As a homeowner you have successfully bought and had an HVAC system installed. You have probably been offered a warranty and/or guarantee by your manufacturer or contractor. Understanding the differences between the two is key to keeping your system healthy for long term usage.

What are warranties and guarantees?

Warranties and guarantees are different. Guarantees generally come with a product or service at no additional cost, often in the form of a promise from the contractor that if something goes wrong, they will repair the damage, offer a replacement or give you a refund.

A warranty is a legal agreement between you and the manufacturer that makes the manufacturer responsible for fixing or replacing a product that is faulty or breaks down due to no fault of the buyer or installer.

Guarantees

  • Free
  • Majority of them do need to be registered within a certain number of days following your purchase; and
  • Be sure to ask questions and read the fine print to make sure you understand how to use the guarantee and what it involves.

Warranties

  • Contract between you and the manufacturer

Instead of the manufacturer promising to repair or replace any issues, they have a written responsibility to fix anything that is damaged or faulty.

  • Not all warranties are free

Some do come at an additional cost. They function like insurance for a product or service for a determined length of time.

How they work

When you buy your HVAC unit, the manufacturer will typically guarantee that the system will work once installed – as long as it is installed correctly by your contractor. Since the manufacturer usually has no control over who installs the unit or how it is installed, they use their standard warranty to cover the unit.

This warranty usually says that the manufacturer will fix or replace any parts of your HVAC system that do not work when it comes out of the box (manufacturer’s defects). In other words, if it is installed and a belt or coil is not working, the manufacturer’s warranty will replace it.

The contractor installing your unit guarantees that your system should operate correctly after they install it, assuming the product works. For example, if the contractor installs your unit and it stops working because of loose or improperly connected wires, the contractor will fix the unit because it is their fault the system is not working. However, if the contractor installs the unit, turns it on, and it does not work because a motor is broken, then you would use the manufacturer’s warranty to replace the broken motor.

How can you get the most out of your warranties and guarantees?

Both warranties and guarantees protect you in the event something is damaged or is not working properly. To get the most out of each, you need to understand them and know exactly what you are getting.

Read the fine print so you understand what your manufacturer warranty covers and aspects of the work your contractor is guaranteeing. If you are thinking about purchasing an extended warranty, make sure the coverage period of your current warranty does not overlap and that the coverage it offers is necessary to the health of your HVAC system. Some extended warranties take advantage of your inability to assess the likelihood (or unlikelihood) of actually needing the coverage.

Understanding exactly what you are getting, how and when to use it, and how much it will cost is an important part of protecting your unit.

Warranties and guarantees can be confusing, but they are also beneficial for homeowners trying to save money and keep their system running smoothly. Knowing how these warranties and guarantees work is the best way to get the most out of your HVAC.

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