I know that we have not had the bone chilling temperatures that maybe some of the people who live farther north of us and might read this have had. Yesterday, when Rhiannon and I went out, I wore a fleece pullover and no gloves. And we commented on how we always thought fifteen degrees should feel colder. Put all this aside and do not judge us for our riff-raff-ishness. We have a thermostat in our house - a cool little digital thing that tells us how uncomfortable we should feel because it is a stifling 80 degrees in the house over summer and we wish it could be like 68 wouldn't that be wonderful thank you very much. And then in the winter time, when it is a frigid 63 inside we just wish it could be more like 78. And this makes us big complainers, but it's what we do to pass the time. Invariably I say something about how we should be thankful for what we have and do you know how much it costs in electricity to run the air conditioner and Rhiannon replies with something about she is this close to calling her lawyer and filing for divorce, but normally we get through it ok.
Except for recently. That thermostat I mentioned, it has been misbehaving. It has been doing funny things, like blinking the time at us and saying that is only 1 pm and the house should be cold in the middle of the day when it is really 4 pm and should be warming up. At first, I thought perhaps the battery was dying, so I pulled it off the wall and there was no battery and I thought, "Aha, I have found the problem!"
And then I realized that all that tells me is that there hasn't been a battery in the thermostat since we moved into the house and that actually it isn't the problem at all. But, I found out that if I reset the time, it would work for another 12 hours or so. Rhiannon said we should dig out the manual and see if it says what is wrong. I agreed.
Apathy is a powerful thing. The house was warm, we were happy, we did nothing about the problem except talk about how we maybe should think about doing something about the problem before it gets worse. Yesterday, it got worse. Rhiannon had a holiday off and was going to get some things done around the house. I reset the thermostat from blinking mode to the correct time when I left in the morning, like I have done every morning for a few days.
Around 8 am, I get a phone call at work informing me that the thermostat is completely blank and the furnace is not running. It was 63 in the house. By noon, it was 60. When I got home, it was 58 and holding steady. I don't mind a cooler house, but the when the plants look like they are ready to pack it in and go dormant, something needed to be done.
We went out, got a thermostat, hooked it up, and problem not solved. So, problem is worse, maybe something with a furnace. It was getting later and colder in the house (56) and I really didn't want to have to call an HVAC installer out on emergency, but I didn't want to get frostbit inside the house either.
I went downstairs to take the front of the furnace off and see if everything looked ok. Inside was a blinking red LED. The blinking was a code - on the inside of the panel it confirmed that this code meant there was a trip switch out. Of all the issues that could cause this outage, there was only one I could check easily - a dirty filter.
The filter wasn't so much dirty as it was folded in half and sucked halfway into the furnace itself. I'm not much a mechanical person, but I'm going to go out on a limb and assume this could affect the airflow. I don't know if the filter was too dirty and folded under the negative pressure or if the magic filter fairy came down our cold air return a little to hard after a long night out on the town, but one way or the other, the furnace tried to eat the filter.
You know that feeling when you swallow and get something stuck in your throat. I'm guessing it was something kind of like that. I wouldn't want to have to heat a whole house either.
Things are a lot better today.