Yesterday we had our annual furnace check-up, and the result was bad news: the inspector found a crack in the heat exchanger unit, which could cause carbon monoxide to leak into the house. So he “red-tagged” our furnace, which meant that he had advised us of the problem and we could decide whether or not to use the furnace.
That left us with one of the more easy and obvious decisions we’ve had to make lately. After weighing the options for a fraction of a nanosecond, we decided that rather than senselessly flirt with death from carbon monoxide poisoning, we would turn off the furnace — which was just about at the end of its normal life span, anyway — and buy a new one.
In the meantime, we’re enduring life in a cold house. Fortunately, it’s not super-cold yet; today when we woke up it was 34 degrees outside and the indoor temperature, according to our thermostat, had dipped to 58. That’s well below the comfort zone for most Americans, but it’s really not too bad. So long as you bundle up and keep moving during the day, and add lots of blankets at night, you can manage perfectly well. I once spent a weekend on an island on a Canadian lake and slept in an unheated bunkhouse when the overnight temperature got down into the teens, and enjoyed it immensely.
In some ways, living in a cold house has its little advantages. I tend to sleep better in the cold, anyway, and this will give us every incentive to get out of the house and do things this weekend. I wouldn’t want to live footloose and furnace-free long-term, though.