Few breakdowns make your home as uncomfortable as when your HVAC system stops working. This always seems to happen in the middle of a heatwave or at the peak of winter and to make matters worse, it’s an expensive fix. The average cost of installing a new heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system is between $3,500 and $7,525.
If the repairs aren’t covered by the manufacturer’s warranty or home insurance, a home warranty can offset these costs, and that’s the way we recommend you go for protecting yourself against HVAC breakdowns. A home warranty is a service agreement between you and the provider, where the customer pays an annual or monthly fee instead of unplanned repair or replacement costs. Read on about the different HVAC warranty options available to you: Manufacturer’s warranties, equipment warranties, labor warranties, extended warranties, home warranties with HVAC coverage, and more.
What to Look for in an HVAC Manufacturer Warranty
When you purchase an HVAC system from a manufacturer, it comes with a standard warranty (also called a limited or base warranty). A typical HVAC warranty should clearly explain the following topics:
- Length of coverage—Check the duration period to see how long the HVAC warranty lasts. The coverage length may be different for different parts or models. Standard coverage lengths are one year, five years, 20 years, or a lifetime.
- Start date—Make sure you know your installation date, which usually marks the beginning of the coverage.
- What equipment is covered—Look for protected parts and components.
- Exclusions—Read over the list of excluded parts.
- Conditions for use—Certain circumstances or events may void your warranty.
- Warranty registration—Steps on how to register the product should be clear. Also, check if there are any benefits to product registration.
- How to make a claim—Make sure you understand how to file a claim.
- Labor costs—Even if your particular repair is covered under the warranty, labor costs or other service fees related to the repair may not be—and they can run you several hundred dollars. However, many extended warranties cover labor costs.
What is an HVAC Warranty
Residential HVAC warranties provide protection against potential breakdowns or malfunctions you may encounter with your HVAC system. Most brands offer an equipment warranty that lasts 5 years, but many on the market also only require registration paperwork to acquire the 10-year extended warranty.
HVAC warranties come in different types and protect different parts or services. There are manufacturer and extended warranties, which typically guarantee the function of your system for a certain period of time and will cover defects. However, there are also labor warranties that protect you against paying extra fees if any repairs or replacements didn’t fix the HVAC system correctly or aren’t holding out. Home warranties with HVAC coverage, on the other hand, cover the repair and replacement of HVAC systems that break down due to normal wear and tear.
Types of HVAC Warranties
When looking for a protection plan for your HVAC system, it’s important to know the different HVAC warranty types and what you’re getting.
HVAC Manufacturer Warranty
The maker of the HVAC equipment offers a manufacturer’s warranty. The details vary between providers, but this type of HVAC warranty generally covers manufacturing defects and related repairs. Some HVAC manufacturers with the best warranty are Daikin, Goodman, Amana, Day & Night, KeepRight, Maytag, Heil, and Tempstar.
You also can register the product with the manufacturer and receive special perks or a better warranty—but only if the product is registered within 60 days of installation or another specified time. You usually need your product serial number, model number, installation date, and other essential information to register your HVAC system.
The government regulates manufacturer warranties for the sake of the consumers. For example, the law requires that customers access a limited warranty before purchasing a product. Also, manufacturers can’t legally require a consumer to register a product to maintain limited warranty protection, but they can give incentives for product registration.
HVAC Extended Warranty
An HVAC extended warranty is a service contract offered and paid for outside the manufacturer’s warranty. You can purchase one when you buy your HVAC or sign up later. With an extended warranty, your coverage is continued past the length of the original warranty.
Purchasing an extended warranty from the manufacturer isn’t always necessary. Some third-party providers offer different coverage plans.
While homeowners insurance isn’t a warranty, it’s worth noting because it protects in situations that an HVAC warranty may not cover. For example, homeowners insurance covers:
- Unforeseeable events, like a fallen tree or lightning strike damaging the unit
- The cost of a replacement in these situations
Homeowners’ insurance doesn’t cover wear and tear from regular use. Homeowner insurance won’t cover the replacement if your unit breaks down simply because it’s old.
A home warranty for an HVAC system is different from homeowners insurance because its primary purpose is to cover breakdowns from regular use. You pay an annual or monthly fee—along with a service fee—instead of the cost of the repair or replacement. Many homeowners find these prices much more manageable than the total cost of an unplanned breakdown.
The amount of coverage for heating and air conditioning differs based on the provider and the type of plan you select. Most home warranty companies will offer an A/C warranty or a heating warranty and rarely have them listed as one unit. However, we recommend you thoroughly read your service contract prior to signing to ensure you have the coverage you need.
What to know about home warranties and HVAC systems:
- Home warranties usually don’t cover existing breakdowns.
- It’s up to the provider to determine if your HVAC system can be repaired or if it should be replaced.
- The cost of a replacement may be completely covered, or the provider may have a price cap.
- Your contract will list what HVAC parts are covered and what parts are not.
- Some providers require an inspection to determine the condition of your systems and appliances before starting coverage.
What Voids an HVAC Manufacturer Warranty?
HVAC warranties include terms and conditions that explain when a repair or replacement is or isn’t covered. It’s quite possible to unknowingly violate your warranty and prevent you from receiving the benefits.
The FTC regulates these conditions so that manufacturers can’t get too particular, but you should still follow these tips to prevent voiding your HVAC warranty:
- Start by reading your warranty to know what coverage will look like.
- Register your HVAC system with the manufacturer to make the most of the limited warranty.
- Read the HVAC owner’s manual for proper use and maintenance. Misusing or improperly maintaining the HVAC system can null your warranty. Simple tasks like changing the air filters can help your system last longer.
- Improper installment can also void your HVAC warranty.
- Using equipment, not from the original manufacturer can void your limited warranty.
- Keep receipts and all other maintenance records. These can come in handy if a repair is necessary and prove that you took care of the HVAC unit.
HVAC Warranty Comparison
Who has the best HVAC warranty? While many manufacturer warranties have similar lengths and registration periods, some offer more coverage. Compare the limited and extended HVAC warranties across these leading manufacturers.
|Provider||Warranty details||Registration period||Warranty transferability||Extended Warranty|
|American Standard||Base limited manufacturer’s warranty: varies between models and parts but ranges between 1 and 20 years (heat exchanger has a lifetime warranty on some models).||Products installed on or after May 1, 2009, must be registered within 60 days of the installation date.||The registered limited warranty transfer option is available to purchase products installed on or after August 1, 2011, during the 60-day product registration period or within 90 days of the home sale.||Optional extended warranty available.|
|Goodman Air Conditioning & Heating||10-year parts limited warranty, lifetime compressor limited warranty, lifetime heat exchanger limited warranty, and 10-year unit replacement limited warranty (on select gas furnaces).||Within 60 days of the installation (or closing) date.||N/A||Available through AsureSM Extended Service Plans.|
|Trane||Base limited warranty: between 1 and 20 years, depending on the product.|
Registered limited warranty: 5 years up to a lifetime, depending on the product.
|Within 60 days of the installation date.||The base limited warranty is not transferable.||An optional extended warranty is available to cover the cost of parts and labor.|
|Maytag||M1200 Series: 12-year limited parts warranty and dependability promise (M120 models dependability promise is one year).|
Limited lifetime heat exchanger warranty.
12-year air handlers and coil warranty.
|Within 60 days of the installation date.||The base warranty is transferable, but the upgraded registered warranty is not.||Extended labor protection plans are available to cover labor costs.|
Why Choose a Home Warranty for HVAC Coverage
While a manufacturer’s warranty may seem like the most convenient option to cover your heating and air conditioning, a home warranty can be more cost-effective because it covers more than your HVAC. Here’s why Today’s Homeowner recommends a home warranty.
A manufacturer’s HVAC warranty only covers one system, and you have to register your product to get the full benefits. This means all your appliances will have different contracts from different providers. If this is the case, it can be challenging to track what appliances are still under warranty and what the coverage includes.
With a home warranty, you’re dealing with just one contract covering several systems and appliances throughout your home, including your HVAC system (if you select a plan with that level of coverage).
Remember, HVAC warranties from manufacturers only cover repairs or replacements that have to do with a defective part, not from regular use. On the other hand, home warranties are designed to protect homeowners from the costs of repairs caused by normal wear and tear.
Most HVAC systems last 10–15 years when they’re correctly maintained. However, your system will likely need some repair after over a decade of almost daily use. Common HVAC repairs include:
- Broken compressor fans
- Refrigerant leaks
- Frozen condenser coils
- Drainage issues
- Clogged air filters
Home warranties also cover older heaters and air conditioners, so the age of your system won’t prevent you from receiving coverage.
HVAC Warranty Cost
The average HVAC warranty costs $25–$67 a month or about $300–$800 a year. In addition, most plans require a service fee per claim, which usually runs between $75 and $125.
Compare these costs to what HVAC repairs and replacements run when you’re not covered by a home warranty.
|Unit||Repair cost||Replacement cost|
If your repair is from regular wear and tear and isn’t covered by the limited warranty, you can pay these costs out of pocket.
Our HVAC Warranty Recommendation
Today’s Homeowner suggests Choice Home Warranty as our top pick for HVAC coverage. To get a free quote from Choice Home Warranty, call 929-400-6164 or go online.
The Total Plan covers your air conditioning and heating system, as well as these systems and appliances:*
- Electrical system
- Plumbing system
- Plumbing stoppage
- Water heater
- Whirlpool bathtub
- Built-in microwave
- Garbage disposal
- Clothes washer and dryer
- Garage door opener
- Ceiling and exhaust fans
You can also purchase optional coverage for other items, pools/spas, well pumps, sump pumps, septic systems, septic tank plumbing, central vacuums, second refrigerators, limited roof leaks, and stand-alone freezers.
Not only do you have access to comprehensive coverage, but you receive the following benefits when you select Choice Home Warranty for your HVAC coverage:
- No inspection is required for your application to be approved.
- The technicians are local, trained, and pre-screened, so you don’t have to find a quality repairman yourself.
- Customer service is available around the clock, even on holidays.
- You can transfer the warranty for free if you decide to sell your home.
- A sample user agreement is available online, so you know what HVAC parts are included.
- Service fees are limited to $85 (and are sometimes less).
Interview with Kevin Brock, Owner/Founder of HVAC Direct
Which HVAC manufacturer stands out as the best in terms of few repairs and long lifespan?
Goodman is our top choice for top-of-the-line quality in-home heating and air conditioning. Their equipment is durable and long-lasting. When you combine that with their affordable prices, it’s a no-brainer for us to offer them as our preferred manufacturer for traditional residential ducted heating and cooling.
Which one has the best warranty?
Goodman, our top brand, offers a ten-year warranty. Although 10 years have become standard in the industry, we’ve found Goodman to stand by their claims, and when issues do arise, they have always done right by the homeowner. For ductless heating and cooling, the Daikin brand has the absolute best warranty at 12 years for their mini-split systems.
Do you think that manufacturer warranties end up being useful, or do labor fees, installation costs, or other fine print exclusions get in the way?
Manufacturer warranties are helpful for parts and replacements. However, labor is the most significant part of the repair costs.
Have you seen examples of when a home warranty really paid off for a customer in terms of HVAC repairs?
Yes, we’ve seen those warranties pay off when the compressor on the air conditioning condense dies. It saves considerable expenses.
What are some quick tips that you wish every homeowner knew?
The best tip is the easiest—change your filters at least twice per year. Not doing so is the number one cause of A/C and furnace failure.