Baby It’s Cold Inside

Our heating system stopped this morning. Sometimes it’s difficult to tell, because of the temperature Helaine sets the thermostat. I woke up, turned up the thermostat and… nothing.

If you’re reading this from outside the Northeast, this next line might not make any sense. Our home is heated with oil. It doesn’t come in from a pipe. An oil truck pulls up to the house as needed, filling a big tank in our basement.

Our semi-countrified neighborhood has no gas lines, no water or sewer lines and no sidewalks. Our water is pumped from a well nearly 300 feet beneath our backyard. We’ve got a major league septic system hidden under the lawn in the front.

We have purchased oil from the same company since we moved here. Loyalty is rewarded. The repairman was here within a half hour.

As it turns out, a gunked up burner was preventing the system from firing up. Damn you OPEC. A few seconds ago, the sound of the furnace returned.

We have our furnace serviced every year. The last time was 11 months ago. I guess we just got unlucky this time. Meanwhile, I can stop rubbing my hands together.

3 thoughts on “Baby It’s Cold Inside”

  1. I just recently moved from Upstate NY to central GA. We’ve had to deal with furnace malfunctions before (our oil tank was in a garage, as we had no basement). In our case, the original installer (of the fuel tank) didn’t put a filter in the line. It caused the fire injectors to constantly plug. A couple of time also, our fuel gelled to the point of everything plugging up.

    It is common to mix fuel oil with kerosene in a 50/50 mixture when the fuel will be exposed to the cold. The kerosene will thin down the oil, preventing (or at least reducing) the gelling.

    On another note, I am somewhat a fan of “This Old House” (a home improvement television show). They said that many houses still have drilled wells and are not serviced by municipal supplies (I forget the percentage they cited, but it was smaller double-digits IIRC). The host acted like he couldn’t believe it!

    With enjoyment of reading your blog, I bid you

    73 de N2FX


  2. The worst stories seem to come from people who used to have oil heat. Every once in a while I come across a story about an oil deliveryman who mistakenly goes to the address of someone who had an oil furnace–and an oil tank–but converted to some other form of heat, removed the furnace and tank, and was left with only an old filler pipe sticking out of the ground. The deliveryman then proceeds to pump oil down the filler tube and into the basement. Hilarity ensues.

  3. When I was a young person my family moved to Weston, CT from the city. My family initially was confused by the idea of a septic tank, well, and oil furnace. We learned quickly that the oil man doesn’t come if you don’t plow your driveway and you need to be careful about what you put down the toilet!

    When my sister and brother in law visited me in Nebraska they were shocked to find I had a natural gas furnace and no septic tank even though I live in a town in the middle of nowhere. Cheers.

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