Money Power: Planning ahead for home repair needs
BY PATRICIA MERTZ ESSWEIN Money Power
Sunday, March 03, 2013
3/03/13 at 4:11 AM
It's a corollary of Murphy's Law: When you are least able to afford a major expense, something big is bound to break down.
Take preventive action before a breakdown turns into an emergency. To help you plan ahead, we give you an overview of what to expect for six major items. (Note: Total cost is for a 2,000-square-foot home or to install a single unit.)
Expected life: Boiler, 13 to 21 years; furnace, 15 to 20 years.
Total cost: Forced-air furnace, $1,693 to $2,020; split system, $1,604 to $2,290; oil boiler, $2,773 to $3,069.
It's time if: You need frequent repairs or have rising energy bills, rooms that are consistently too hot or cold, humidity problems or excessive noise. If your furnace or boiler is more than 15 years old, an energy-efficient replacement will cut your utility bills.
Where to start: Use search tools at the Air Conditioning Contractors of America ( tulsaworld.com/acca) and Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association ( tulsaworld.com/phcc).
Hot water heater
Expected life: 10 years for gas or electric; 20 years for tankless.
Total cost: $548 to $915 for energy-efficient model; $739 to $1,240 for tankless; $2,658 to $3,443 for heat-pump water heater.
It's time if: The unit is 10 years old or more, leaks around the base or works erratically.
Where to start: Use the guide at EnergyStar.gov to determine what type will work best for you and to get buying guidance. You can buy from home-improvement retailers or plumbing contractors.
Expected life: 20 for asphalt shingles.
Cost per square foot: $5.43 to $7.05.
It's time if: You have cracked, curled or missing shingles and you're losing mineral granules (look in your gutters). In the attic, check the underside of the roof for stains or wet spots. Inside, you may see discolored plaster or drywall and peeling wallpaper.
Where to start: Use the search tool on the website of the National Roofing Contractors Association ( tulsaworld.com/nrca) to find contractors who are members.
Central air conditioning
Expected life: 10 to 15 years.
Total cost: $2,460 to $3,245; split system (with interior and exterior components), $1,604 to $2,290.
It's time if: You need frequent repairs or have rising energy bills, rooms that are consistently too hot or cold, humidity problems or excessive noise. Note: If your AC uses your furnace's blower motor, you may also have to replace the furnace for your new AC to achieve its rated energy efficiency.
Where to start: Look for equipment rated by Energy Star. Seek contractors who are certified by the Air Conditioning Contractors of America or who are members of the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association.
Original Print Headline: Prevent breakdowns before they happen
Patricia Mertz Esswein is an associate editor at Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine. To send her a question or comment, go to tulsaworld.com/kiplingerfeedback.