During the coldest week in February (hovering around 2°C) my little hot water heater finally expired after a dozen years of loyal service. I called “my guy” that Friday afternoon who came by and quoted €600 to replace it the next day, cash only. But the owner, who is responsible for paying for the new water heater, wanted a facture (the invoice, with VAT). I found EasyBallon (“ballon d’eau chaude” is the hot water tank) through my energy company DirectEnergie, an alternative to EDF/GDF. EasyBallon is a company that does just one thing: fix or replace your hot water heater.
And like their name suggests, it’s pretty easy. You choose a tank, choose a delivery/replacement time frame, and pay the deposit with your credit card. That’s it. I was skeptical, but three guys with my new heater showed up on time, replaced the water heater, took the old one away, and handed me the facture to sign. The final payment was deducted automatically from my credit card five days later. They can also come out to do a quote or repair. It’s all very transparent, and even when choosing one of the high-end tanks (anti-calcaire for the hard water issues) it still only cost me (or rather my landlord) €615. The only inconvenience was that I had to wait until the following Thursday, so I went five days without hot water, but it wasn’t a big deal (good thing the tea kettle works and the heating is central).
Another friend of mine with an apartment in Paris recommended Bricool, a “concierge du bricolage” that works in a similar way with online ordering and transparent rates for any little home improvements, plumbing, electricity, painting, etc. In American suburbia there’s always someone in the neighborhood with tools and know-how to help you put up curtains or replace a leaky faucet so you don’t have to call a professional. In a city like Paris those people are few and far in between, so this is the low-cost alternative for the small jobs that don’t need a contractor. I haven’t tried it yet but my friend was very happy (and he’s rather exigent, so I’d use anyone he recommends). Next time I need this apartment painted, I am definitely not doing it myself.
You’ll need to understand French to use these sites, but it’s so much easier when you can make the initial contact online than over the phone with someone you looked up in the pages jaunes!
NOTE: These are not ads or sponsored posts. I don’t get commissions if you click on the links. I only recommend services on my website if I’ve used them myself or if someone I know and trust recommends them. Usually the companies I write about have no idea I’ve written about them until after it’s published.