The Fine Print & Your HVAC Warranty – What It Doesn’t Cover
Most major manufacturers of HVAC equipment, like Carrier, offer generous warranties on their equipment. They guarantee the equipment and parts will operate as intended for a set period of time. In residential applications in the Houston area, your air conditioner can last 15-20 years if well-maintained. Heaters and furnaces can last a little longer because we don’t use them as much in our warm, humid climate. But, warranties do not cover every circumstance – like severe weather. This is why we like to equip our customers with knowledge they need to be a smart HVAC consumer.
Warranties Don’t Cover Weather-Related Damage
If your air conditioner was flooded in a storm, got pelted by hail, zapped by lightning or a power surge, or smashed by a falling tree or other debris, the warranty will not apply. For these events, your flood insurance policy and sometimes your homeowner’s policy will cover this type of damage. If you haven’t reviewed your homeowner’s policy in a while, the time to be informed is *before* the next storm. A surge protector is something we routinely install to help guard against electrical storm damage. It’s much cheaper than replacing the entire unit. There are also things you can do to mitigate damage if you take care before bad weather.
Warranties Don’t Cover Pest-Related Damage
We have seen damage to air conditioning systems caused by a wide range of pests. When it’s very hot and dry, we have seen squirrels and other pests that have chewed through condensate drains in their search for water, causing severe leaks. We’ve seen abandoned bird’s nests blocking the flue or the exhaust on furnaces. We’ve seen chewed wiring and ants who are attracted by electricity clogging contactors and causing them to fail. Occasionally, we have seen dead snakes, possums and rats that caused an equipment failure and had to be removed. (By the way, if you are looking for a pest removal specialist, we use Chris Millward at Bugco Pest Control.)
Warranties Don’t Cover Negligence or Misuse of Equipment
Warranty service requires HVAC technicians to remove the part and return it to the manufacturer for inspection. And they look for signs that the equipment or part has been misused. If the filters remain clogged for years at a time (and we do see this happen from time to time), the chances are likely that the warranty will be void. We saw a new air conditioner that was less than a year old have to be scrapped because it was not covered up or protected during a home remodel. It became so dirty from all the dust and construction debris, it was impossible to clean. The dirty air clogged the system and it could not be salvaged. This is why we recommend HVAC be turned on *after* construction is complete. There are other ways to protect equipment, so call us if we can help you brainstorm solutions.
Warranties Don’t Cover Bad Installation and Parts Ordered Off the Internet
Well meaning people who buy parts from the Internet and install it themselves are another circumstance that bears mentioning. We don’t recommend unlicensed homeowners working with electricity and refrigerant. Both are hazardous and require special training to work with safely. There are many maintenance tasks, such as changing filters regularly, that are easy and safe for homeowners to perform. We have also done audits on HVAC equipment and found equipment installed incorrectly. If this isn’t discovered pretty quickly, it can void the warranty and cause equipment to fail more quickly. Most manufacturers require parts and equipment to be installed by a licensed professional and registered with the manufacturer for a warranty to apply.
Warranties Don’t Cover Damage from Corrosive Environments
If you have a house at the beach or on the coast, the salty air is a corrosive environment. Air conditioners at the beach do not have the lifespan that they do further inland. Also, be smart and don’t set up an air conditioner next to pool chemicals, something we saw recently. Wet environments also can cause rust and corrosion, too. A well-trained and licensed professional won’t be setting up your condenser next to a downspout, for example.
Give Us a Call for Service You Can Trust
HVAC manufacturer warranties take much of the risk out of installing a Central Air and Heating system, but consumers should know what they don’t cover. Accidents, storms and critter damage are possible which is why homeowners should know what to watch for on a day-to-day basis. Need help with maintenance, service or new installation? Call Rob and Kenny with Terry’s A/C and Heating at 281-495-7830 for smart advice and a quick response for all of your air conditioning and heating needs. See what makes us different from the pack and what customers say about our service in the Fulshear, Katy, Richmond, Rosenberg, Sugar Land, and West Houston, Texas area. We aim to be your indoor comfort concierge and help you be an informed buyer of HVAC equipment.