Sunday, December 14, 2008

Furnace Blues

The week before Thanksgiving the heat exchanger on our furnace cracked. For ten days we suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning, with sinus problems, burning eyes, cough, sore throat, etc. before realizing that the source of the problem was the heating system. Even the cats were sneezing. Right after Thanksgiving, we turned the heat off for good and called the heating repair people, AC&R. When the service rep came out he discovered the crack and shut the system down. He was required by law to condemn it as unsafe. I was unruffled as we have an excellent home warranty policy that covers the heating system.

But there’s a process. AC&R had to send out someone else to look at the system and write up an estimate for the cost of repair. He informed us that the old furnace was a piece of crap and he could not in good conscience recommend that we replace it with the comparable new piece of crap. He recommended a much more efficient system. He also discovered that the ducts are leaking and need to be resealed. No wonder our heating system didn’t seem to be heating the house. The AC&R rep wrote up his report and sent it to the insurance company, who called and offered us our options. We chose the buy out so we could install a more efficient system. All this took what, one, two weeks, actually more, since it is now already mid-December. In the meantime we are freezing our asses off. I actually had the gas fire insert in the living room removed (cheap, only $100 to take it out) so we could restore the fireplace to wood burning. Ron has made some lovely little fires in the fireplace this week to take the edge off the cold. The fireplace is small and doesn’t warm the living room sufficiently, but it’s definitely an improvement. There is a good gas burning fireplace in the family room and we have that one going nonstop. But let me tell you, the bedrooms are freezers.

On Friday I was able to get a date from AC&R to replace the furnace this coming Wednesday. To complicate matters, we are still working on our deck; and the basement, which houses the furnace, is down the back stairs, which up until yesterday were not there. Ron spent the whole day yesterday putting treads on the back stairs so AC&R can get the old furnace out and the new furnace in. We have laid plywood over the deck framing temporarily for the guys to walk on. Of course the furnace died right in the middle of this deck project. Furthermore, a snowstorm is coming in tonight, to last several days. Do you know how often snow is predicted in Ukiah? Like every ten years. The rain has started this morning and it has been about 30 degrees every night for the last week. Wouldn’t you know it that the coldest snap in ten years is now, when we have no heat. When I get out of bed at night to go to the bathroom my feet turn to ice and fall off. I hope my fish doesn’t freeze in his bowl. I can see my breath as I write this. Wednesday, if I can only make it to Wednesday.


USelaine said...

Oh, man. Timing is everything. Well, that and location. I've heard of hair dryers being employed to warm up icy toilet seats, if you aren't in a huge hurry. You may also want to invest in one of those oil-filled electric radiators for the bedroom.

Amy Wachspress said...

Hopefully our furnace will be replaced on Wed. so we're keeping our fingers crossed and our socks on.