As you all know, I have an ancient house; it is not the easiest to heat. Ten years ago, when the Airport Commission replaced our upstairs windows, the house became harder to heat evenly7. The windows are not only great sound abatement but they hold the hot air in really effectively. This means that during really cold weather, the temperature difference between the downstairs and the upstairs is significant.
On Sunday morning, I lingered upstairs, reading longer than usual and I noticed that it was chillier than usual. Since it was well below zero outside, I didn’t think too much about it but as I descended the stairs for breakfast, it felt like I was entering a walk-in cooler. A quick look at the thermostat gave me a little shock… 56 degrees. We have one of those set-back thermostats and it is set quite cold during the night (since we’re in the warmer upstairs, asleep under covers) but the program has it set to start warming up at 6 a.m. At this point it was after 8 and it still hadn’t warmed up at all.
I started to panic – I always feel like I’m on the edge where house maintenance is concerned and I envisioned days of frozen fingers and toes. Then I remembered that I’d had someone out to do boiler maintenance at the end of the summer – so it didn’t seem likely that it was a boiler fail. And THEN I remembered that quite a few years back, someone coming out to check the heat had discovered that the batteries in my thermostat had died. Since I can’t remember any time (in years) that I’ve changed those batteries, I thought I would try that.
I spent a couple of hours checking and re-checking the temperature and the radiators, studiously NOT turning on the oven or the space heater so I could be sure any rise in temp was due to the boiler alone. It took about 2 ½ hours to get up to 65, at which point I finally breathed a sigh of relief. I congratulated myself on figuring out the problem on my own.
Monday morning was a splash of cold water in my face. When I went downstairs, it was 56 degrees again. After a few seconds of panic, I realized that it was only 6:15 – there hadn’t been enough time for it to warm up yet. This didn’t keep me from checking several times over the next hour until I was sure everything was fine. Phew!
When was the last time you got it right but didn’t trust that you got it right?