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First major post ER expense
Old 10-09-2015, 12:26 PM   #1
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First major post ER expense

Woke today without a care in the world. After my annual furnace service I find my tenant needs a new furnace. If I change from oil to NG...which I think is a good idea in the long term I might as well change my furnace too....happy days.
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Old 10-09-2015, 12:58 PM   #2
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I know very little about furnaces but I don't think i'd replace one unless it's no longer working. What was the diagnosis? Is there an actual NEED for replacement? Could it be repaired? Could it last one more year?
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Old 10-09-2015, 01:25 PM   #3
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Sorry to hear about your tenants furnace. And you live in a cold climate IIRC.

This is why we budget.

I think it was pretty well documented here that my big expense, post retirement, was a series of medical events for my kids... While I had budget set asides for OOP max - I didn't expect to have to tap it quite so hard this year. But that's why we set aside the money.
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Old 10-09-2015, 01:39 PM   #4
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If you're considering a change to NG, check with your state to see if they offer any energy incentives for a more efficient furnace. With NG, you can get 90+% efficiency compared to under 85% for most oil units.


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Old 10-09-2015, 01:42 PM   #5
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I know very little about furnaces but I don't think i'd replace one unless it's no longer working. What was the diagnosis? Is there an actual NEED for replacement? Could it be repaired? Could it last one more year?
Diagnosis was a hole in the furnace. I'm getting second opinions, but it is old and probably time for a replacement and I'd rather have a nice new furnace than limp along on an old one when tenants are involved.
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Old 10-09-2015, 01:43 PM   #6
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If you're considering a change to NG, check with your state to see if they offer any energy incentives for a more efficient furnace. With NG, you can get 90+% efficiency compared to under 85% for most oil units.


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Yes I know looks like I can get a $600 rebate for each conversion.
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Old 10-09-2015, 01:45 PM   #7
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If you're considering a change to NG, check with your state to see if they offer any energy incentives for a more efficient furnace. With NG, you can get 90+% efficiency compared to under 85% for most oil units.


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Some utilities also offer incentives for the conversion. When we switched from heat pump to NG it was tough to find a contractor that wanted to do the conversion (e.g. extend our gas line to the attic and plumb the exhaust).


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Old 10-09-2015, 02:00 PM   #8
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For some reason, all sorts of bad, expensive things were just lurking until the day I retired. Since then, it's been like a non-stop zombie invasion! Dental. Medical. House. Basement. HVAC. Appliances. Car. Legal issue. Preparing property for sale.

Some of this was what the real estate agents like to refer to as "deferred maintenance" (heaven forbid they use the real word, "neglect") but most of it was out of the blue.

It's a good thing I like my part-time job!

Still, the worst part isn't even the $$$. It's the non-stop interviewing/negotiating/shopping/bird-dogging/untangling that all these activities seem to generate.

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Old 10-09-2015, 02:35 PM   #9
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For some reason, all sorts of bad, expensive things were just lurking until the day I retired. Since then, it's been like a non-stop zombie invasion! Dental. Medical. House. Basement. HVAC. Appliances. Car. Legal issue. Preparing property for sale.

Some of this was what the real estate agents like to refer to as "deferred maintenance" (heaven forbid they use the real word, "neglect") but most of it was out of the blue.

It's a good thing I like my part-time job!

Still, the worst part isn't even the $$$. It's the non-stop interviewing/negotiating/shopping/bird-dogging/untangling that all these activities seem to generate.

Amethyst
Yep- same thing happened to me and my wife. Most of the above issues including not one but two fallen trees, not one but two root canals, a brief but scary bout of pneumonia with severe sepsis --and the roof repair, tuck pointing, broken appliances, frozen pipes and wall damage.


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Old 10-09-2015, 02:42 PM   #10
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Diagnosis was a hole in the furnace. I'm getting second opinions, but it is old and probably time for a replacement and I'd rather have a nice new furnace than limp along on an old one when tenants are involved.
Secondary diagnosis , hole in wallet due to Dx #1 . All kidding aside, I have gotten over 40 years out of several furnaces in properties I manage for family members, but if it's over 15 , usually money well spent on replacement
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Old 10-09-2015, 02:48 PM   #11
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Switching to natural gas from a landlords perspective is a good idea. It's much cleaner, so you'll save on annual cleanouts. And you won't have to worry about the tank leaking or negotiate how much was left in the tank when they leave etc.
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Old 10-09-2015, 03:09 PM   #12
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Secondary diagnosis , hole in wallet due to Dx #1 . All kidding aside, I have gotten over 40 years out of several furnaces in properties I manage for family members, but if it's over 15 , usually money well spent on replacement
The tenant's furnace is at least 30 years old and mine is probably 20. I'm budgeting $6k to get them replaced with NG force hot air furnaces. I get a $1200 rebate for the conversion if I go with 97% efficient systems and was informed by a lady on the state energy rebate hotline that because my income is under $32k a year I can get an interest free loan and probably further assistance in paying for the cost of installation. She also said I should apply for fuel assistance payments.....go figure.

I'm expecting a call from my current old burner company who diagnosed the hole in the furnace and I have calls into two other HVAC contractors to see what they say about the systems.
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Old 10-09-2015, 04:37 PM   #13
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So was it a whole in the "Heat Exchanger" which would end-of-life the furnace or a while somewhere else, which could be serviceable?
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Old 10-09-2015, 04:39 PM   #14
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Well that sucks but I guess it couldn't have been a huge surprise given the age of the systems. Our NG furnace is going into winter #14 and seems to be kicking butt. But I've got it (and the AC) budgeted for replacement every 10 years so a sudden $4-5k expense to replace the whole HVAC system won't be a budget buster or unexpected.

2 years into ER, the only major expense we've had was $8,700 for siding replacement (we needed it for the 12 years we lived here, and it finally reached a critical point). That job also included a major roof repair and replacing 10 out of 13 windows too. We still only busted the $32,000 2014 budget by a couple thousand $ in spite of all those major repairs and our routine international vacations. Those major repairs are also in my "major repairs" spreadsheet and completely expected and planned for, so again no big surprise or shock to the budget.

Nonetheless, spending money on invisible household systems doesn't bring me a lot of joy. Other than those new windows. Being able to open and close windows is pretty spiffy. And the DW is happy.
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Old 10-09-2015, 04:45 PM   #15
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Diagnosis was a hole in the furnace. I'm getting second opinions, but it is old and probably time for a replacement and I'd rather have a nice new furnace than limp along on an old one when tenants are involved.
A wise decision especially if (and probably) the hole is in the heat exchanger, where heat is transferred to the air flowing past it. This is one method of getting carbon monoxide inside the house, and a huge liability for you, especially since you were warned.

Don't dawdle on those second opinions....
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Old 10-09-2015, 06:28 PM   #16
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If a hole or significant crack is discovered in the heat exchanger in a forced air oil fired furnace, any competent HVAC guy will disable the system on the spot immediately, due to liability issues of potential carbon monoxide poisoning of the residents.
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Old 10-09-2015, 06:37 PM   #17
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we traded in a 2005 sentra for a 2015 outback premium, most expensive car we have ever purchased. plus root canal and crown for DW... and urgent care for me.. plus of course... paying for subsidized health insurance
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Old 10-09-2015, 07:06 PM   #18
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Woke today without a care in the world. After my annual furnace service I find my tenant needs a new furnace. If I change from oil to NG...which I think is a good idea in the long term I might as well change my furnace too....happy days.
I don't have any tenant so I don't have any need for a new furnace for a rental unit. Honestly, like Fuego I have found that my irregular unavoidable major post ER expenses have been way less than my estimates for such expenses before retiring.

I have sometimes been guilty of buying expensive discretionary things too close together, but it has always worked out. In April, I bought what to me is an extraordinarily expensive leather easy chair/ottoman which I adore! And which I am happily sitting in as I type this. Then within days I spent over $2000 on getting my reasonably functioning AC into tip top condition, better than it had ever been before. Ah, what a great summer I had planned, relaxing in my luxurious easy chair in delightfully cool temperatures. But then, luck/karma being as it may be, on May 1st my Dream House unexpectedly came on the market. OMG! Honestly my first reaction on seeing the For Sale sign was to groan, and whine out loud piteously, "Oh no, not NOW...", due to my excessive spending in April. . But despite the expense of buying it and moving, everything worked out. And, the Dream House has great AC too.

I didn't expect to need cataract surgery, but it looks like my share of expenses will be trivial.
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Old 10-09-2015, 09:12 PM   #19
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First thing our company does when someone retires is take away the dental insurance. I had to pay for 2 root canals and a cap for me. Then one root canal and cap for my daughter. Needless to say, we went out and got dental insurance.

Sounds as if you live in New England if you're talking about fuel oil. I caution you about the HVAC contractors as so many now are owned by HVAC manufacturers--and they're not the most fair and honest field of business.

If I had my choice, I'd sure go for the natural gas furnace. But I'd also install central a/c at the same time. Where I live in the Mid South, they suggest going with a hybrid heat pump system that uses natural gas for heat only when the temperatures goes below 40 degrees. Right now, I'm at 12 years on a pair of heat pumps.
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Old 10-09-2015, 09:30 PM   #20
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A wise decision especially if (and probably) the hole is in the heat exchanger, where heat is transferred to the air flowing past it. This is one method of getting carbon monoxide inside the house, and a huge liability for you, especially since you were warned.

Don't dawdle on those second opinions....
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If a hole or significant crack is discovered in the heat exchanger in a forced air oil fired furnace, any competent HVAC guy will disable the system on the spot immediately, due to liability issues of potential carbon monoxide poisoning of the residents.
Actually, that's not the case. :

Myth-1 – Heat Exchanger Cracks | CarbonMonoxideMyths.com

Quote:
The heat exchanger is what separates air flow of the fuel burning process from the blower-driven air that moves through your house. This is a box-in-a-box arrangement. When the furnace blower is running, it pushes air through inside of the outer cabinet across the outside of the heat exchanger. The force of the blower-driven air is much greater than the air pressures inside the heat exchanger. As a result, any crack or hole or split results in air being pushed INTO the heat exchanger. There is no way air will move from inside the heat exchanger to the indoor air stream.
Plus, modern furnaces (even my 80-something % 17 year old unit) have draft inducer fans, actively sucking the fumes up and out the chimney.

That said, a cracked heat exchanger is still a safety issue. If you watch your furnace start, and see a difference in the flame when the blower starts up, that's an indication that there is a crack in the heat exchanger (the blower is pushing air into the heat exchanger, not the other way around). As the flame is pushed out, it should trigger the flame roll-out temperature sensor and shut down the furnace, but best to detect and fix it before you rely on that safety mechanism.

At the start of each season, and a few times during the season, I'll make a point to watch the flame as it starts, and then when the blower kicks in. I've never seen any marked change that would indicate a compromised heat exchanger.

-ERD50
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