Insider Truth Concerning Furnace Warranties
When I was a service tech, I dreaded warranty calls.
Sales associates over-valued the basic warranty. I had to deal with the aftermath.
Heat Exchanger Warranties
All furnaces in Canada come with a manufacturer’s warranty. HEAT EXCHANGER warranty & PARTS warranty.
Heat exchanger warranties have become very important in the past ten years “Cracked heat exchanger(s)” is the #1 reason why most furnaces are failing.
New High-Efficiency furnace heat exchanger warranties are all considered LIFETIME and cover both primary and secondary.
LIFETIME could mean 20, 25, or 99 years depending on the brand. Some manufacturer warranties are attached to the equipment and some to the owner, you should get clarification from your contractor (written not verbal) OR ask for a copy before the installation date.
Heat exchanger warranties mean you will receive a new heat exchanger but still have to pay contractor labor. The average is $1500 to install a warranted heat exchanger.
Some contractors will also charge you for the heat exchanger itself and reimburse you once they get compensated from the manufacturer. May take up to six months.
Furnace Parts Warranties
Parts warranties are standard five years but once registered, most get bumped to 10 years. Any working part inside your furnace is replaceable for the next ten years.
Some manufacturers require annual maintenance/service for the warranty to stay valid but not all.
The Increased numbers of incorrectly sized or improperly commissioned high-efficiency furnaces are causing some manufacturers to “site visit” or require a “combustion analysis” before honoring warranties.
Parts warranties don’t cover neglect or maintenance-related issues; i.e., dirty flame sensors or plugged condensation drains.
Furnace Labor Warranties
Labor can be offered by the manufacturer or the installing contractor.
Most manufacturers offer three, five or ten-year extended labor warranties to pair with their parts warranty.
Most manufacturers only give 30 days to make this decision, but some allow up to five years after the installation date.
Labor warranties cover the hourly rate to replace a warrantied part on your appliance. When labor warranties get purchased from the manufacturer, they also include the dispatch fee!
A new trend in Canada is for contractors to offer in-house labor warranties! They will provide anywhere from 1 to 12 years!
Some will mandate annual servicing and others will not. In both cases, contractors aren’t insurance brokers, and it’s not a valid warranty. If they go out of business, refuse to honor the terms or cannot accommodate you promptly, you’re on your own.
Almost all contractors will charge you for a dispatch fee, especially on a warranty call. These charges can become very high when outside of regular business hours and during peak season.
If the warranty and peace of mind is a major deciding factors, you should purchase an extended labor warranty from the equipment manufacturer.
It protects you and your contractor; you get reliable, guaranteed service and they get compensated fairly (hourly rate to serve you and also for the travel time to your home).
A lot of contractors don’t like those terms because they can’t charge you at will and inflated prices.
If your installing contractor no longer answers your call or makes you wait too long, directly call the local wholesaler or the manufacturer and they will offer up other brand certified contractors that can handle your warranty.
All manufacturers will provide a warranty certificate to verify you indeed are covered. Also, you can check your warranty status online.
Manufacturers websites all have a warranty section. Just enter your model and serial number to see how much coverage you have.
One last point, some manufacturers allow transferring of warranties for free but the term length shortens, and some will charge a small fee.