Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Replacement Costs and Schedule

In case you haven't figured it out....I am a planner.  It will be the death of me, since I have the tendency to try and plan for things that are so far in the future, the situation will probably change.

Which brings me to today's topic....our hot water boiler.

A few weeks ago, it went wanky.  We reset it, and it was ok.  But our little ears went up and said "oh this thing going to die???"  At 50 years old or whatever ancient boiler age it is an advanced senior citizen.

We decided when we replace it....we would like to convert to gas.  Much more economical.  We can get an energy star rated system.  In the long run, it would be better.  Additionally, when the houses across the street were renovated this spring, they converted to gas, so tapping into the line won't be an issue.

The conundrum?  WHEN to do this.

We called the gas company....and it is a 4-6 week wait to tap into the line and will cost about $384 (possibly less depending on the number of taps in the house).  We also discovered that back in the early 90's, our house did have gas.  This makes no sense at all....we bought the house in 2001, and it had an ancient oil tank (which we had to replace in 2007 due to an oil leak).  Why would someone go backward????

Anyway, our preliminary research indicates that it will be between $3,000-$7,000 (installed) to convert the system.  My friend's hubby works in construction (management, not labor), and he knows people who are licensed that do "side jobs."  Of course, that requires cash....and we wouldn't be covered if there is a problem.

We have to be somewhat proactive if we are going to convert.  Because of the wait time to tap the line, we can't wait for the boiler to completely die.  I am leaning toward doing the tap sooner than later, and then it is waiting for us when we are ready to do it.

We talked about funding this project with another Lending Club loan.  It will take us forever and a day to save up for this (in addition to all the other stuff).  And I am confident that the boiler will die before we have completely saved up.  We had great success with Lending Club before, and feel that might be a good route.

We also figured out that even if take a loan for the max end of the estimate ($7k), the loan repayment amount per month plus the gas bill will be just about what we are paying for oil per month now.  So financially, on a monthly basis, we just about break even.  Once the loan was paid off, we would be have a positive cash flow of roughly $200 a month.

AND....someone at work is looking to replace her oil tank.  G-man and I talked about it, and if we sold it to her for $1,000 (they run $3500 to $5000 new), and she paid for move, it would still be a win-win for both of us.  And that would give us $1,000 to use toward the project, repay the loan, etc.

All of this assumes it works out nicey-nice.

We could wait until spring....which would mean another year of that money that would be going towards a better option if we did the project sooner than later...would literally go up in steam.  I am not thrilled with the idea of taking on more debt.  But I also know that there is a method to the madness.

Right now, we have a half tank of oil.  If we did it the time the whole thing was done, the tank would be empty (we would decline a refill), and we would have a decent credit with the oil company (there is a charge for breaking the contract, but we would still get a refund).

If we wait until spring.....we would just have to time things so we had a near empty oil tank.  Or we just wait it all out and deal with it when the boiler dies.

All of this is still in the talking decisions have been made.  Just playing out the scenarios.

Thoughts, oh my wise bloggy friends?


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Can you do the tap now and wait to do the full conversion until it becomes necessary? Meaning you'd only have to come up with $384 in the short term? I know nothing about the logistics of this process, so I don't have any idea of whether it is possible to tap and not use it until later. I hate to see you take on more debt as a preventative measure. If you could put it off and start a savings plan for the conversion, you would be facing less debt when the time really comes. Just my thoughts when reading your post :) Home maintenance really stinks!


    1. Yep...if you look back in the entry, I said I am considering doing the tap now, and the rest at a later date.

      The biggest issue is I already know that we won't be able to save enough to fund this project before the boiler dies. That is just a given. We also don't know if we will get 1 year, 3 years, 5 years more from the boiler.

      I am not rushing to do it....just trying to idealize the timing. Plus, with the gas prices so high....our oil bill just kills us.

  3. I think if you can do this in a way that saves you monthly down the road, I would get away from oil as quickly as I could. We knew our sewer line was old. We knew it had a short life, but it explodes at a very inconvenient time. We are going to sell this house in 3-4 years we would have had to replace the line then, so it will be one less hassle and I no longer have to fork out $400.00 a year to sewer cleaning and constant drain problems in addition! Just do it!

  4. Sorry, no advice my dear! Just do whatever you think is best & be confident in your choice! :)

  5. Moving ahead with the conversion now sounds reasonable given all the cost savings of converting to gas. You seem the type of person who is thoughtful in your decision-making, so I've no doubt you will make the best decision for your situation. Good luck!!

  6. We converted to gas and if you live in a cold weather climate, they stop installing gas lines for the winter. We had to get it done by either mid Nov or early Dec. or wait until the next spring. I heard that natural gas is going down because supply is more than demand despite the fact that demand is going up. I suspect that the trend may continue for awhile. We did it 5 years ago and I think we saved quite a bit of money overall.

  7. That is quite complicated, but I completely understand where you're coming from with the whole overplanning! I do that ALL the time and it drives me nuts! I'm sorry I can't provide you with any useful advice... though given those pointers, is there any way to at least estimate when the boiler may be going to meet its maker? It is sounding like for the long term, replacing it now and selling the piece now would make more sense, instead of a quick emergency replacement...