Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Sticker Shock


Ouch ouch ouch.

We got an estimate on our boiler/air conditioner situation yesterday.

I say again, ouch.

Here's what we had hoped to do: replace our 40% efficient steam boiler with a 90%+ efficient hot water system. Not only would this save us money, but it would be safer as well (those steam pipes hit temps over 200 degrees F). We were also going to replace the 25-year-old A/C unit with a heat pump, which would allow us to cool the house all summer and warm the house on those high-30s and 40s days without firing up the boiler (or hot water unit).

So that's what we heard about yesterday. I don't want to give the exact number, but for those of you reading this post in the distant future (and I assume you are, since I don't think anyone reads this blog in the present), I will provide some handy 2008 equivalents.

For the price of installing a hot-water heating system and a heat pump, in the year 2008 a person could do one of the following:

  • Catch the matinee of Tropic Thunder at the Warren Theatre 2,714 times (that's the original 2008 version of Tropic Thunder, not the crappy remake from 2043).
  • Renew your Flickr Pro Account for 761 years.
  • Buy 5,937.5 gallons of gas (roughly enough to drive a Hummer from Wichita to Kansas City).
Obviously, we are looking into other possibilities.


Christopher Busta-Peck said...

Have you tried getting multiple quotes? My father in law runs an HVAC business, and I talked with him about this during my own home search.

My understanding was that, for a standard installation (assuming that nothing was too messed up with the plumbing for the existing boiler, etc.) of a new, high-efficiency boiler, that the cost for the boiler and install should be abould half of what you're suggesting it is. (This assumes a house of about 2500ish square feet - obviously, bigger would cost more.)

James said...

Hi Christopher-

The boiler was around half of the estimate we got; the other half was the heat pump and air handler.

Getting multiple estimates has been frustrating, though. We contacted five companies. One told us we shouldn't replace anything because the old boiler was still running okay (never mind that it's costing us several hundred dollars more per month in the winter than it should). A second told us we should just replace the boiler with a furnace. Two of the companies never gave us estimates and didn't return my calls. That left the company we are going with. We have worked with this company before, so it's a good thing. But we were pretty limited in our choice of companies to go with.


Christopher Busta-Peck said...


That's crazy. Whatever happened to the customer being right, or at least the customer being a potential source of income so therefore worth paying attention to?

Then again, perhaps that's why I work in my chosen field.

RovingWeaver said...

Holy CRAP! I just paid for my flickr pro acct, so I multipied it out. That is INSANE.

Movies at the warren are cheaper than here, though (I multiplied that out, too :-) ) - I paid TEN DOLLARS for a 4:30 show (silly me thought it would be a matinee) last Sunday when I went to see Eagle Eye.

I hope what you ended up going with this year works well, and that KS has a warm winter!!

Laura (I just set up a new weaving blog)