Fate (boundfate) wrote in bad_service,

Furnace company woes

I had been having trouble with the furnace, so you guys need a little background for this. I moved into my place on September 16, and 3 or 4 days in I realized that my furnace didn't work. The weather was still warm, so I wasn't too worried, so I let my landlord know that no rush, but I needed this fixed. On September 27th (Wednesday), the furnace people were supposed to fix my furnace. They didn't show. Instead, they showed up on the 28th, then wondered why the key wasn't under the door mat. My landlord told them that of course I wouldn't leave the key under the mat on any day other than the scheduled day. So they came out on the 29th after I got home and "fixed" my furnace. It worked on the night of the 29th.

The weather got warmer, so I didn't think about the furnace until the end of that weekend, October 1st (Sunday). I tried turning my heat on, and realized it wasn't coming on. I went downstairs and the pilot light was out and there was a faint smell of gas. I shut the gas off and called the furnace guys. They said they would come out. Fast forward to Thursday, when I realize I've heard hide nor hair of the furnace guys. I call my landlord. They get the furnace guys to agree to come out on October 7th (Saturday), from 8:30 - 10:30 am. I wait until 1:00 pm, and they haven't shown. I call my landlord and let him know I'm going out of town, and can no longer wait for the furnace guys. My landlords try to get them to come out Tuesday morning since I will be home during the morning for the pest control guys to do their routine spraying. No furnace guys. Wednesday they finally call me back and I leave the key for them on Thursday (Oct. 12). My landlords are pretty unhappy with them at this point. Thursday they "fix" it and Thursday night my furnace works.

Friday evening I come home and my house is chilly. I bump up the thermostat, thinking I set it too low, and walk my dog. I come back in and the house is still cold. Concerned, I open my basement door only to be almost knocked back by the smell of gas. I run down the steps to see gas pouring out of my furnace and no pilot light on. (They say gas is colorless, but I can tell you at high enough concentrations there is a kinda fog in the air.) I shut the gas line off and run back up the steps, trying not to breathe. I slam the basement door shut and call both my landlords, leaving messages. Then I call the furnace guys. The furnace guys tell me "call another furnace company, because I can't help you." 45 minutes later, my landlords call back and are angry at the furnace people. They call franklin furnace and get someone scheduled for saturday morning at 8:30 Am. I proceed to have a solo pajama party as we see how well insulated my home is - I ended up with three layers on and a low of 50, so about a 15 degree drop over 8 hours and about 20 degrees above outdoor temperature.

at 8:45, both my landlord and the furnace guys show up. I lead them down to my basement (while modelling fashionable pj's.) I need a new thermal coupling, but here is the scary part -

Not only did the other furnace company not install the thermal coupling they said they would or do basic maintenance like cleaning the burner, they actually hot-wired the pilot safety control so that the furnace would work in the first place, back on Sept. 29th. This hotwiring meant that when the pilot light went out (which it kept doing because they didn't clean it), the safety control which is supposed to stop the gas instead allowed gas to continue to feed to where the pilot light should be. (Thats why there was a minor smell the first time it went out.) And because the safety control was hot-wired, when the thermostat said the furnace should come on, then the safety control allowed gas to flow full force in to run the big fire that should have been started by the pilot light which of course wasn't, since the pilot light was out. (That's why it was so bad Friday, because I bumped the thermostat up, which caused it to kick on.)

I was a little angry, given the fact that if I had plans on friday like most 23 y/old's do, at minimum my dog would be dead from gas inhilation. At maximum, both my half and the other half of the duplex would have been blown to bits, probably killing the nice old lady who is my neighbor and who was at home, getting ready for bed at 8:45 when I wandered over to see if she had any different phone numbers for my landlords. While this may sound like an overreaction, my stove is a gas stove with a pilot light for the oven, so there was open flame in the kitchen had the gas leaked past my thankfully tight fitting basement door. (and it was already starting to - I had thought my house smelled weird when I first got home, but attributed it to the dog and my air freshener needing replaced.)

But, the franklin furnace guy was cool and is completely recommended, and at about 3 pm my landlords showed up with two shiny new space heaters which work well and are the nifty kind with timers and safety features that keep them from being so hot that I get burned if I stumble into them. So I have heat, and my furnace should be safe and fixed by Thursday.
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