Tag Archives: maintenance plan

More Problems With Extended Warranties On Home AC Heating Systems

Sometimes a confluence of events inspires me to write a blog post.  Today’s post — which is about problems with extended warranties on AC, heating and related equipment and services — has three contributing sources that all came together recently.

  • Last week, I’ve read a lot of chatter on some HVAC forums about HVAC contractors who are having problems getting third warranty providers to honor (pay for) warranty work needed by homeowners under their extended warranty policy.  The scope of the problem seems fairly serious.
  • Yesterday, I visited the home of a friend, a mechanical engineer who is meticulous about writing specs for work done at his home.  He recently bought a new AC heating system that came with a 10 year parts and labor warranty: 5 years parts and labor from the manufacturer, and “the company who installed it arranged for an additional 5 years parts and labor as part of the package”.
  • Then driving home, I listened to one of my favorite syndicated radio shows, the Clark Howard Show. He generally discourages listeners from buying many types extended warranties. Clark’s advice (and I’ll paraphrase here) is to not buy an extended warranty (which is a type of insurance policy) unless the consequences of not buying it could turn into a major financial problem.

Before going further, and as this topic relates to heating and AC systems, I would make a distinction between an extended warranty offered by the equipment manufacturer and ones offered by third parties.

The most important factor is getting the equipment correctly sized and installed. Next, let’s talk about maintenance. Regular maintenance such as timely filter changes and yearly servicing, will cause AC and heating equipment to need fewer repairs, last longer and waste less energy.  In the overall budgeting, we rank scheduled maintenance ahead….way ahead… of an extended warranty.

Now, we’ll add our knowledge about the AC and heating industry to Clark’s general advice.  By the time you factor in any deductibles and the time required to haggle with them, a (possible) future expense you could incur from not buying extended warranty on a AC and heating system would not likely be a major issue for most homeowners.  For extended warranties, you either pay cash up front, or it is somehow “built in” to the package price (along with interest you are paying). Either way, you are paying for something you may not need or be able to use later.

Summary

  • The overall value of extended warranties in AC and heating equipment is questionable…clearly, a buyer beware situation.
  • For your budget priorities, we recommend that you get top quality work on the sizing and installation of the new equipment. Then, focus on filter changes and a yearly maintenance plan as higher priority than an extended warranty.
  • If you are going to buy an extended warranty, find out which company actually underwrites the policy. Look for one with the manufacturer behind it.

Additional Resources
Link to Clark Howard’s website and video about extended warranties.

 

Fall Reminder: Get Your Furnace Checked Now for Efficiency and to Help Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Our blog today is to remind our readers that fall is an ideal time of year to get your home or office furnace checked for safety and efficiency.  If you are on an annual preventative maintenance program with a local HVAC company, this should happen as one of your two annual system checkups. There is normally one visit in the spring for A/C and a second one in the fall before you need to start using your home heating for the season.

If the heat/fuel source for your heating system involves combustion, such as natural gas, the safety check for carbon monoxide is especially important.  The reason is simple: if the heat exchanger or other part(s) of the unit is not working as it should, toxic carbon monoxide (CO) gas can be accidentally introduced into your indoor environment.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless and dangerous gas. You can read more about it on our website here

Don’t Skimp When Safety is Involved

We have heard lately that, due to the strain on household budgets, some homeowners are delaying not only the buying of new equipment, but even maintenance! Some are only requesting HVAC service when their heating or cooling stops working.  Bluntly put, carbon monoxide can be a serious threat, and it is not something to put off. Further, it should only be done only by a professional who is licensed, trained, and experienced in work with combustion heating systems.

If you have not had your home heating system checked yet this year, we urge you to do it today.

Maintenance will help prevent carbon monoxide from being produced.  You can also ask about a carbon monoxide alarm to alert you if something changes and carbon monoxide does get produced.  In addition to being safer, maintenance saves money on your monthly bill. Don’t wait! After you take care of this, please send us your experiences to us, so others can benefit from what you learned.