Mark and I moved into our new house two years ago, this summer. And when I say ‘new’, I mean it’s new to us. The house is, in fact, older than me by a decade – I’ll let you do the math.
We moved into our new-old house in the middle of a heatwave in July. One of the reasons we fell in love with the house is because of all the beautiful natural light and South-facing backyard. But we began to curse that decision whilst lifting heavy boxes in the direct sun with no air conditioning. Oh, and did I mention I was also pregnant at the time? Quite possibly the most uncomfortable combination.
The day after we got possession of the house, I remember sitting on the floor of the living room, thinking that there was simply no way I could lift another finger in the heat and instead, I’d be calling around Calgary to find a company to install air conditioning.
The first guy to show up (let’s call him Jimmy) was a younger fella who’s first question was the whereabouts of my Husband. After telling him what decade we now live in, we went downstairs into the furnace room for Jimmy to have a look at our current unit and provide me a quote for air conditioning. He told us that we would have to get rid of our current furnace, which was original to the home in order to install an air conditioning unit. This, he said, would cost me a cool $12k. As if the shocking price tag wasn’t enough, he then went on to say that our air ducts and pipes were falling apart and that carbon monoxide was leaking into our house. He told me that (and these are his exact words) “if you were my pregnant wife, I wouldn’t let you step foot into this house until it’s fixed – you could be harming your baby.” Jimmy went on to explain how his company could fix this for me too. He left and I immediately called my Husband in tears.
Later that day, I had another furnace company lined up to come and quote – one that my brother personally recommended to me. I stuck around the house long enough to greet the next guy and I’m so glad I did. His actual name is Damien and he works at Arpi’s. The carbon monoxide question was the first one I asked him. Damien had the proper tools on him to test for carbon monoxide and used them right in front of me. The result? I had absolutely nothing to worry about. No one was being poisoned… except for that guy Jimmy, should I ever see him again.
Damien had a good look at our current furnace and concluded that it was a tank and a beast. He said that it would likely never break on us because it’s very well made but the downside was that it was extremely inefficient and not compatible with an air conditioning unit. His honesty and candor meant so much to me, especially after my first experience. He didn’t pressure us into making any sort of decision and said that our furnace is totally fine and that if we didn’t want to invest money at this point, we could simply find other ways of cooling down our house.
The heatwave eventually passed and we did find ways of cooling off our house. We began to spend our house reno money on cosmetic things – my fave. Over the past two years, some of my favourite makeovers include our:
Floors (replaced dark hardwood and shag carpet with a light-coloured luxury vinyl plank)
Walls (went from sage green to a soft white)
Kitchen Cabinets (dark cherry to white)
Windows (drafty, ugly little buggers replaced with efficient pretty vinyl windows)
Wet Bar (brown glass tile and nasty cabinets to a white, grey and gold vanity)
I was going crazy with one project after the other and loving the way it brightened up our home. Meanwhile, Mark was looking at the Visa bill every month wondering why the hell I bought another 3 gallons of paint. Mark is also in charge of all of our bills and when he saw that our gas and electricity bill was just as steep in the winter months as it was in the summer months, he suggested that we seriously consider replacing our furnace. As much as I hesitated updating something I couldn’t really see or that wouldn’t beautify my home, he eventually convinced me. Sometimes, you have to upgrade the boring stuff in your home to enjoy the rest of it.
Here’s how he sold me:
We saved money; we went from a 50% efficient 1979 furnace to a 98% efficient Lennox furnace (there’s a rebate going on right now btw). This translated into money saved and less gas used (yay environment!)
Air quality for the kiddos; with my family history of asthma and all the forest fires we experience in Calgary, a good quality air purifying-furnace is a must
Reliability; I cannot risk our furnace dying on us with two small kids at home, especially in the dead of winter
Local company; You know me, I LOVE supporting local companies, so we chose to go with a local company with a long, positive track record
Once we decided to pull the trigger and get a new furnace with Arpi’s, we were booked in immediately for a consult and then a subsequent installation date. There was some back and forth with our friend Damien who led us to the perfect choice for our home. We went with a highly-efficient furnace that had great reviews and added a humidifier, reducing the dryness and static in our home.
Installation day came and went in just one day. I was worried that it would be noisy and disruptive, but I explained to the men installing it that I was home with the kids all day and some peace and quiet around naptime would go a long way. They were very respectful of our home and our schedules and were super-efficient. They took our old furnace along with them so there was literally no clean up involved for us.
Before they left, they took the time to explain how to use our new thermostat and answered any questions we had. They also told us about an app we could use to connect our furnace to our home to control the humidity level, temperature, and set times. We can now control the thermostat while we are on the road and set the house to be cooler or warmer. I friggin love technology.
We received a 10-year warranty with our new furnace which is great. All we have to do is keep up with our yearly maintenance appointment but it otherwise takes care of itself.
My advice to you is not to hold off until your furnace breaks on you. Set a little money aside each month for home renovations and maintenance, and before you know it, you’ll have a good chunk of money to put towards a furnace. Arpi’s also has a reasonable financing plan if you need something right away.
So, Mark got his way with home upgrades and I suppose I did too. With all that money we’re saving on electricity, I’m going to use it for more paint. Maybe I’ll even hire someone to do it for me 😉
Love, peace & housewarming gifts that last
P.S here’s a little before and after look inside our furnace room…