This page will be about air-conditioning warranties. Or what comes with most new air conditioning is called air-conditioning limited warranty. This is the biggest misconception for homeowners when purchasing a new air-conditioning unit. It is extremely important to read the fine print of your warranty page. Currently today as of May 2011 AC unit warranties are from one year to five years to 10 years to life time. The biggest misconception that customers have is that if anything goes wrong with their new AC system that they are covered. This is actually not the truth, all manufacturers offer what they call extended warranties and labor warranties. These are the important warranties that need to be considered when buying a new A/C system. Since my businesses is located in the state of Texas, Texas rules and regulations for contractors require that the A/C contractor stand behind the installed workmanship for a period of one year. The manufacturer may give you a parts warranty of 5 years or 10 years depending on which system you buy. If you are buying any individual piece of a system , generally the warranty is only one year to five on condensing units. Labor to replace a part that fails before the one year, is generally paid for by the dealer, manufacturers generally will only pay the dealer for labor up to 60 days , unless we have a high rate of failure on one particular part.
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I believe most customers think that buying the highest price system gives them the best quality, this is not necessarily the case. What I personally like to see a customer do is to buy a good piece of equipment regardless of brand and buy the extended warranty and most definitely the labor
warranty. When I say most definitely a labor warranty this is so important. What the labor warranty will do is cover you for the cost of the repair. It may not cover you for all the cost, such things as a service call to diagnose the failed part , the time to fill out the warranty paperwork , that trip time to pick up the part , these things are not free they cost the dealer. If you are talking about a high cost replacement part such as a compressor, a fan motor, and evaporator coil, condensing coil, circuit board. These kind of items are warrantied under your five or 10 year parts warranty but the labor for the replacement is really covered only under labor warranty. The service call for the diagnostic service and the time spent by the dealer to fill out your warranty paperwork and pick up the part, if it is not on the truck is not part of the deal.
The dealer’s responsibility?? Exactly what is it. Some of the very best units on the market or what you may think are the best units on the market have the worst warranty parts policies. An example of this is when I can buy a new air handler unit cheaper than I can buy the replacement coil that goes in that air handler unit , then something is wrong. When the manufactures parts counter guy tells me were in the business of selling equipment not parts. Again something is wrong with that policy. Occasionally every manufacture no matter what the brand name is going to have a bad run of some parts. From the highest priced piece of equipment on the market to the lowest price piece of equipment on the market , there is failures of all kinds of parts. The manufacture only gets serious about changing the quality of these parts when failurepercentage rate changes their bottom line net profit.
The dealer is the guy in the middle, he has a relationship with the manufacture that must be on going in order to purchase at better wholesale pricing. He also has an obligation to the customer to give the customer what they paid for , and to stand behind the work that he did. I call this the referee position, this is a very hard position to be in. From the customer’s point of view, well you sold me the unit and you should repair anything goes wrong because it’s under warranty. This is the reason that manufacturers sell labor warranties!!! Labor warrantieswere designed to cover the customer for the heavy cost, not the entire cost.
Think about this for just a minute, if you go out and buy the least expensive new car on the market and you fail to change the oil or have the car serviced for three years , do you think the car dealer is going to stand behind your jackhammer sounding failed engine or your slipping failed transmission. It’s not going to happen. Air-conditioning units in Dallas run more in one year than most people’s cars unless you’re some kind of delivery person . Very few people have their unit serviced anymore. They only had their units repaired when they fail , with a comment it’s under warranty. I am not picking on customers I just want customers to understand this is a mechanical piece of equipment that needs to be maintained and checked on periodically . My recommendations are at the beginning of each season. And by the word beginning of the season I mean before the heating and before the cooling is necessary.
With the changeover to the new 410A freon that runs at 30% higher pressures , we are starting to see more leaks in many manufacturers new equipment. This is something that I predicted on this website a couple years ago. My comment was ” that with higher pressures you’re going to see more leaks “. That statement or prediction has come true, warranty claims for leaky condensing units, evaporator coil, and service charging ports are starting to be a real big problem. No manufacture has a monopoly on this problem, this has been a problems down the road for years with all manufactures. A carbon bearing in the bottom of a Rotary compressor cost me around 200 compressor failures in the early 70s. A crack in the suction casting on a scroll compressor along with a bad spot weld of the brackets inside a scroll compressor cost 500 compressor failures, here in Dallas in one year , about 15 years ago. Almost every manufacture will have a problem with the design, engineers are not perfect , they have the ability to make mistakes just like everyone else.
Dealers are the ones that find these mistakes and adjust the factory quality by reporting these mistakes and returning parts under warranty. When the factory gets back so many warranty parts they correct the mistake. It really is that simple.
I am absolutely baffled as to why the manufacturing and chemistry industry did not come up with a Freon that runs at a lower pressures than the R22 Freon we have been using for over 50 years. It is still pretty simple higher pressures mean more leaks. The dealer is responsible for the solder joints at the connection of the outdoor condensing unit, and the solder joints at the indoor evaporator coil. If you have a leak any where else in the system than those two locations the dealer did not cause the problem. When you consider , and I have not counted this but I’m sure that there’s probably 200 to 300 manufactures weld joints in every new air-conditioning split system. That having a leak in that system is possible again considering that we are running at 30% higher pressures with the new Freon. I give that EPA and chemical industry and the manufacturers a big grade of F on this change. The dealers can only work with what is available and approved by the clean air act , the EPA ,and the manufactures. If and I repeat the word if the new refrigerant operated at 30% less pressure than R 22 Freon I would be jumping up and down for joy and excited about the new change in industry.
I HOPE YOU NOW UNDERSTAND MY RECOMMENDATION FOR BUYING A LABOR WARRANTY REGARDLESS OF WHAT BRAND AC SYSTEM YOU BUY.