Thursday night, our furnace started making noise without making any heat. It’s may have done that once or twice before, and turning it on and off fixed the problem. Not anymore. I called an associate from the Professional and Businessmen’s Association, Robert Nowak of R. A. Nowak Heating and Air Conditioning, who came over almost immediately and diagnosed the problem.
The ball bearings were shot in inductor fan, and without it, there was no way of telling what else might not be working. It was a few hundred dollars to play roulette, but we decided with it being 17 years old (and a lot of carbon build up and moisture issues inside) it made sense to replace it here and now. The catch was he was unable to do it until Monday. It was already 54°F that morning, and it dropped down to 48°F, with the basement stable at 40°F.
A shout-out on Facebook brought offers of space heaters on loan, and we grabbed four of them from our nearest friends, Bob and Susan Hubbard. Together, we were able to bring it up to 58°F on Saturday (even with them off at night and when we weren’t home) and up to 62°F on Sunday (it was warmer outside, around freezing), not farr off from what we set the thermostat at when it’s actually on.
It was only days earlier that I convinced my wife not to turn the furnace off completely at night when it was this cold. I woke up to find it 46° and the basement was 33°. No harm, no foul, but it was a wake-up call. I also realized that the window vents were open a bit too much and closed them. For some reason I checked the attic, which is often below freezing, and closed the back windows I didn’t realize had been opened over this time.
Anyway, come Monday, Bob’s nephew and son managed to take out the old furnace and install a new one by evening. It was so rotted out that there is no question we made the right decision by replacing it. They also — at no extra charge — put the furnace on its own line, which it should have been in the first place. To be fair, I did have 12gauge wire and a breaker available to save them the trouble. Over the weekend, we had tripped the breakers with all the space heaters, and it was a blessing that we had mapped the electrical circuits of the house when we first moved in.
The nice thing is that it Ken, Bob’s nephew, didn’t mind my keeping him company and asking a lot of questions. There is no question who will handle our furnace from now on. Hech, he even vacuumed the floor, which was pretty bad to begin with before he got here. And most importantly, I convinced my wife to let the furnace do its job and not turn it on off anymore. And after this weekend, I don’t think I’ll be complaining any more about the thermostat being set to 65°.