Boiler and furnace warranties, explained - equipment, labor and installation coverage

Understanding Your Boiler Or Furnace Warranty

Learn how to understand what is covered within your boiler or furnace's warranty, and how long that warranty lasts.

Boiler
Furnace
by
Kate Webb

There are two types of Boiler and Furnace warranties: those that cover the equipment and those covering the labor for replacement. Both are important since the labor and equipment make up the total cost of buying, installing, and servicing a boiler or furnace. For most of us, that's a sizable investment, and naturally, we want to get the most use out of that investment.  

Equipment Warranties for Boilers and Furnaces

A ten-year warranty is what you need. Some manufacturers may offer warranties for five or seven years, and those are subject to question. A well-made boiler or furnace will never need the warranty, which is why the length of the warranty is essential. A manufacturer who offers a five-year warranty may have doubts that the unit will last for ten years. A manufacturer who offers a ten-year warranty has faith that their unit will outlast the warranty. No manufacturer wants to cover replacement or repair on a boiler or furnace under warranty. That process is costly for them. Look for more extended warranties that offer good benefits.

Equipment warranties cover the equipment such as internal parts, so long as that part is under warranty. That's a tricky sentence because there are things you have to do to keep your warranty valid. When a part fails and is under warranty, the manufacturer will replace the part for free.  

Labor Warranties for Boiler or Furnace Installation

A highly skilled and experienced boiler or furnace contractor will generally offer a labor warranty for installation and repair in the ten-year range. Those installers that do not provide more extended labor warranties may not have the experience or confidence in their work. A labor warranty is an obligation on their part. The deal is that labor warranties are not standardized, and you can expect different terms and conditions from contractors.  

Are Boiler or Furnace Warranties Important?

They are important. However, there are other factors during the boiler or furnace buying process that are by far more important than the warranties. The deal is that you never want to use a boiler or furnace warranty either for labor or equipment. You want to choose a boiler or furnace unit that will run problem-free beyond the warranty, as that means you've gotten the best deal for your investment. An excellent example of something more important than the warranty of your unit is load calculations. Other critical factors include ductwork, static pressure for the system. When you choose a fantastic unit and pair it with poorly installed ductwork, it costs you a ton of extra money each year in wasted energy. A good tip when dealing with boiler or furnace replacement is to focus on the overall cost of operation and the cost of the equipment and installation. Your goal is to work with companies that offer you the best general usage rate combined with the unit cost and quality labor.  

The Labor warranty comes from the boiler or furnace contractor who handles the boiler or furnace installation of the unit. Of the two types of warranties - labor or equipment - the labor warranty is more important. That is because how your unit performs is directly related to how its installation. When a boiler or furnace unit replacement is not correct, it generally costs more to use and is far more likely to breakdown or arrives at the end of its lifecycle early. Quality warranties mean quality equipment and excellent replacement.  

The Inside Scoop on Equipment Warranties for Boilers or Furnaces

For the most part, the layout and language are identical from one warranty to the next, but there are differences. The devil, they say, is in the details.  

The standard warranty is for five years with an opportunity (generally) to extend that to ten years. The trick is that you must register the unit with the manufacturer.

Note: Look for the length of time for the extension. Registration is easy, and for the most part, that's all you have to do is register the unit with the manufacturer.  

The Loophole - Some contractors will register the unit on your behalf. Some will imply a 10-year warranty but not tell you that you need to register the unit. Look for that loophole, and be sure to register the unit. If you don't, you will end up with a 5-year warranty.  

Another good tip is that not all manufacturer warranties are for 10-years. Some makers offer more extended warranties.  

The Scoop on Boiler or Furnace Labor Warranties

Labor warranties are by far the most complex of boiler or furnace warranties. That is because they vary so much from contractor to contractor. So, what should you expect from a labor warranty?  

You want to find a contractor who offers the most extended warranty. Most offer a two-year warranty while others may offer warranties as long as 10 years. Beyond the length of the warranty, the most critical aspect is the terms of conditions. The most extended warranty is worthless if you do not follow the terms of conditions. Many contractors offer you a service agreement that extends the 2-year warranty to X number of years.  

TIP: Never assume the warranty is beyond 2-years. Some contractors may sell the idea of a 10-year warranty, but only if you read and agree to the fine print.  

NOTE: A service agreement is a contract to maintain the boiler or furnace monthly or periodically. In short, you are getting a labor warranty for two years, and the option to sign a service contract that will extend the labor warranty for “X” number of years.  

Proper maintenance means the unit will run as expected for the life of its equipment warranty. Remember that we said proper boiler or furnace installation means the unit runs as designed.

The Nuts and Bolts

Expect that Equipment Warranties for boilers or furnaces to be pretty much the same. A 10-year warranty is ideal so long as the unit is matched to the load and supported by quality infrastructure (ducting). Be sure to register the unit to get the maximum number of years for the warranty.  

Quality contracts offer quality labor warranties. A 10-year warranty should be the industry standard—plan on providing quality maintenance to the unit throughout the warranty period.  

Here's the bottom line on warranties

Equipment warranties are all pretty much the same. Just make sure your system is registered, so you get a 10-year warranty instead of a 5-year warranty.

Labor warranties are hit and miss, but it's reasonable to expect a 10-year warranty on labor. An honest, competent boiler or furnace contractor should have no problem guaranteeing their work for that long.

The good news is that the modern boiler or furnace is built to last, and with proper maintenance and professional installation, the unit could last as long a 15 or more years.