So. It started in January, when we got an electric bill for $725.00. OMG. Portland General was more than willing to help us out financially, but I went ahead and paid it (who needs to eat, right?) Suspecting that it was our heat pump, I called out our usual heating/a/c company. After investigating, the guy said it was probably our thermostat, and told us that a new one like the one we had would be $800, but he could install a smart/wi-fi one for half that, which would be cheaper than trying to fix the heat pump. I said okay. $464.00. But the problem was, we still weren’t getting any heat, and I didn’t like the thermostat. It lit up every time I walked by it and I felt like it was spying on me. Also, even though the tech had set it to not use the heat strips till the outside temperature was 25°, our emergency heat was coming on anyway even though temps were in the 30s, using the heat strips, and PGE told me when I checked the website that at that rate our next bill would be $849.00. Needless to say, I shut off the entire system.
We have now been mostly without heat since January 26th. We have the woodstove in the living room, which is wonderful. And a space heater each in our offices. But that’s been it. Outside last week?
I shivered a lot during these below-freezing days. I wore wool on my head, around my neck. Thank goodness for all my hand-knit hats, handwarmers, and cowls. But sometimes I looked like this.
I called a highly recommended heating company to see what they thought about everything. The guy came out and told us that yes, they could try to fix the heat pump as the first tech had suggested, but there’d be only a 50-50 chance that it’d work. And the cost would be over $2500.00. So no thanks.
We were really impressed with the second company. The tech wisely turned on our unit and checked our heat vents and told us that there was virtually no heat coming from the heat exchanger (emergency heat) downstairs. The first tech never did that; if he had, he would’ve known that something was wrong with the heat pump, not the thermostat. So we got an estimate from the second guy. $11,000. Yikes! But it was fair.
I went back to the first company and told them I wanted a refund for the thermostat, which we’d had professionally disconnected and the old one put back on. I also said I’d like to get an estimate from them for a new unit. They weren’t very forthcoming about refunding our money for the thermostat. Their estimator came out a few days later and gave us an estimate for a unit that didn’t use heat strips…ready? $25,000!! “But we can sell it to you at 9.9% interest for ten years!” Really? At that rate, the unit would cost us $39,000!! Sheesh.
In the meantime, we were still freezing. Getting out of the shower was miserable. Being in the kitchen was miserable. (I should’ve turned on the oven and left the door open.) I closed off the laundry room door so that some heat from the woodstove could maybe migrate down to the bedroom. Who wants to do laundry anyway? I had a large heating pad that I could lay on the bed before getting in which helped a little and we piled blankets on the bed. But if we had to get up in the middle of the night? Ho da cold!!! The kitties’ fur even felt cold to the touch. We used a space heater in our “greenhouse” where all my tropical plants are, which helped. I tell you…that’s one way to cut electricity bills. Just be cold. It really gave me a heart for all the people on the streets trying to stay warm.
We ordered a new heat pump from the second company on January 31st, but because of supply chain issues it won’t be installed till the 9th-10th of next month. When temps were below freezing for days and days we did the best we could to stay warm. I was warm in the shower, warm in my car, warm at the gym. But a good part of the time we struggled to stay warm. A good friend brought over another space heater for the bedroom last week, and that has really helped.
I contacted the first company and told the guy I’d been talking to that I wanted a refund on the thermostat; that if the first tech had checked the heat vent he would’ve known that the thermostat wasn’t the problem. They’re not being very cooperative about it. I took it back to them at one point and the guy brought it back, saying we could work something out. Like they’d take the price off a new ($25,000/$39,000) unit. No thanks.
The weather has now warmed up a bit and we’re doing better. We’re counting the days till the new heat pump can be installed. In the meantime, I’m going to have to do battle about the thermostat. I want to take back the thermostat and stand there till I get a check written out. I dislike confrontation so will have to channel an inner tita from Waiʻanae or something. I talked to the guy from the first company again and I told him I wanted a refund but he wasn’t very encouraging about that, saying that they couldn’t us couldn’t use it again. Well, if they’d done due diligence they never would’ve installed it in the first place. I can’t get my money back even on eBay by selling the thermostat; we only had it installed for two days but it’s still considered used.
I’m not naming names at this point. But if they don’t make this right, I will be leaving negative reviews online. I can’t afford to lose $464.00!