Covering Your Bases The Importance of Knowing Your Warranties

 Warranties for products are simple to understand, most people might think. You  go to the store, buy a computer or a DVD player or a TV, or even a larger  appliance like a refrigerator, and you get a piece of paper describing a  one-year or two-year warranty, and what’s covered. Sometimes, for some extra money, you can get an extended warranty for  another year or so.  

 But what if the item in question is not a personal appliance, but a huge  building component that you’re purchasing in large numbers from a contractor? What if you’re purchasing, for your co-op or condo, a roof tank, pumps, a new roof, a new  series of convectors for a central HVAC system, or mechanical parts for an  elevator?  

 Surely, the technology in items like these is more complex than your laptop.  Also, in addition to the manufacturer, there is usually now a third party—the contractor. Still, a warranty must be given. How do warranties work for such  large items, and what do you, as a co-op or condo board member, committee  member or manager, need to know?  

 Gregg Wallick, president of Best Roofing Inc. in Fort Lauderdale, says one  difference between the warranties on small, personal items like the  aforementioned laptop versus much bigger components like a roof is maintenance  requirements. “So many people confuse their roof warranty with their insurance policy. People  get a leak and they think ‘I have a warranty, let me make a call,’” he says. “Every roof warranty that is written by every manufacturer is going to have  certain maintenance requirements that need to take place. Especially when you  are dealing with a flat roof of a commercial nature, in many of those cases  they usually use the roof as a depository for mechanical equipment like exhaust  fans, air conditioners, skylights, bathroom fans. All of those things require  maintenance and in the process of that maintenance sometimes the roof gets  compromised. So whoever is issuing the warranty will require the owner to do  inspections and maintenance and that doesn’t happen with smaller items.”  

 Wallick also stresses the importance of reading the fine print on warranties for  large components because if maintenance requirements aren’t met the warranty could be considered null and void.  

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