With the controls for our current furnace still acting up, and this being a very good time to buy a furnace (the installers are not busy so you can get better labor prices) we’ve decided to go ahead with the new furnace installation in the next few weeks. Because of that, I don’t have any debt updates to report from the past week, but I have plenty of numbers to discuss anyway. Furnace numbers!
We had three companies come and do estimates, all local dealers for major manufacturers. I used a combination of personal experience, experiences of friends, and website research to choose the ones to come and do the estimates. Basically, breaking down by manufacturer, our Trane estimate was the least expensive, at just under $3000, and then Rheem at $3180 and finally, Bryant which was around $3300. However, the Trane estimate was not replacing our thermostat (the other two were), and the Rheem dealer actually gave us a number of additional options which were very attractively priced to us, and things we were interested in as well. Adding duct cleaning and an additional air filter (this Aprilaire one) brought the Rheem price up to $3930. But, I felt there was an even better price out there. So, I went to work.
Last night, the Rheem dealer emailed us to thank us for our interest. I responded thanking them for their visit, and explaining that we were interested in these particular add-ons and why (my allergies and my spouse’s asthma) but that the price was a bit over what I was budgeting. So I asked if I could get a discount for packaging these services. The president of the company (who also came to our house) called me back today and offered us a $150 discount on the air filter plus a $120 discount on the air duct cleaning, bringing the total cost to $3700. There is also a $270 rebate on top of that from our gas company for installing a 90%+ AFUE furnace, but we would get that regardless of who we chose. And, they are also giving us a UV air filter for bacteria that connects directly to the ductwork for free. I thanked him for his time and told him we would call back by Friday with our decision. I am waiting for some information from the Bryant dealer about possible discounts, but basically, we think our decision is made. The air duct cleaning alone will only be $230 which is half of the most inexpensive quotes I have ever gotten for our house. That saves us money right there on something that has been on my to-do list for a year and needs to be done.
Why did we end up choosing the one we did? They were professional, their price was competitive, and they offered options but didn’t push them on us (there was other optional equipment such as a humidifier that I said I wasn’t interested in and they dropped discussing them right away). They had excellent reviews, and honestly, we found them originally through a link from the Energy Star website. It pays to make sure you’re listed where people are looking for you, I think. They didn’t try to push a more expensive furnace than I was interested in on me (they explained the different between the one we chose and both the upgraded model and the less expensive model, but unlike the Bryant dealer they didn’t keep pushing the “better” one) but they also gave options and explained choices (the Trane dealer was basically “this is what people get, you’d get this”) and let me decide what was important to me for myself. And hey, I got a 5% discount just for asking “what can you do for me here” so that’s a bonus.
So now on to the big question – where is $3700 coming from? By very fortuitious timing, we actually are leaving the emergency fund completely alone. The money comes from:
- $1000 from the extra paycheck in May
- $1800 stimulus check
- $900 from student loan payoff fund
This pretty much empties the student loan payoff fund for May, but I should be able to scrape together at least an extra $70 to get the student loan payment this month up to that double payment level so I can put the extra amount paid towards principal. We are scheduled to get our stimulus check by next Friday, and we get the extra May paycheck this Friday, so then we will be all set to pay for it and can schedule accordingly. Not all that exciting to spend so much money – but we’ll save lots of money over the next 20+ years with this furnace compared to what we have now, so… yippee! Actually, according to my rough calculations, the furnace will completely pay for itself in 6-7 years in natural gas savings. Not a bad little investment at all.