After spending the last 20 years in the San Fernando Valley with only portable air conditioners and paying outrageous prices for energy Betty and I decided it’s time to spend a little of that money we’ve been saving for so long.
We figured the main problem with the energy cost can be improved with a quadruple prong approach.
- Install central air conditioning.
- Install modern windows.
- Add insulation to attic
- Install solar panels.
We have #1 done and have #2 in the works. We hired a window company and the measuring guy is here while I’m writing this.
#3 is going to be done tomorrow. We are having cellulose blown in to bring it up to R-38. I’m guessing right now it’s R-0.5 as the insulation in the attic is probably an inch thick.
#4 is going to be the long pole but should also be the biggest return.
I have asked Donna and Daryl both for as much information and feedback as they can give and it’s been very helpful. Of course they both have solar systems on their houses. Richard does too but his is a very different animal.
I’ve gotten multiple quotes and I’ve looked at both lease and purchase and I’m leaning more towards the purchase option. Daryl purchased and Donna prepaid a lease. Both have pluses and minuses but one of the things I’m trying to do is increase the value of my home. Having a prepaid lease solar system does improve your value but not near as much of it is going to end up in your pocket if you sell.
One thing we learned yesterday and today is different companies will give you wildly different price quotes. For instance the first company that quoted our windows said they could do them all plus 3 doors for a bit over $16,000. That really seemed high to me. I figured probably $10,000 but wasn’t sure. While we were about to go with the high price I got a call from another guy who said he thought he could beat the price by $6,000. We sent the first guy away and had the other guy come quote. He did quote at a tad over $10,000. While that guy was quoting Josh remembered there was a guy on his pool league who owned a window and door company so today he came out. He is going to do everything for $9,000. Moral of this story is never take the first quote unless you really know what it’s going to cost. We might have paid a bit more than we needed on the A/C but I did research that beforehand and feel we got a pretty fair price.
On Friday the A/C was installed and they left around 8pm. By 9pm Betty and I looked at each other and said we had never felt the house be more comfortable in the 14 1/2 years we’ve lived here. Another plus is we don’t have that annoying window or portable air conditioner noise. It’s just quiet and comfortable. I wonder why we waited so long.
All of these projects also qualify for government and power company rebates. The biggest one will be the federal rebate on the solar panels. That’s currently at 30% so will be close to $10,000. The power company rebate will be around $4,000 so it makes a big difference to the actual cost. The other upgrades also qualify for rebates at different values. Well, except for the A/C. If we had gone with a 16 SEER unit we could have gotten $400 back but it would have cost $1100 for the upgrade. The A/C guy said we wouldn’t really benefit from the extra SEER based on where we live so he suggested we not do it.
Along with all the upgrades we also plan to throw a bunch of junk away and generally clean. Painting the exterior is probably in the future but we don’t have anything scheduled yet.
Lots of stuff going on in our house.