A fireplace is an excellent feature in your home, especially on cold winter nights. A roaring fireplace to cozy up to provides comfort and warmth and keeps the chills at bay. This is true whether you own a gas fireplace, a charming wood-burning fireplace, or an efficient electric fireplace.
A home warranty can also be an asset to your home, providing peace of mind if something breaks down. The big question is, does your home warranty coverage extend to the fireplace? It’s crucial to understand what your home warranty covers and the conditions of that coverage. It’s also important to determine any holes in your home warranty coverage. To understand whether home warranties cover fireplaces, you’ll have to understand the nuances of both elements.
Understanding home warranties
A home warranty protects the major systems and appliances within a home. It’s essentially a service contract that promises if something crucial to your home breaks down, a technician will be sent to fix it. There are some conditions to this, mainly that the system or appliance must be well-maintained. These warranties offer peace of mind, as unforeseen repair costs can be a very unwelcome surprise.
Your home warranty covers the important systems and appliances that your house relies on to run comfortably and smoothly, such as the heat and AC, the electrical systems, and the plumbing. It can also cover major appliances, including the oven, stove, fridge, dishwasher, washing machine, and dryer. Home warranty coverage varies depending on the warranty and the needs of the homeowner. For example, if you own a pool and want it covered, you may need specialized coverage.
Home warranties aren’t the same as homeowners’ insurance. Insurance is there when disaster strikes, such as a fire, theft, or flood. For example, if a pipe bursts and water floods your home, your insurance may cover the damage caused by the water but not the initial burst pipe. Your home warranty is designed to cover everything insurance does not – including the burst pipe. Insurance covers the major disasters that might happen, while home warranties cover you when a major system breaks down. Any homeowner will tell you it’s a matter of “when,” not “if.”
Different types of fireplaces
There are a few common types of fireplaces found in homes. Understanding these cozy features and how they work is key to understanding why home warranties do not cover fireplaces. Three main types of fireplaces are likely to be found in a home: gas, electric, and wood-burning.
A gas fireplace is a great choice for convenience and energy efficiency. They use the home’s heating system to function and don’t burn any wood or create ash. Often, they have artificial logs and components such as a gas line and a burner to operate. These fireplaces can be turned on or off with the flick of a switch.
Electric fireplaces are quickly becoming the most common fireplace type due to how easy they are to operate and run. They’re also the most cost-effective and don’t require any changes in the home to add to a room. These fireplaces produce heat via an electric coil, and the flames are an effect of LED lights.
Wood-burning fireplaces are the traditional model. For these fireplaces, you’ll need wood, a firebox, a damper, and a flue to safely contain and vent the smoke. They require maintenance and regular cleaning to function properly.
Your fireplace type makes a big difference in whether your home warranty coverage includes your fireplace. The most common warranties cover your home’s major systems, including heating and electricity. You probably won’t see a fireplace listed on the number of features covered by a home warranty, but there’s a more nuanced answer to the issue.
Does your home warranty cover fireplaces?
The simple answer to whether home warranties cover fireplaces is no. However, depending on the fireplace and what component of the fireplace has broken, you might be more covered than you first realized. Keep in mind that each coverage is different. Make sure to carefully review your fireplace contract for specifics on fireplace coverage.
Your home warranty covers the main systems within a home, including the heating and the electrical. Your contract may stipulate that the heating is solely related to your HVAC system, the same system that a gas fireplace relies on to work properly. If there were a problem with your gas line, your gas fireplace wouldn’t work, and your home warranty may cover the fix.
Unfortunately, wood-burning fireplace owners don’t get a similar overlap in coverage. Wood-burning fireplaces use fire and wood and have their own components separate from the major home systems. Therefore, they’re rarely covered by a warranty.
Electric fireplaces could be covered. They’re often covered under electronics, so if a fuse burns out or something else goes wrong, there’s a chance the home warranty will be there to help. If there’s an electrical problem within the home, the home warranty typically covers that system.
Most home warranties differentiate between a covered electric fireplace and a non-covered fireplace in the details of their contracts. Warranty coverage has exclusions and limitations to all coverage, including a dollar limit on fixes. If a fireplace fails due to improper installation, misuse, or lack of maintenance, it likely won’t be covered.
Caring for your fireplace: maintenance and safety
Regardless of whether home warranties cover fireplaces, proper care and maintenance of your fireplace are important to help the fireplace run smoother and increase its overall lifespan. As with all appliances, proper maintenance can help identify issues before they become problems. Practicing proper maintenance on all the important aspects of your home helps avoid potential issues with warranty claims, as that is a common clause in your home warranty contract.
If you own a gas fireplace, consider scheduling an annual inspection by a certified professional. They’re needed to ensure the gas lines are intact and in good condition and the venting system works properly. They also check the burner and ignition. You can help extend a gas fireplace by performing regular cleaning.
Your wood-burning fireplace requires more maintenance and care than other varieties. The ash in the hearth needs to be cleaned regularly, along with any creosote build-up. Chimneys should be checked for cracks and dents. If you’re not confident in tackling this job, you can hire a professional chimney sweep to help you out.
An electric fireplace is the easiest to maintain. Be sure to dust the appliance regularly and check out the electrical components for any signs of wear or damage. Before you clean it, ensure the machine is turned off and unplugged.
Making a fireplace claim on your home warranty
These steps can help you file a claim for your fireplace on your home warranty, but remember that each contract and situation is different. These steps can help you make your claim, but they do not guarantee success.
- Review your contract: Before you file your claim, know exactly what’s covered and the stipulations of that coverage. Be aware of the service fee and coverage limit for the appliance.
- Contact your provider: Don’t wait to call your warranty provider. The sooner you start the claim, the sooner you can get the appliance repaired.
- Describe the problem: Provide details about the appliance, such as the make, model, and serial number. Give a detailed report on the problem.
- Schedule a technician: You’ll have to pay a service fee for a technician to visit, which is standard practice. The warranty service should find and schedule a technician for you.
- Assessment and repair: The technician will evaluate the fireplace, confirm the issue, and perform the necessary repairs if it’s covered. If a repair isn’t possible, the warranty often covers a replacement.
- Claim resolution: Once the repair or replacement is done, the warranty provider may handle payment directly with the technician, barring any service fees or deductibles.
Having maintenance records and any issues you’ve had with the appliance is important. Having a strong understanding of the problem with the fireplace and what your home warranty covers helps maximize your odds of success. Communicate clearly and timely, and you’ll have a good chance for a successful claim.
It’s important to understand when home warranties cover fireplaces. Generally, a fireplace is not covered, but that’s not the full story. If a gas line is broken and you have a gas fireplace, the line repair may be covered. Home warranties typically cover electronics, so an electric fireplace may be covered. A wood-burning fireplace is typically not covered. Be sure to scrutinize your contract so you’re fully informed of all the details therein. Home warranty coverage can be extensive and complicated at times, but with a bit of knowledge, you’ll be ready for anything.
If you are a homeowner or are planning to buy a home, consider adding a home warranty to your to-do list. It’s a financial safety net that can shield you from unforeseen expenses related to your home’s systems and components.