Last Monday it was hot in the Midwest. We’d been living with lovely fresh air coming through the open windows for about a month.
For the last week, though, it’s been furnace time 24-7. Which means constant angst.
“It’s too cold in here!”
“The furnace won’t stop running!”
“The thermostat is set at 70 but it’s only warming to 62!”
When The Husband got home this weekend he fixed the thing where the furnace comes on for ten minutes and then shuts off. That’s a yearly fix at our house. Some sensor in there gets corroded and has to be cleaned. Until he got home and fixed that we were having to run down to the basement several times a day to flip a magic switch off and back on again to keep the heat running.
And then, last night, came the question I’d been hoping to avoid. He hadn’t been home since the weather turned frigid, so Middle Sister and I had managed to escape this issue for almost an entire week:
The dreaded timer settings on the thermostat.
They’re supposed to save energy by automatically bumping the heat down when you go to bed, bumping it back up at the time you get up in the morning, turning it back down at the time you leave home in the mornings and automatically bumping it back up again shortly before you get home in the afternoon/evening. Theoretically it’s a great idea.
In practice it sucks.
Furnace battle number one: Our very clever thermostat wants to be helpful by making sure the temperature is nice and warm by the time you get out of bed. So it actually makes the heat start running half an hour before your wake-up time. Our bedroom is right above the furnace. Every damn time it kicks on I wake up, and stay awake. So I effectively have a furnace alarm clock waking me up half an hour early. Yeah, yeah, we can set it half an hour later. And then people gripe because it’s cold when they get out of bed. I’m telling you, the mother in the house not getting enough sleep is WAY worse than somebody having cold toes in the morning.
Furnace battle number two: Our coming and going schedule for different days of the week is erratic. My job is flexible, and I leave the house and come home again at whatever time works on a given day. Middle Sister is home all day three days a week and until 10:30 in the morning the other two days. So there’s no regular pattern we can set the thermostat timer to that will keep us from either freezing while we’re home or heating an empty house. Really, the best solution is for us to manually change the temperature when we’re staying home, when we’re leaving, and when we get home. But The Husband can’t stand to not use such a “clever and convenient feature” when it’s available to us. He insists on setting the timer. Sheesh!
Furnace battle number three: I hesitate to say this very loudly, but…The Husband can’t set the thermostat timer correctly to save his life. At first it was because he refused to wear reading glasses and there was no way he could see the tiny printing and numbers. Now that he’s conceded to the glasses, he just plain sets it wrong every time. Last night when he insisted on setting it, he got AM and PM mixed up. I was awakened by the whoosh of the furnace four times in the night before I finally got up and just shut the damn thing OFF. I am the first to shout to the world that The Husband is a mechanical and electrical genius who can fix absolutely any machine or appliance. But he is completely defeated by the heater thermostat.
This morning he hit the road for another week. Guess what will be the first thing I’ll do when I get home this afternoon?
Yup. Turning OFF the timer on the thermostat. Furnace peace will reign for an entire week.
photo credit: John Loo via photopin cc