Ahhhh, heat! Warm rooms. No need to have a blanket over my legs anymore when I’m sitting in my recliner. Not since Monday, when the new furnace we ordered was finally installed and turned on.
The old wall furnace – I’m guessing its age at between 50 and 60 years – plus the wall furnace in the bedroom and the wall furnace in the room where the washer, dryer, refrigerator, and deep freezer are now completely retired.
I turned up the thermostat on the bedroom furnace one bitterly cold night. No sooner had I returned to my cozy bed than I heard a loud bang. I walked through the house room by room, including going to the storage room upstairs and checking out the basement. Not finding the cause of the noise, I returned to bed. My head was just about to land on my pillow when once again there was a loud bang.
This time I decided the wall furnace in the bedroom was the origin of a sound that I knew would keep waking me up. So I once again left my warm nest and turned the thermostat down. That was the last time it was ever touched. As soon as I was up, dressed, and had breakfast I was on a mission to find an electric blanket for our bed.
It wasn’t until a couple weeks ago that I learned the bang from the furnace was caused by gas pressure buildup. So it was a good thing I turned the thermostat down and left it that way.
Standing near one of the new registers that had been installed on Monday and feeling the deliciously warm heat, my thoughts drifted back to when I was growing up. The first house I remember living in as a child was heated with pot-bellied coal stove. Coal had to be carried in and ashes had to be carried out. I still can see Mom stirring the pot of soup that was simmering on top of the stove.
The house was old, and as was the case of many houses of that time period, there was no insulation. We rarely used the living room because the heat just didn’t reach quite that far. The two rooms used the most were the kitchen and dining room. The beds were loaded down with at least three quilts, sometimes four.
When my parents decided to buy a house, the heat in the one they purchased was provided by a coal furnace. There was a coal chute built into the basement wall. After a load of coal was delivered, the side of the house would be covered in coal dust.
My brother and I were charged with carrying out the ashes from the furnace. By the time we’d finished going up and down the stairs, we’d had a workout.
When I entered my junior year in high school, my folks decided it was time to change over from a coal furnace to one that used natural gas. Mom was pretty happy over the change because she would no longer have to keep cleaning up the dust from the coal and ashes.
The last 13 years we were on the farm, we had a wood stove. To me, using wood was much better than using coal for heat.
Within 20 minutes of turning on the new furnace, the temperature in the house had gone from 67 to 72. I can already see our heat bill going down since we went from a furnace that was probably 60 percent efficient to one that is 95 percent efficient.
I might even have to turn off the electric blanket that’s on the bed.