Saturday, January 22, 2011

Heating Adventures (Post 3 - Gas Furnace)

Note - this is a really boring post about gas furnaces.  If you don't care about gas furnaces you probably should read a different post.  If you are a heating and air person will you please read and make any suggestions that may help us figure out what went wrong.

This will be my last post on our Tennessee heating adventures.  I know everyone is probably VERY happy about that.  :o)  We just wanted to make sure we documented this so that we can remember and laugh later.  Also, next year when we are in nice warm Florida we can read through our past posts and decide if we really want to go through it all again in cold Tennessee next year (I'm sure we will...we had a blast).

So, at this point we had the wood stove for heat in the 2 main rooms where we spent most of our time and the gas fireplace in the living room (which isn't really a room we use), but we had no heat in the bedrooms or bathrooms unless we wheeled the little radiator around the house. 

When the house was purchased at auction we did not realize that it did not have a reliable/inexpensive heat source.  We found out later that the previous owner had purchased a new gas furance, but passed away before he was able to install it.  It had been sitting in the barn so the auctioneer sold it instead of keeping it for the new home owners (us). 

I was getting really nervous because my family (mom, dad, sister, sister's boyfriend) was set to arrive in 3 days!  I hated to think that we would all have to struggle to stay warm.  So, we called a Heating and Air Company and asked them to come look at our Gas Furnace.  He looked at us, told us that it was really old (probably from the 70's or before) and said we needed a new mercury flame sensor.  He thought we needed a new furnace and that he didn't think he would be able to find the old sensor.  Then, he gave us our $70 bill and we were still left without a heat source for the bedrooms/bathrooms.  My husband decided to look online to see if he could find the part and install it himself.  Luckily, Kevan found one online for less than $100 shipped.

When he received it he went outside to the furnace, removed the old and replaced it with the new one.  It took him less than an hour.

Amazingly, we had heat.  Warm heat.  Heat in the bathrooms, heat in the bedrooms.  It was soooooooooo lovely.  My parents would be arriving the next day and I was elated that we would have heat when they arrived.  They were going to stay about 6 days with us.  We had wonderful heat for the first 3 days.  Then, we all realized it was getting really cold in the house.  Kevan went outside to investigate.  Pilot light went out.  That was it.  Whew!  Great, right?  No, not really that great.  We all went to bed that night and woke up freezing!  Kevan and my dad went out to investigate, pilot light went out.  Light pilot light.  We now have heat.  This went on about 3 times a day.  Seems to happen at the same times everyday.  We left Tennessee shortly after and have yet to find out why the pilot light does not stay lit.  If anyone has any ideas please let us know.  It worked for 3 full days and then start malfunctioning.


  1. Thanks for sharing. I love your blog. We have a rheem gas furnace, it works great.

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