This morning I had a burner tech from the oil company I do business with come out to my house to deal with an ongoing problem with my furnace. For the past two weeks (approximately) I’ve had to manually reset the burner unit because the temperature in my house would fall below the set point. When this happened, the thermostat wouldn’t pick up the match between the set point and the actual temperature. And the temperature would continue to fall.
It is no fun when you have to get out of bed really, really early because you wake up cold and discover that the temperature in the house is 10 degrees lower than it is supposed to be for that time of day or night.
Today’s service call was the fourth one in the past 17 days. For whatever reason the techs who’ve been coming out to the house have not been able to get it right, and it has cost me considerable money because of this. However, this time I think they got it right. Mainly because I did the leg work for them before they came out.
There is an electro-magnetic relay that houses the manual reset switch. This relay and the reset switch control the furnace’s ignition, and with the thermostat in the circuit it forms the equivalent of an “open circuit” condition when the burner is not engaged. When the temperature reaches the set point, the circuit, in principle, is supposed to close and the burner is supposed to turn on.
That was happening only intermittently at best. And the times it didn’t were always inopportune, because it was at zero-dark-thirty without fail. The problem was with that magnet; it somehow became disengaged from the rest of the relay. And the whole assembly needed to be replaced.
This happened to me before, many years ago in a house I had owned. Same problem. Same part. But this time it was much more expensive. So I will be trying to use gentle persuasion with my oil company to try and get the charges (almost $400 for the work so far) reduced.
Will they go for it? Fat chance….