So I took Friday off to be at home with the boys, both of whom had a Ped day. We decided to take advantage of the fact that I was home, and Dr. T arranged for the gas company, GazMet, to send a guy to clean the furnace. Our house is heated by radiators, with the water heated by a natural gas furnace. Our hot water is also gas-heated.
GazMet said the guy would be there anytime between 7 a.m. and noon – but assured Dr. T that the guy wouldn’t actually show up at the ungodly hour of 7 a.m.
Can you see it coming?
7 a.m. – GazMet service guy shows up to clean the furnace.
8* a.m. – Dr. T gets into my car, leaving me the other, child-seat-equipped car, and drives off to work.
8:02 – Dr. T drives over a nail.
8:10 – Dr. T comes home, having left the car in the Canadian Tire parking lot, figuring he’ll work from home for the morning and get the car sorted out midday.
8:30 – GazMet service guy presents us with a bill for about $145, for parts and labour, then tells us that the chimney is blocked, so he has turned off the gas. He tells us that GazMet won’t turn the gas back on until we’ve had a liner installed in the chimney. What he won’t tell us, on the other hand, is who to call to get a chimney liner installed on short notice.
*All times approximate
8:35 – I call CAA, of which I am a member, to get help. CAA provides members with this great service – you explain the problem, they dig through their files, and recommend a company to fix the problem. Michel, with whom I spoke at CAA, went one step further, and actually called the company he found and arranged an emergency appointment for us. Actually, he called several companies, and made the appointment with the one that could do it soonest – Monday.
9 a.m. – I call GazMet to try to get someone to turn the gas back on for the weekend. Since I’m on hold and we’re in a hurry, Dr. T calls an alternate service number, but his cel phone poops out. Meanwhile, I get through. I manage to convince the GazMet woman to send another technician to review the situation, and turn on the gas if possible.
10 a.m. – the GazMet team shows up with garbled information – apparently the call they got was that we reported a gas leak. We straighten this out, they look at the chimney, and tell us that it’s really blocked, and there’s nothing we can do. Apparently they are really serious about this whole not-inhaling-carbon-monoxide thing.
Then one of them suggests we call a chimney sweep – the idea being that a sweep can at least loosen the accumulated debris enough to get the air moving, and then GazMet will come back and turn on the gas. Dr. T calls and gets a sweep to make an emergency call ASAP.
11:30 – a third GazMet van pulls up – we deduce that at least one of the teams was sent because of Dr. T’s failed cel phone call. This team reviews the situation, too, and is on hand when…
Noon – The Happy Sweeper (who does not, as it turns out, dance like Dick Van Dyke) arrives, takes one look at the chimney, and says it’s irreparable. Not only can he not sweep it, but no one will be able to install a liner.
So, the GazMet team III, realizing the direness of the situation (to recap – no heat, no hot water, no hope of a liner solving the problem, and no company willing to do outside masonry before April), calls his head office and gets one of the GazMet allied contractors over to our place right quick.
$7,000 later, we have a new, electric water heater, which was installed Saturday, and a brand new, 93% efficient, self-contained, chimneyless gas furnace, which will be installed sometime in the next two weeks, if all goes well.
So how are we staying warm? The second GazMet team came back – an unsolicited call, mind you – and brought with them four space heaters to keep us toasty until we can get that new furnace up and running. And thanks to the nice people at Allard Tech, we have a new hot water heater already, so we can take care of laundry and dishes and bathing.
Of course, for $7,000, it would be nice if the new water heater at least had a plasma TV screen…