I Should Have Made a Ruling Before


Around the middle of the day, I realized I was quite cold, which seemed quite odd. I quickly determined that the furnace was not working and started envisioning the hundreds of dollar signs this was going to involve.

This old house is lucky I love it because it seems that every time I turn around, something goes wrong and it involves hundreds of dollar signs.

May I suggest not moving into a new old house on the brink of winter? You’re welcome.

Back to the furnace. I called 911, aka my cousin. Because he’s that sort of person, he was already engaged in a relief mission taking paperwork to town for assistance for one of the downtrodden people he helps who aren’t even related to him. I had to get in line. When he was free, he came out to the farm to check out my latest greatest vital problem. Because I can’t just have, like, a spider in the corner. I have to have no heat or no water. I have dramatic problems.

Not that I would call him about a spider in the corner.


When he arrived, I announced that I had made a ruling. The problem was to be solved easily, quickly, and for free. I have spoken.

Or I have had it, take your pick.

I can’t say that it was solved easily, since I didn’t personally solve it and I do know that it involved a great deal of peering into the furnace then searching on the internet. It wasn’t solved quickly, because all the peering and searching took several hours. But it was solved for free!

And I have heat again.

I would be more excited except that I’m just relieved. And warm!

I’m bringing him some cookies tomorrow.

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on January 27, 2012  

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23 Responses | RSS feed for comments on this post

  1. 1-27

    :sheepjump: Yay for free! Yay for cookies!

  2. 1-27

    I think you should take him cookies, cake, pie, bread, pickles, jam, and whatever else you have that is homemade….LOL!

    You’re so lucky to have him close by and willing to help.

  3. 1-27

    Haha … your ‘this old house’ stories make me mindful of that classic comedy, “The Money Pit”. A double batch of cookies may be in order … chocolate ones!! Oh wait, you’re not bringing those me, huh? LOL! :)

  4. 1-27

    Dontcha love it when something gets fixed for free?

    Your cousin is such a blessing!

  5. 1-27

    Was it the thermocouple? Apparently that is the typical reason when furnaces, water heaters, gas fireplaces aren’t working. We had an issue with our gas fireplace earlier this month, and was quoted a price close to $300. This, after we had someone out the day before who essentially vacuumed the silly thing out for more than $200. Google and youtube were our friends. In the end it cost us $13.13 by installing the thermocouple ourselves. Much better than $300! I’m glad you have someone who was able to figure that out.

  6. 1-27

    Oomph, Solving problems by decree! Why didn’t I think of that—Suzanne, you’re a genius.

  7. 1-27

    So what was it? And what have you learned about furnaces from it? Please share for the benefit of those of us who don’t have helpful cousins nearby.

    The last time I had no heat, the furnace wasn’t lighting after I had relit the pilot. I felt such a sense of accomplishment when I got the darned pilot lit, but then NO HEAT. I called my favorite plumber, who referred me to a furnace repair company. They came out and looked at it, moved something inside, and it lit. Who knew that after you light the pilot, you have to turn the knob from PILOT to ON? It was so embarrassing, not to mention the $70 for the service call. I asked him if he couldn’t break something and then fix it, so I could get my money’s worth.

  8. 1-27

    I think you should immortalize him in your book! :yes:

  9. 1-27

    I hate the $200 vacuuming stuff VikingMiss! BTDT. Suzanne, I’m glad you have somebody to come over an help you out. Cookies…yep…maybe something else when you make something new and fun?

  10. 1-27

    You’re lucky to have such a great guy to help out! (and he is lucky to have YOU to bake those yummy cookies!) :fairy: Maybe the day will come when you can be a lifesaver for him as well. Remember, what goes around… :clover:

  11. 1-27

    Sure glad it got fixed. About a month ago I had no heat, it was Friday night of course. I had the woodstove going the next day, but it was cold. I had a friend come and it turned out it was an RFI switch that got thrown. Duh. My furnace is only a couple years old. I would have been mortified if it had been the plumber who figured that out. I felt like such an idiot.

  12. 1-28

    Oh good gods…. not again…. but you know, I had a lot of problems when I first moved into my current place. Weird neighbors, strange encounters…. a few technical difficulties… but with time and patience it’s all sorted, so I am hoping it’s just a rough patch of settling-in for you and that this will all pass quickly! You and that house are just getting to know each other, and that house is just playing hard-to-get! Yeah, that’s it. =D I guess the best thing is how much you are learning to look after it on your own, using your knowledge, your circle of friends and family, the interwebz, and this little community. I hope you have smooth sailing from here on out, Suzanne!

  13. 1-28

    yeaaa warn tootsies again!! yeaaa for cousins that live nearby that can be a mr fix-it when you are in dire need.. I am thinking cookies will be great, but perhaps an added bonus, if not a whole pie perhaps 1/2 a pie?…. hmm just sayin’

  14. 1-28

    I’m not sure I can describe exactly what was wrong with the right words. The furnace doesn’t have an actual pilot light (in the sense that it needs to be lit), but there’s a switch that got thrown off somehow, for no discernible reason, that “lights” the pilot. A little vacuuming out and flipping the switch and all was well.

  15. 1-28

    I have a fuel oil furnace, it requires a yearly cleaning and maintenance, otherwise i am likely to require them to come out to “fix” it sometime during the season. Ask me how I know this….
    I have also had to have them come out for silly things such as, no fuel..the gauge quit working properly, it said I had a half a tank.
    A plugged exhaust to the chimney…I didnt know it had to be swept out, I never had fuel oil before.
    A thermostat that just stopped working (and it was pretty new).
    After the fuel had run dry, I couldnt get it to reset. I really try to never let it run dry, because its bad on it. Some of these realy cold January’s though it can go pretty darn fast.
    A wire that had come loose inside somehow.
    And then of course the…you need a new furnace time. And I really did, it was getting old.
    The bottom line. Plan on at least one service call a year. Call them early in the season to do a maintenance call. Oil furnaces require a new burner put in. You can take your flue pipe apart in the summer when its cold and sweep all the crap out of it. Oh yea, thats fun, lol
    So glad you had an easy fix, Suzanne!

  16. 1-28

    The More posts you might enjoy had a link to a ramps post – which made me think, did you get to take some ramps for planting with you?

  17. 1-28

    I didn’t dig up any ramps there. I’ll plant new ones here in the spring.

  18. 1-28

    I am thinking now about my son and daughter in law. They came home to a non working frig and a bit of a crisis and mess. Called a repairman because neither of them are handy. $75. later and a working frig. One of the children turned the frig OFF. He wondered what that dial would do. :cry:

  19. 1-28

    You should start a CSA farm of sorts…you could trade “work” for produce shares.


  20. 1-28

    And so your world turns……………….AKA…….there still are a few good men out there………….

  21. 1-28

    What a wonderful cousin he is!

  22. 1-28

    You have surrounded yourself with wonderful people willing to help for free or food- that is a trememdous accomplishment! Let’s hear it for the men who get it done in your life!!!! Yea yea yea :snoopy: One day you will be on easy street! Hang in there!! :heart:

  23. 1-29

    Suzanne, I was watching Baby Boom last night (for the 100th time, love that movie) and thought of you. She buys this old house in Vermont in winter and the furnace dies first, then the roof falls in, and then her well goes dry, all costing her 1000’s of dollars. But she prevails and comes out on top just like you do! So if you’ve never seen the movie, you should. I hope everything’s working and you are warm now and have lots of water.

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