The L&M Blog

HVAC Contractor Warranties and Guarantees: The Difference and Importance of Both

Anytime you have heating, ventilation or air conditioning (HVAC) work done in Rapid City, SD or Piedmont, SD you’ll encounter the issues of warranties and guarantees. Both are important and yet many believe they are essentially two words that mean the same thing. They’re not. There are subtle but real differences between the two and if you employ someone to do HVAC work on your home you’ll need to know the difference. This is important stuff to know because it’s not just HVAC work where you’ll encounter these terms. Plumbers, electricians, carpet layers and more all deal with both guarantees and warranties. So let’s take a close look at both.

HVAC Contractor Warranties and Guarantees

What an HVAC Contractor Means by “Warranty” and “Guarantee”

Before buying a product or agreeing to a service you should always find out what type of warranty or guarantee is involved. Often, both will be in play as we noted above. But if you don’t know the difference you may only check the warranties and forget about any guarantees (or vice versa). In order to clear things up we’re going to look at both: what they are and how the different terms apply specifically to HVAC work. Let’s begin.

General Definition of “Warranty”

In general terms the word “warranty” is defined as a type of assurance given to the buyer of a product by a manufacturer that any claims about the quality of the product and/or its component parts are true. It also stipulates that the product in question will live up to certain established standards of quality and perhaps, performance. Warranties only apply to real world objects such as electronic equipment, cars, HVAC equipment, computer monitors and the like. If that object does not meet a set of established standards the manufacturer agrees to either repair it or replace it at no cost to the customer.

General Definition of “Guarantee”

In most cases a guarantee is a promise made by a company or individual that the work they performed will hold up for at least a specified amount of time. That is, it is a promise that the work performed is quality work and fulfills all the requirements of the contract. If the work fails to hold up for X amount of time the guarantor is obligated to redo the work in a timely fashion at no expense to the customer.

  Guarantee Warranty
Definition A guarantee often serves as a promise made by a person or company that their work will hold up for X amount of time. It may also serve as a promise from a manufacturer to a buyer, that if a product is not up to a specified quality level that said product will be repaired or replaced free of charge. Or, in some cases, that the purchase price will be refunded. A warranty is an assurance that the facts specified about a particular product are true. (For instance that product X will run without fail for 10,000 hours). If said claims turn out not to be true the product will be repaired or replaced at no extra charge.
How they are characterized A promise An assurance
They apply to A product or service (often labor). A product
Always applicable? Not necessarily A warranty is typically either an expressed or implied condition of sale
How is it expressed? It may be either spoken or written Typically written
Does it cost anything? Not usually Buyers often have to pay for warranty or extended warranty coverage.
Length of Term Varies Varies but typically long term.

Now that we have a better idea of what constitutes a warranty and what constitutes a guarantee let’s look at how the terms apply specifically to an HVAC contractor

The HVAC Warranty

When it comes to HVAC equipment a warranty is an agreement between say, the company that made your new furnace and you. It states that if the manufacturer claims the furnace will work for X amount of time and it breaks down in less time than that, then the manufacturer is responsible for fixing or replacing it. However, the warranty will only apply as long as the problem was not the result of something you or the HVAC contractor who installed the furnace did. Keep in mind too that some things like ductwork likely won’t be covered by a warranty.

The HVAC Guarantee

As we stated the guarantee is typically free and can cover several different aspects of - again for example - a furnace installation. The guarantee is a promise from the manufacturer that the device will work as promised and if it doesn’t, that the manufacturer will repair or replace it free of charge. Or in some cases simply refund your money. A guarantee may also cover the work performed to install the furnace. In that case if the furnace breaks down, but as a result of a shoddy installation rather than a product defect, it will be up to the installer to repair or replace it free of charge, not the manufacturer.

Voiding the Warranty

Homeowners, often without knowing it, act in a way that results in the warranty being voided. This can occur, for instance, if the warranty stipulates you must provide proof of having the furnace inspected every X number of months by a certified HVAC contractor. If you don’t, and the blower for instance, breaks down the warranty will be void even if the blower breakdown was the result of a defect.


A simple way to keep things straight is to remember that warranties only cover tangible products or their component parts. While a guarantee may cover the product or it may cover the work performed to install the product. Or it may cover both. Also, if an HVAC contractor in Piedmont, SD or Rapid City, SD doesn’t offer a guarantee on their work or a warranty on the products they install you should take a pass and find someone else who does.