Extreme Temperatures

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Lois and I lead a crazy life on a number of levels. One of them, is the temperature that we typically keep our house at. In the winter, we tend to keep the thermostat on 58 degrees. It sounds colder than it is, given that we have amazing flannel sheets and a very thick comforter, etc.

Essentially, we spend 99% of our time in the bedroom. If we turn on the heat, the bedroom gets very hot very quickly, and the rest of the house stays cold. The thermostat is in the dining room, so we have to keep it very cold there in order not to broil in the bedroom.

In the summer, we keep the thermostat close to 80 degrees. Again, if we turn on the air conditioner, the bedroom freezes quickly. So, instead, we use a fan in the bedroom, and we don’t mind being a little on the warm side. We had a fan that lasted forever that we had purchased from Sam’s Club, but it broke this year. I ended up buying a tower fan by Lasko that we were pretty happy with all summer.

Back to our current situation, dead of winter…

There can often be a chill in the air in the bedroom. Two months ago I had a brainstorm. While shopping at Sam’s Club (one of our favorite places), I spotted a ceramic space heater by Lasko. Ours looks something like this, but I’m not sure it’s the exact model. Similar tower design to the fan we bought over the summer. The fan was $40, and the heater was $50. Both have remote controls.

The heater ended up being one of the better purchases we’ve made. It heats the bedroom quickly, maintains the temperature easily, can be set to keep a specific temperature or shut down at a specific time, etc. Very versatile and fits our needs and lifestyle perfectly. As a bonus, we expect smaller bills from ConEd, but we’ll see at the end of the winter.

That’s not why I started this post though. I just wanted you to get a sense of what the temperature should have been in the house this week…

We left the house on Monday morning to spend a few days in the city. When we left, the thermostats were both set at 50 degrees (we only have two zones, one upstairs, and one downstairs). We got home at 10pm on Thursday night (we weren’t planning on returning until Friday morning, and it turned out to be lucky that we came home early).

The minute we opened the door from the garage, Lois says to me “come in here quickly, something is wrong with the heat.” She was right (though I wasn’t as sure as quickly as she was).

It turned out that the house was 97 degrees! It was a furnace, even for people who like it hot. Clearly, the heat kicked on at some point during the three days, and never kicked off again!

I had to turn off the emergency cutoff switch to the furnace. We left everything off all night, and it only got down to 70 degrees by morning, which for us, was like keeping the heat on all night long. ;-)

We had the service people out during the day. I had mis-diagnosed the problem to be a bad thermostat. They correctly diagnosed it to be a bad damper (one of the motors and blades that controls which zone gets the heat, etc.). The repair guy bypassed the bad damper (downstairs, which we rarely spend any time in anyway), and everything is back to normal for the moment.

They are supposed to come next week and replace the dampers and get us really back to normal. Now that we have the space heater in the bedroom, the only reason to run the main heat is to ensure that the pipes don’t freeze in the walls. Otherwise, we would only care when we have company. ;-)