Thursday, November 3, 2011


We got a new furnace in June. We haven't turned it on until last week. Not that we couldn't have turned it on, since the house was hovering around 60 degrees all summer, but we're too cheap for that.  Once the temperature got down far enough last week, we turned on the heat.

I've been looking forward to understanding the new furnace. Understanding its rhythm of going on and off, what sort of cycle it goes through to maintain the temperature, how long it takes to crank up the whole house a few degrees (it's a big house). The old furnace had a rhythm to it - typically 10 minutes on and 20 minutes off in order to maintain the temperature in cold weather. In the morning I would hear the click from the thermostat when it turned 5:15am to crank it up to the morning temperature. I wouldn't even have to look at the clock to know the time in the winter when I heard that click. And of course I'm the meter checker and keep tabs on the meter during the month to know approximately how much energy we're using and how much our approximate bill would be for the month.

Yes yes yes, I have issues. At least I admit it.

The new furnace does have a different rhythm to it. The first main distinction is that when you program the new furnace to go up 3 degrees at 5:15am, it figures out how long it will take to get the house to that temperature BY 5:15am. With the old furnace, at 5:15am it would kick on. This one thinks it's smart or something, so it will turn on at 4:45am or something like to make sure that the house has reached the temperature by 5:15am. Interesting distinction.

The other main difference is that the new furnace cycles on for about 5 minutes and off for the next 10 minutes to maintain the temperature.

Why am I so interested in this stuff? It makes me think about those career tests back in high school that asked you questions about whether you wanted to work with people, machines, or knowledge. I knew the "right" answers were knowledge and people. Not all of the machine answers appealed to me, but a certain number of them did. I like understanding how things work. I like understanding how data works. I like understanding how people work. I suppose I just like to understand as much as I can about this confusing world.

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