July 16, 2012

Frustration and delay -- our HVAC saga

We're back from Scotland now and are all very jet-lagged.  The kids woke up for the day at 4:00AM this morning!  Not my favourite time of day.  We had a really wonderful time and were all sad to leave (our middle daughter cried all the way to the airport), but we're also happy to be back in our own home. 

Work at The Bennett House has unfortunately stalled over the last 3 weeks.  Partly, I know, it was because of my absence, but mostly it was because we got a bit screwed over by our HVAC guy.  Things just don't always go swimmingly on a reno of this magnitude. Even more so because I'm managing the trades on my own and I'm a complete rookie.  Anyway, here's the long story about what happened....  

We had an HVAC guy that we knew did good work, we liked and we trusted.  We fully expected to hire him to do our system installation for us.  The problem started about a month and a half ago when he told us he was leaving for a 3 week vacation to Europe but said he would do our install as soon as he returned.  This wasn't ideal for us as we were ready even then to start the ductwork, so I decided to call around to other installers to get quotes.  This proved to be a very difficult task!  One company didn't return my call at all, two companies said they would give me a quote and never did --I even followed up and got no response, and another company gave us an astronomical quote.  I understand that we've been in the middle of a heat wave, but sheesh!  So at this point, waiting on our original guy seemed our best option.  I had our guys work on other smaller stuff (hoping it would just be for a couple of weeks) but the next step really should have been the ductwork, then the supply plumbing, the central vacuum rough-in, insulation and drywall. 
So when our original HVAC guy finally returned, we (thankfully!!) asked him to quote the job.  He shockingly came in at $1000 more than the astronomical quote we got from the very big, well known company!  I couldn't believe it, but he wouldn't budge.  Needless to say, I wasn't going to accept that, so I hit the pavement again, looking for a new company. I really felt like the first guy was taking advantage of our rushed position.
After speaking to a neighbour about the progress of the reno, he gave me his invoice for the company that did his HVAC.  With a lot of calling (bugging!) to this new company, they came through with a quote that was $5,500 less than the original guy.  Same exact furnace, same exact ERV unit!  But they too have been extremely busy and couldn't start the work until after our vacation.  They are coming in tomorrow.  I hope!!

So what did get done in the last 2 weeks?  We got our little back roofs done, and Typarred the addition.  Aside from that, not a heck of a lot, unfortunately.  A few other fiddly things, but that's about it.

When I went to look at the work, I noticed that they didn't overhang the little BBQ roof from the house.  I got them to add on a small 8 inch piece today (before the roofer came in).  Much better!  

The roofer comes in tomorrow as well as the HVAC guys.  He's going to put cedar shakes in the 3rd floor triangle and roof the front and back porch.  I'm loving the way the back of the house is now looking!

At the risk of making this the longest post in history, I want to share this amazing gift we got from my mother and father in law.  

Miss R. Murphy was my husband's great grandmother!  This gorgeous engraved silver and bone fish serving set was a wedding gift to her.  Isn't this amazing?  It is totally going on display in the new house!
My grandparents came to Canada from the Ukraine in the early 1900's to escape poverty and famine.  There are no heirlooms in my family.  And that just makes this one all the more special.


  1. oh no....well at least you enjoyed your vacation and now you can crack the whip now that you're back! what a fantatic heirloom!

    1. That's true, we did. And this week is shaping up to be a busy one already!

  2. I'm waiting on quotes for a guest house, and it's taking forever. What's with these guys? Don't they need work?

    1. I think you hit the nail on the head, Dana. They don't need the work! Every one of them said they are extremely busy. I think that's the same reason we got such high quotes from the guys that even bothered. Because they can. Good luck with yours!

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  4. Wow! Your heirloom is so beautiful! It's so fragile and precious. About your HVAC dilemma, I guess waiting for your trusted HVAC guy is worth it. There's a whopping $4000 difference from the job quotation you had with the other company compared to the $1000 with your HVAC guy. Sometimes, well-known companies ask too much for a job that another HVAC guy can do much cheaper with the same quality of service. Mignon Her

  5. I am sorry about your experience with HVAC repairman. There are really people who'll take advantage of someone's situation. Good thing you didn't settle for him. Anyway, that saga's done; I only hope that everything was installed correctly and that you didn't experience further inconveniences. Thanks for sharing, Keira!

    -Harris Aire Serv

  6. That serving set looks gorgeous! I mean, look at the engraving on that knife! Definitely a good piece to display in a prominent area of the house.

    So how was it? Hopefully there weren’t any problems that arose from the HVAC system since you got settled in. Having it repaired can be a pain, but it’s that or suffer through irritating heat or damp cold.

    Christine @ Quality Heating

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