Captain DIY Hires A Contractor (Gasp!)

We’ll Start in the Way Back Machine

Do you remember my Great Boiler Snafu? Probably not, as that was a while ago, but don’t worry, I’ll sum it up briefly for you. What happened was, during a cold frosty evening last winter, my boiler decided to not work for me after I waited too long to order oil. The nozzle got gummed up, and the boiler wouldn’t fire.

Just unscrew the gizmo and take out the whatsit.

“No problem”, says me. “I’ll just replace the nozzle”, says me.

Little did I realize that it is possible to replace a nozzle with a new one that has the exact same numbers on it but an entirely different flow rating. I took one out that let a half-gallon per hour (or minute, I don’t remember) and replaced it with one that let 3 times as much oil through!

Well, I fired that sucker up and it worked! I patted myself on the back for a job well done, then went upstairs to have a congratulatory beer.

Twenty minutes later, a thunderous disturbance erupted from the basement. After sucking up the courage to check the level of damage, I determined that I was unfit for boiler repairs, and promptly called on the services of Dave the Boiler Guy to rescue me.

Back to The Present

So here we are, with a brewing disaster lurking in the depths of my home, waiting to leave us in the cold as soon as Dave leaves on vacation during a blizzard.

Lurking like a lurky lurker

Luckily, my local electrical utility company offers an incentive program to upgrade to a new higher efficiency heating system!

You may have a program like this available in your area as well. In my state, it is known as Mass Saves, and the way it works is this: you go on their website and request to have a specialist come assess your system. Once they have determined that your system is suitably terrible and outdated, they send you a packet of paperwork that is deceptively easy to fill out.

By the way, they also offer insulation services. Just saying.

Once the paperwork has been filled out and approved, simply have your licensed HVAC contractor send them a description of the new high-efficiency unit to be installed, then take the ensuing paperwork (they really do love paperwork) to an approved lender.

And here’s the best part: that lender will give you a zero percent loan! Zero percent! And there can be some pretty decent rebates coming your way as well!

On to the Good Stuff

So it was that, not too long ago, my Prince in Oiled Armor came to rescue me with his professional skills and knowledge.

The Master at Work

Dave the Boiler Guy came by one day with a shiny new boiler, and spent a solid twelve hours in my basement banging away. Then he came back the next day to do some more work! By the time he was done, I had a brand-new, high-efficiency, bright red fancy-pants boiler. He also installed an indirect domestic water heater, colloquially known as a “Superstore”. No more running out of hot water!

I pestered him a little bit with a few pictures, and even asked him if he would be so kind as to answer a few questions for my DIY blog. That may or may not be coming soon; he’s a busy guy this time of year.

Can’t imagine why the old one wasn’t working well…

Even Captain DIY Hires Contractors Sometimes

I have a family member who lives fairly close to me, and she has been on a real skill-learning kick for the last few years. She is learning all kinds of cool things like welding and woodworking, and she has a saying that has stuck with me. She likes to say, once I’ve taught her some new bit of electrical minutia, “now I know just enough to be dangerous.”

This is such an important lesson. Just because you learned a little bit of something does not mean you are a professional, and it is imperative that you recognize your boundaries. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: Know Thyself! It’s the very first of the Ten Commandments of DIY.

Even me, your dear old pal Captain DIY, needs a reminder of this sometimes. In this case the reminder was an explosion in my basement, and I’m extremely lucky nobody got hurt.

Learning new DIY skills is a great thing, and it can be a huge help in the quest for financial independence. But knowing where the line is between doable and dangerous can save even more. Captain out!

6 thoughts on “Captain DIY Hires A Contractor (Gasp!)

  1. Thanks for this post.
    It’s a healthy reminder that even though you may be able to figure something out, there’s always a risk analysis that you should conduct before starting. I can’t imagine blowing up my furnace in the dead of winter, all because I’m exercising my Manliness.


  2. Your writing is so entertaining! I agree – it’s important to know your own limits. Although, I wish this is something more men would be willing to admit, rather than the various DIY hiccups I’ve been subject to along the way 😉


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