HVAC systems can be just as costly as they are essential. When problems develop with your heating and cooling equipment, your home warranty may provide the financial help you need. Home warranties are designed to cover the costs of replacing or repairing items that have sustained significant age-related wear. If you’ve purchased a warranty for your St. Louis, MO home, it’s important to know how this plan affects your HVAC system.
What to Expect When Signing a Home Warranty Agreement
The best home warranties provide an impressive amount of support when costly home appliances and systems fail. Sadly, however, some consumers act in bad faith to take advantage of the available protections. For instance, a person might wait for their HVAC system to stop working before choosing to purchase a home warranty. The cost of a home warranty that will pay for HVAC replacement is far below the cost of the replacement project itself.
To prevent actions like these, home warranty companies charge annual premiums upfront. They have also instituted mandatory waiting periods. These are often just 30 days and start from the date that warranty agreements are signed. However, for some companies and warranties, this waiting period may be shorter or longer.
During your waiting period, you’ll have to pay for any replacements or repairs that occur. This speaks to the importance of purchasing a home warranty plan long before you need one rather than waiting until your items are already near failure.
Choosing a Home Warranty That Actually Covers Your HVAC System
There are three basic types of home warranties that consumers can buy. These are:
- Appliance-only warranties
- Systems-only warranties
- Combined appliance and systems warranties
Home warranty companies make a noticeably clear distinction between home systems and home appliances, and you should too. Even though HVAC systems are often referred to as home appliances, if you purchase an appliance-only home warranty, your HVAC system won’t be covered. Much like plumbing and electrical systems, HVAC systems are recognized by home warranty companies as home systems rather than home appliances. The only warranties that cover HVAC equipment are systems-only warranties and combined appliance and systems warranties. An appliance-only plan will only cover items like your oven, washing machine, clothes dryer, dishwasher, trash compactor, and garbage disposal.
What About Your HVAC Ductwork
If you have a home warranty that covers your HVAC system, you should be mindful of the fact that it probably doesn’t cover your HVAC ductwork. HVAC ducting is considered a part of a building’s structure rather than a part of the HVAC system itself. It exists whether functional HVAC equipment is installed or not, and its maintenance, repair, and a replacement must be paid for by you.
However, how you take care of your HVAC air ducts can and will impact your home warranty company’s willingness to cover HVAC repair or replacement issues. For instance, if your HVAC system stops working and your warranty company sends a repair technician in, evidence of neglected HVAC ductwork could cause your warranty to be voided. Severely neglected ductwork can cause HVAC systems to fail by impeding airflow and contributing to many other performance problems.
The Difference Between Home Warranties and Home Insurance
Home warranties are designed to cover many of the problems that home insurance plans do not. However, these agreements are limited to wear-related or age-related issues only. They won’t pay for equipment malfunctions resulting from manufacturer errors and they won’t pay for damages caused by extreme or unexpected events such as storms, floods, or fires. If you have a house fire and your oven and refrigerator are rendered unusable by this event, this is an issue for your home insurance company. If your refrigerator reaches the end of its lifespan and stops cooling, your home warranty will help instead.
Do Home Warranties Cover Free-Standing Heaters and AC Units?
Free-standing heaters and air conditioners are not covered under home warranty agreements. These items are not considered to be a part of your home’s systems and they aren’t recognized as covered home appliances. For these items, you can refer to the manufacturer’s warranty or any extended product warranties that you’ve purchased.
Remaining Compliant with the Terms and Conditions of Your Home Warranty
Just as home warranty companies have instituted mandatory waiting periods to protect themselves, they also have long lists of mandatory maintenance tasks. They want consumers to take diligent care of the items that are protected by their home warranty plans so that total repair and replacement costs remain limited. When you sign a home warranty contract, you are entering into a two-party agreement. Your provider is agreeing to pay for wear-related issues, and you are agreeing to take reasonable steps to limit or prevent them.
This is one of the top reasons why it’s always important to read your home warranty contract. If there are terms or conditions that you don’t completely understand, you should also reach out to your home warranty company for clarification. These documents will give you a clear outline of the expectations for appliance and systems maintenance. These expectations will mirror the recommendations of product manufacturers, but there is also the chance that they may exceed them.
Some home warranties offer covered maintenance services for various home appliances and home systems. For instance, your policy might include one annual, whole house plumbing inspection and one annual HVAC system inspection. Benefits like these typically have limited windows, so it’s best to take advantage of them right away. Moreover, when paying for routine maintenance, always be sure to keep a written or digital record of the services that have been supplied. You can share this record with your home warranty company if maintenance-related questions are ever asked.
What You Need to Know About Replacing HVAC Equipment with a Home Warranty
If your HVAC equipment is covered under your home warranty, there’s an exceedingly high likelihood that your warranty company will pay most, or all the replacement costs should this system fail. However, many warranty companies choose HVAC maintenance, repair, or replacement contractors of their own, or they require warranty-holders to choose from their own networks of partnered providers. This is a factor that you want to check before choosing a home warranty company to work with and before signing your warranty agreement.
When home warranties cover the costs of HVAC system replacements, they use the original cost of the currently installed equipment or its estimated value after a certain amount of depreciation. It’s additionally important to consider the fact that some heaters and air conditioners can last between 15 and 20 years or longer. The cost of new heaters and air conditioners can change quite a bit during this time. While you may be required to target replacement models at a comparable price point, you may also have the option of paying the difference for a reasonable upgrade out of your own pocket.
At Agers Heating & Air Conditioning, we offer air conditioner and furnace installation, maintenance, and repair services to residents of the greater St. Louis, Missouri area. We also provide indoor air quality services, heat pumps, and preventative maintenance plans. If you need help with your HVAC system, we’ve got you covered. Contact us now to get started.