What You Need to Understand about Manufacturers Warranties

HVAC Repair

Warranties have to do with expectations. Basically, whether you receive or purchase a warranty with a certain product, the big question lies in your expectations of what the warranty will be able to do when circumstances come where you need to call upon it. Many HVAC buyers both residential and commercial have expectations that when their equipment suffers a malfunction, the contractor or manufacturer will send their representatives and fix the problem as soon as practicable. While this is the ideal scenario, most circumstances do not meet these expectations.

Parts Warranties

When you purchase an equipment from a HVAC distributor who in turn got it from the manufacturer, it only comes with a parts-only warranty. This means the manufacturer will not reimburse you for any labor costs incurred to diagnose and repair the equipment. Take an example where you have a bad compressor two years after the AC installation. Whereas getting a free compressor is nice and possible, you cannot do anything with it unless a contractor brings in his tools, the technical team, and all other aspects required to get it fixed.

The overhead costs in most circumstances come to a hefty bill which you need to negotiate with the person doing the installation before the activity begins. This is why it is very critical to review the manufacturer’s warranty and see the percentage of the cost it covers compared to the total cost to get your equipment sorted.

Warranties on Labor

Contractors usually give warranties on labor and not manufacturers. However, these warranties also have a timeframe beyond which you will be asked to pay afresh for any malfunctions. The warranties on labor cover the specific system installed and the malfunctions should arise out of the job done and not beyond its scope.

How to Judge Warranties

In light of the above, there are certain things that you need to factor in as the consumer when analyzing warranties.

Contractor Reviews – It is important you hire  state-licensed and reputable HVAC contractors who will stand behind their work. Ensure you get the warranty in writing for reference purposes. Reading online to see what other customers are saying can be enlightening.

Ask for the Manufacturer’s Warranty – Word of mouth doesn’t have any bearing on the warranty and as such it helps to see it with your own eyes. Ensure the contractor explains to you plainly what the warranty covers and where possible send a copy of it to your lawyer.

In addition to the above, you need to employ common knowledge when dealing with contractors and warranties. If something sounds too good to be true, take time and dig further to verify the statements made.

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Common AC Misconceptions and Myths


Summer is around the corner and homeowners are doing final touches on their AC systems with the aim of turning them on to cool their homes during the hot and sunny days. However, contrary to what many homeowners think, your AC is not a flip on flip off machine. There are lots of things that go on within the system and homeowners must be aware of all this. The main reason why most AC systems tend to be forgotten until summer is that homeowners shelve them away immediately summer bids them goodbye and as such don’t get an opportunity to have the systems repaired, cleaned and inspected on an annual basis.

According to experts, homeowners tend to labor under misconceptions and the best way to help them this summer is by bursting AC performance myths.

There is no Need to Clean Your Outdoor Unit

The outdoor unit as well as the condenser fan move air through the coil system, but in the process also picks dirt, grass, mad, and other gunk into the inner chambers of the unit. This ultimately clogs your system and decreases its efficiency making it to run harder thereby spiking your electricity bills. However, the good news is the outdoor unit can be cleaned and brought back to its performance optimization.

I Need to Ensure My Filters are Frequently Checked

When many homeowners think on the contrary, filters play a key role in the health of your HVAC system. They serve as the first line of defense against contaminants such as allergens, microbes, dirt and dust. When the filters are not checked and changed on a regular basis, they lose their filtering efficiency and this can spell doom for your AC system. Ensure your filters are checked once in three months.

Singlehandedly I Can Fix My HVAC Unit

Unless you exactly know what you are doing, dismantling your HVAC system can be such an erroneous exercise which may cost you even more than what you could have paid a HVAC contractor. Even though a capacitor may be selling at about $6 online, installing it on your own can be costly because connecting the wrong wire can blow it up. The best option is to leave to the professionals.

Leave Your Thermostat Fan Setting on Auto Mode

During winter, this can be a clever step, but not during summer when your HVAC fan runs all the time, leaving your fan on auto mode can guzzle your energy and to some extent affect your comfort.

In addition to the above, ensure your thermostat is set at a temperature you are comfortable with as you leave the house because when you set it too high, you may find that your home is too cold as you come back and this will affect not only your comfort, but the cost of heating it to the normal standards.

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Telling the Difference between R410A and R22 Refrigerants

In the refrigerant market, R410A is the latest buzz. According to authorities and regulators in the field, by the year 2020, this refrigerant will be the most used because R22 is slowly being phased out. R410A has a great number of advantages hence its growing popularity.

Homeowners considering equipment purchase should understand the difference there is between these two refrigerants to help them in making the best decision for their systems. Below are some of the notable differences.

Brand Name and Continued Use

R22 carries the brand name Freon while R410A is known by the name Puron. As of 2010, the R22 refrigerant was officially discontinued and henceforth it was not meant to be used in new AC systems. This meant that HVAC manufacturers had to abandon the manufacture of AC systems that used R22. On the other hand, these manufacturers were instructed to switch to R410A. This explains why new AC systems non longer use R22 as a refrigerant.

Environmental Friendliness

R22 is a hydro-chlorofluorocarbon (HCFC). This has been found to be a major contributor to ozone depletion. R410A is a hydro-fluorocarbon which is environmentally friendly. At a time when climate change and global warming are serious national and international policies, the continued use of R22 is considered a step backwards.

Performance Differences

The newer AC models that are designed to run on R410A are more reliable and efficient in the operations. This is because the R410A refrigerant absorbs and releases a considerable amount of heat compared to R22. This means your AC compressor can run cooler hence reducing the risk of overheating and compressor burn out.

In terms of stress and the risk for cracking, R410A functions at a much higher pressure compared to R22 thereby enabling new compressors to withstand stress and shock. If you put R410A refrigerant into a system that is designed to accommodate R22, the pressure would be so much that the unit may even break.


All ACs use oil to keep the compressor lubricated throughout its operation. ACs running on R22 use mineral oil while those on R410A use synthetic oils. Compared to mineral oil, synthetic oil is much more soluble which means your AC system will operate more efficiently thus reducing the wear and tear that the compressor is exposed to.

Dry Charging

While the R22 refrigerant was outlawed back in 2010, some companies are taking advantage of the registration to produce what is commonly known as dry charge units. These are units that are produced without the R22 refrigerant installed at the manufacturing unit or factory. Instead, a HVAC technician comes to your home to have the refrigerant installed. This practice is considered technically legal, but it has its downside.

The supply of R22 is limited and its price would go up as soon as the existing supplies are depleted. R410A is the go-to refrigerant because it saves you in term of energy cost and it produces negligible sound during operation.

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My Outdoor AC Unit Makes Strange Noises


It is not abnormal for heat pumps to make loud noises particularly during winter. It’s because at this time, the reversing valves of the heat pumps are shifting the flow of refrigeration between cooling and heating modes. This process happens every time the heat pump unit goes through a defrost cycle.

As the shifting occurs, there is usually a loud swooshing sound that lasts for a number of seconds. This sound is at times followed by compressor noise that is also louder than normal as the heat pump refrigerant pressurizes to equalize. These noises have at times made homeowners to seek technical assistance because they think their systems are faulty.

Another type of sound which is very normal is whenever the outside condenser turns on and off. For several seconds, the sound emitted is like that of an out of balance washing machine.

The outdoor unit may produce a buzzing sound even when it is not running. This may also sound strange, but actually it shouldn’t because this sound comes from the reversing valve’s solenoid coil. The good news is that this is low voltage hence it doesn’t waste energy.

The metal to metal sound or rather a persistent thumbing sound may come from your outdoor AC unit if the fan blade of the compressor is hitting something such as a twig, wire, or ice. The best approach here is to shut off the unit so that your fan blade can be saved as well as your motor. These are components that are crucial to the operation of your AC unit and if they are thrown out of balance, your system will not only stop working, but also affect other components as well.

Isolation pads which need replacement can cause a vibration noise. Also, this noise could result from refrigerant lines that are tightly strapped.

Apart from the above reasons, below is a list of other causes of strange outdoor unit noises.

  • Vibration due to loose parts
  • Low refrigerant charge which gives rise to gurgling noise
  • Defective compressor valves
  • Defective motor
  • Iced up outdoor unit
  • Loud compressor
  • Loud unit – The AC unit could be loud in itself and this cannot be repaired unless the unit is replaced.
  • Bent or out of balance fan blades

For the more technical problems, it is advisable you contact professional HVAC experts. Remember, the company you hire to install and service your AC system will largely determine the degree of comfort that you enjoy.

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