Replacing My Heat and AC: Is Now the Right Time?

03.31.08 | Money | 0 Comments | by Tom Valenti

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My house's furnace and air conditioning unit are a little over 20 years old. Since many other things in the house have gone bad since I bought it last year, I'm amazed neither of these two has died yet.

I have heard that now is a good time to the best prices from contractors on replacements, so I am in the process of getting quotes. I figure I could spend my tax refund on them to avoid problems in the future, since with this economy it looks like I will own this house for at least the next three years.

The first quote I received came in at $3600 for everything, which I thought was pretty good (research online had told me to expect a cost of between $4500 and $5500). The second quote came in at $7600, for equipment of the same specs but different manufacturer.

I did some research, and everything I've read states that the manufacturer of the $3600 quote is very reliable, if not the best in the industry. Assuming this first company checks out, was this second company looking to make around $4000 more in profit off of me?

It's unbelievable that a company can try that, but I guess they are used to working in situations where heat is in immediate need, and people go with the first company who answers their call.

This certainly is a lesson that one should be prepared for potential emergency situations like a broken furnace or AC unit. It's also important to have funds set aside for such emergencies or capital expenditures.

Even though I may be cutting short the lives of my existing units, I'd rather be safe (getting a good deal now) than sorry (being taken advantage of when it's January and the heat won't work).

Tom Valenti is a marketer and project manager who currently works for a financial institution in New Jersey. For more info, visit him at

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