139 – House Problems

Learn Real life English for daily life in Canada. We talk about what you can do when your heater breaks.


A:  Hello


B:  How did it go with your furnace guy?


A:  Overall pretty good in the end, although dealing with it was a real emotional roller coaster.


B:  What happened?


A:  I need a new motor and the insurance agreed to cover it.  That is $1000 bucks.  But then I found out they don’t have any parts in Canada because it’s an older unit, so I’d have to wait 3-4 weeks for the replacement part to come in from Oklahoma.  I obviously can’t wait more than a day since its -15 outside.


B:   That’s crazy.  What are you going to do then?


A:  I’m actually going to get a new high efficiency furnace.  There is a 10 year warranty that comes with it for parts and a 2 year warranty on labor.  They said it will be a lot quieter than my old one that sounded like a jet engine.


B:  Aren’t those like 4 grand though when it’s all said and done?


A:  Usually.  But I got them to give me a huge discount because I’ve been a loyal customer.  They are going to put it in for $2365 plus HST.  And the beauty is that the insurance company agreed to pay $1000 bucks towards it since they won’t have to buy the motor.

B:  That’s awesome!


Furnace guy: :
In spoken English, for any kind of physical work where you need someone to come to your house to fix or install something, we usually say the name of the job, and then “guy”. Usually they are often men who do these jobs – obviously not always.

Cable guy
Pool guy
Internet guy

Emotional roller coaster: :

This is a set phrase to say when your emotions go up and down and change a lot within a short period of time.

Watching an exciting sporting event can be an emotional roller coaster if your team is sometimes winning and sometimes losing and it’s really exciting. Lot’s of ups and downs.

Cover it:

If your insurance “covers it” it means they pay for it. This is a phrase we often use to talk about what insurance pays for.

Someone could ask, “I know your insurance is cheap, but what kind of coverage do you have?”

Unit: :

A “unit” is a single thing. Sometimes we refer to a furnace as a “unit”.

Oklahoma: :

This is a state in the middle of the USA.

High efficiency: :

This obviously means very efficient. It actually has a specific legal definition. I believe it has to be at least 92% efficient for it to be called “high efficiency”. This means that only 8% of the heat is wasted. So this saves money on electricity or gas compared to something that is less efficient.
Appliances are getting more and more efficient all the time.

Grand: :

This is a slang term for “thousand dollars”.

I made 10 grand last month. “I earned $10 000 dollars”.

All said and done: :

This is a common phrase that means “the total price when you include absolutely everything”

Sometimes prices to do a project seem lower at first, but when you include tax, all the little parts you maybe need, and a few hidden fees here and there, then it can be more expensive after it’s all said and done.

It’s the same thing with going to a restaurant in Canada. Sometimes the prices on the menu aren’t that much, but then you need to add 13% tax and then 15% (at least) for a tip!

HST: :

This is special sales tax in Canada. It’s similar to VAT in Europe. The difference is in Canada it’s added on to the final price. So if you see something selling for $10 in Ontario Canada for example, you need to pay $13. If you see a price in Europe, the VAT is already included. Not everything has HST added (eg fruit, vegetables, meat), but most things do. Even a new car or any service will add HST to the final price.

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