Sunday, January 18, 2009

"Through Agni man finds prosperity. . ."

This previous week, just before The Last Big Cold, one of our friends related that she'd just returned from a conference in, I think, Ottawa, to discover that her electric furnace wasn't working. All the elements had failed. So she was running the blowers and stoking the wood burning stove. And, of course, hoping that the furnace folks would show before the Big Cold hit. Another friend who was part of the conversation said that he was going to have his furnace serviced on Tuesday but the repairman had called in sick and that they were instead coming on Friday, the day of the Big Cold. All the time I'm saying, "You guys are going to jinx me! Shut up! SHUT UP!" In my head, that is.

Well, our forced air electric furnace chugged on through the days the The Last Big Cold (despite being the original furnace installed in 1977*) and kept the house warm enough. It even turned off now and then which meant that it wasn't underpowered for the weather. My thoughts are that it did that as The Big Cold came during the week. And shit doesn't break during the week. Yesterday (a Saturday) when I returned from running errands (I don't have anyone to go shooting with like Tam and Roberta do. -sniff-) I thought I heard the furnance blowing a little unevenly. And when it turned off, it rattled. When I manually turned the blower on, it blew OK. But I didn't trust it.

When we moved into this house in 1997 the real estate agent suggested we get a home warranty. It costs me forty-some bucks a month and the expectation that if someone does come to service or replace an appliance, a deductable of (now) $60. Some might think that a bit pricey but it does give me some piece of mind. And it's gotten us one air conditioning unit, two water heaters, one coupling unit in a washer, one repair of a dryer and one motor in a dryer, and one garbage disposal. So being mistrustful of our furnace, I called the company and arranged for someone to come and look at the furnace. I didn't feel it necessary to say it was an emergency so I accepted their having someone contact me on Monday. Getting off the phone I, obsessive as I am (Thanks, Mom!) turned on the blower just to double-check. HUUUUUMMMMMMMMM. Shit. F**k. Damn.

Now I'm back on my cell phone waiting on hold to talk with the warranty company with no guarantee I'll see anyone until at least Monday. Hold times are about a half hour as we're not the only cold place in the country and I'm most likely not the only person with a failed furnace. So to increase odds that I'm going to have the furnace at least looked at, I called a local company who we had inspect the furnace back in 2005. (The warranty company won't pay for that despite the logic of it being cheaper to regularly inspect and service rather than replace.) They'll send someone out late afternoon. In the meantime the warranty company says that they'll change the status of the service request and work down a list of companies and try to get someone out on Saturday. If I don't hear from them by late afternoon, I was to call them back. I figure that I'll cancel the non-warranty service if I luck out.

While waiting for my scheme to play out I bring in the oil-filled space heater we bought to take the edge off the temperature in the garage (semi-heated) where Pumpkin and Pie stay in a dog crate when we're not at home. The space heater happily keeps the temperature at 66 degrees in the core of the house. Good! I'm contacted by the home warranty company. Someone's coming out between 4:00 PM and 6:00 PM. Great! I call the local company and cancel the non-warrantied service call.

At around 4:00 PM the serviceman shows up and puts a new motor in the blower of our furnace. Sixty bucks. The moral of the story? Don't let your friends put the jinx on you. If they start talking about something breaking, cover your ears and go, "LA LA LA LA!" as loud as you can.

*Gawd, Ancient Times. In 1977 I was nineteen years old and on UW-Madison's College Year in India Program the one year that the northern campus was at Agra (City of the Taj!) studying Hindi at the Kendriya Hindi Sansthan (Here for English link).

1 comment:

Brigid said...

Since my pace is 20 years old I have the home warranty. When the hot water heater broke (and literally, water all over the floor). I called them as they won't pay unless you do and they send out THEIR guy. He never showed. After 48 hours without water, I called my own repairman. After a little haggling they did agree to pay that guy, since I made it clear their person never showed up, and that saved me $400. (there's a deductible). The service guy called, apparently there was a mix up on the phone or address. So my feelings are mixed. I hope to not have to use it again, since the warranty costs $400 a year, I really didn't save a dime.