There IS a Monster under my Bed!


Use it up,

Wear it out,

Make it do,

Do without….

Old New England Adage


October 1, ‘13

Several weeks ago I was awakened in the 3:30 a.m. dark of night by the sounds of a monster under my bed.  At first, being sleep-groggy, that’s what I thought the roaring , gurgling & clanking sounds were when the furnace kicked on and I was rudely jolted from a peaceful sleep to an upright position and a sense of widespread alarm.  It took quite a few seconds to recognize the sounds for what they were,  my furnace, in the basement, almost directly under my bed.

It wasn’t the sound of my furnace heating up the hot water in the boiler; it was the sound of my furnace making heat.  As I sat bolt upright, I was aware that the night was very cold and soon after, heard the sound of heated  water going through the pipes and smelled the scent of heated dust on the pipes under the baseboard radiators. 

I fell back to sleep but the sense of the furnace being a monster stayed with me throughout the next few days. 

A few hours later, when I was awake and enjoying my first cuppa coffee, the furnace went on again, making more heat.  I thought I was going to have a stroke.  I could feel my blood pressure rising and threatening to pound an outlet for the stream from the top of my head and out my ears – like an angry cartoon characterization. 

The calm side of my Self told the panicked side of my Self there, there, we’ll deal with this monster. 

For some reason, the thermostat can’t be set to anything under 53 degrees.  For some reason, the furnace makes hot water constantly even though I’ m a frugal person and don’t require nearly as much hot water as the furnace provides.  It’s a furnace thing.

It turned out that the solution was simple, not requiring a new thermostat and a person to come in and reset the boiler; I had to talk to quite a few people who had oil burners before I grew to understand that the furnace can be shut down when I want and again, turned on when I want.  A friendly chat with my landlord validated my findings.  He told me where the switch was and reassured me that turning my furnace off wouldn’t affect anyone except me. 

Wow.  How easy!

So, for the past few weeks, the furnace has been 98% turned off.  I don’t have words to tell of the peace this brings to me, not to be hearing it heating up hot water I don’t need, not to be hearing it clanking away and inwardly watching dollar bills flying out the window and darkening the skies like a huge flock of starlings.  The peace and quiet combined with a sense of saving perfectly good dollars until absolutely necessary has contributed greatly to my present sense of well-being.

When I want hot water, I turn it on.  After the furnace makes hot water, I turn it off.  Then I take a shower and wash the dishes that have accumulated for the past 24 hours.  With whatever hot water there is left, I throw a load of clothes into my washer & use it all up.  (This is a treat, because I normally wash my clothes in cold water.  Sometimes, a little warm water helps the cleaning….)

I’m a New Englander and like to think I’m one of the hardy and frugal – a tough old bird!  If I need heat  before Oct 15, I have a space heater for that purpose.


Today is sunny and gorgeous.  The temp is forecast to be in the low 70’s.  So far, no frost and my garden is doing well.  Zucchini’s are growing and ripening, a plethora of tomatoes ripening on the vine,  Kale looking all curly-leaf and vigorous….  Life is good.







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One Response to There IS a Monster under my Bed!

  1. beetleypete says:

    We also have oil-fired heating, but it sounds as if it is a lot easier to control than your boiler (furnace) Gretchen. Today, we have rain and strong winds, with a temperature of 11 degrees. (That is Centigrade, about 54F) We have still not turned on the heating, as last weekend, it was 73F. However, we have used the wood-burning stove for the first time since February, and it was lovely to watch the flickering flame, and feel the heat on our cheeks.
    Regards as always, Pete.

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