Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I'm Frozen and I Don't Know What to Do

Does anyone have a crystal ball I can borrow? I really need one right now. You see, my furnace went out this morning. It was 30 degrees here today. Brrrr! So I had my friend come look at it tonight. The circuit board is bad. It'll cost about $500 to replace it. My furnace is 16 years old. These usually last about 17-18 years. I can replace the circuit board and cross my fingers that I'll get another season or two out of it. Although, my friend mentioned that the parts that generally need to be replaced at some point are all still original parts, so there's a decent chance that even if it lasts another couple years, these parts will nickle and dime me.

Or -

I could get a new furnace. And the good news is that there's a tax credit of about $1000 if I get this more efficient furnace. And my gas bill will probably drop a bit too. Although, it'll kinda suck to tell the kids, "Merry Christmas! Here's your new furnace! Enjoy!"

Then again, if I spend the money on a new furnace and I end up moving this spring/summer, I'll feel like I just wasted that money.

But if I don't get a new one now and it goes out in a couple months, I'll have wasted $500 on the circuit board and I'll be outta luck on the tax credit.

I HATE decisions like this! Because no matter what you decide, you'll always second guess yourself and wonder if you made the right choice. And there's no winning. If I replace it, I'm certain it would have lasted at least another five years with no problems. If I don't replace it, it'll die for good January 1st.

Sooo, what I need to know is this. Exactly how long will my current furnace last if I only replace the circuit board? Someone look into their crystal ball and tell me, please. That will make my decision so much easier. Oh, and while you're looking, let me know if we're going to move next year. Oh yeah, and if you could give me the winning lottery numbers, that would also be helpful. Oh and one last thing, could you also tell me if my children will ever learn to keep food out of the family room and hang up their stinkin' coats or should I just give up now? Thank you.

37 comments:

Cynthia said...

What ever you do do not buy a new furnace! I tell all my friends not to replace their old appliances and they never listen. Then they come back two years later and are kicking themselves for not fixing what they have. Here's the deal our old furnaces/appliances that are at least 12-15 years old were made mostly here in the USA with steel. Now most everything is made in other countries (china) with plastic parts. Our appliances have become disposable. The old stuff you have will out last anything new you can purchase.
Get another opinion from someone that doesn't want to sell you a new furnace. The same goes for dishwashers, washing machines and dryers, ovens, and microwaves. I have replaced my new microwave for my brand new home 3 times in 10 years. The microwave I got as a wedding gift is still going strong after 20+ years.If you absolutely have to replace it buy cheap because you will be replacing it in a couple of years. Shoot for wheel and gerbil cheap. Peace and stay warm Cynthia

Victoria KP said...

If you ever get a crystal ball like that, can I borrow it? I hate decisions like that!

One thing for sure I can tell you. Your kids WILL learn to hang up their own coats--but not until they get a place of their own. But you will have justice as THEIR children won't hang up their coats either!

Sharon said...

Get a new furnace! You may not be able to get a high efficiency furnace, we couldn't because of the layout of the room where the furnace was located but even a regular furnace was be more efficient than the old one and you still get a tax credit. Once you get the new furnace you're good to go for a very long time and if you decide to sell the house you have made a good investment towards resale. With the circuit board I think you'll just be waiting for something else to go wrong wrong with an already old furnace.

Dawn said...

I hate making decisions like this and say the same thing about a crystal ball. Would it be a selling point if you moved that the furnace was just replaced? Good luck!

Patti Money said...

I would replace it, especially since it's almost certainly going to need replacing anyway in the next few years. First, you'll have peace of mind for this winter at least. Second, even if you do move, a newly-replaced furnace will be appealing to new buyers, especially in Chicago. Third, it's amazing how much lower your gas bill will be, even just for this winter. We replaced our furnace 18 months ago, and our gas bills dropped by 20% or more. I know it's a huge expense and money doesn't grow on trees. However, my parents have told me how cold Chicago winters are!

Mynde said...

We too got to go to Furnace World this year on vacation (and next year too because dang that was expensive!) and while we were there we stopped at New A/C Unit Land as well- after all we were so close it would be silly to not visit both in one trip. I vote bite the bullet and buy a new one- at least it will make your house more sellable if you do move (but don't hold your breath about cheaper bills because I've yet to see it- just sayin).

No children will not keep food out of the living room and what the heck is kids hanging up coats? I've never heard of that before.

Really sorry to hear about your poor furnace- seriously. Boo!

Lisa said...

Just give up now on the food in the family room and the coats, choose your battles woman! Fight the furnace, move to a warm state which will be cheaper! Teach your children that ALL children in the world run in circles during the winter to stay warm inside.

Jen@Scrapingirl said...

We went through the same thing last year. I say, replace the whole thing. You'll have peace of mind during the cold winter months and if you move it'll add value to your home. You need to be warm. The kids will understand if Christmas is lighter this year. If they don't understand this year, they'll understand in February, when you're snowed in and toasty warm. :)

Mark said...

Goog Morning Little Sister: I may just be able to help. First, phone Lowes,Home Depot or Sears. That circuit board surely costs much less than the $500 you were quoted. They are so easy to install, that YOU can do it yourself (There are four little screws..and a modular plug-in connection.
You can also try your local UTILITY Company, as they have special rates and government REBATES...and...a 0% long term financing program (so..the kiddies can STILL have a Christmas)Oh...you can also DEDUCT parts of the cost from your INCOME TAX. So..cheer up..put on an extra
scarf..and start making calls.
YOU will be just fine ( I just have so much confidence in YOU!!)

Jen W said...

Sorry to hear about the furnace. We had to replace ours a couple years ago and it was expensive and annoying. It's a total racket, impossible to comparison shop because no one seems to sell the same brands or types.
I don't know what is best for your family future and all but I'd warn to look very closely at the fine print of that tax credit. We were all gung-ho about the tax credit too and found that the furnaces that qualify are WAY more. And certainly more than $1000 more than their non-tax-benefit counterparts. And it was a difference of 90 percent efficiency to qualify vs 85 percent didn't. And $4000 difference in price or some ungodly amount.
All that to say while we didn't get the tax credit we did get a much better more efficient furnace and it's made a tremendous difference in keeping our house cozy.

Kathleen said...

If you do sell next year, they will get a home inspection, find out that the furnace is about gone and want it updated or want a reduction in price so they can update. Bite the bullet (yuck) and get the furnace and tax credit now. Christmas - do a recycle Christmas, homemade or repurposed from a thrift shop, creativity.

Felicia said...

Here is how I look at it. If you move next summer and sell the house you will need to have a working furnace other wise it won't pass inspection and the new home owners will ask you to fix it anyway.

If it cost you 1,000 then replace it but that is pretty cheap so please pass your furnace guys info on =)

Good luck I hate decision like that too. Sometimes being the grownup suck.

Mayberry Mom said...

Only 17-18 years? wow. The furnace in our house was 35 years old when we bought the house. It only lasted 2 more months LOL but the age of the furnace was reflected in the price of the house.

My parents furnace in their old house also lasted over 30 years (put in in the 1970's) so I guess it's true that they don't make things like they used to.

I'm sorry to say I will be no help in the decision department, I hate decisions like that!

MommyP said...

I was just going to say what PP said. If you try to sell your house with an older furnace, you won't get as much for it. Once you get past 15 years or so on a big appliance like that, it's kind of a crap shoot for a buyer. We bought our house with a 20 year old HVAC unit, and KNEW we'd have to replace it within 5-6 years, and we had to do it at 3 after the a/c started leaking water all over our family room that July.

I was listening to NPR the other day, and they were talking debt vs. deficit - putting the cost of a new roof or new furnace on a credit card or taking a loan out is deficit, because it will cost MORE in the long run NOT to replace.

Get the new furnace, find a good financing plan, be WARM this winter, enjoy your tax credit, and appreciate the fact that a new unit will be a good selling point if you decide to move.

Anissa said...

Well here's what my Magic 8-Ball told me. If you want to move next year, get the furnance as that way it will still be working ;) Seriously though, having a new furnance will help you sell the house as an old furnance which is barely holding together will be a black mark to potential buyers. Plus you'll have the tax credit which you won't have later if it does conk out after repairs.

~L0SERM0M~ said...

I have a coat solution!! AND it may be a furnace solution!!

Do Not Fix Your Furnace...THEN they will never have to hang their coats up, they will wear them ALL the time!

Yah, I know I'm a GENIOUS. Your Welcome!;)

The Gibson's said...

You don't need a crystal ball apparently there is a wish giver that Santa can bring you. It will grant you any wish you want and you'll be FINE. This is all per my 6 year old. When we go see Santa I wonder what he will say about this so called gift that is out there. Here in AZ you don't really need a furance right now...just some food for thought. Yes our summers are as hot as *$!! but that is only about four months out of the year. Good luck with whatever choice you make!

lizziehoop said...

I personally would replace it. New would be more efficient, you would get a warranty, and you would have less to worry about in the future. If you decide to sell in the spring a new furnace will be a great selling point - no one wants to buy a house with an old - needs replacing - furnace. They will just negotiate a lower price with you anyway that will more than cover the cost to replace it if you stayed with the old.

I can understand you concern about money because no matter how much or little we have it never seems to be enough. If you factor in your government rebate and your decreased gas bill it might not seem as bad. Once old things start to go they continue to have problems that will only lead to more stress for you. I am sure your children will understand that Christmas needs to be a little less "gifty" this year - kids are very good at seeing problems and accepting the solutions.

Jen said...

Yes, get the new furnace now. You might try shopping around a bit, see if Sear's scratch and ding dept, if you have one nearby, has any in stock. it might save you a little bit.

And I'm going to second whomever said that it helps with resale - a new furnace IS a selling point. In this housing market, you should be thinking about what you can do to get this house in a primo condition, as much as you can with six kids anyway. Even if you don't put it on market right away, doing little (ok, big) things like that in increments is less painful than having to, say, replace the furnace, replace the roof, fix rotting wood exterior, etc etc. all at once.

Veggiemomof2 said...

Whatever you decide, (after you've prayed about it ;) you could talk to your church about helping you afford it.

Sammo said...

Hey Dawn! My husband, other than being super awesome (uh, hope he's reading this) is also an HVAC pro - currently he runs the service dept for a major commercial firm where we live - but he started out doing residential. He said charging you $500 for a circuit board was "bull...hockey..." because a new board at cost is only $50 or so. So he'd go for the new furnace. Just a heads up. We're very very popular in our subdivision each winter. And summer. And whenever someone's furnace goes out.... ;) Good luck!

Cheryl said...

Our furnace was put in in 1967 and still going strong...little repairs here and there, but LOVE it!

When my children (6 living children) leave their jackets on the floor or somewhere they aren't supposed to, I have been known to throw them down the basement stairs which then makes it an inconvenience for them to retrieve them when they are running out of the house the next morning. I don't even have to reprimand them :)

With Hope,
Cheryl

Tammy said...

If you do have to buy a new one, you might check with builder's supply stores. Many times they sell items that have scratches or dents at a reduced price. Good luck.

Missi said...

We just had a new furnance & ac unit put in (end of Oct). We were told last year we'd be lucky if our furnance lasted that winter. It did (barely)! So we decided to not chance it another year. When the salesmen came out, one question was if we were planning on moving. Because if the answer is yes then you will want to buy a cheaper model & not get the higher efficiency that has the tax credit. So you might be able to replace for fairly cheap.....that said you would probably have to replace again fairly soon if you don't move. But if you do move then be sure to mention that NEW furnance in winter of 2010 :)

And yes if you find someone w/ a crystal ball & can tell us how to get coats hung up, press your luck & ask how to get shoes put away.

Lesley said...

I say get a new furnace. It will giv eyou piece of mind, you will get the tax credit, and if you do end up selling your home you will be able to say that you have a brand new furnace and that will up the value of your home! Good luck, either way it is a crappy decision to have to make, especially this time of year!

Sunny Day said...

Yes, you will be moving next year, at least from one room to the other. Sorry, but my crystal ball gets a little cloudy when I ask it about moving to another house.

Yes, children do learn to keep food out of the family room, but only after you no longer care.

KJS said...

Exact situation for our family just a few months ago, only the furnaces up here cost $2-3K (northern canada.) We had the option of tax credit as well and even went as far as having the company come out and test our house to be applicable for it. $200.

We decided on replacing the part. If you really can't decide and it's a toss up, I'd go for the cheaper alternative.

mommeeof10 said...

We replaced our 30 yr old boiler 15? years ago. 4 years ago, we had to replace the Block?, as it had cracked. There was a recall on it, the part was "free", but the labor was $600. If our previous boiler had been able to be repaired (It was falling apart), I would have repaired it. The new one is so much more efficient that it does not run long enough to get hot water to the highest part of the system. One of my girls rooms now needs a space heater or they freeze...

Michelle said...

I work for a heating & a/c company & I hate to be the bearer of bad news-but you should consider replacing the system :(

When they start getting to that age there are too many things that can & will fail. Plus a unit of that age is NOT very efficient & the parts will become harder to get & more expensive because they are obscure.

The bright side to replacing it is that you won't have to worry about it for quite a while & when you do sell the house it will be a good selling point. But in order to get the tax credit you have to purchase a high efficiency system-it may be in your better interest to purchase a mid-grade system & forget the tax credit.

You might also check with your power company or your oil or gas supplier because sometimes they offer assistance or payment plans (90 days same as cash deals) for new systems.

Kris Roach said...

Look on the bright side...you will stay warm this winter and if you do sell in 2011, it will be a selling point and your house may sell quicker as a result of the brand new furnace!! Move to SC!

jennyandcompany said...

Move somewhere warm right now! Then no more furnace or coats needed. I'm in Louisiana and I don't even know what a furnace is. We have a heater that is part of the central a/c that we run in the morning for a couple of months every year, does that count?

WeaselMomma said...

I don't have a crystal ball, sorry. As for the kids, Never Say Die! Just don't expect anything to change.

Tina said...

Suck it up, buy the furnace. Even if you do have to move, buyers will have an inspection and you'll have to foot the bill for a new one anyway!

Judy N. said...

I would get a new furnace. Then you don't have to worry about the old one going out when you need it the most. Also, even if you move soon, it will be a bonus to those looking that you have a new furnace.

But do shop around and get several estimates. Ask friends who they recommend. It's a pan in the ass, but it's the best thing to do.

Catmeat said...

Hi Dawn, We had the same thing happen with our furnace. Luckily my Husband fixed it. As for the kids coats they won't need to hang them up because they will be wearing them ;) Kristine in Cold Michigan.

Jennifer said...

All I can think of right now is A Christmas Story. Bet ya can't guess what I got ya for Christmas! A new furnace. LOL!

me said...

30% rebate on income tax is a good incentive. I am the proud owner of a new furnace. I was told it is very hard to get parts for older furnaces now. WE had 4 estimates. Went with the lower. Was almost 2 thousand less then the highest.So call for estimates.The rebate makes the high efficiency cheaper in the long run.But also we replaced the circuit board on a furnace at our other home last year.also needed a thermostat. cost about 500, still going. So I am no help just thought i would add my ramblings.

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