Yesterday afternoon our heat was fixed and the house was able to start warming back up. It has for me been a very stressful few days. Like most homeschooling families we are a one income family and finances are always stretched. This time of year is so much worse than other times. Plus, we have had other expenses recently while DH's pay was basically cut about 4 months ago. I was already riding the edge before this ever happened.
We have a particular company that we have used to come in and do work on our HVAC and electricity when we are faced with issues that DH cannot handle himself. We are a long-time customer. When the heat went out DH had me call them and we really thought they would do us right. They did come out within a couple of hours to assess the situation. Then went into a spill about how the whole system needed to be replaced. That the part was hard to find and even harder to do the work on. Our system was old and is going to die soon anyway. I had them talk to DH on the phone. DH kept asking what the fix was, what it entailed (DH understands HVAC systems as they are not much different than what he works on) but the guy kept going on into the salesman pitch. They wanted $4500 to replace our whole heating/air unit and basically refused to fix what we already own.
I spent Tuesday on the phone with my dad, with DH trying to figure out our options. Finally DH's contacts came through for us. There is this whole web of people that always use their skills to do sidework and barter their skills. DH is a part of it. Anyway an HVAC guy came to his attention and they talked. This guy basically told us that our HVAC company was blowing smoke about the difficulty of the fix. He could buy the part the very next morning (not three to four days later) and install it in 2 hours, not 2 days.
He stuck to his word. Yesterday afternoon he came over, spent a couple of hours and turned our heat on. The cost to us was less than $1000. I asked him what the life expectancy of the system was and he agreed that it had some age on it, but with the parts we have already replaced in the last couple of years we should be okay. The system needs to have maintenance work done on it during the Spring, and at that time it can be checked out to make sure that the last major part (compressor) we haven't replaced is still good.
Both my dad and my FIL made the same good point during our discussions; "no one every fixes anything anymore. They just run out and buy new." Service workers generally don't have the skills to fix alot of things, they just learn how to install. Our system is about 11 years old, there is no way that it should HAVE to be replaced.
Well this company has lost itself a customer. I don't appreciate being held over a barrel and as a previous customer having 5% added to our bill as an 'emergency' charge.
There were blessings. DH's parents opened their doors to us and feed us while we waited. I stayed there with the kids while DH stayed home overnight to take care of the dogs. He did fine using our space heaters in the family room. My dad did a $500 favor for another family member and offered us the same amount. DH's sister also called and wanted to help us out with a gift amount. I just really wish that we didn't have to be in this situation - that others felt the need to give us gifts to get the heat back on. We could have worked it out, but this makes it easier. And it is a blessing.
Today, I've got to unpack our bags, wash some clothes and make sure we have everything we need for this weekend. Then pack them back up. Hi Ho Hi Ho off to work I go.