After conferring with Jay, my ex, who’s very knowledgeable about the heating and cooling systems at my condo (he lives in the same building, and is on the board of directors), I placed a call on Tuesday to one of the contractors to inquire about getting a new heat pump installed. The contractor called me back later that afternoon, but I wasn’t able to return the call until today.
Of course–given my luck–the heat pump in my unit has a right-hand intake (the contractor says that half of the units in my building have right-hand and half have left-hand), which apparently is rarer and harder to find; the contractor says that it can take as much as six to eight weeks to get one installed if the distributor doesn’t have any readily available (they keep many more of the left-hand models in stock). I’m going to call him when I get home tonight to verify the model number of my existing system, which will allow us to determine the capacity needed in the new unit.
And Jay was pretty darn close in his estimate of the cost, telling me it would likely be about four grand. The new system itself will be $3,680 (covering removal and disposal of the existing system and installation of the new), with a programmable thermostat an additional $250, for a total of $3,930 before tax. Granted, everyone keeps saying that a new model will pay for itself over time because it will be so much more efficient than the old one that my heating and cooling costs will be reduced. But my electric bill–which covers not just heating and cooling, but cooking, washing, drying and computers, televisions, etc.–has only been $82 at its highest during the month of August when the air conditioner was on almost non-stop, and has averaged just $56 over the past six months. The lowest, when the heat pump wasn’t running at all, was $45. So even if the new unit were so efficient that my costs never went above $45, it would still take me almost nine years to recoup the cost of the new system. On the other hand, a new unit should add to my eventual resale value, and will definitely be quieter and cleaner.
So that’s one big problem nearly resolved. Now I need to turn my attention to my transportation situation; I think Jeff and I are going to visit the Toyota dealer this Saturday to see about putting a deposit down on a new Prius.