Posted on December 8, 2014
You've just bought a new HVAC system, and with it, an extended HVAC warranty. So you're covered in case anything goes wrong, right? Unfortunately, that extended warranty isn't always enough. Here are five things that can void your HVAC warranty, if you're not careful.
- The warranty hasn't been registered. Often, simply purchasing the warranty is just the first step. Many HVAC manufacturers require you to register the warranty as well, to prove that you bought it and to get your name and contact info in their system. This usually needs to be done within a certain amount of time after you purchase the system in order for the warranty to be valid. If you don't, the warranty is at best cut considerably shorter, and at worst voided entirely. Find out as you buy your system whether you have to register your warranty, what registration entails, and how long you have to do so.
- The wrong replacement parts have been used. Warranties generally only cover major components, not smaller parts like air filters, fan belts or wiring. These you'll have to replace yourself. And HVAC manufacturers can be particular about the types of parts that are used in their systems. They only trust the parts that bear their brand. After all, if you're buying parts from another company, they're losing money. So be careful. Know exactly what kind of parts are specified in the agreement. Even if another brand of replacement parts is cheaper, they can end up costing you more in the long run by voiding your HVAC warranty.
- The system has been installed incorrectly. Poor installation of an HVAC system is a common problem, and it can lead to all sorts of issues. It can make the system run less efficiently, wear it out more quickly, and cause various other types of damage. No manufacturer wants to be fiscally responsible for the failings of an HVAC technician. Therefore, it's essential to make sure that the new HVAC system is installed properly. Before hiring a company to install it, talk to them to make sure they use NATE certified technicians who can provide you with a top quality HVAC installation. Also ask about Energy Star certified installations, which are designed to guarantee peak efficiency and performance.
- You've neglected annual HVAC maintenance. It's important to have the HVAC system serviced every year -- right before heating season for the furnace and ahead of cooling season for the A/C. A technician will check all the components, thermostat settings, ductwork and more to make sure everything's in good working order and fix any issues that are keeping the system from running at maximum efficiency.If you don't do this, it can cause the system to wear out more quickly and may be seen by the manufacturer as neglect, ultimately voiding the HVAC warranty. So be sure to schedule your annual maintenance visit every year. Even after the warranty expires, it will help you save energy, reduce the number of necessary repairs, and extend the system's life.
- You have no proof of annual HVAC maintenance. So you've been very diligent in getting the annual tune-up on schedule, but do you have the paperwork to prove it? An HVAC technician should provide you with a service receipt after every visit, and possibly some other documents as well, certifying that the system has been inspected and is in good working order. A lot of people fail to keep this documentation, and therefore are unable to prove to the manufacturer that they've kept up with regular maintenance. Without proof, the manufacturer generally won't honor the warranty. Therefore, file all maintenance paperwork right next to warranty paperwork for easy access when you need it.