Probably the fog of who-the-heck-am-I? didn’t help.

I love this time of year. Things are finally starting to feel like fall. The occasional tree has a burst of color on two or three leaves, there are a few piles of suddenly-dead-overnight leaves on the ground, the wind is starting to feel decidedly cool, and it’s only 70° once a week or so. In other words, Fall has arrived in North Texas.

This year, it’s not just your ordinary Fall, either. This year we’re dipping into decidedly cooler temps, much to my Christmasing delight. A few mornings this week, the temps have hovered around the 30° mark – that usually doesn’t happen until late December! But I’m not complaining. I’m not. Sure, it would great if the gap between shutting off the a/c and turning on the heater for the first time was a little longer, but just because I’m a cheapskate who doesn’t want to pay to heat (or cool) the house. Still, miserly qualities aside, I did turn the heat on this weekend just to burn the chill off of the air. The thermostat was hovering around the mid-60s and the forecast didn’t have a big warm-up planned. I figured I might as well turn on the heater for just a little while, make sure everything seemed to be okay, and that would be that.

And it was. The heater made it’s usual clanging noise the first time it charged to life, it shook off the dust from the year before, and everything seemed to hum right along. I didn’t even smell the usual burny smell that permeated the house the first time you turn it the heater on. (Guess what? That’s important.)

The cooler air stuck around this week, and night time temps have dipped down into the 30s almost every night. Tuesday night I crawled into bed, happy that the heater was working – because who doesn’t love crawling under a pile of covers and falling asleep with warm air gently blowing onto your bed? – and fell into a deep, deep sleep (thanks in part to a painkiller from my surgery that morning).

Of course, then I popped awake at 3:30 in the morning and wondered what in the world that smell was. It was kind of burny, but not the PANIC!-the-house-is-on-fire kind of burning smell. It’s was more like oh-good-grief-what’s-wrong-with-the-heater kind of smell. It seemed stronger than the usual burn-off of dust that happens every year, and besides, the heater had run at least twice without that smell, so what the heck?! What do I do? I get up and go from room to room, trying to decide if it’s worse in one room or another. (It wasn’t.) And then, because it’s what people do when it’s 3:30 in the morning and they’ve been dead asleep, and are possibly still fogged up with meds, I grabbed a flashlight and pulled down the attic stairs and crawled into the attic to make sure the heater unit wasn’t smoking or…I don’t know…doing something obviously wrong. (It wasn’t.) I had no idea what could be causing that smell. The blower (or motor? Or…something…else?) sounded like it was hiccuping every few minutes. Maybe something was burning out? Maybe it was about to quit altogether? Maybe some wires were faulting and we were going to burn to the ground? Eventually I convinced myself it was just the dust. Probably. And I figured that if something went wrong, the smoke alarms would go off, or Fen would bark and wake us up. Hey – I couldn’t find anything wrong. Everything seemed to be working. And 30 minutes later (yes, I was still awake) when the heat kicked on again, I couldn’t smell anything burning. So I finally fell back asleep and woke up to tell the tale the next morning.

One of these years I swear I am not going to panic when my heater makes the same dang smell when it burns off the dust from the next year. Just apparently not this year.

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One Response to “Probably the fog of who-the-heck-am-I? didn’t help.”

  1. Kim Says:

    Did you check to see if the flue was open? Heh.

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