How Long Are Furnace Guarantees?

In order to set the record straight on guarantees we need to separate out the guarantees as to what they are and who they come from. Only then can we determine whether or not those guarantees have any meaning. Furnace guarantees come from these sources.


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All warranties and guarantees are not created equipment. The vast majority of the extended warranties being provided to homeowners are little more than placebos design to comfort the homeowner and convince them into purchasing the furnace now.

The State of California Contractors License LawHome Furnace repair

The State of California Civil Code (CCP) 337.15 provides for 10 years for latent (you cannot see them) defects in new construction. (CCP) 337.1 provides for a 4 years for obvious (you can see them) defects. If the plaintiff does or should have reasonably discovered the defect the time for filing a lawsuit is reduced to 3 years for a negligence cause of action and four years for a breach of contract, but in any event no longer than ten years after substantial completion. Small claims court is limited to 2 years after completion of the work.

What this really tells you is that, if you want to pursue it, you have a 10 year warranty for defects in installation and defects in the design of the furnace and this is without regard to the written contract as State Law trumps the warranty on the invoice. This only pertains to defects and not a simple breakdown. (Link)

The Furnace Manufacturer

Most have no warranty of any type on labor, only defective materials and getting those materials (gas valves, circuit boards, etc.) can be onerous. Many times a payment in advance must be made and then you have to wait for reimbursement, if they don’t claim it was from negligence or lack of maintenance. Factory warranties are often not factory warranties, but warranties provided by third parties. Factory warranties can be anything from no warranty (commercial installations typically) to lifetime warranties. Since the California Civil Code will only enforce breech of contract for 4 years and defects for 10 years, your lifetime warranty is really only 10 years. Honoring the warranty after ten years is truly subject to their discretion. Many manufactures simply give you a coupon for a hundred or more dollars towards the purchase of more of their equipment. Here is a sample warranty from Carrier, From RUUD.

Third Party Reinsurance Warranties

The majority of the manufactures rely on third party companies to back their warranties. They are not insurance companies and you do not have the laws on your side like insurance companies. These companies generally stay in business for 6, 7 or more years provided that they are making money. Once the repairs start rolling in they fold up shop and start up again under a new corporate umbrella. This is exactly what happened to a major (the biggest) firm in 2009. The warranties that they were selling became worthless. Don’t bother with these aftermarket warranties. I really don’t think that these furnace warranties are worth even as much as the paper they are printed on and they are never based in California.

The Furnace Distributor

The furnace distributor is the holding company for the furnace manufactures and this is where the local contractor purchases the equipment. This provides a layer of shielding for the manufacturer in litigation. The distributor has no warranty on the equipment at all.

The Furnace Retailer

The furnace retailer (big box) have no warranty whatsoever in the installation of the furnace or the application of the furnace or the design of the furnace. If you read the detailed fine print you give up all rights to sue. Most of these contractors cover a provision for 90 days labor warranty which the big box retailer will support, but what good is a 90 day warranty? The longest warranty I have been able to uncover is one year in the event of defects in installation, a clear violation of California law. (Home Depot Warranty)

Online RetailerCall for home furnace repair

Purchasing your equipment online means that you give up all your rights to any warranty for your equipment at all. In the warranty provisions (you can find these with a diligence online) you will find that the manufactures will not warranty any part of any furnace if that furnace was purchased online. The reason for this is that nearly every breakdown is the result of installation problems, not manufacturing problems. (Rheem Example, Goodman Example, RUUD Example)

The Furnace Installation Contractor

You warranty is truly only as good as your furnace installation contractor. If your furnace installation contractor gives you in writing a 20 year guarantee, but has only been in business for 5 years, you can bet that your guarantee isn’t any good. Only 5% of contractors are able to stay in business for 20 years. Here at we offer a full 10 year parts and labor guarantee for nearly everything that we do provided that we perform the yearly maintenance. Yearly maintenance is the key. When this is performed properly the furnace will rarely ever breakdown. (Our warranties and guaranties)