A typical HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) parts warranty covers the replacement cost of a part when the following conditions are met:

  • A licensed HVAC contractor has determined that the part’s failure was caused by a manufacturer’s defect;
  • The unit must be within the period of time covered by the warranty — typically 5 years from the date of installation (Manufacturers occasionally offer a longer warranty on a limited number of critical parts, such as the heat exchanger on furnaces and the compressor and coils on central air conditioning systems);
  • Some manufacturers only warrant their units to the original homeowner — others allow the warranty to transfer to the new owner when a home is sold.

What could cause a part failure other than a manufacturers’ defect? Many things, including faulty installation, incorrect matched components such as a split-system’s condenser and air handler, accidental entry of water into a sealed system, electrical damage, and others.

When a contractor determines that a part can be replaced under warranty, they contact their local distributor and ask for a replacement part. If the contractor has an account with that distributor, they usually receive special billing so that they don’t have to pay for the part up-front. If they don’t receive special billing, they pay for the part up-front and are then reimbursed when they return the defective part to the the distributor. (In rare cases, they may charge the homeowner up-front for the replacement part, and then return that money once they receive their refund from the distributor.) The contractor will then install the replacement part, and the homeowner pays the cost of the contractor’s labor (and incidental parts that must be replaced in addition to the defective part). Finally, the contractor returns the defective part to the distributor, and is credited the cost of the part. This allows the distributor to verify that the part was defective.

When does a Warranty cover Labor?

Typical manufacturers’ warranties do not cover labor costs. However, it is common practice for an installing dealer to cover all service costs (parts and labor) for one year after the installation of a new unit. Many manufacturers also offer extended warranties , which extend the term of the coverage for failed parts and may cover some labor costs as well.

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