November 10, 2008

Our furnace caught fire!

Well we had an exciting night last night! Our furnace caught fire! But thankfully not our house - WHEW! And everyone if ok except the Kaos King burnt his hand. Let me explain.

When we first moved to Roodhouse it was because the house we were buying in Ottumwa didn't have a furnace. The last owners removed the whole thing! And Ottumwa has very strict codes on what kind and who installs a heating device in a house. So needless to say we were struck like Chuck =)

So we moved to Roodhouse to the house. When we first showed up we thought things were great. It had a working furnace and a tiny warm morning stove that was placed in an old fireplace as back up. Until we got the first bill --- $1400!!! Hell no I ain't paying that much! So we put on extra clothes, closed off the upstairs, and turned down the heat to 67. Yea, that didn't work at all and we about froze to death! If you ever want me to explain how hard it is to type and shiver just holler LOL!

So as soon as we could we moved across town. Although the trailer didn't have a working furnace, it could be fixed by a pro (not us!) and it was ALL electric --- no stinking gas! I hate to pay that much for gas -- and so far our bill at that time was over $3000 and we had been paying every week on it.

Heating costs 05-06 = $5000

So at the end of that first winter we just used little space heaters. Then the inevitable happened. Darkside lost his job because of lack of work. When he finally got another job it was only part time -- although there was NO chance of being fired because of lack of work. But he didn't earn enough to be able to afford the pro to fix the furnace.

So winter 06 we were going to wing it with electric space heaters. About Dec 06 we caved and bought a wood stove. It was lovely to have a full room heat again! But since we waited till the last minute we didn't have alot of good wood to burn so from time to time that winter we still had to use electric heat. But it wasn't so bad.

Heating costs 06-07 = $800

During 2007 spring storms we were branch collectors and scavengers and was able to collect alot. (our back yard looked like crap, but we had free wood!) And in the fall we redone all the chimney pipe so that it was more safe which cost about $80. Also we ended up that year buying 2 loads of wood for $50. But in Feb. 08 we bought this house in IA so we moved.

When we were packing the uHaul I wanted to bring the wood stove, but Darkside didn't. He said one of the furnaces there should work not to worry about it. So we didn't pack it. Both furnaces worked OK so we used them and hoped we'd be able to have them serviced before next winter.

Heating costs 07-Feb 08 = $300
Heating costs Feb 08-May 08 = $800 !!!

So after we got a few bills here we seen that the downstairs furnace wasn't efficient and it didn't even keep the downstairs warm. And as Aug rolled around we seen that there wasn't enough money to get either furnace serviced so we moved the family upstairs to live.

I screamed urged Darkside to plastic the windows up and down stairs, fix the doors, found a curbside screen door for the front, bought 2 new filters for the furnace, and urged him to do anything else he could to save our energy money. He did those things, and we even had more things to do. He even went down to the furnace and oiled it so it would squeak and make so much noise when the blower kicked on. (it was so loud you could clearly hear it on the second floor!)

We have a neighbor who will help us get cheap (or free, not sure yet) dry wood. So we decided that we'll get the wood stove up here from the fil's house. Our plan was to use the wood stove all the time but have the furnace for back up if we needed to leave or was asleep. Although we were undecided of where to put the wood stove at exactly.

Till Saturday night.

Darkside oiled the furnace it fixed it right up --- no more noisy heat! But then it got warm so the furnace didn't kick on for a couple days. We didn't think nothing of it. Till it got cold again. I noticed it wasn't warm up here. No big deal, I kicked the space heater on till Darkside could see what was wrong. When he oiled it all the gunk that was holding the pulley on the rod came off, so the pulley fell off. There was a set screw that was missing too.

So Sat he went and got a new set screw -- only cost $0.31 !! He got it all put together -- furnace worked - YEA! what a cheap fix!

And about 3 hours later the Kaos King was in his bedroom and came running out (just like this night!) hollering there's something in the basement on fire -- I smell the smoke! And he went running out the door - no coat or shoes! Darkside went running after him.

(Darkside later laughed and said Kaos was acting like he was superman or something flinging doors open, kicking in doors -- but then when he seen the fire he came to a dead stop and said - fire, Dad, there's the fire!)

They went down and seen that the filter caught fire and was burning, along with electrical wires going to the furnace. So Darkside pulled the area that was on fire and picked it up and went to throw it outside. Well Kaos trying to help said here I'll get it Dad and grabbed it wrong and burned the palm of his hand pretty bad. Darkside had to grab it back and take it outside and put it out.

I just want to admit my error in all this. When dealing with immediate, quick reaction emergencies --- I SUCK! I freeze and my mind goes blank. I do much better with emergencies that can have solution within 5 minutes, not 5 seconds!

So after the 45 second freeze (dumb Anne!) I jump up and start telling kids to get shoes on and get outside. They weren't moving very fast so I yelled "NOW!" and they got the picture and moved quicker. I started grabbing stuff and telling #2 here take this to the van and hurry up! Kaos at one point came through I handed him the processor and said take that to the van.

(I didn't know it and neither did Darkside, but Kaos had actually thought ahead and remembered the gas needed shut off so he was upstairs getting the pliers to do that! Ain't he smart? I'm very proud of him!)

I'm upstairs looking around and trying to think quick what did I absolutely need and what could be replaced. I was grabbing stuff and throwing it into a bag. But most of all I was frantic -- I couldn't find my shoes! Not even my slippers -- and it was cold outside, I had to have them. Then Darkside walked in and said it was ok the fire was out, we were ok.

I lost it! And I don't mean I sobbed and cried --- NO I mean I completely lost it! I'm not sure what that sound was that came out of my mouth but it was a mix between a laugh and a sob. I seriously didn't think I was going to be ok. But after about a min I told Darkside I wanted my shoes I couldn't find them and sat down to regroup. After my shoes were firmly put on my feet I was ok. I'm an idiot!

I had Darkside call the police so they could send someone out to make sure there wasn't any hidden fires anywhere. I spent my time sending more stuff out or at least to the door so it could be pulled out at the last minute just in case the fire was hidden.

After the fire dept looked with heat sensing guns and said no fire anywhere and they were gone we all just sat for a min here in the living room. I think we all were just trying to regroup and get used to life -- I pretty sure we all lost about 10 years from this scare! All of this happened in less than an hour!

That's when I had to admit to everyone that -
  1. I suck at immediate emergencies.
  2. It's my fault because I insisted on oiling the furnace and buying filters.
  3. Darkside would of had his reading glasses - that he don't use & I would of been without my teeth - that I use all the time!
  4. We need to have things more organized - which don't always mean out of sight.
  5. that they all did EXACTLY what they were supposed to with great efficency!

So now the fil is going to bring the wood stove up for us soon and we're using electric space heat again. We did hear about a program we're going to check out that should be able to help us get a new furnace. I'll keep my fingers crossed but with the economy the way it is I'm realistic.

I've been dreaming about our house catching fire for a couple of months. Even Darkside had one last week. Now I really don't want to sleep!

I can't wait to leave this house -- I don't even care where we go anymore just not in this house!

82 days

later...


ps - sorry this is so long but I have so much time now that I don't sleep LOL!

1 comment:

Amy E said...

Hi Anne! I see you were able to find a house. Congratulations! I hope ya'll are doing great and having fun fixing it up. Don't get discouraged, it is worth it to own your own home, and not owe a cent. House payments are the pits!

My advice is to ditch the furnace and the space heaters and use the wood stove....electric heat scares me more than the wood stove...too many shorts, and my wall catching fire, etc., etc.,

Keep checking in with me. Sorry, we lost touch earlier in the year.

Have a great Thanksgiving!