Renting vs Financing

It goes without saying that furnace and air conditioner breakdowns don’t wait until you’re ready for them. They always seem to happen at the most inopportune time. Now a person could buy a fan and sweat out the summer, replacing your air conditioner in Regina is not a must. But going without a furnace is not an option. If you haven’t been saving up for it, replacing your home’s HVAC equipment can be quite a financial hardship, especially considering the employment issues everyone is facing due to Covid-19. But rest assured if you find you are without sufficient savings there are options to pay for a replacement. Renting and financing being the two major choices. But which one is the better way to go? It’s a very debatable question, with each option having both pros and cons. The following post provides a quick  breakdown of both renting and financing equipment. 

  With renting equipment, essentially the homeowner signs a multi year contract with a fixed price.

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Pros

  Renting provides a homeowner with an affordable reoccurring payment that can be easily worked into a home’s monthly budget. This price does not change over the term of the contract. Renting equipment can be very attractive to landlords as maintenance and repairs are usually 100% covered under the contract. This means that if issues arise tenants need not call the building owner, just the rental provider. Technicians arrive and repair without anyone ever having to worry about what the cost will be. 

Cons

  Any benefit renting provides does not come without a cost. While the monthly payment looks manageable, eventually a homeowner will pay 2-3 times the cost they would have paid if they had purchased the equipment outright from the start. HVAC rental contracts are a lot like cell phone contracts, you will always be made to pay the remainder if you want out. This also includes expensive transfer fees at the end of the contract. 

But won’t I own it by then?”

Not according to the fine print. Rental contracts require extra fees to transfer the equipment into your name. (Or you can just sign back up and get a new furnace….sound familiar?)

You will also have an issue when it comes time to sell the home. Not every potential homebuyer wants to take on your debt. At this point you will likely either need to reduce the asking price of your home or buyout the equipment. 

Financing allows a third party to make the purchase for you and you will pay them back over time

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Pros

  Like renting, financing also allows a homeowner to replace their furnace, AC, water heater, etc but still keep their monthly budget under control. Unlike renting, financing will allow the homeowner to payout the remainder of the agreement at any time with no penalties. This works well when you may not have the total payment available at the time of purchase but know that big tax return is coming in a couple of months. You may also be offered options of delayed payments. Additionally, financing often allows the homeowner to dictate certain terms of the contract (interest rate, length of contract, etc) to help fit their needs. Financing also means you will eventually own the equipment, making it an asset and helps to increase the value of your home.

Cons

  HVAC contractors will use a third party when offering financing. This means homeowners have an additional contact they need to go through, which to some is a hassle. The contract you receive is also based off your credit. The worse the credit, the higher the interest rate may be. If your credit is really bad, you may need a consignor on your loan. 

   Maintenance and repairs will also be up to you to take care of. Everything eventually breaks down and you will be on the hook for those costs.

Overview

   At this time most homeowners see renting as the easier option as nobody likes the idea of taking out a loan.  But depending on how you look at it, renting is the same as a loan but with a much higher interest rate. The biggest benefit of renting is the fact that repair costs are covered by the contractor. While Family Plumbing at this time does not offer rental contracts we do offer financing. Our installations come with options for 10 year parts AND labour warranty. This allows us to compete with rental contracts without significantly raising the cost of your installation.

  A quick Google search will bring up plenty of articles with first hand homeowner opinions of both renting and financing if you are interested in reading more. Every homeowner’s needs and financial situation are different. Wether you are considering renting or financing, I strongly recommend researching both options and double checking for any fine print clauses that might not be too favourable to you. Both payment options have their ups and downs which I hope I have explained in this post. Family Plumbing is always available to talk to if you want to discuss either option further. 

This blog will teach you why you should replace your main water valve (if you haven’t already)

Temperature drops in Regina happen often and without warning. Waterlines exposed to these temps are easily susceptible to freezing and cracking. Consider yourself lucky if you have never experienced an out-of-the-blue waterline burst. A burst 1/2” waterline can spew over 15 gallons of water a minute. The initial realization of the aquatic massacre happening within your home. Your anxiety is through the roof but you calm your nerves enough to move to your home’s main water shut off. You try and turn it, it doesn’t turn. You scramble for for a set of pliers and slowly the valve begins to close. You soon see the water stream slowly die down, thanking your lucky stars the valve fully closed. 

A situation similar to this happened to my sister. She called me frantically one afternoon, water was flowing down into the basement, “what do I do?!”. She’s in Calgary and I’m in Regina so I talked her through it on the phone. She couldn’t find the valve. What does it look like? Where would it be? She never even thought about this stuff before. When she finally found the valve it was stuck and refused to move. She had to run next door and luckily the neighbour was home to help her out before it was too late. 

buried valve
Would you want to trust your home security to a valve half buried under concrete?

I’ve always considered the main water shut off the most important plumbing fixture inside any building. Its the last line of defense when emergencies happen This valve controls the flow of water incoming from the city to your home’s waterlines. Their location can vary house to house. Often located in the basement, they may be found near the front wall of your home, or in the mechanical room. But they can also be found in closets, under cabinets, almost anywhere. If you are not sure where yours is, take a couple minutes right now to find it.

Go ahead….I’ll wait.

*author patiently waits*

You found it? Awesome, let’s continue.

Old gate valves are the worst for leaks. This was the most common used type of main water valve for decades. These valves can be prone to leaking over time due to oxidization, failed packing bonnets, etc. They may sit for years on end without ever getting turned. Then when they’re needed, can be almost nearly impossible to turn by hand. And as any plumber will tell you, the valves that refuse to turn are guaranteed to be the ones that leak. That’s why we replace them with much simpler 1/4 turn ball valves. They are much more durable than their gate style counterparts. 

replaced valve
Out with the old, in with the new.

Circling back to our opening scenario, how would it make you feel watching your basement flood before your eyes. Carpet soaked, valuables destroyed, it can be very depressing. That’s why I always urge homeowners to proactively replace their main water valve on their terms, not the valve’s. 

When you add up the time and expenses that go into an insurance claim and the headache that can come with re-finishing a previously finished basement it’s a much more cost effective strategy to both you and your home’s well being to replace the valve ASAP. 

Family Plumbing Drain Challenge

Flush whatever you want down the toilet. No really….. go ahead, see what you can fit down there. “Flushable wipes aren’t actually flushable”? That’s just big garbage talking, they hate to see their sales in plastic bags drop. Throughout this quarantine everyone seems to be following “the rules”, and “flushing responsibly”. At Family Plumbing & Heating we challenge any homeowner to try and clog their pipes. If you decide to take us up on this challenge let me tell you what to expect. 

First you need to clog the drain. I’ve already mentioned flushable wipes. Along with certain feminine products, these would be the staple for household items everyone has been told not to flush but do anyways. (Ladies you know who you are) But there are other options. If you’re playing the long game your go to drain plugger should be grease. It’s gonna take some time but pour ample amounts down the drain and after a couple years you’ll have a nice semi solid clog of yester-year’s breakfast bacon. But in reality the answer is at your fingertips: paper towels, cotton balls, coffee grounds, etc. These are all items that we regularly see homeowners use when accepting the challenge. 

L'Arch pipe front

Now that you’ve caused a clog in your sewer system, congrats! You have successfully completed stage 1 of the challenge. Now on to stage 2: clearing the blockage. At this point you’re going to contact your trusted drain cleaner. Since it’s our challenge we assume that means Family Plumbing and Heating. Prior to our arrival it’s helpful if you could move any larger pieces of furniture that may be in our way as we like to stretch before we work and, along with our tools, need an ample sized playing field. Upon our arrival we will lay down any necessary drop cloths and gear up. This is when the magic happens. You’re gonna hear the machines start up, you may hear some grunting, you may even hear an occasional explicit word but do not fret, pushing cable down old pipe comes with its own challenges. Bowed pipe, encroached tree roots, etc, can all slow down the process to a successful second stage.

drain cleaning, clogged drains, sewer back up, regina, sask emergency service

There’s no better feeling (for a plumber) than the moment you realize you’ve pushed past the clog and see the water flowing again. Family Plumbing also carries an inspection camera that allows us to visually confirm a cleared drain. Clogged drains don’t mean much to us, we generally prefer to work on cleaner jobs (who doesn’t) but unclogging drains are our bread and butter. It’s unfortunate when excessive tree roots or deteriorated pipe prevents us from entering the winner’s circle. When this happens there aren’t much more options than digging up the old pipe and replacing with new. Replacing the pipe is a little bit like cheating to win the challenge but Tom Brady didn’t blink an eye during Deflate-gate so you won’t see us sweat either. Game on!