Paranoia sometimes has a way of giving us premonitions of things to come. Lately, my anxiety had been revolving around our ancient relic of a furnace that, until yesterday, sat complacently in our basement furnace room. That beast would groan like a 92-year-old man trying to get up from his rocking chair each time the thermostat told it was time to go to work. The number of turns the giant squirrel cage inside the belly of the beast had taken over the years was no small feat. Just the sound of it firing up was enough to make you jump if you were someplace nearby. What it gained in sound, it lost in efficiency each day. The living room and the storage room adjacent to the furnace room were always toasty. However, the weak puffs of air that made it over to the more remote areas of our home were hardly enough to keep the icicles off our noses as we slept each night. This could be due in part to the fact that I am a total gas miser, and we literally have to play "freeze-out" in our house. Nevertheless, my husband and I were still reluctant to install a new heating and cooling system despite the fact that we had two estimates for new units already. After all, our existing relic had been with the house since its date of construction. Removing it would be like taking a worn blankie from a thumb-sucking toddler (or like using a crowbar to pry open the checkbook of young couple who thought their major home remodeling expenses were over). I rationalized that throwing an extra quilt on the bed and wearing coveralls in the house would be more efficient than turning up the heat. By some twist of fate, our paranoia peaked over the weekend and helped make up our minds.
Upon returning home from a two day stint in Omaha for continuing real estate education, I was welcomed at the door by the smell of natural gas. My instant thought was, "Don't turn on the lights!" My second thought was, "Oh, your nose is playing tricks on you, don't be paranoid and turn on the lights." I listened to my first thought, left the door open and walked down to the basement furnace room to see if I could locate a source for the leak (big no-no according to the gas leak professionals at Black Hills Energy http://www.blackhillsenergy.com/safety/gas/smell/). Actually, the smell became less noticeable the closer I got to the furnace room. So, I turned on the lights as my fears subsided and ruled it as a false alarm. I left for work shortly after my investigation and shut the house up again for the day. Low and behold, Tim came home later that afternoon and claimed that he, too, smelled gas in the house. It couldn't be that both of us were wrong? He followed the exact same procedure that I had performed just hours before and came to the same conclusion, but the paranoia had spread. Being that it was late on a Saturday afternoon by this time, we convinced ourselves not to contact a professional to inspect for a gas leak. Instead, we decided to replace our ancient gas-hog-faded-yellow relic of furnaces past with a new furnace and heat pump. That's right folks, we cashed out the old beast for a modern, high efficiency Amana furnace. Time to get out the checkbook again.
As mentioned, we had two experienced professionals within the last two weeks who had given us estimates for the new unit. In the end, we decided to go with Jeff Brown Plumbing, Heating and Cooling here in Wayne because of his promptness, professional advice, and price. Jeff handles a few service calls for us down at 1st Realty, and he is always easy to work with and ready to help in a pinch. We called him on Monday and by yesterday, he had the furnace and new electric water heater installed. We can already notice a big difference in the consistency of temperature in our home.
With the new furnace and heat pump, we are hoping to recoup some of the expense of the unit by saving on our utility bills in the upcoming months and years. We made sure to write the date of installation on our new unit to ensure that potential buyers in the future would be able to identify when the work was completed. I advise all of my clients and customers to do so even if you aren't looking at buying or selling anytime soon. This will help you avoid having to do extensive homework and receipt digging when your agent asks you the age of your furnace and water heater. For the time being, our paranoia has subsided, and we are putting that crowbar in a secret hiding spot in hopes that we won't have to pry our checkbook open for anything else at our home for a very long time. Welcome Home.