Sunday, May 1, 2011

I take full credit. If you live in the Pacific NW you owe me a thank you

We've had a wet, and cold spring.  Hell, it's the first of May and our leaves aren't even out.

I'm not someone whose moods brighten or darken with the sunlight.  I don't mind cloudy, wet days.  To me they're permission to get cozy and write and think.  So I've not suffered this extended winter, but I have noted that we had yet to have two days of sunlight in a row.  And nights have been dipping down into the 30's temp-wise.

A year and a half ago we got a new furnace.  Our home was built to heat radiantly, with the source being a gas-fired boiler.  So we were committed to boilers.  This one was 30 years old, and bound to fail (it did), but we'd kept it alive for awhile with patch jobs.  One of those patches was a circulating pump, installed a mere 4 years ago to the tune of about $600.  When we replaced the furnace the pump was only 2 1/2 years old, so we kept it on.

Gary left on a retreat last week.  That night I noted the house felt cold and checked the thermostat.  Holy cow, it was 59 degrees, despite the thermostat's setting of 66.  WTF?

I went downstairs to look at the boiler.  Since it was so new, and had only been serviced a month ago,  I just knew it had to be something stupid--someone had accidentally pushed a switch or pulled something.  I called the number on the sticker on the unit to be told that no, she was a dispatcher, not a technician and so we could not try to do a phone trouble-shoot (to avoid a $99 service call).  She wanted to know if I wanted to schedule.  Half thinking the thing would fix itself by morning I said no; I'd just try to call next day and see if there was someone who could talk me through ruling some stuff out before scheduling.

Next morning it was 57 degrees in the house, and I was having trouble getting the boys out of bed.  I sighed and called the heating company to schedule our service call.  I had to work that day, so made arrangements to leave the furnace door open for the technician.  After the Scott pick-up I found a message on my cell.  There was a problem in the circulating pump blowing fuses that protect the circuit between the main boiler and the circulating pump.  When the big unit would tell the circulator to fire, it would draw so much power that the fuses would pop.  If it was only a matter of some new fuses and a little clean-up, the cost would be only $200-ish.  He hoped that was the case; there was a chance it was more serious and would require a new circulating pump.  WTF!  $1K.  WTF!

That night it got down to 53 degrees in the house, because of course it wasn't a matter of replacing fuses and the new unit wouldn't arrive until the next morning (of course they didn't have one in their supplies already and had to order one).  (It was a difficult decision, knowing that the weather has to warm up soon, but not wanting to suffer through any more cold nights and a weekend coming up.  I could have just taken the unit to a shop that repairs motors, but then we wouldn't have heat until this week.)

So now a credit card company is earning interest on the use of their card, and the house is nice and warm--without the heat even being on, because it's SUNNY AND WARM OUTSIDE--for the...second day in a row!!!  Supposed to get up into the 70's this week for the first time this year.

Bitter?  Well, it'll be good to have next winter, and that's kind of a long time to wait.

Lookin' out my back door

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