It dawned on me for the first time this morning I have become a bonafide “DIY”
(“Do it yourself-er”)
I love to learn, think outside of the box and figure things out.
The more areas of life I am conversant in, the easier it is to branch into new fields.
My strong suits are carpentry, masonry, roofing, metal buildings, and wood working in general. I know a little about electric and plumbing. I’m about to learn a whole lot more. ;-)
Earlier this Spring, we made the decision to downsize.
Plan A : We have decided to stay put. Shut off the 2nd floor of our 2 story farm-house, and install a new 95% energy-efficient forced air heating system. Last winter the cost to heat our house was over $3000 with our 25-year-old hot water heat boiler. Wife came up with the out of the box idea….what if we just heated the first floor? I plugged in the numbers on an on-line furnace calculator, and sure enough, we could get our heating bill down to less than $900 annually if we only had to heat 1024 sq ft. (vs $3000)
I have been talking to one of my people, a certified electrical, plumbing and heating contractor since April. (He is the maintenance foreman at a large facility). I told him what I was wanting to do. He said the cost of materials (would run about $1200 total. (That is a new high-efficiency furnace and related duct work/ with no central air conditioning)
Once we upgrade, we should realize a $2000 a year savings in LP gas alone. Originally, my contact was also going to also help me install the system, but due to time constraints at work now he can’t get away.
Go to Plan B : Get a quote from the local heating contractors I work with on a regular basis and hire it done. The first estimate I got was for $6000 to $6500.
I have no qualms about paying people for what they know and do. I would never ever dicker/ barter with another tradesman. I don’t like it when people do that to me, and I refuse to do it to someone else. Building new homes for the past 30 years, I also have a sense of how long it takes to install a new furnace, and the thought of paying someone $4000 above actual expenses has given me pause.
I have 3 contractors who have taken my phone number and promised to “get back to me” when they have a moment to look @ the job, but as one of them said to me yesterday….”You are talking about a lot of work. that is going to be pretty expensive.”
After that last phone conversation, I was starting to get a little stressed…
There is a spiritual truth I live by, and have leaned on it over and over again as an adult. It goes like this:
“Trust the Lord, with all your heart. Do NOT rely on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he WILL direct your path.”
DM’s translation: Freely admit I don’t know what to do. Do NOT trust in my own gifts, strengths, connections, schemes, etc. Rather, acknowledge and ask for divine leading each step of the way, and yes he (God) will go before me, open (and shut) doors, and make a clear path.
Enter plan C:
Two nights ago, I talked with a former high school classmate who I would definitely describe as a DIY. When it came time to wire the addition to his house, he took the required classes @ the local community college so he could wire his own place. I called him to see if he had any experience installing furnaces. “Yes I do, he said. Count me in” :-)
” The biggest hurtle you will have, is having someone properly size the furnace and design the layout for the duct work.”
I called my original contact, and he said, he would talk to “his people” and get that information for me.
I plan to hire our LP gas provider to run the gas lines once the furnace is completely assembled.
I am excited.
Here’s a quote from Wikipedia under “Do It Yourself” that puts things into perspective and why I feel like I am swimming upstream and incompetent in certain areas:
Our educational system, in its entirety, does nothing to give us any kind of material competence. In other words, we don’t learn how to cook, how to make clothes, how to build houses, how to make love, or to do any of the absolutely fundamental things of life. The whole education that we get for our children in school is entirely in terms of abstractions. It trains you to be an insurance salesman or a bureaucrat, or some kind of cerebral character.
What are some of your strong suits (and, or interests) you could mentor someone in? (Don’t be modest)