Before you sign a contract to have a home built by any type of contracting company, whether they be a huge company with fancy billboards or a local contractor who doesn’t market at all, be sure you know who exactly is going to take care of any heating and air conditioning warranty work after it has been installed. Many general contractors hire the cheapest company, sometimes from very far away. One reason they are the cheapest is because they know they won’t be back to provide any kind of back up warranty work.
Homeowners are often told by their general contractor, “they live too far away” to do warranty work. They weren’t too far away to put it in, but they are too far away to work on it? Sometimes the general contractor buys the equipment, but hires a subcontractor to provide install labor only. Who takes care of warranty then? Also, contractors often use a “builders model” that may not operate automatically between heating and cooling or have other limitations.
We receive calls all the time from people who are abandoned after the sale with no one to provide warranty work. Unless we are a dealer of that equipment, we cannot perform any warranty repair. It is your money, shouldn’t you be able to choose someone who you know will take care of your equipment? Here are some suggestions:
- Ask the general contractor, who exactly is installing the system including name, address, and contact phone number.
- Ask what brand is being installed. Go to that brand’s website and see if there are any dealers close by. Even then, if those dealers didn’t install the equipment they may choose not to take care of any warranty work for something they did not install.
- Ask the general contractor specifically how warranty repairs are handled.
- Ask to read the warranty on the equipment before you sign on with them. This should not be a problem. Whomever they use as a subcontractor, should not have a problem providing a copy of it. If the general contractor installs it, again, it should not be a problem to provide a copy of the warranty. Sometimes the warranty is listed on the brand’s website.
- Make sure you get a copy of the homeowners manual and warranty for your records.
- Don’t accept the common answer of “any contractor can take care of the warranty.” This is not a completely true statement.
- Maintain your equipment properly, else any warranty could be voided.
Hopefully this information might save you from potential problems when building a home. Fancy front doors are lovely, but, really, what system provides the most comfort for every minute you spend in your house? What system, when it breaks down, is more critical?