Should You Get a Furnace Warranty?

Technician fixing a gas furnace - Thomas & Galbraith Heating, Cooling, & Plumbing

Anytime you shop for a new furnace, there are several different factors to weigh. Furnace warranties are one of the most important, as they provide protection for years to come, should you experience an issue with your new system. Our heating pros share the different types of furnace warranties available, what you must do to keep your warranty valid, and more.

What Kinds of Furnace Warranties Exist?

When you purchase a new furnace and have it installed, the new heating system includes one or more warranties. Or, you may have the option to purchase additional warranty coverage that is not automatically included. 

There are three general types of furnace warranties available to buyers of new heating equipment. These include:

  • Manufacturer furnace warranties: This type of warranty is given by the maker of the heating equipment. Manufacturer furnace warranties cover situations such as faulty components or manufacturing defects. A manufacturer’s warranty is limited because it only applies to specific scenarios – you won’t get a new furnace or a free repair anytime the system breaks down. 

A manufacturer warranty called a parts limited warranty covers major furnace components if a defect is present – this warranty does not cover things like air filters or fan belts that need periodic replacement. Most manufacturers offer additional limited warranty for the heat exchanger, which extends the coverage term. Some even offer limited warranty coverage for unit replacement which provides the owner with a completely new system if certain components fail within the covered period. While the manufacturer covers the cost of the new component or system, labor costs are not always included so there may still be a fee for warranty repairs, though more affordable without the cost of the replacement component.

  • Furnace installation warranties: This warranty is issued through the contractor who installs your new furnace. Some contractors include this warranty on every installation job or make coverage available as an additional purchase. Your furnace’s installation warranty covers the system if it is damaged during the installation process or develops a performance issue related to its installation. Typically, an installation warranty lasts a year, though it varies as each HVAC company sets their own terms.
  • Extended furnace warranties: If you wish to extend the length of your new furnace’s manufacturer warranty, many brands offer extended furnace warranties. This coverage is not included in the purchase price of the equipment, but is purchased separately. Most manufacturer extended warranties add a few years of coverage to the equipment warranty term.

If you have a newly built home in the Cincinnati area, you may have a warranty through your builder. A new home warranty is usually a limited warranty that covers workmanship as well as materials of various household elements. This includes you HVAC system. Typically, such a warranty covers furnaces and other HVAC equipment and systems for a period of two years. 

After You Buy a New Furnace

So, you bought a new furnace and your HVAC contractor has installed it – great! Don’t take it for granted that your furnace is automatically protected by a warranty, as there are steps you need to take to set it up so it’s ready to use if and when you need.

Register Warranty

The first thing to do after purchasing a new furnace is to register your furnace warranties! Many HVAC manufacturers offer better warranty periods to homeowners who register with the company when they have new equipment installed. The difference can be as much as double the coverage period of an unregistered, or base, warranty – this is a step you definitely do not want to forego.

Most all furnace manufacturers allow the homeowner to register their furnace warranties online. To do so, you typically need the following information available:

  • Furnace model number
  • Furnace serial number
  • Installation date
  • HVAC company name
  • HVAC company contact details

Most brands require furnace warranties to be registered within a short period of time following installation – 60 to 90 days for most HVAC manufacturers. If you fail to complete this important step, you do not get the longer warranty term. Instead, your new furnace is only covered by the brand’s base warranty, which does not last as long. For most brands, the base parts limited warranty is five years to the registered warranty’s 10 years. Parts limited warranties for heat exchangers may extend for life with warranty registration, or be limited to a shorter period, typically 20 years, without.

If you didn’t register your warranty in time, you may be stuck paying a high price for that mistake. With base coverage, after that 5 or so years is up, any repair costs come out of your pocket. There is no manufacturer protection even if a defective component is to blame.

Using Furnace Warranties

If you experience furnace trouble during your warranty term, just call your HVAC contractor to schedule a repair. Your technician inspects the system to diagnose the problem and determine if an issue covered by furnace warranties is to blame. Your HVAC contractor is able to obtain the appropriate parts from the manufacturer to make needed repairs and submit a warranty claim for your system.

When you make a valid claim against your manufacturer warranty, you do not pay for the parts needed to replace the defective components. However, you do still pay a repair fee as the contractor’s labor and other materials needed to perform the job are not covered by furnace warranties. While your warranty repair isn’t free, it is much cheaper than paying for labor plus replacement parts out of your own pocked.

If the issue with your furnace is installation-related and you have an installation warranty from your HVAC contractor, typically the contractor covers the costs of your needed repairs. 

Lookup Furnace Warranties

Unsure if your furnace warranty is still good? This is something your HVAC contractor verifies when doing warranty repairs, but you are also able to lookup furnace warranties yourself! Most brands have an online tool on their websites that allow homeowners to see if furnace warranty coverage is still valid. Each brand is a little different, but most just require your furnace’s model number and serial number to investigate.

New Furnace, New Owner?

Heating system replacement isn’t cheap, so a new or newer furnace is an attractive property feature amongst homebuyers. As furnace warranties are fairly standard when new heating equipment is installed, many assume the newer furnace in the home they buy has years of protection left in case something goes wrong as the warranty is already in place – nothing more needs done. Unfortunately, this assumption becomes a costly mistake when purchasing a new home.

Furnace warranties are assigned to the original purchaser by the equipment manufacturer. Some furnace warranties cannot be transferred to a new homeowner, which ends the warranty period much sooner than what is expected. However, most brands to allow for the manufacturer warranty to be transferred upon the sale/purchase of a home from the old owner to the new owner.

If you wish to transfer furnace warranties to a new homeowner, most HVAC equipment manufacturers require this step be completed within a certain timeframe following the sale of the home. If this warranty transfer period is missed, the new homeowner is unable to take advantage of the heating system’s warranty coverage in the event of an issue. Typically, HVAC brands charge a fee to transfer furnace warranties to a new homeowner.

Even if a warranty transfer is completed, the new owner may not receive the full benefits of the furnace warranties that the original purchaser had. Some brands offer a shorter warranty term upon transfer for subsequent owners, whereas if the original buyer of the furnace had stayed in the home, the warranty would’ve lasted for a longer period of time. Some brands that offer limited warranties for unit replacement do not transfer this benefit to subsequent homeowners.

Before you buy a new home, ask about the age of furnace and other HVAC equipment, and if furnace warranties are still in effect. Find out if the warranties are transferrable and the specifics of the transfer process. You want to make sure you have these important details correct so the transfer is made per the warranty terms to keep coverage valid. Also, you may wish to negotiate who pays the fee to transfer furnace warranties into the new homeowner’s name.

Protect Your Furnace Warranty

Furnace warranties have specific terms that must be followed by the homeowner to avoid invalidating the coverage. The specifics of each brand’s warranty vary, though most all share the following common requirements:

  • The furnace must be installed, repaired, and maintained by a licensed HVAC contractor. If you choose to DIY your furnace installation, your new furnace may not be warrantied. If you choose to work with an unlicensed heating contractor, this may also invalidate your warranty.
  • Only use parts made by the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) for furnace repairs and component replacements. This means the warranty is only valid if parts produced by the furnace brand are used on the system. While many other brands and options exist, and sometimes at a lower cost than OEM parts, an effort to save money on the repair has the potential to cost you the warranty.
  • The furnace must be maintained on a regular basis by a licensed HVAC contractor. Equipment manufacturers are unable to guarantee a furnace’s performance if it is neglected and does not receive annual tune ups. An additional benefit of your annual preventive maintenance tune up is maintaining your warranty coverage.

Furnace Installation from Thomas & Galbraith

When it’s time to shop for a new furnace for your Cincinnati area home, Thomas & Galbraith is here to help! We know you have many options when it comes to heating equipment, and we want to help you find the all-around best choice for your household. In addition to exploring the other factors important when buying a new furnace, we explain the details of the furnace warranties you receive when you buy a new Carrier furnace through our company.

If you have additional questions about furnace warranties or would like a quote for furnace installation, please contact us today!

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