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Question DetailsAsked on 8/10/2017

what is the warranty on new air conditioner unit

planning install one

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You would have to read up on the specific makes and models you are looking at, available on almost all manufacturer websites. Some have as much as a 15 year (maybe more in rare cases) system warranty (commonly limited to original purchaser or maybe one additional owner), some as little as 1 month - and that period almost always is limited to replacement of defective parts, NO labor or associated work to put it in, so commonly only covers 30-50% of the actual cost of the repair.

The evaporator coil (the "indoor" coil in the HVAC ducting, or the coil in the wall unit on split units) commonly has a lesser warranty period because with modern (translated - cheap) construction materials they are very prone to corrosion failure, so they are commonly warrantied for 5 to maybe 10 years at most that I have seen in commonly used units. Though there are at least two brands giving a greater of 25 years or first and second owner ownership period warranty - but that is a stainless steel coil.

You should also get at least a 6 and preferably 12 month installation warranty from the contractor - to cover (in conjunction with the equipment manufacturer warranty on equipment) repair/replacement of any defective part (including labor) of the installation during that period.

Sometimes for additional cost with purchase you can get a longer warranty period, and in a few cases for "platinum" or similar named warranties, if installed by a manufacturer authorized installer, will even give the original purchaser and maybe one subsequent owner (sometimes requiring a nominal warranty transfer fee) a much longer warranty period. However, the cost for that is usually such that unless this is going to be your lifelong house, it is not very economic, bucause obviously in the long run, spread over many units, the warranty cost is typically around 50-100% more than the amount they expect to out on the average.

Many warranties also pro-rate the coverage for defects - basing the coverage on the remaining percentage of estimated "life" of the unit. In that case, of course, what life they assume in the warranty makes a big difference - paying up for an enhanced warranty if they give it a 5 year life does not make much sense.

You need to read the warranties real closely for fine print, because some have clauses which make them almost worthless. For instance, I saw one Asian built unit which for the warranty to be serviced the ENTIRE UNIT had to be removed and shipped at OWNER'S cost to the manufacturer in Asia to be inspected, at which time (with them now having the unit in hand so no evidence was available to you to use in arguing with them) they would decide (and warranties are typically phrased as being in "their sole discretion" or similar phrasing - count on the lawyers to provide them with as many outs as possible) if the warranty was going to cover the claim. Then the OWNER has to pay to have the entire unit shipped back with the new replacement part. Not to mention, after probably at least several hundred $ shipping each way and way more if using expedited shipping, and way more if not sent slow boat, that would mean you would not even know if they were going to replace the part for a month or possibly much more, then another several weeks to month or more to get the unit back. The warranty was designed to essentially eliminate warranty claims having to be met.

I also saw one warranty on an HVAC unit which not only required that any claim be made in China, but that all correspondence about it and the claim form had to be filled out in fluent Chinese or it would be rejected.

Another very common warranty flaw is it covers only the defective unit or covered item - not the cost (which today can easily be $400-1000) of replacing any refrigerant which might have escaped because of the flaw, which in many cases is the entire charge of gas.

I also have never seen a warranty for associated damages - so say the coil leaks off, which causes lubrication failure to the TXV valve and compressor so they "burn up" - overheat and get all scorched or even in some cases melting compressor components, that damage is not covered - only the leaky component.

Oh - and one more loophole - in some warranty contracts the INSTALLING contractor has to cewrtify to the installation and file the warranty, not the homeowner - in opthers the hoeowner can file it, but in some cases if not mailed within a period as short as 10 days after installation is complete the warranty is void.

Another thing I have seen several times is a requirement that any warranty claim has to be accompanied by a copy of the contractor's installation invoice and also the unit purchase receipt or other receipt showing the pulrchase of the unit, with model and serial number listed on the document. Most people, and especially subsequent owners, do not have this documentation so the companies can avoid a vast majority of claims by rejecting it as an incomplete claim.

As you can tell, I am not a fan of warranties today - generally the basic warranty covers the short period when na factory defective unit or one installed incorrectly is likely to fail, and an extended or enhanced one, in my opinion and experience, is more commonly that not no bargain, and in many cases pretty much a sham. Of course, the better reputation the brand, the more likely they are to have something resembling a fair warranty.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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