This morning we awoke to a chilly start. Our furnace stopped heating sometime in the night, and the temperature in the house was only 60 Fahrenheit (15.5 Celsius). It has since slipped to 59. Because the insulation is poor upstairs, Joe’s room is 52.

Wendi phoned a friend who came over and looked at the furnace, supposing that the pilot had gone out. What we didn’t know was that our furnace is a newer one, and it has no pilot; the ignition is electronic. We also found that the blower won’t turn off, even with the thermostat shut off!

I phoned a local repair service; they have not yet arrived as of this posting… but the blower suddenly stopped on its own a few minutes ago. I reset the thermostat and nothing else happened. And the temperature has fallen yet another degree… I’ll keep you posted.

10:05 a.m.

Good news
The repairman was here; the furnace is working again.
Bad news
He didn’t actually fix anything; nothing was broken. All he did was adjust the pressure switch. But the first thing he told us was “This is a bad furnace; you should consider replacing it.”

Rheem, the manufacturer of the furnace, made this particular model from 1991 to 1993. It is prone to frequent breakdowns and failures. The repairman told us that he hadn’t seen one of these in a long time, because most people have replaced them by now.

The next Rheem model, introduced in 1993, is the one they are still making today, he told us.

In addition to all of this, the blower was wired directly instead of through a switch. The repairman told us that the furnace appeared to have been “installed by a moron.” A lot of other stuff in our house looks this way, too. Go figure!

The repairman advised us to call Community Action about getting help with a new furnace. New ones cost “about two grand,” he said, and we cannot afford that much at this time. But we also cannot afford to be without heat. The temperature is expected to drop to minus 10 tonight—the coldest since we’ve lived here. I’ll say it again: Go figure!

And I’ll say this again, too: I’ll keep you posted.