Your home’s HVAC system is a crucial element of your household. If you’re trying to get through another frigid February, you rely on your home’s furnace to keep you warm and toasty until it’s time to thaw out in the spring. However, issues can arise with our HVAC units, and sometimes that can leave us footing a significant repair bill, even if we have a warranty for the machinery. Don’t be blindsided by that invoice. Here are some ways you can avoid spending hundreds or thousands because of an invalid warranty.

Adhere to maintenance requirements.

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Proper maintenance of your heating system should be a must regardless of any warranty you may have for your HVAC system. Don’t get stuck with an unexpected furnace repair bill due to an invalid warranty. The average HVAC unit should last anywhere from 15-20 years depending on size, use, and maintenance. Your HVAC system requires seasonal cleaning, making sure the unit is up to code during the fall to prepare for furnace use in the winter, and again in the spring to prepare for air conditioner use in the summer.

Regularly changing filters for your home’s heater is a great way to make sure the system operates properly and prevent any dust or other allergens from impacting your indoor air quality. A regular checkup with a licensed HVAC technician is also a good way to get a regular check-up on your ductwork to make sure there are no leaks and cracks that are waning on your energy bill. This will also make for checks of blockages in the ducts and vents.

Stay aware of any issues.

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It’s important to stay vigilant of any sudden changes to your home’s heating unit. Of course, when you turn on the heat for the first time, you’ll hear some noises like clanking. This is common when initially turning the system on. However, if the noises continue, it could be a sign of needed furnace repair. A loud metallic clanking, for example, could be a sign of loose equipment that needs to be reattached or replaced by a licensed HVAC specialist.

If you notice you are not getting any heat despite cranking the thermostat higher and higher, you may have clogs in your ductwork. If you find an odor of smoke occurring, it could be burnout being brought on by those blockages. There could be an even more significant issue with the heat pump. Cracks in that can allow dangerous carbon monoxide to leak through your household. You may notice your energy bills growing, but the heat not rolling through. Make sure you are getting enough heat without having to cover any additional cost with your monthly expenses.

Compare warranties.

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HVAC systems need regular maintenance for optimal performance, but let’s face it: We may not have the time to suddenly deal with a furnace issue. Be sure to invest in a low-maintenance, cost-effective system. When you negotiate your HVAC installation, you should also negotiate a warranty plan that combines regular inspections with discounts on repairs and a labor warranty into the overall price will make sure you are not springing for out-of-pocket expenses for unexpected repairs.

If you take some time comparing manufacturers’ and contractors’ warranties, you’ll spare yourself a major headache in the event of a fault with a heating system. Oftentimes, at least some parts and repairs are covered with a default warranty when buying new. If flipping a home or planning to sell a home, be sure to buy warranties that are transferable to the next homeowner. The right warranty and the right amount of upkeep are a great way to make sure that any issues that do arise with your furnace are taken care of immediately and without a hefty bill to foot.