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Question DetailsAsked on 12/6/2016

A senior couple both work, but do not have credit. They need a new boiler for their home. where can they get help?

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3 Answers


Can't say which would be best in your particular case, but commonly (variations exist of course, depending on locale and your specific financial conditions), and not all may be available to you, but here are some options listed GENERALLY in order of lower to higher interest rate cost:

Installer lending - it is VERY rare for an installer to offer time payment from his company, so that is likely out here as a possible source of funding, so I am not even listing it - would probably fall about 7) or 8) if listed in terms of interest rates.

0) loans from family members

1) local or state elderly energy assistance or low-income heating assistance programs - some offer low-cost loans for this swort of expense - also some offer credits on energy bills. Ditto in some areas for low-income, from some non-profit organizations - Unitd Way might be able to provide names of any organizations in your area who do have this sort of a program.

2) home equity loan, if you have equity in your home

3) if long-term member of a credit union (so a trusted member), a real estate improvement loan from them

4) ordinary credit union loan

5) somewhere about in here, from 4-6 in likely ranking, some manufacturers provide a loan program - commonly only for the purchase of the unit, but I have heard of cases where they (maybe in conjunction with a lender like GE Capital or Capitol One or such), provides complete installed project loans

6) bank or savings-and-loan home improvement loan

7) personal loan or "signature" loan from a personal loan company or other lender like an insurance company or such

8) loan from a "transaction lender" - a company that makes loans to people for thing they buy - major appliances (like a boiler), flooring, roofing, siding, etc - some vendors (like HVAC companies and plumbers who might be replacing your boiler) have brochures and application forms for one of these lenders. They commonly do a "come-on" of low or even zero interest for 6-12 months, but the conditions are EXTREMELY tight in the fine print, so ever miss a payment and the entire loan interest (from day one) skyrockets to very high rates - so risky to use one of these loans.

9) I guess I could list Payday type lenders as the highest cost option, but especially for a boiler that would be probably the fastest way to bankruptcy, with annual effective interest rates around 100-1000%.

In looking at funding, don't forget to check out local utility for your fuel (presumably natural gas), state and local housing authority and energy authority, and federal energy grant or loan programs for energy-efficient heating systems - sometimes rebates or credits can be as high as near 100% in the ideal case and depending on program funding - California and Alaska recently had programs giving (in conjunction with federal rebate programs) near 100% coverage for heating unit replacement and home insulation costs.

Since you sound like a family member or caregiver helping this couple, you might be able to get help in identifying local sources of grants or loans by contacting the local elder services community agency for your city or county - or in some areas the local Public Health department runs that sort of program.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD



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Answered 3 years ago by Member Services


One thing I did not mention - for a boiler, especially if hydronic (hot water) heating system rather than steam, UNLESS it is leaking from the boiler itself (not fittings or pipes or connections, but the actual "radiator" part of the boiler) or is extremely badly rusted or built up with lime or rust (though a good chemical flushing can clean most of that out too), it is common to be able to rehab them for about $500 range each for the electric control unit, the gas valve, or the circulating pump if one of them is all that is shot - and usually it is only one of them or an even more minor item like burners or pilot or thermocouple which can be fixed for a few hundred $ or less in many cases.

Granted it is not a "new" unit after that - though with some brands that continue to stock old parts you can even replace the boiler itself for another $500-1000 sometimes - but many boilers (especially older heavy cast iron ones) can last 50-100 years except in very bad water areas or if never maintained - change out the control units or gas valves every 20-30 years and circulating pumps every 10-25 years depending on brand and on whether the boiler has been kept drained of sediment annually, and many of them go and go and go. if the unit is in generally decent opeating shape a much cheaper solution than a new unit for maybe $5000 or more, and if the unit continues to serve well for another couple to few years at least you are ahead on $.

Also - depending of course on how desperate their need for heat NOW is if the unit is not working, a second opinion for maybe $150 may be well worth the cost - to get an independent evaluation of what is wrong with it WITHOUT saying Boo about having had someone already look at it and recommend a new unit - because in some cases a fairly minor issue may exist but a less than fully scrupulous tech or contractor may tell someone they need a new unit when in fact it just needs maintenance of a minor repair. I am sad to say I have seen several cases where a circulating pump with bad bearings, a boiler with sediment in it causing boiling, or even a thermocouple (about $10-20 item plus minimum labor charge) going out has led to a contractor telling the homeowner, who knew no better, that they needed an entirely new boiler.
Before spending thousands on a new boiler (probably at LEAST $2500 bare minimum, $3-5,000 more likely and quite commonly $50-10,000 for higher efficiency units today) it might well be worth it to get that second opinion.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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