I am constantly amazed at what people tell me they paid to have certain repairs done so this month we’ll talk about saving BIG BUCKS.
We will talk about HVAC, water heaters and roofing as these are 3 of the largest expenses a homeowner will incur.
Let’s start off with something that happened to me THIS WEEK. I called my a/c man, who I give a LOT of business to and asked him how much to replace a 2.5 ton a/c condenser (the unit outside) and the coil (attached to the furnace). He quoted me $3200 for high quality 14 SEER units or $2650 for lesser quality 14 SEER units (both use the “new” Freon). Those were pretty good prices.
Now this was for my son and he’s basically broke so I went online to HDsupplysolutions.com (Home Depot’s commercial site which anyone can order from) and found these items (in a well known, high quality and respected brand) for $1229 including tax. They ship free next day to your driveway. I ordered them and Dave installed them for $650 for a total of $1879 ! My son saved $1321 (3200-1879).
The most common size a/c’s are 3, 3.5 & 4 ton but those would only be slightly more. If he needed a furnace, they have those too! So you see, if you know where to look, you can save a TON of money. There are several other sites that’ll do the same thing, (Maintenance Supply Headquarters has the same parts but lesser quality for $818, 13 SEER) !
With water heaters I know that plumbers want $750-1000 or more to install one. When I need one, I call Crump Plumbing Supply. They’ll deliver a 40 gal. unit, the most common size, to your house same day for $325 INCLUDING tax ! And that’s for a GAS unit, elec. ones are less. 50 gal. tanks are only slightly more. Anyone with even basic skills can install it. A handyman would probably charge $150 for a total of 475. A plumber might charge 250 max for a total of 575. I had one put in last month by a handyman for $100. Obviously, attic mounted units would be more… BTW, if yours is 15 yrs. old or older, you SHOULD replace it, NOW, with a drainpan under it (no matter WHERE it is)
Ok, roofing. Normal cost is $170-190/square to install (a square=100 square feet), more if you use 25 yr. shingles or you have a steep roof or a 2 story. I had a 1 story roof done last month for $111/sq. ($4100 for a 1900sf home, one story) and the guy did a FANTASTIC job. I’m pretty good at finding roof defects but I couldn’t find a single thing wrong with this one ! My regular roofer quoted me $135/sq., which was a great deal but still $1000 too much for my budget.
How do you find people like this? PROPERTY MANAGERS and REALTORS are a great source of good, reliable, inexpensive contractors. Property owners are always on them to keep costs down so they’re constantly searching for and trying out new people.
Angieslist.com is also good as is the GreenSheet and Thrifty Nickel. Be sure to get references on ANY contractor you use, without fail, and NEVER pay someone until the job is 100% complete.