Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Living well- with heat

At 2 am so AM two nights ago I realized that our furnace wasn't working. I had just finished getting Sam back to sleep and heard it cycling on and off every few seconds. This happened to us once when we first purchased our house, and a neighbor helped us replace the thermostat which fixed it right away. My first thought the other night was, therefore, where would I buy a thermostat at that time of night? It was 2 degrees outside and there was no way that I wanted to wake up Sofi and Sam to move them to a warmer place if it started to get cold. Being from our do-it-yourself family, I decided that the best approach would be to start Googling the problem to see if I could figure out a middle of the night work-around. Matt came upstairs in the middle of this process to start trying to figure out what to do and said, "can't we just call someone?" This had never even remotely crossed my mind. We did, and they were at our door within the hour to start the day long process of furnace rehab that followed (and it's a good thing that there were professionals involved, it was more than a thermostat). As I was awake for those hours in the middle of the night- the first in years without a child somehow harassing me- I started a long thought process about self sufficiency, a specialized economy, habitable climates, and where everyday life has to intersect with the big picture (not to mention the peak oil sorts of things that are always flying around). In the end, I've been too tired to sort it out very clearly; tonight as I hear the rumbling of our central heat doing what it should I sure am glad today that we have furnace repair specialists here.
On a side-note, I got a google ad from the Longmont Dairy- my longtime local milk delivery- the other day on this blog that made me really happy. (It was even right after we had completed our first completely successful local cheese project)


Lynnis said...

being warm enough is really a wonderful thing, right up there with indoor plumbing.

I didn't know my google ads were working, but I forgot I have ad-block on. If anyone finds them annoying let me know. I haven't made any money off of them yet.

...Wait I just checked and I have a balance of $0.99 and it won't send me a check until it reaches $100, so please take a queue from Emily and support our sponsors! I need to think of want kind of fund it goes to, any ideas?

Lona said...

Emily, I remember when I lived in an apartment that didn't let you adjust the thermostat since heat was included in the rent. We thought it was too cold so we ended up hanging a cool wet washcloth over the thermostat which warmed the place up very nicely. But about your backup heat, do you have a fireplace that you could burn wood in?

Anonymous said...

Hi Emily!

I had a very similar winter experience. We have two steam heaters in our 1900 condo that are linked to our central heat. One of them wasn't working and I didn't know how to fix it so our apartment was quite chilly for our first two months of winter in Boston. My parents came to visit and tried to explain to me how to fix it but never suggested calling anyone. Then the other one quit working and it got so cold that even wearing socks, two pairs of pajama pants, and three layers on top, I couldn't be comfortable in our apartment. So Justin called our management company, and it turned out the heat pump for the whole building had failed. They quickly fixed that and then came into our apartment to see what was wrong with our other heater, which turned out to be a simple clogged pressure valve(super easy to fix). All of this was miraculously quick and free! So I learned two things: 1) condo fees do pay for something! and 2) sometimes, I really can do it myself. If anyone needs me to fix their 1900 steam heater, I am totally there! Corinne