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HVAC Warranty Guide (2020 Update)

By Kristin McClure

House Method researches, reviews, and recommends warranties of all kinds. Affiliate Disclosure.

Few breakdowns make your home as uncomfortable as when your HVAC system stops working. This always seems to happen in the middle of a heat wave or at the peak of winter. 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. 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.

As you research, you’ll see that a home warranty isn’t the only way to cover your HVAC unit. Keep reading to learn about the different HVAC warranty options, and why House Method recommends protection plans through Choice Home Warranty. To get a free quote on coverage for your heating and air conditioning, call 929-400-6164 or type in your zip code.

Best overall

Editor's Pick: Choice Home Warranty

  • Heating system is covered under both the Basic Plan and the Total Plan.
  • Air conditioning is covered under the Total Plan.
  • Plans start as low as $1 a day.
  • You get one month free when you sign up for a single-payment, annual home warranty plan.
  • Some limitations apply to HVAC repairs and replacements, so read your specific contract.

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 with each option.

Manufacturer warranties

A manufacturer warranty is offered by the maker of the HVAC equipment. The details vary between providers, but in general, this type of HVAC warranty covers manufacturing defects and the related repairs.

You also have the option to 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 period of time. To register your HVAC system, you normally need your product serial number, model number, installation date, and other basic information.

Manufacturer warranties are regulated by the government for the sake of the consumers. For example, the law requires that customers have access to the 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.

Extended warranties

An HVAC extended warranty is a service contract that’s offered and paid for outside of the manufacturer warranty. You can purchase one when you buy your HVAC or choose to 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. There are third-party providers that offer different coverage plans.

Homeowners insurance

While homeowners insurance isn’t a warranty, it’s worth noting because it provides protection 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. If your unit breaks down simply because it’s old, homeowners insurance won’t cover the replacement.

Home warranties

A home warranty for an HVAC system is different than homeowners insurance because its primary purpose is to cover breakdowns that occur 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 full cost of an unplanned breakdown.

The amount of coverage for heating and air conditioning is different based on the provider and the type of plan you select.

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 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 warranty or a 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. Common coverage lengths are 1 year, 5 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 a list of 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 the process 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 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 take actions that void 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 so that you know what coverage will look like.
  • Register your HVAC system with the manufacturer to make the most of the limited warranty.
  • Read the HVAC’s 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 that’s 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 you need proof 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 than others. 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 lifetime warranty on some models). Products installed on or after May 1, 2009 must be registered within 60 days of the installation date. Registered limited warranty transfer option is available for purchase for 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 lifetime, depending on the product.

Within 60 days of the installation date. Base limited warranty is not transferable. Optional extended warranty 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 1 year).

Limited lifetime heat exchanger warranty.

12-year air handlers and coils warranty.

Within 60 days of the installation date. Base warranty is transferable, but the upgraded registered warranty is not. Extended labor protection plans available to cover labor costs.

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 just your HVAC. Here’s why House Method recommends a home warranty.

Convenience

A manufacturer 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 warranties from different providers. If this is the case, it can be difficult to keep track of what appliances are still under warranty and what the coverage includes.

With a home warranty, you’re dealing with just one contract that covers several systems and appliances throughout your home, including your HVAC system (if you select a plan with that level of coverage).

Cost-effectiveness

The average home warranty premium 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 you when you’re not covered by a home warranty.

Unit Repair cost Replacement cost
Air conditioner $347 $5,413
Heater $284 $4,249

If your repair is from regular wear and tear and isn’t covered by the limited warranty, you can expect to pay these costs out of pocket.

Coverage

Remember, HVAC warranties from manufacturers only cover repairs or replacements that have to do with a defective part, not from regular use. Home warranties, on the other hand, 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 properly maintained. However, it’s likely your system will need some sort of 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.

Our recommendation: Choice Home Warranty

House Method 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.

Best overall

Editor's Pick: Choice Home Warranty

  • Heating system is covered under both the Basic Plan and the Total Plan.
  • Air conditioning is covered under the Total Plan.
  • Plans start as low as $1 a day.
  • You get one month free when you sign up for a single-payment, annual home warranty plan.
  • Some limitations apply to HVAC repairs and replacements, so read your specific contract.

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
  • Refrigerator
  • Oven/range/stove/cooktop
  • Dishwasher
  • Built-in microwave
  • Garbage disposal
  • Clothes washer and dryer
  • Ductwork
  • 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).

Get a free quote

on HVAC protection from Choice Home Warranty.

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*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 Kevin Brock, Owner/Founder of HVAC Direct

Which HVAC manufacturer stands out as the best in terms of few repairs and long lifespan?

For top-of-the-line quality in home heating and air conditioning, Goodman is our top choice. Their equipment is durable and long-lasting. When you combine that with their affordable prices, it’s a no-brainer for us as a retailer 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 has 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 definitely helpful for parts and replacements. Although, labor is the largest 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 a large expense.

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.

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