Homeownership comes with many expenses that lifelong renters don’t always expect. In addition to mortgage payments and mortgage insurance, there are property taxes to pay, ongoing maintenance and repair charges, and more. One easy way to limit these burdens is by purchasing a comprehensive home warranty plan. Home warranties cover problems resulting from aging and normal wear. However, when investing in this protection, it’s important to understand exactly how this plan will impact the HVAC system in your Sioux City, IA home.
Home Warranties and Home Insurance
Home insurance policies offer protection for all covered perils. If your heater, air conditioner, ductwork, or other HVAC equipment is ever damaged by fire, flood, or another unexpected event, your insurer will pay some or all of the resulting repair costs. In contrast, home warranties only cover damages that directly result from normal wear and tear. With these agreements, homeowners can sidestep out-of-pocket spending when their air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, or heat pumps experience age-related breakdowns. Both agreement types protect HVAC equipment, but both agreements also make clear distinctions between age-related and event-related problems.
Home Appliances vs. Home Systems
Having a home warranty in addition to home insurance will give you the best protection against unexpected HVAC replacement and repair costs. However, this is only true when you purchase the right warranty type. Home warranty companies also make a clear distinction between home appliances and home systems. In the typical home service agreement, appliances include separate, standalone features like dishwashers, washing machines, refrigerators, and ovens. Systems refer to all equipment that’s been integrated into the actual building, such as plumbing, electrical wiring, and HVAC.
Many low-price plans only cover home appliances. When choosing a plan, make sure that both appliances and systems are covered, or supplement an appliances-only warranty with a limited home systems warranty.
Staying on Top of Routine HVAC Maintenance
Much like a home insurance policy, a home warranty is a binding agreement between two parties, with each party having defined responsibilities. Just as these agreements protect homeowners from unmanageable repair and replacement costs, home warranty companies are also protected. These companies stipulate their expectations for equipment maintenance, so wear and tear is minimized and the likelihood of claims is reduced. If you’re shopping for a home warranty agreement or have recently purchased one, take the time to read through the language in your contract carefully. For HVAC systems, homeowners are typically required to perform routine filter changes, schedule professional tune-ups annually, and only use HVAC equipment in accordance with manufacturer recommendations. If you fail to hold up any portion of your home warranty agreement, this contract could be deemed null and void right when you need the related protections most.
One of the simplest ways to stay up to date with the requirements of a home warranty agreement is by signing up for a preventative maintenance plan. Our Comfort Club membership includes annual AC and furnace maintenance, discounts on emergency repair services, and other benefits that make it easy to comply. Best of all, when you have a preventative maintenance plan, you’ll also have a clear, consistent, and easy-to-reference record of all work performed.
When paying for covered age-related damages, home warranty companies stay in close contact with the contractors that perform the necessary work. When HVAC equipment is dirty, misused, poorly installed, or all-around ill-maintained, homeowners are often stuck with the repair bills. For instance, if your heater or air conditioner overheats and stops working due to a dirty air filter, this damage won’t be considered age-related, and it probably won’t be covered.
Other Actions That Could Void Your Home Warranty Agreement
In addition to scheduling regular maintenance, it’s also important for homeowners with warranties to schedule timely repairs. Continuing to use noisy, smelly, low-performing, or leaky heating and cooling equipment can also void your warranty. With a home service agreement, you’re responsible for reporting damage and scheduling timely repairs so that minor problems never have the opportunity to spiral out of control. This stipulation is another way home warranty companies avoid excessive and unnecessary spending. It is also important for homeowners to avoid do-it-yourself HVAC projects. Hiring licensed professionals for all major troubleshooting and repair work is essential for maintaining the protections that your home warranty provides.
If you intend to install any indoor air quality (IAQ) equipment that must be integrated into your HVAC system, talk with your home warranty company first. You may find that there are special requirements that must be met when having integrated HVAC accessories put in after a home warranty contract has already been assigned.
What to Expect When Submitting a Request for HVAC Repairs or Replacement
A good home warranty will make scheduling essential repairs a simple and straightforward process. Depending upon which warranty company you choose, you may be required to hire HVAC companies from an approved provider list. For repair services, you’ll have a flat service charge that you must pay, but all repair costs will be covered by this charge. You’ll find the exact amount of this charge in your warranty agreement.
If an HVAC company believes that your heating or cooling equipment should be replaced rather than repaired, they’ll issue a written recommendation for replacement. If your home warranty company approves this request, your agreement will cover the costs of any unit of equal value and power. However, some home warranties allow consumers to make significant equipment upgrades if they’re willing to cover any charges that exceed the value of their old equipment. It’s also important to note that, even with a home warranty covering a large portion of your HVAC replacement costs, any efficiency-related upgrades you make could still give you access to several federal tax incentives that offset your out-of-pocket spending.
Things to Remember When Purchasing a Home Service Agreement
When you have a home warranty, the breakdown or outright failure of home appliances and systems won’t prove financially devastating. Home warranty companies make it possible for homeowners to avoid significant out-of-pocket spending on covered systems and appliances. When paired with a comprehensive home insurance plan, your home service agreement will make it infinitely easier to manage your ongoing home ownership costs.
However, there are a few caveats. In addition to complying with the terms for maintenance, timely repairs, and professional workmanship listed in your home warranty contract, you must also complete a mandatory waiting period. These waiting periods exist to deter unethical consumers from purchasing home warranties in bad faith after their systems or appliances have already failed. This period typically lasts 30 days from the date of a warranty purchase. As such, obtaining a home warranty well before you urgently need the protections it provides is always best.
We’re proud to serve residents of Sioux City, IA, and the surrounding areas. We offer heating, cooling, and indoor air quality services. We also provide fireplaces and preventative maintenance plans. To schedule service or to find out more about using your home warranty for covered replacements and repairs, contact Kalins Indoor Comfort today.