Friday, February 6, 2015

Waiting Impatiently For Spring

It truly has been another winter of discontent. Christmas was a decent time, and I was even running outside until just after the holiday. But I was invited to a party for New Year's, and I had vague misgivings about going. I should've listened to them. A few days after the party I came down with the mutant strain of flu that the shot didn't cover. I have been taking the shot for the past seven or eight years, and haven't had the flu until this year. Pretty sure I picked it up from one of the germbags at the party.

That event alone is enough to throw off anyone's life for a while. I'd also bought the wrong filters for my furnace, ones that are very restrictive of air flow, and after a week they were causing the furnace to work too hard. I have one of the newer, high-efficiency units which run more often in an effort to keep the temperature more constant. This also means you go through filters more often. I've since gotten better filters, but the furnace wasn't done with me yet.

Woke up one morning to find the house very cold, and discovered the batteries for the thermostat had gone dead. I replaced them but the furnace wouldn't turn on. Service call was placed. They arrived to find that the heat tape protecting the tubing which siphons the water produced by the furnace (new ones do this) safely away and down the drain had not only failed, but had shorted and become fried. He brought it down and the outer coating of the tape was melted, with sections of the plastic tubing blackened. This was a bit frightening. Last thing I need is a fire in the attic. Once this was cleared up, the thing was operational again.

A couple days later, while home in the evening, I noticed water dripping from the return vent. Great. Another service call is placed. They send a new employee, terribly young. Terrible visions are forming in my mind already. He goes up the ladder and proceeds to put his knee through a board that had been nailed there to cover the hole needed for the old furnace. It came crashing down, along with piles of loose insulation. We got the space covered again in a rudimentary fashion, and he discovers the previous repairman hadn't hooked up the tubing to the pump properly. It had come loose and water was spraying out into the attic space. It wasn't a lot, and there was no damage to the ceiling fortunately, but if I hadn't been home, it could've turned into something worse.

The problem was fixed and since then the heater has performed normally. I think putting it up in the attic was a big mistake though. The problems I've experienced would not have occurred if it were in the utility room, like the old one was. The previous one was 22 years old when I moved in, and in the six years I had it, I never had to make a service call for it. I had maintenance done every two years, and it ran fine. I have maintenance done for this one every year, and still need to call for these emergencies. When winter does end, I'm going to have it moved back down the utility room. Otherwise, it will do nothing for my peace of mind every winter. I'm also going to get insulation and siding done for the house. I have a real suspicion that the walls of this place either contain no insulation, or it's very poor. The place bleeds heat like the walls are the consistency of swiss cheese. I also thought putting it up in the attic would lessen the noise, but I hear it possibly more now than before. It wakes me up at night when it's running a lot, and to ameliorate it I've been running a space heater in the living room. It helps, but I'd rather not have it running all night while I'm sleeping.

If I ever had any love for winter, it's been completely sucked away by this point. Up here where I live, it's a malevolent beast, threatening you with bitterly cold temperatures and days when it seems like the snow won't ever stop. We're in one of those periods right now, and the forecasts say it may not break until later this month. I hope they're wrong. With my plans for the house this spring/summer, my plan is to make next winter and beyond much more livable.

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