Equipment warranties 101: What you should know

From smartphones to mattresses, almost everything you buy comes with some kind of warranty. How can you ensure you get the most benefit from a warranty, especially for a major investment that’s also critical to the comfort of your home, like a new furnace?

“Warranties are meant to assure a homeowner that the furnace they’re purchasing will do what it’s supposed to, is free of defects and meets applicable government regulations or standards,” says Chip Wade, HGTV expert. “However, warranties are often very specific about the circumstances under which the manufacturer will repair or replace the furnace if it doesn’t work properly. It’s important to carefully read your furnace’s warranty to ensure you understand exactly how it works.”

Warranty terms

Because written warranties are legally binding documents, you may come across unfamiliar terms as you’re reading yours, including:

Product warranty — This is the guarantee that comes from the company that manufactures the furnace. Contractors and installers may offer extended warranties that apply to their work, including the labor required to install the furnace. YORK(R) is one of the only manufacturers that manages their own extended warranties. Other manufacturers often work with outside firms that can make claiming difficult.

Warranty term — The length of time the coverage is offered is called the warranty term. These can vary significantly; however, YORK(R) heating and cooling offers a lifetime heat exchanger warranty on its YORK(R) Affinity(TM) gas furnaces. In addition, YORK(R) offers the Complete Assurance(TM) Warranty Pledge with this furnace. If the heat exchanger fails within 10 years of installation, YORK(R) provides optional furnace replacement in lieu of heat exchanger equipment.

Parts warranty — Most furnace warranties will cover replacement of specific parts if they malfunction within the warranty time frame and the problem is a result of a manufacturer’s defect. Most warranties have different coverage periods for different parts.

Non-transferable — When you have a new home comfort system installed, if the furnace warranty is non-transferable, the coverage will not transfer to the new owners if you sell the house before the end of the warranty term.

Protect your warranty

“No homeowner ever wants to hear their warranty has been voided by something they did or something they were supposed to do but didn’t,” Wade says. “That’s why it’s so important to read your detailed furnace warranty very carefully, so you know what the manufacturer and installer require in order to honor the warranty.”

Actions that help ensure a valid warranty:

* Register the product purchase with the manufacturer. Most manufacturers require homeowners to register their furnace with the manufacturer within a specified window of time after the purchase and installation. A majority of YORK(R) contractors will register the warranty on behalf of the homeowner. For those that do not, homeowners are required to register within 90 days of installation. Visit www.york.com/warranty to learn more about the company’s warranties.

* Work with a qualified YORK(R) contractor who can properly install the product. If a part doesn’t work because it wasn’t installed properly, the manufacturer will likely say the installer, and not the manufacturer, is liable for fixing the problem.

* Use branded parts or parts the manufacturer has certified for the furnace. Otherwise, you may void the manufacturer’s warranty, even for parts that would normally be covered.

* Follow manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations. In order for your furnace to operate as it should, it will need to be professionally serviced every year. Keep service records for reference, in case there is ever an issue that arises.

“A new furnace is a big investment, and it’s one that’s essential to preserve the comfort of your home,” Wade says. “A good manufacturer’s warranty can help you be sure you’re getting a quality product that’s backed by a company that will stand by its work.”

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