This has been quite a week for our appliances. On Monday, we had to replace the heating element in our oven, and today we had to get a new thermostat. I hope this pattern does not continue. We started having trouble with our thermostat/furnace last spring, just at the end of furnace season. Then summer came, and the A/C worked just fine, no thermostat troubles at all. In October, we turned on our furnace, and it seemed to be working well. But within a few weeks, we knew something was wrong. We have a programmable thermostat, but sometimes we noticed that the temp in the house would be below the programmed level, and the furnace would not be on. We found that banging on the thermostat seemed to help, although this did not seem like a feasible long term solution. We crawled into the furnace space under the house and fiddled with it. Turned out the doors were not mounted correctly, so the door switch wasn’t being pressed in all the way. Fixed that, and the furnace worked for a few days. Then the problem came back. My brother came out and cleaned all the connection points on the thermostat, and everything worked for another few days before it died again. Then my parents stopped by and my father found some faulty wiring in the power source to the furnace. He fixed it, and we had about 5 days of uneventful furnace function – we thought we had finally fixed all the problems. But yesterday, it died again. Just in time for the Blizzard of 2006. It started snowing yesterday morning, and stopped this morning, two feet of snow later. When we woke up this morning, we couldn’t get the furnace to come on at all, and the thermostat appeared to be dead. No amount of banging, poking, aluminum-foil-wrapping helped. It was 54 degrees in our house when I called Home Depot to see if they were open. Amazingly enough, they were (pretty much every non-essential business in the city was closed today). But our neighborhood was completely snowed in – the streets were covered in two feet of snow, and only the main streets had been plowed.
So I put on my snowshoes and headed off to Home Depot. It’s about a mile, but breaking trail all the way meant it took me over half an hour to get there. I found a new thermostat ($28, for a fully programmable one – not bad at all) and made the trek back home. Our house is now a cozy 68 degrees, and I feel confident that we’ve fixed the myriad of faults in our heating system. I guess the downside to owning a house is that you get to deal with all the things that break. But that’s an upside too, as we learn stuff every time we have to repair something, and we’re getting better at it as time goes by. But I wouldn’t mind if nothing else breaks for a while!