Air conditioning is present in nearly 100 million homes in the United States. No matter where you live—in the Pacific Northwest, in Southern Florida—chances are, you want (or need) an air conditioner in your home. Staying cool in the summer months or throughout the year is a priority, and often, a necessity for millions of Americans. You can do your best to extend the life of your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system with routine tune-ups, cleanings, and filter changes, but eventually it will need to be repaired or replaced. Having an air conditioning warranty can help you avoid these high costs.
Not only do home warranties repair or replace home systems and appliances, but they take the work out of calling a repairman, give you the peace of mind you desire, and help you save on unexpected costs. In our review, we explain the purpose of a warranty, the best air conditioning warranty options, and why working with Choice Home Warranty, our recommended home warranty provider, is the best coverage.
To get a free personalized quote from Choice Home Warranty, fill out this quick form or call 929-400-6164.
What is a Warranty for an Air Conditioner?
Warranties are offered for products, appliances, and home systems. If a product breaks within the first few years of purchase, a warranty plan ensures that it gets repaired or replaced at a minimal cost.
An air conditioning warranty offers reduced repair or replacement costs over a designated time period. Without a warranty, you could end up paying anywhere from $75 to $1,300 in air conditioner repairs. If you have to replace your air conditioning unit, it could cost you an average of $5,414 for the installation.
The good news: air conditioners have a long lifespan. Central air conditioning lasts an average of 15–20 years, sometimes longer. However, repairs and replacements are inevitable, so it’s important to have a warranty plan in place.
Types of Warranties for Air Conditioners or HVAC Systems
Most HVAC manufacturers offer warranty plans or service contracts for products. The term length and coverage are different across manufacturers. For example, if you buy an air conditioner from American Standard, it comes with a warranty, but what exactly does the manufacturer cover, how long does the warranty last, and what are the contract limitations?
A manufacturer air conditioning warranty includes a specific warranty term and may or may not cover repairs and/or replacements of all parts (such as the evaporator coil, fan motor, compressor, blower motor, etc.). If you have a limited warranty, that means not all parts or products are covered, so take note of the exclusions mentioned in the warranty agreement.
Here are some exclusions in most manufacturer AC warranties:
- Labor costs: Hiring an expert to perform annual routine air conditioner maintenance costs an average of $70–$100 for a one-time visit.
- Installation costs: This depends on where you live and what type of unit you purchase. Not all manufacturers offer installation services like Home Depot, and if they do, it often costs extra.
- Repairs or replacements: These are covered if they are needed because of improper installation, environmental hazards, or failure to provide proper maintenance. Replacements, in general, may not be included.
In addition, you can purchase extended warranty plans. Some manufacturers offer their own extended warranties or recommend specific third-party ones. This is similar to the manufacturer’s warranty except it’s longer, usually around 10 years.
Compare Air Conditioning Warranties
For an air conditioning warranty comparison, we compared the top brands that offer A/C Warranties: Trane, Payne, Goodman, Lennox, and Maytag.
|Included Warranty||Base Limited Warranty||Parts limited warranty||A limited warranty is included if you register within 60 days of installation||Limited warranty||Limited warranty|
|AC Warranty Terms||Depending on the product and part; anywhere from 1–20 years||10-year parts limited warranty||10-year parts limited warranty, as well as Lifetime Compressor Limited Warranty||Depending on the product and part; anywhere from 2–20 years||12 years for all parts|
|Manufacturer’s Warranty Coverage||Three warranty plans are offered: Base Limited Warranty, Registered Limited Warranty, and Optional Extended Warranty||Not all products or parts are covered and coverage length varies, depending on the product or part.||Not all products or parts are covered. Third-party extended warranties may be purchased from Goodman and not all units are covered, depending on purchase details.||Standard Equipment Limited Warranties are included; Extended Limited Warranties are also offered.||The warranty covers all parts and the replacement of the unit if the compressor fails.|
|Registration||Register your product within 60 days of installation to extend your Base Limited Warranty.||If you do not register, your product term will diminish to 5 years instead of 10.||Register within 60 days of the installation or closing date.||Registration is only required for extended warranties.||If you do not register the product within 60 days of purchase, you will only receive coverage for 5 years.|
The challenge of relying on manufacturer warranties is that not all installation costs are included and not all cooling system units and parts are covered. For example, a Payne air conditioner warranty covers some parts— not all—for a 10-year term. If you look at the terms for the Goodman air conditioner warranty, the limited Goodman warranty terms do not cover units that are ordered over the phone, by Internet, or through electronic means. You also have to pay attention to the term length and when it begins. With a Trane AC warranty, for example, the equipment warranty term begins at the initial start-up or date of shipment, whichever is less.
If you don’t pay attention to the terms and conditions, you could end up spending more than you would like. A circuit board replacement can cost you anywhere from $120–$600, so if it’s not covered under your warranty, you could get stuck with a hefty, unexpected repair bill. Check your agreement to see if the warranty coverage includes more than just the basics.
Manufacturer warranty vs. home warranty plan
Instead of relying on your manufacturer warranty—which doesn’t cover everything and may not last as long as your AC system does—you can purchase a home warranty plan to cover your system, in addition to many other home appliances and home systems.
You also get the option of purchasing extended warranties through the manufacturer. An air conditioner extended warranty provides coverage for repairs from wear and tear, but it still only covers that one system. If you wanted to cover more than one system with extended warranties, you’ll end up with different contracts for each, making it difficult to stay organized. Home warranties include appliances and systems throughout your entire house under just one plan and allow you to work with just one provider if something breaks down.
Air conditioner insurance vs. home warranty plan
When you buy or own a home, you normally buy homeowners insurance to protect your home appliances and systems in the case of fires, natural disasters, floods, or theft. Often, you can buy air conditioner insurance as an add-on to your homeowner’s insurance, if it’s not already included.
The problem: AC insurance does not actually cover repairs or replacements of AC units or systems should they simply falter, break, or stop working due to everyday wear and tear. That’s where home warranty plans come in.
Home warranty plans are service plans offered by home warranty companies. They cover repairs and replacements of major systems and appliances, knowing that eventually, the system or appliance will break from everyday use.
For peace of mind and extended protection, you may want to invest in both homeowners insurance and a home warranty plan. This protects your home and your budget, should anything go wrong.
Technicians and small business owners who work in the heating, ventilation, and cooling construction industry are required to have HVAC insurance. Air conditioning insurance rates vary, but commercial general liability costs between $350 and $1,500. When hiring a professional to install your air conditioner, make sure they have insurance.
Home Warranty Companies with Air Conditioner Coverage
Choice Home Warranty: Best for Air Conditioning Warranty
If you want the best home warranty for HVAC, we recommend Choice Home Warranty. With the Total Plan, you will get repairs and replacements for just the cost of a service call fee (typically $75). Having a home warranty plan for your HVAC can actually save you hundreds of dollars and ensure that your unit meets the Department of Energy requirements. If it does not, you may be eligible for an upgrade.
If your HVAC unit is below the minimum efficiency standard of 13 SEER, for instance, your equipment may be upgraded to the 13 SEER standard. This will make the system more efficient and save you more money in the long term. If service work performed under the contract should fail, Choice Home Warranty will make the necessary repairs without an additional trade service call fee for a period of 90 days of the home service on parts and 30 days on labor.
Home warranty plans cover everything from major home systems such as water heaters, electrical, and air conditioning, all the way to home appliances such as dishwashers, garbage disposals, and garage door openers. Our recommended provider, Choice Home Warranty, offers two different plans, plus additional coverage options. The total home warranty plan covers:
- Air conditioning system
- Clothes washer
- Clothes dryer
- Heating system
- Electrical system
- Plumbing system
- Plumbing stoppage
- Whirlpool bathtub
- Water heater
- Oven, range, stove
- Built-in microwave
- Garbage disposal
- Garage door opener
- Ceiling and exhaust fans
Here are the biggest benefits of choosing Choice Home Warranty:
- You get your first month free when you sign up for a single-payment annual home warranty plan.
- Plans start at approximately $1 per day.
- A team of pre-screened and local expert technicians repairs or replaces your appliances and systems.
- Contracts are available for single-family homes, multiple units, condos, mobile homes, and manufactured homes.
- You can always expect professional, 24/7 customer service.
To learn more about Choice Home Warranty plans and get a free quote, call 929-400-6164 or provide your zip code here.
Read our complete CHW review for additional details.
How to Register Your A/C Unit or HVAC System
Many manufacturers allow you to register the product to get additional air conditioning warranty benefits.
Here is what you need to do for basic product registration:
- Call the manufacturer or go to the manufacturer’s warranty website and find “product registration.”
- Enter your product information, which often includes your serial number, model number, installation date, etc.
- If you have purchased more than one product through the same manufacturer, you will need to register each product individually.
- You also need to provide your personal information, residential information (what type of home or apartment you live in), and dealer information, if you have purchased an extended warranty through a third party.
Registration is a fairly quick process, as long as you have the information ready. Typically, a serial number is located on the top or back of the product. Depending on how many parts there are, there may be more than one serial number.
How to Avoid Voiding Your Warranty
Without intending to, you can “void” your manufacturer AC warranty agreement. Here are some mistakes to avoid:
- Improper installation. If you don’t install your unit or system correctly, or if you don’t have a licensed professional install the system, then the manufacturer will not cover any repairs or replacements, regardless of what’s “covered” in the warranty agreement.
- Not purchasing and using the manufacturer’s replacement parts. It may be more affordable to buy another manufacturer’s part, but you can’t guarantee that it will work properly with the system or unit.
- Not properly maintaining your unit. You might forget to replace filters, or you might not want to pay the extra to bring in an expert. If you don’t maintain the unit or system, then you may not be able to enjoy the benefits of a warranty. When you hire a contractor, save the paperwork should the manufacturer question the upkeep.
Before buying an HVAC system, ask to see the manufacturer’s HVAC labor warranty template. Read the terms and make sure you are aware of what you’re buying since an HVAC is a long-term investment.
Costs of Repairing and Replacing Heating and Cooling Systems
HVAC systems are pricey, but being comfortable in your home is a priority for many homeowners. If your AC unit breaks in the hot months, you’ll want a quick fix. If your system is under warranty, you’ll need to contact both the manufacturer and an expert technician to fix the problem. Those costs can add up quickly.
Check out some of the most common heating and air conditioner repair costs (based on the national average):
- $225–$1,600 to fix a refrigerant leak detection
- $100–$300 to replace a condensing unit fan motor
- $160–$400 for an AC refrigerant recharge
- $1,350–$1,800 to replace a home air compressor
- $60–$250 to repair a thermostat
- $90–$250 to replace a condensate pump
- Up to $1,200 to replace a heat exchanger
As you can see, some of these repair costs are steep, especially if one or all of these parts aren’t included in your warranty. This is why we recommend purchasing a home warranty plan, which covers most of the cost and comes with many additional benefits. A home warranty will cover parts and labor—all you’re paying is your monthly fee and a small service fee.
FAQs About Air Conditioning Warranties
Is it possible to get a home warranty to replace an air conditioner?
If there is a problem with your HVAC unit, then your home warranty provider will make sure it is fixed. If they cannot fix the problem, they will then replace the unit. Keep in mind that you can’t purchase a home warranty just so that they’ll replace a currently broken unit. Most home warranties don’t cover pre-existing conditions, and there is usually a 30-day wait period between signing up and when your coverage begins.
Will my 20-year-old AC unit be covered under a home warranty?
If your AC unit is in working condition and is properly maintained, then it will be covered under your home warranty plan regardless of how old it is.
Can you get a warranty transfer?
If you are a new homeowner or if you have recently sold your home, you will want to get an AC warranty transfer. This means ensuring that the names and information on the paperwork is adjusted and correct. If you are the homeowner but your name is not on the warranty, you may not get the benefits of the warranty.
Do warranties only cover functional parts?
Typically, yes. Non-functional parts are not typically covered under manufacturer warranty plans. For example, a cosmetic panel is considered a non-functional part.
*Terms and conditions apply. Review complete limits of liability and any exclusions. CHW offers service contracts which are not warranties.
**See policy for specifics on response times.
***CHW reserves the right to offer cash back in lieu of repair or replacement in the amount of CHW’s actual cost (which at times may be less than retail) to repair or replace any covered system, component or appliance.
****In the event a claim is denied, and a customer seeks to have Us review that denial, We have the right to request routine maintenance records in reviewing its decision.
Interview with Randy Smith, Franchise Consultant of Aire Serv, a Neighborly company
What HVAC manufacturer has the best warranty?
All manufacturers have very comparable warranty periods and coverages. The one item that has the biggest impact on repairs, breakdowns, and lifespan is not the brand of equipment but is more determined by how the equipment was designed and installed. The other item that has a huge effect is how the system is maintained.
Do you think that manufacturer warranties end up being useful?
Manufacturer’s warranties are useful for covering the replacement of a failed part within the warranty period. This saves the homeowner that expense, but the labor to replace the failed part is typically not covered unless an extended warranty was purchased at the time of installation.
Have you seen examples of when a warranty really paid off for a customer in terms of HVAC repairs?
A warranty can save the homeowner money on repairs up to a point. There comes a time when the system should be replaced due to being unreliable and inefficient to operate, rather than making numerous and costly repairs.