Understanding Water Heater Warranties

Owning a home means keeping track of a variety of bills, chores, and maintenance. Worrying about appliance warranties is probably the last thing on your list. But when something like your water heater breaks, knowing what your warranty covers could be the key to resolving the issue quickly and with little or no cost to you.

Since your appliance warranty is one of the last things you think about when something breaks down, we’ll review exactly what a warranty is and provide some helpful guidance and tips on how to determine what is and isn’t covered under a warranty.

What Is a Warranty?

Sometimes a products’ parts or the entire system may be defective through no fault of yours. The product warranty is what protects the buyer from any costs incurred due to such unexpected repairs. When a product requires a repair or full replacement, the manufacturer’s warranty guarantees coverage within the designated timeframe listed in the agreement, but only if the repairs or replacement is the result of a product or parts defect and not due to improper installation or usage. Therefore, most warranties come with limitations related to the coverage timeframe, amount, type of parts covered, as well as limitations on how the product can be installed and used.

How Do Water Heater Warranties Work?

When you purchase a new water heater, the manufacturer provides a warranty. In most cases, you will need to activate it by registering the unit’s serial number within 30 days of purchase. If you have recently purchased a home, you may want to check the age and condition of the current water heater. If it is fairly new (within the last 3 years) check the warranty. If the previous owner doesn’t have the original copy, you can get the information online if you have the make, model, and serial number of the unit. It is important to note that not all water heater warranties will transfer when a sale of the property occurs. So, check the specifics of your warranty to see if this applies to your water heater.

How Long Do Water Heater Warranties Last?

Most warranty coverage terms range between 6 and 12 years. But this usually depends on the manufacturer and terms of usage. As for your water heater itself, most will last somewhere between 8 and 12 years, depending on daily use. A tankless water heater, on the other hand, can last up to 20 years. So, considering their lifespan, a manufacturer’s warranty is usually a fair assurance that you will be protected for most of the product’s life.

Types of Water Heater Warranties

There are three primary types of warranties that cover water heaters. However, understanding the fine print can be a little confusing. Here’s what you should know about the three main water heater warranty options:

Appliance Warranty: This is the initial warranty you receive from the manufacturer. The warranty can vary depending on the water heater type and manufacturer. If the system fails or breaks down because of user error, this may limit or void any repairs or replacement covered under the original warranty. In addition, installation performed by unlicensed individuals may also void any warranty on the product.

Extended Warranty Coverage: If you find your warranty is nearing its end, many manufacturers offer an extended warranty option. This option typically extends the coverage of your existing plan for another 1 to 3 years. This provides some added assurance that your product is covered for a longer period of time, before it needs a full replacement.

Home Warranty: Having a home warranty will allow you to protect some, or all, major systems and appliances in your home (including your water heater). These warranties will usually provide additional coverage beyond what an appliance or even homeowners insurance covers, such as user error and/or lack of maintenance.

Related Topic: Water Heater Troubleshooting Guide

Need Help Understand Exactly What’s Covered?

Deciding on the right water heater and warranty for your home will depend on your specific needs, such as tank type (standard or tankless), usage, and cost efficiency. If you’re still struggling to determine what you need and whether you have the proper coverage, your local Mr. Rooter can help.

We have the experience and expertise to determine exactly what your existing water heater warranty covers and can provide you with some long-term options that work best for you. To learn more, or to get started, give us a call or schedule an appointment online today!