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 »  HOME WARRANTIES

Home Warranty Questions

A home warranty provides protection during and after a home purchase. When a covered system or appliance breaks down due to normal wear and tear, you're protected for repair or replacement.

  1. What is a home warranty?
  2. What is Basic Home Warranty Coverage?
  3. I'm in the market for a home. What's the benefit of buying a home covered by a home warranty?
  4. I'm selling my home. Why would I want a home warranty?
  5. My home systems and appliances are old. Does that matter?
  6. Doe most home warranty companies need to inspect my home systems and appliances before I enroll?
  7. Is there a fee for each visit?
  8. What is a trade service call fee?
  9. Is there a limit to the number of repairs a home warranty company covers?
What is a home warranty?

A home warranty is a service contract, usually covering one year, which helps protect homeowners against the cost of unexpected covered repairs or replacement on their major systems and appliances that break down due to normal wear and tear. In California, before purchasing a home warranty, first check with the Home Warranty Association of California to see if the company is a member.

What is Basic Home Warranty Coverage?

Generally, basic coverage for a home under 5,000 square feet, regardless of age includes the home's heating, plumbing, electrical system, water heater and major appliances, such as range/oven/cooktop, dishwasher, garbage disposal, etc. Home warranties are available for homes that are over 5,000 square feet for an additional fee.

I'm in the market for a home. What's the benefit of buying a home covered by a home warranty?

A home warranty helps provide protection during and after a home purchase. When a covered system or appliance breaks down due to normal wear and tear, you're protected for repair or replacement. There's no need to get back in touch with the real estate agent or track down the previous owner.

I'm selling my home. Why would I want a home warranty?

A home warranty gives buyers additional confidence in a real estate transaction—they know that most home warranty companies will stand behind the covered systems or appliances in the house. If they break down, buyers are covered for repair or replacement. An added benefit to the seller is that buyers will be calling us with their problems—not you.

My home systems and appliances are old. Does that matter?

No, to most, the age of a home or its systems and appliances does not matter. We cover items that are in good working condition at the time you purchase the plan and properly maintained. Plus, Most home warranty companies cover all makes and models of appliances and systems.

Does the home warranty company need to inspect my home systems and appliances before I enroll?

For the most part, no.

Is there a fee for each visit?

For the most part yes, a fee called a trade service call fee is paid directly to the contractor for each covered breakdown, no matter what the actual cost of the repair or replacement for your covered item.

What is a trade service call fee?

A trade service call fee is the amount due when a contractor visits your home. Each type of breakdown falls into a "trade" category, for example: a leaky pipe qualifies as a plumbing breakdown, while a broken dishwasher is an appliance breakdown.

Since it may require more than one contractor or several unrelated trips to the house by the same contractor (once to fix the pipe, another to fix the dishwasher), there is a fee due for each "trade" a service call covers. It's perfectly alright to report more than one breakdown at a time. Additional fees may apply if the repairs fall into different categories.

Is there a limit to the number of repairs a home warranty company covers?

For the most part, no. However, all questions regarding a home warranty should be addressed directly to the home warranty issuer.

Preventative Maintenance

- Summer
- Winter
- Garbage Disposal
- Dishwasher
- Water Heater
- Gas Range
- Electrical System
- Heating System
- Air Conditioning
- Pool Maintenance

SUMMER Top
- Keep curtains closed when temperatures are at their peak.
- Use exhaust fans when cooking to remove excess heat and humidity.
- Close registers in rooms that are not being used. To avoid damage to your central
   heating system, close no more than one fourth of the area of your home.
- Caulk and weather-strip all windows to close any air gaps.
- Set your thermostat at 78 degrees.
- Close the flue when your fireplace is not in use.
- Move furniture away from vents, registers and radiators.
- Change the filter on forced air units.
WINTER Top
- Install a door sweep.
- Caulk or apply weather-stripping around problem draft areas.
- Clean gutters and downspouts in mid-fall and double-check them before winter.
- Have chimneys and wood stoves cleaned early in the season.
- Close the flue when your fireplace is not in use.
- Move furniture away from vents, registers and radiators.
- Open the drapes during the day for the free solar heat and close them just before
   sunset.
- Change the filter on forced air units.
GARBAGE DISPOSAL Top
- To clean the disposal, push ice cubes through it while running cold water.
- Always remember to run water during use and for at least two minutes after you
   finish. This prevents stoppage.
- If the garbage disposal is leaking, check to make sure that the sink and drain
   connections are not loose.
DISHWASHER Top
- If your dishes aren't cleaning well, run the hot water from the tap. This will allow
   hot water to flow to the dishwasher immediately. Also check that the hot water
   setting is correct.
- Vinegar should take mineral deposits off the heating element which causes
   dishes to stay wet. Make sure element is not hot when cleaning.
WATER HEATER Top
- If the water heater is not hot enough or is too hot, make sure your thermostat is set
   correctly. A water heater blanket is helpful to keep the water temperature constant.
GAS RANGE Top
- IMPORTANT!!! If you smell gas around your oven, turn your gas off, air out the
   room and notify the gas company immediately.
- If the flame on your cooktop isn't burning steadily, turn off the burners then clean
   the burner surface. Afterwards, reset the burners.
ELECTRICAL SYSTEM Top
- If any lights or outlets don't work, check your breakers at your electrical panel.
   If a breaker is not in the on position, turn the breaker off and then on. Or call
   First American if you have a warranty already in effect.
HEATING SYSTEM Top
- Check filters bi-annually.
- Set your thermostat to 69° F or less during the day, 60° F or less at night (or when
   you leave your home for more than four hours).
- Bundle up. Try putting on a sweater or throwing an extra blanket on the bed
   before you turn up thermostat.
- Bundle your home too. Exterior doors should be tightly shut and avoid frequent
   in-and-out traffic. Padded door runners help reduce drafts under doorways.
- Use zone heating. Don't waste energy and money by heating a room you're
   not using. Close doors and/or vents to that room. To avoid damage to your
   central heating system, close no more than one fourth of the area of your home.
- Use solar power. On sunny mornings, open your drapes on the eastern and
   southern windows of your home. In the afternoon, open your drapes for your
   western windows to get the most exposure to the sun.
AIR CONDITIONING Top
- Replace filters monthly during the hot summer season.
- Have annual system maintenance service done before the air conditioning
   season begins.
- Keep condensing unit free of debris.
POOL MAINTENANCE Top
- Clean your pool at least once a week.
- Remove debris with a hand held skimmer net.
- To maintain a proper water level, add fresh water and allow the water to flow
   into the skimmer every time you clean the pool or when needed.
- Take a water sample into a local pool store so they can test your pool's chemical
   levels. Green water may be a chemical problem and not a mechanical problem.
- Vacuum and scrub the pool walls to remove accumulated dirt, scum, and oil.
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