Over the last several years, the heating industry has waged a “warranty war” with the various brands offering longer and longer parts warranties. What used to be a standard 5-year warranty became a 7. Then a 10. Now sometimes even 12 years.
With “lifetime and money-back” guarantees it can be difficult for the consumer to know how much weight to give the parts warranty when choosing a new heating system.
Does a homeowner save money by having a parts warranty?
Many costs incurred by the contractor are not covered by the factory. The contractor must:
- File time-consuming claim paperwork
- Pay the shipping and handling charges
- Return the defective part to the distributor
- “Wait and see” if the warranty claim is approved to get a credit for the part they had to pay for to begin with.
For the contractor to stay in business, these costs must be passed on to the homeowner in addition to normal labor for the repair. In the end, small repairs can be more expensive if you file a parts warranty.
Of course, a warranty does come in handy when you need to replace a big-ticket item like a compressor or evaporator coil.
Can you find a contractor to honor the parts warranty?
Some of the lower quality brands have a long warranty, but can be difficult to process a claim.
Unless a contractor installed the equipment originally or is desperate for work, they may refuse to service these warranties. The better brands of equipment are typically more contractor-friendly, and you won’t have difficulty finding someone to provide warranty service.
Our advice: pay more attention to the quality of the product and the installation process rather than the parts warranty.
Most all brands on the market today have long warranties. The difference between a 10-year and 12-year warranty means very little. But the quality of the initial installation is key to the equipment operating at peak performance.
Find a high quality brand and a reputable dealer that will always stand behind their work, because their reputation depends on satisfied customers.