Today’s post was going to be the third in our We Bought A House!! series, but unfortunately, our “we still have lots of boxes everywhere” post will have to wait another day.
We have some big news! We called our first repair man! Less than one week in our new house, and it has already been christened with an over-priced furnace repair man. Hrmph.
When we acquired our Schloss, Janice, the previous owner, informed us that the furnace had been switched to the off position because she had moved out a few days (weeks?) before. No big deal! The day after we moved in, we flipped the furnace on and unpacked some boxes while waiting for the water heater to warm up. Then the radiators started hissing. What? I checked the thermostat, which had been turned off. I texted my dad, who said that’s probably normal if the system had been off for awhile. It was restoring pressure to the system, or something. We have steam heat, so I found this answer acceptable, and took my first warm shower in our new house. Ahhhhh.
Then I noticed that the furnace was kicking on frequently. Hmm. Not sure what to do, we turned it off. Because in our computer-age, restarting something is often the answer, right?
We left the furnace off for a few days, mostly because it’s summer and it doesn’t really matter. Except we have an indirect-fired water heater, and need the furnace on to get hot water. That’s an issue. After taking a cold shower last night, Jesse decided that this could not continue. We had to face the facts. We flipped the furnace back on and went to bed.
About an hour later, the radiators started hissing. Fine.
In the middle of the night, they were hissing more. I asked Jesse if they were hot, and he said no. Fine.
At 5:30 am, the cat was sitting outside our bedroom door meowing (she hasn’t adjusted to our new alarm time yet… hrmph). Immediately upon waking up, we noticed that the house was warm. This was weird, because temperatures dropped into the low 60s last night, and we had all of our windows open. Our bedroom was hot. Like over 80 hot. Hand on the radiator… HOT. WHAT?! Jesse ran downstairs and flipped off the furnace. Every. single. radiator was hot. The thermostat was STILL TURNED OFF.
A phone call to my dad left us still wondering what was going on. He had no idea… It could have been a number of things. A broken check valve. A defective thermostat. His recommendation? Call the oil company. Get a repair guy in.
And this, folks, is how we had a repair guy in the the house after owning the house for exactly six days.
Luckily, we got to kill three birds with one stone with this one. Not only did they fix the problem, they also performed the yearly maintenance on the furnace AND we signed up for oil delivery.
So what was the problem? The thermostat on the water heater was set too high. Yep, that’s it. In the summer, your water heater should be set around 130F. If it is set higher, excess steam builds up in the heating system, which will eventually vent to the rest of the house. This is why our radiators were hissing. Eventually, there was so much steam that it actually heated the radiators. In the winter, you can get away with turning the thermostat on the water heater up to around 180F, because the system is producing steam any way.
Hmm, who knew??
I was a little frustrated that we had to call someone in so soon after buying the house, but my dad made a good point. It’s worth it to call people in for these little things in the beginning, because then you learn. And you put any qualms at bay. So the $125 we had to spend on the oil guy? Probably won’t have to call him in for the same thing ever again (unless we develop amnesia), and our furnace has been properly maintained until next year.
One step at a time.
This homeowner thing requires a lot of brain power.