In the monthly HVAC trade journals, I’ve been reading about a 99-Year warranty for AC compressors. Their main message: buy this and you won’t have to pay for repairing or replacing your compressor until the year 2107.
Thinking there could be grist for the blog mill here, I called a manufacturer advertising the offer and was told the following by their representative:
The actual warranty is not from the manufacturer, “it is from their distributors. The distributor decides the terms and would honor it, not the manufacturer.”
The distributor sells the air conditioning equipment to the contractors, who then install and service the equipment in homes.
However, the rep went on to say that not every distributor who sells this brand of equipment to HVAC contractors is actually authorized to offer a promotion of this type, only certain ones.
Candidly speaking, what I heard did not pass the most basic common sense test. No matter who offers it, here are some questions you should consider before shelling out for a super long warranty:
– Considering regulatory changes and advances in refrigerants, efficiency, electronics, plus the cost of parts and labor not covered by a 99 year compressor warranty, how likely is it that your whole cooling and heating system will not be functionally or economically obsolete within 15 years? (Think of your home computer: your 12 year old PC running Windows 95 may still boot up, but is it of any practical value?)
– What happens if the distributor gets sold, reorganized, or goes out of business? Who, if anyone, would stand good for your 99-year warranty? How much trouble would it be to find them or convince them you have coverage?
– What happens if you sell your house? Is that warranty transferable to the new owner?
The irony here: for some of the more sophisticated HVAC equipment, an extended warranty from a reliable source is something homeowners should consider. The right extended warranty can more than pay for itself and help you avoid unplanned repair bills. Examples of where they can be a good value: for sophisticated high-efficiency units or some types of indoor air quality equipment such as whole house air cleaners, dehumidifiers, etc.
In summary: unless facts come in to the contrary, a 99-year air conditioner compressor warranty looks like hype and undermines the concept of extended warranties of more realistic length. Let’s get real.