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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Saved a $120 HVAC call

Always check the internet before calling a repairperson.   I simply turn my furnace -- a Trane XL80 -- off at night, let the temperature slip down to about 60, and then turn it on again in the morning, unless I'm going to work, in which case I might leave it off all day.  The dog can handle it.

On Thursday, however, I was staying home and I could not get the furnace to heat the house.  It would turn on, hot air would come out for 10-20 minutes, and then it would turn off, and blow out only cold air.  I opened the furnace and tried to clean it out a bit although it didn't seem all that dirty.  I tried putting the heat all the way up to 95, but it didn't help.

I was stymied, but a little googling got me to Terry Love's site, and this question.  Some named Chang had a similar problem, but he is a lot smarter than me, and he figured out that if he set the thermostat two degrees higher than room temperature, the furnace would work until it reached that mark, and then you just have to set the themostat two degrees higher, and so on until you are at the temperature you want.  Chang saw this as a problem (and concluded, with help, that he needed a new circuit board), whereas I see it as a solution.  I can simply adjust the furnace that way, until it breaks down for real, at which point maybe I'll get a new furnace, or maybe a new circuit board.  $120 saved.  Yeah, it's tough for the economy, but it's good for me.


  1. Since moving to Arizona and dealing with great variation of (usually extremely hot) temperatures, I have come to use the 2-degree adjustment as a way to a) save money and b) appreciate the difference.
    In appreciating the difference, I am able to feel (too hot, usually) for a short period of time, and after adjusting by 2 degrees, really enjoy the cooling down process. It is this latter enjoyment that I predict is bringing me the most appreciation for ambient temperatures.
    Hope this thermostat "feature" worked well for you through the past few winters...

    1. Funny you should ask. Even the two-degree thing stopped working completely last winter, so I ended up bypassing the thermostat and just putting in a switch (too lazy to go out and figure out what kind of replacement thermostat to get). I think that saved money too -- I was pretty good at remembering to turn it off when I went out, and just turned it on if I felt cold. But I needed the AC this summer, so I ended up replacing the thermostat . . . so far so good. (right now I'm not sure whether it was a furnace issue or a thermostat issue anymore . . . maybe I'll find out in the winter!)