The colder weather is setting in again, and we're all counting on our furnaces to work properly. A couple of weekends ago my neighbour Lenny noticed that his furnace wasn't kicking out any heat and had to have a furnace repair guy do an emergency call out to fix the problem. It turned out to be a $65 part that needed replacing, but the emergency call out cost Lenny nearly $400! Ouch!
I was really sympathizing with Lenny, because who can afford that kind of surprise? And just feeling grateful that OUR furnace was doing its job. However, when we got up to a chilly 15ºC in the house this last Sunday morning, I panicked.
I had had the furnace and ducts cleaned in the spring and the furnace is only a few years old. I change filters regularly. I installed a programmable thermostat to save energy. I did everything right! So why wouldn't this furnace work now that we really need it?
I don't know that much about furnaces, it's just not something that I ever had to deal with much but I am a handy kind of guy so I had a look. You can be sure that before I made an emergency call to the furnace repair guys on a Sunday, I was going to do what I could to diagnose the problem before hand.
I checked to see if I'd paid the gas bill. Yep... good there. Next I went downstairs and made sure the furnace power switch was turned on. You never know. Ok, it was on. I took the cover off and looked inside.... nothing obvious like loose wires, just no flames. (If you had an older furnace with a belt, you could also check if the belt was broken.) So what could be the problem?
I went to the thermostat, my nice programable thermostat. My nice, EXPENSIVE programable thermostat that will save me money on my heating bills for years to come! And when I looked at the digital screen on my thermostat, you know what I saw? Nothing, that's right - nothing. Why did I see nothing on the screen of my thermostat? Well, it turns out that the batteries on my thermostat had gone dead over the summer. I didn't even remember that the thermostat took batteries!
That turned out to be an easy fix. I just popped the cover off the thermostat, removed two AA batteries and replaced them.
Presto, the furnace roared to life and in a very short time our home was nice and cozy again. No call out to the furnace repair people, no hefty bill for repair, and once again I am my Queen's hero! Talk about an all-around win!
You can bet that replacing thermostat batteries are now on my fall "to do " list.