The Hidden Cost of Doing Nothing

| Ed's Blog

Sometimes we get chastised for recommending work and giving customers information and options on repairs or upgrades that the customer can get away with ignoring. But are they really getting away with it?

Sometimes yes… luck is a fickle mistress, and there are times you can let the piece of equipment you depend on for the most fundamental human needs run well beyond its life expectancy or economic viability… a little patch here and a little tweak there and it goes and goes and goes. Forget the fuel penalty for a second, and maybe you really can tempt fate and keep that thing going. We all have at one time or another, and sometimes it’s worth the calculated risk. Assuming you did the calculation based on accurate information, it may make sense in many situations.

The hidden cost of doing nothing can bite you sometimes, though. I would argue that it bites people more of the time than is obvious to the casual observer. The housing stock in this region is old. When I say old, I’m talking old in terms of fuel prices more than any other frame of reference. The game has changed dramatically over the last twenty years, and what was a small penalty for looking the other way even a decade ago can be a significant bite on your wallet both now and in the foreseeable future.

maintenance cost

The common tendency is to fix, or even upgrade, at the least possible cost and looking to the short term more than the lifetime cost. It’s not just about fixing just the “machine” either. Often times it really pays to look further into the system. What I mean by that is the house you live in and depend on: “the envelope” we like to call it in business. Some homes are thermos bottles and some are colanders. Do you really know which kind you live in? If you think you know, then how did you come to that conclusion? Most homeowners do not have access or take it upon themselves to have the latest in training and diagnostic equipment.

The hidden cost of doing nothing can be very high: high in yearly energy consumption, high in degraded quality of life, high in unnecessary and inconvenient breakdowns, high in health consequences, and also high in potential safety issues.

The dangerous thing is the fuel cost, though. The meter continues to run for many people until it has become so ridiculous that you start lashing out for answers. Don’t feed this invisible pirate until it impacts you so hard you are forced to make changes. Many homeowners are already paying for brand new systems (but have the old ones) through inflated fuel consumption. The benefits are many if you upgrade now. Why wait?