HVAC warranties: Coverage and cost

Make sure you're protected for those inevitable breakdowns

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It can cost $130 to $450 to repair your HVAC system and up to $5,000 to replace it. Those numbers can easily strain most people’s budgets. Luckily, a good warranty can cover most of the HVAC repair or replacement costs. Here’s how to make your HVAC’s warranty work for you.


Key insights

Most home warranties cover HVAC systems, but the specific details of what is covered vary by plan.

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HVAC units may also be covered by a manufacturers warranty, installers warranty or other type of extended warranty.

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Manufacturers warranties and home warranties have several differences, so knowing which you have is important.

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Do home warranties cover HVAC?

Home warranties often cover HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems. This coverage typically includes repairing or replacing components that fail due to normal wear and tear. Here’s what’s included with HVAC coverage under a home warranty:

  • Heating systems, including furnaces, heat pumps and certain types of built-in wall heaters. Coverage generally extends to most mechanical components that affect the heating system's operation.
  • Central air conditioning units, as well as ducted and some non-ducted wall air conditioning systems, are usually covered by a home warranty. Similar to heating systems, air conditioner warranty coverage typically includes essential components such as motors, compressors and thermostats.
  • Ductwork that’s connected to your HVAC. It can cost $3,500 on average to replace your home’s ductwork, so some home warranties also cover the ductwork associated with HVAC systems, addressing leaks and other issues that affect the air distribution.

What are the other types of HVAC warranties?

Beyond home warranties that cover HVAC systems, you might encounter several other types of warranties to protect your heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. Each type serves a different purpose and has its own set of conditions.

Manufacturers warranty

A manufacturers warranty comes directly from the manufacturer of your HVAC equipment and typically covers defects in materials or workmanship. It usually applies to specific components like the compressor, heat exchanger or other critical parts. These warranties do not cover damages due to improper installation, lack of maintenance or normal wear and tear.

Manufacturers warranties generally last from five to 10 years, depending on the part and the brand. For example, Trane offers a five-year warranty covering parts and the compressor for air conditioner and heat pump models. It also covers parts for five years and the heat exchanger for twenty years on furnace models. Carrier, on the other hand, offers a 10-year warranty for both parts and the compressor.

Registering is a good idea. Some HVAC companies offer extended warranties if you register the product within a certain time frame after purchase.

Installers warranty

Many HVAC installers offer warranties on their workmanship. The installation company can also call these warranties repair warranties or labor warranties. If the system fails due to improper installation or related issues, the installer will repair it at no additional cost.

The length of an installers warranty can vary, so be sure to check with your installer for details. Remember, this warranty strictly covers issues related to the quality of the installation and does not extend to problems originating from the manufacturing of the equipment itself.

Extended warranty

You can purchase an extended warranty from the manufacturer or a third party. It usually begins after the manufacturers warranty expires and can extend the protection for years to come.

The coverage term of an extended warranty varies depending on the provider and the outlined terms of the contract, often adding five to 10 additional years of coverage. Extended warranties usually cover major components and sometimes labor. The price of an extended warranty can vary widely based on the extent of coverage and the HVAC system’s specifics.

Maintenance agreements

HVAC companies and installers offer service contracts to provide ongoing maintenance for your HVAC. While not warranties, they help prevent system failures through regular upkeep, which can indirectly extend the life of your system.

Maintenance agreements typically include inspections, cleaning, tuning and sometimes priority service and repair discounts. HVAC maintenance agreements are usually renewed annually.

HVAC warranty costs

Most manufacturers warranties are built into the cost of the item, but for the other types of warranties, here’s what you can expect when it comes to costs:

  • Home warranty: $450 to $600 per year
  • HVAC maintenance agreement: $150 to $300 per year
  • Extended warranty: You typically need to get a quote from the company
  • Installers warranty: $100 to $300 per year

Manufacturers warranties vs. home warranties

Both manufacturers warranties and home warranties provide valuable protections but cover different aspects and have distinct terms. Here's a breakdown of how they compare:

Which one should you rely on?

If your HVAC system is still under the manufacturers warranty during the warranty period, it's usually best to rely on this coverage for defects or issues related to the equipment's manufacturing. Once the manufacturers warranty expires, a home warranty can provide broader protection against the costs associated with aging equipment and general wear and tear.

Pros and cons of HVAC warranties

The pros and cons of a HVAC warranty depends on which one you have, though some problems and benefits are universal:

Pros

  • Savings on repairs or replacement
  • The warranty company may choose a repair technician for you
  • Maintenance contracts keep your system in good working order

Cons

  • Many warranties have limitations and exclusions
  • Coverage caps only pay up to a certain amount
  • You may have to wait for a repair

What can void an HVAC warranty?

No matter the type of warranty, their contracts will all have limitations and exclusions that can void your warranty. Here are a few more common ones:

  • Unauthorized repairs
  • Using the item in a way that isn’t the intended use
  • Damage that isn’t from normal wear and tear or from manufacturing defects
  • The item is second-hand (some warranties don’t transfer from one owner to another)

How do I know if my HVAC is under warranty?

Don’t know if your HVAC has a warranty? Here are some ways to find out:

  • Check your home warranty contract.
  • Review past service records for your HVAC and contact the technician to ask about coverage details on previous repairs.
  • Check the manufacturer’s warranty page using the model and serial number, or call the customer service line.
  • Call your installer for installation warranty information or check the contract.

Quick and easy. Find a home warranty partner now.

    FAQ

    What is the average life span of HVAC?

    HVACs can last 10 to 12 years, depending on the type and how well you care for it.

    Is an HVAC warranty worth it?

    In many cases, an HVAC warranty is worth it. Repairs to HVAC systems can be expensive, and a warranty may cover those expenses.

    How long are HVACs under warranty?

    HVAC systems typically come with a five- to 10-year manufacturer warranty. Home warranties that cover HVAC systems usually renew each year.

    Bottom line

    The types of HVAC warranties can significantly influence your budget for repairs. Manufacturer warranties typically cover defects in materials or workmanship and generally last five to 10 years at no additional cost, focusing mainly on critical components like compressors or heat exchangers.

    On the other hand, home warranties, which you must purchase, cover the broader functionality of the HVAC system, including parts and labor for repairs due to normal wear and tear. Both types of warranties have their place in a comprehensive home care strategy. Adding a maintenance contract can also save you time when it comes to taking care of your unit.


    Article sources
    ConsumerAffairs writers primarily rely on government data, industry experts and original research from other reputable publications to inform their work. Specific sources for this article include:
    1. Angi, “Are HVAC Maintenance Plans and Service Contracts Worth the Money?” Accessed May 9, 2024.
    2. Efficiency Heating & Cooling, “How Much Is Repair Warranty On Air Conditioning?” Accessed May 9, 2024.
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