Home Life

Furnace Cleaning Day

Peppers and radicchio gleaned from the garden before first frost.

Early Friday morning I swept around the furnace so the technician arriving in the afternoon had a clean workspace. Most autumns we have the same company who installed our furnace in 1993 inspect and clean it before winter. It is a good idea.

The technician and I chatted outdoors near the garage door. Having chats like this is becoming a thing for me. I learned about the heating and air conditioning trade in the area: which companies worked on what brands of equipment, which were acquired by a larger company. We talked about how smaller companies maintain parts inventory with so many different brands of furnaces and air conditioners. Some companies will work only on brands in which they specialize. As our furnace ages, it will get increasingly difficult to get it serviced. There will be pressure to upgrade to new equipment. Like with anything in the economy the heating and air conditioning business is in transition.

We talked about electrification of homes and he knew few people who did not use natural gas for heating. If we are to get to a decarbonized economy, natural gas, a fossil fuel, will have to go. The conversation illustrated how far we have to go to leave fossil fuels in the ground and get to zero emissions by mid-century..

MidAmerican Energy supplies our home with natural gas for the furnace and water heater. On Oct. 12, they said, “Based on the market prices for natural gas over the last month, residential customers in MidAmerican’s service area can likely expect their total bills to increase by 46-96%.” We keep the thermostat low already, so we’re looking for ways to stay warm and run the furnace less this winter. We’re not sure what to do differently.

I recently fixed the smoke and CO detector on the lower level, replacing the one that stays plugged in with a new one with a ten-year lithium battery. If I’m still living in 2031, I need to remember to change it out. I should be testing it weekly as well.

Thursday afternoon I checked the garden. Weather forecasts were for a first frost that didn’t actually arrive by Friday morning. I gleaned jalapenos, bell peppers and a head of radicchio. The refrigerator is jammed with jalapenos wanting a dish. It will be some form of jalapeno sauce for use in cooking or maybe as salsa on tacos.

I went outside Saturday morning and frost is in the air. A month into autumn, winter will soon be here. We are ready.