-home dehumidifiers and air purifiers are becoming increasingly more common as the equipment becomes more affordable and a greater emphasis is placed on indoor air quality. However, installing such equipment is also among the most common ways that people void cooling and heating warranties. Choosing the original installer is perhaps ideal, but in either case, you want to choose an installer who can work with the manufacturer and ensure that everything meets their conditions. It is not unusual for the homeowner to deem the conditions not acceptable and to then move ahead with the home improvement knowing that it will indeed void the warranty.
Improper Transfer of Warranty
Not all HVAC warranties are transferrable, but many are. However, the most common mistake that home buyers make is assuming that the warranty transfer is automatic. Most are not, and you should presume that yours is in that category. In fact, you generally have to have the seller apply for the transfer. It is best to have the transfer performed and completed prior to the sale being finalized. The transfer often requires a nominal fee, which the seller usually covers.
Being Unprepared for a Warranty Challenge
Most of the major HVAC manufacturers offer default warranties and extended warranties, and most of the big companies have a good reputation for honoring them. That said, you should be aware of some points. Filing a claim and having it processed takes time. You will generally have to pay out of pocket and then be reimbursed. If a claim is small and usual, the company may approve it with little issue. Larger claims, however, will be vetted and challenged. The biggest mistake homeowners make is not having the paperwork that proves they had the seasonal inspection and maintenance performed. Without that documentation, the manufacturer can simply deny you, and you will not have much recourse.
Warranties Done Right
Gallagher's Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning is proud to have served the Northern Valley and the Greater Sacramento area for more than 30 years. Our company performs heating and cooling installations according to standards that exceed those of the manufacturers. We also perform all inspections, maintenance, and repairs with precision according to your warranty and will provide you with the paperwork to back it up. Our team is also available for duct cleaning, indoor air quality services, and a full range of plumbing services. Call us today or contact us online to schedule an appointment or ask any questions about the work we do.