We're back after a bit of a break—and, at your request, consolidating into seasonal maintenance reminders so you can tackle it in one big transition push! This Fall, it's all about relatively easy indoor tasks that have a big impact on comfort and quality of life. So don't delay...
Most of us ignore the HVAC (heating, ventilation, A/C) system in our home until something breaks. Just like your car, though, it pays to do routine preventative maintenance and budget for big-ticket fixes at least once a decade! And there are environmental considerations when choosing/changing your system's fuel sources—not to mention the fact that inefficient heating/cooling can be expensive.
Like MANY other trades, the best & most experienced HVAC vendors are incredibly busy right now. Some are not even taking on new installation projects, or are focusing only on one type/brand of system where they may have previously done anything. I highly recommend getting bids from multiple outfits, since there are often multiple ways to approach any project and a wide variation in cost/availability. It may take you a fair amount of calling around to get the info, but if you start *before* there's a dire need, you'll be OK.
For furnace & A/C service and duct cleaning, most companies are just a week or two out. For full system replacement, it may be several weeks or a few months, depending on the availability of supplies.
In addition to the cost of a particular system, it's important to consider any ancillary costs of changing fuel sources (adding a gas line, capping a gas line, decommissioning an oil tank), as well as any improvements to existing ducts, insulation of lines, or exhaust.
If you have central air, it's important to clean the ducts upon move-in, after any major construction projects, and every few years (especially if you have pets or are sensitive to allergens). While you're at it, make sure you have the right filters (HEPA? Correct size?) on furnace & A/C and that they're replaced at least two times per year. While you're at it, make sure your dryer ducts, fireplaces, and any other vent-like spot in your home is clean as well!
Most of these vendors are only a week or two out, and cleaning is in the $200-600 range depending on home size.
Paris Plumbing, (206) 362-8950
Donavan McLeod, (425) 309-3865
Plumbing is another one of those things we don't tend to pay attention to until they break—usually in pretty dramatic fashion! There are some key things we can do to proactively save money and keep our pipes in good shape... First, consider getting a home inspection if you don't have a recent one. The inspector can evaluate existing plumbing work and spot issues *without* any conflicts of interest as a vendor. Then, just as with HVAC work, get multiple bids & evaluate methods of improvement if it's a bigger job. If you own an older home, assume that at some point you will need to replace:
Good plumbers are like toilet paper in mid-2020: Hard to find and worth their weight in gold. You may have to call around and call BACK to the same vendors to get on the top of their service list. Don't expect them to call you back if you email or leave messages (I know, I know); they're swamped! You will likely have to wait several weeks to schedule non-emergency services, so do your best to be patient. If it's an emergency, expect to pay a premium.
It's hard to ballpark plumbing costs; most small projects are a few hundred dollars hourly, and bigger projects should be bid out (and always in the thousands) each time. Like other big system work, you shouldn't have to do this work very often!