Saturday, October 2, 2021

Red Tagged!

Gas Company's Red Tag Warning!

That is the tag that the gas company technician put on the furnace/wall heater!  It was "red tagged", meaning, too dangerous to use!

This is the heater that was red tagged - it is called a dual vent wall heater because it opens to both sides of the wall it is mounted on; in this case, the wall between the living room and the hall way that leads to the kitchen and bedroom.

Heater/Furnace - Living Room Side

Heater/Furnace - Hallway Side
(Yes, the hallway is painted lilac!)

That was on Thursday.

On Friday, the service technicians, D and B (the technician D brought along a trainee technician B) arrived to take a look at the heater.  I could see that D was a bit taken aback by the red tag!  We went over what the gas company technician had to say, I showed them the copy of the checklist I was given, and they proceeded to take the unit apart.  The whole time, D was explaining to B what was what and how it worked, etc., which was interesting to listen to.  Then, D showed me the wear and tear of the unit, both outside and inside (he sent a camera up the inside of the firebox).

According to his simple explanation to me of how the heater worked, the switch turned on the gas which was lit by the pilot light and the flame heated up the metal firebox which diffused the heat to the surroundings.  The metal would expand when heated and contract when cooled.  Over the years, the constant expanding and contracting weakens the metal and it could, sometimes, crack.  My heater had not reached cracking point, but, the metal had some discoloration and there was rust, as well as some ashes and dust, etc., inside.  The rust was probably from the drops of rain that used to fall down the vent (I would hear the rain drops falling down the vent), even though the top of the vent (on the roof) had a cover that was supposed to keep the rain off.  

Anyway, they could repair it - it would require taking everything down, cleaning out the vents, etc., etc., etc., and the estimated cost of that was $3,000.  Of course, they couldn't, or wouldn't, give me an estimate of how long the furnace would continue to work well even after the repairs.  How much would a new furnace cost?  They couldn't give me an exact quote as that would have to be done by a senior technician, but, they gave me a rough estimate and it was what I had expected - roughly double what I paid for the current one.  Sigh.

Did I want to spend $3,000 to repair the existing furnace and take my chances or did I want to spend even more for a new furnace?  Was it worth it to spend that much on a 14 year old furnace?  Or should I opt for a new furnace?  I hate making these sort of decisions!  They stress me out!

In the end, I opted for a new furnace.  I knew I would stress about how long the repaired furnace would last, even after getting it repaired.  The old furnace had a 5 year warranty on labor and 10 year warranty on parts and it lasted 4 additional years after the warranties expired.  The new furnace would come with a similar warranty and I will have peace of mind for the duration.  I figured my peace of mind was worth it.  I could have also opted to have estimates from other companies, but, I chose to go with this same company, partly because I've used their services, before, and partly because, well, Covid!  The fewer people I had walking through my house, even with masks on, the better!  

They arranged for the senior technician to come out and give me a quote, later in the afternoon, and, because I was going to buy the new furnace through them, they waived my $70 service call fee.  

The senior technician gave me an initial quote which was a couple of hundred dollars over the rough estimate D had given.  But, then, he said he could give me a $300 discount if I decided to finalize the purchase right there and then, because it saves the company money if they don't have to send their technicians out on multiple visits.  That's when my negotiating skills came in!  I had my file folder with the purchase receipts for the existing heater and some other plumbing work done by this same company and I showed them to him and said I'm a repeat customer who has done business with them for 14 years; surely I should qualify for a bigger discount?  He said he needed to speak with his manager and stepped outside.  Whether he spoke to anyone or not, I don't know, but, a few minutes later, he came in and said he was authorized to give me an additional $400 discount!  So, the cost of the new furnace was reduced by $700, which made it a little more affordable.  *smile*  We signed the paperwork, I gave the 10% deposit, and the installers will be here on Tuesday to put in the new heater, ducts, vents, and thermostat.  

My daughter was both amused and impressed by my negotiating skills!  She said it would not have occurred to her to ask for a discount for being a repeat customer for 14 years.  LOL.  I said it pays to ask!  With the discount, it is not quite double what I paid for the old furnace; almost, but, not quite!  I think I negotiated well.  

The rest of the day went well.  I made milkrice and seeni sambol for brunch.  Later in the evening, I made a pork stirfry with carrots and kale for dinner.  M tended to the garden in the evening and he potted up Clark for me.  Later, I called friend A to check on her and spoke with friend R.

I am decluttering an item a day in October, too.  Yesterday's decluttered item was my banana holder:

Banana Holder

These things were very popular in the 1990s.  They are one of those things that you didn't know you needed until you saw it!  LOL.  I was very amused by the idea of a banana holder!  Of course I wasn't willing to pay the $19.99 or whatever they cost, but, I kept talking about wanting a banana holder.  Until, one day, neighbor T's daughter and a friend held a yard sale at T's house and there it was, a banana holder!  On sale for $1.  My daughter was about 5 years old and she bought the banana holder for me, with the $1.25 weekly allowance she used to receive from her grandmother, saying, "You are always saying you want a banana holder, here you go!"  I've used that thing ever since!  Recently, the top part started to fall down for the weight of the bananas.  I removed the screws that anchored the top to the base and put in different screws, but, have now decided that I can live without a banana holder cluttering up my kitchen counter!  Maybe someone else will enjoy using it!

Today's decluttering was 3 decorative beaded belt buckles that my mother had bought, a long time ago, which we never used:

Decorative Beaded Buckles

There was a round, blue one, too, but, my daughter took that saying she can make a hair ornament with that to go with a blue dress she will be wearing to her friend's wedding, next year (wedding was postponed due to Covid, this year).

Today has been another warm day, with a high of 94F.  Cousin P called me in the morning and we chatted for a bit.  She is planning to attend cousin V's barbecue this evening.  I told her I am not yet comfortable attending a family gathering.  I spent a relaxed day (felt I needed one, after all the excitement, yesterday!)  I ate some leftover milkrice with the ground turkey keema curry for brunch, followed by half a mango a little later (the Van Gogh mango that M brought for us; "Vincent" is now in a jar of water, waiting to sprout!).  Dinner was ramen noodles mixed with leftover pork stir fry.  After dinner, I called friend R and we chatted for a bit.

I am grateful for:
- A new month
- Getting a discount on the furnace
- Being able to pay for it
- Phone calls with family and friends
- Having a garden

Today's joyful activity was walking in the garden with my daughter.   

Plans for tomorrow include taking it easy and relaxing.  There is some mending I could do if I feel like it.  

How was your day?  What are your plans for Sunday?


October Decluttering:
10/1 - 1 banana holder (to be donated)
10/2 - 3 decorative beaded buckles (to be donated)


  1. Well done on getting the discount. It just goes to show it's always worth enquiring. I think you were wise to get a new furnace. Here, if there are large repairs needed to a boiler, which is over ten years old, they usually suggest it is replaced. X

    1. Thank you, Jules; yes, it doesn't hurt to ask, does it? :)

  2. Oh well done on all the negotiations. I suspect a repair might have proved ineffective in the long run. A new unit gives you peace of mind. I've never bothered with a banana holder - I just keep mine in a separate bowl away from the other fruit.

    1. Thank you, Angela. Yes, I thought it was better to get a new furnace and have peace of mind. I must remember to keep the bananas separate from the other fruit. Won't be too difficult because I usually keep the fruit in the fridge, unless I want to ripen them (mangoes, avocado, etc.)

  3. Way to go on your negotiation skills! I never would have thought to do this, but I just might try it someday! The banana holder made me smile…my husband brought one home about a year ago and it was made of plastic. I thought it just cluttered the counter and told him I wasn’t crazy about it. Our son overheard and asked if he could have it. He now uses it on his desk to hold his headphones. Ha!

    1. Thank you, Mandy; it doesn't hurt to ask! :D That's great that your son is able to find a way to reuse the banana holder! :D

  4. I'm sorry the furnace replacement is so expensive, but it sounds like a new one is the best decision. Costs will keep going up, so in the long run replacing it will probably save you more. Also, very wise to be safe! Celie

    1. Thank you, Celie; yes, everything is going up in price, but, better be safe than sorry! Don't want to turn on the heater and have the house catch fire!

  5. I just want to add that you have impressive negotiating skills!! Celie

  6. When we moved in, our house had its original 30 year old furnace. The inspector said that we should expect to replace it soon. We were able to use it for another 4 years before we had to replace it and we felt lucky for the extra time. It was expensive, but it's not something we will have to worry about for a while. And that feels good.

    I think you made the right decision to replace yours. Peace of mind is priceless.

    1. Thank you, June. I think my cousin across the street still has the original furnace that came with the house! But I replaced the one that was in this house a few years after I bought the house and that is the heater I am replacing now. I agree with you that peace of mind is priceless. :)

  7. Well done on negotiating a better discount. My Mum always said "if you don't ask you don't get, the worst that can happen is they say no".

    I forgot to weigh myself this morning so will do that tomorrow. It's cold and wet here so I am enjoying a day at home - some meal planning, piano practice, phone calls with friends, and some daytime TV has kept me out of mischief so far 😊

    1. Thank you, Eileen; yes, if you don't ask, you don't get!

      It's fine if you weigh yourself a day or two later. :) It's been hot and dry over here and I am aftaid I went out and got into some mischief as there was cake involved! :D

  8. Good job negotiating your new furnace - really good job.
    I am glad you made the decision you made and happy that at this point in your life you are able to afford the new furnace - for it is a major expense.

    That's great you are continuing with the decluttering. I am right along with you.

    1. Thank you, Debra. I was rather pleased with my negotiating! :D I'm glad, too, that I decided to go with a new furnace and could afford to do so. Glad to have you joining me in the October decluttering! :)

  9. Oh I love your haggling! If you can't get to the market, you have the market come to you and you were perfectly in order to emphasize your loyalty to the company. Your new furnace will keep you cozy in winter. I was interested in the red warning label, because I found a label on the cord of my new stick blender which says in 3 languages, "CALIFORNIA RESIDENTS ONLY - WARNING: Cancer and Reproductive Harm -". However that website doesn't seem to exist. I'm completely baffled why this appliance should be dangerous to Californians and safe for the rest of us including, presumably, the rest of the USA!

    By the way, one of those giant puffballs, about the size of a grapefruit, sprang up in our yard and I harvested it today. It was clean and white inside and I sliced it and sautéed it in butter. It was very pleasant with a soft texture.

    1. Thank you, Bushlady! Haggling is born and bred in my bones, no doubt! :D No harm in asking, is there? Repeat customers should receive extra consideration! :)

      The website given on the label has a typo! This is the correct website address:

      Propositions 65 deals with clean water and lists chemicals known to cause cancer or birth defects which are either used in the manufacture of a product or contained in the product, itself. Propositions are included in state-wide elections in California and are voted on directly by the voters. I believe they require a 2/3 majority in order to pass (not quite sure about that) and once approved, goes into effect and becomes a state-wide law. Prop. 65 pertained to clean drinking water/disposal of waste water by manufacturers of products containing identified chemicals, etc.

      Yay, you were able to harvest one of your giant puffballs! Well done with your gathering of nature's bounty! :)


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