Always Think for Yourself

Think for yourself. Three little words strung together to form a powerful message. A message we are all familiar with but often forget.

Yesterday those three little words paid me a visit. What happened was mind blowing and money-saving like you wouldn’t believe. But first a little back-story.

As some of you already know my wife Cheryl and I moved into our own home back in May, of last year. After losing our home six years ago the belief we could ever be homeowners again had died. But thanks to a wonderful neighbor who wanted to show appreciation for our good deeds and friendship we could buy her home for an unbelievable price.

Well, it didn’t take long for my only bad habit (cough, cough) to kick in. I grumbled about the many things that needed fixing in and around the house. I looked that gift horse in the mouth again.

One of those “need-to-do” things was a gas furnace that had been red-tagged as unsafe to use. We knew it was red-tagged, and that someone had even written on the furnace cover in permanent marker that the heat exchanger was defective causing a carbon-monoxide detector to alarm.

Since we have been charter members of the “As-Is Lifestyle” club we accepted the diagnosis of someone else as gospel and resigned ourselves to using the pellet stove for heat like the previous owner had done. Then, when Cheryl came down with another nasty cold because of a freezing house, we decided to have the furnace fixed.

Even though we bought a home warranty, we doubted that a pre-existing condition would be covered. Problem was, my research showed that replacing the furnace would cost close to $4,000, and that just didn’t set well.

Taking the advice of a few trusted friends I removed the red-tag (Something I don’t recommend unless you question its validity), removed the permanent marker warning and filed a claim with the insurance company. Yes, I agonized over this course of action for several reasons. Would there be an in-depth investigation revealing my deception? Would I have my insurance canceled? But I was desperate. I had to put our health ahead of my over-blown sense of playing it safe. I am so glad I did.

(Fast forward to yesterday)

When the service technician arrived, I braced myself for a full-blown inquisition about the duration of the problem, including a phone call to the gas company. There was none of that. He asked about the symptoms and brought out his test device to analyze the furnace.

Remember that red-tag and permanent marker message? Well, it turns out whoever left those little nuggets of gloom-and-doom didn’t know what they were talking about. Chances are they were just trying to take advantage of a little old lady to sell her an expensive replacement.

There was nothing wrong with the furnace. The original problem may have been the result of a defective carbon-monoxide monitor, or a pellet stove in need of cleaning. It could have even been due to the way the previous owner kept the rear bedroom closed off to keep the house warm. But, since that room had the return air register for the furnace, keeping the room closed off restricted proper air flow.

So, for the price of a $75 service call, I found out we have a great quality furnace that works. Our home no longer feels like an ice cave, and I am determined to not put the opinions of others above my common sense. Even when those opinions appear official and irrefutable.

By removing the questionable diagnosis of someone else and getting my own answers, I made my own informed decision. A decision that saved me thousands of dollars.



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