Wednesday, October 20, 2010


The furnaces at my place of work are psychotic. Of course keeping them under control is my responsibility. Like I'm any match for an angry furnace.

We moved into our unit last spring. This is the first season that these brand new furnaces are in use. We have six that service the entire space. So far two have tried to kill us, by poison and by slow cooking.

Starting on October 1st when we turned on the heat, there was an intermittent but significant smell of gas. It was not my co-workers farting in the hallways. It was that awful, rotten-egg smell of natural gas.

The first time it happened was early one morning before I'd even left my house. My early shift manager called in a panic to tell me that all the employees had evacuated the unit and were hiding in their cars in the parking lot, expecting the building to explode. I had to think fast. The first question on my mind: should I pray for God to save my workplace, or blow it up? It was a tough call.

We called the gas company, who came with a sniffing device and said that it was nothing to worry about. Thing was, by the time the gas man showed up it had been an hour since the smell started, and it had decreased in intensity to almost nothing. That's the thing with this sneaky smell. Just when you think it's gone, it comes back strong and gives everyone a headache. Literally.

It seems that one of the furnaces has a faulty pilot light or starter which may be the cause. A few days ago we shut one furnace down, and the smells have not returned. Which is great, except we're going to miss that furnace if it gets any colder. Repairs are pending.

Just when I thought things were under control, I got another early morning call. One of the other furnaces lost its damn mind and was blowing hot air nonstop into the most populated work area. By the time they called me just after 8 o'clock, the temperature was 94 degrees and rising. Everyone was roasting. By the time a technician showed up an hour later, it was at least 100. I say at least because the thermostat only shows two digits, so it flipped over to "00" and who knows if it kept tracking after that?

Turns out that furnace had a software glitch. The technician had to go up on the roof and disconnect the electrical source to make it stop. So, now two out of our six furnaces are offline.

Never fear. The HVAC guys are up there right now, tinkering and hopefully setting everything straight. I can hear them up on the roof, walking around in their heavy workboots. Stomp stomp stomp.

Anyway, if you hear a loud BOOM followed by no more blog posts, you'll know that my office blew up after all. It was nice knowing you!


DarcKnyt said...

Hope none of your associates plays with matches...

Good luck! I sincerely hope the heat situation is corrected before the Canadian winter sets in!

wigsf3 said...

Got a gas problem over here in my workplace. Oh wait, that's just me.

Yes ladies and gentleman, that was a fart joke.

Warped Mind of Ron said...

If only I had one of those electronic gas sniffer things and worked for the gas company... I would fire it up and just pretend to follow it over to the closes woman that seemed all proper and such and then proclaim, "Oh... must have just been a fart! Let me fine tune it for the other gas...."

LL Cool Joe said...

I was thinking today about how much a plane must smell of gassy farts after a long flight. It amazes me that when they finally open the doors there isn't a loud...never mind.

Sorry, I blame wigsf3

Hope they sort out the problem very quickly, although I can tell how much you are enjoying the stomp stomp stomp of the workboots on your roof.

Sparkling Red said...

DarcKnyt: So far the weather has been kind. It was warm and sunny out today. A few more weeks at least until the snow starts to fly, I hope!

wigsf: Your joke stinks.

Ron: That's awesome. I would like to see the gas man try that on some of the people who work here!

LL Cool Joe: I heard they count on the passengers to fart. It helps to keep the cabin pressurized.

DarcsFalcon said...

I heard a loud boom and came running ... oh. It was only WIGSF. Phew, stinky!

I remember you did the post about the furnace that was too high. Seems like they'd have gotten this kind of thing taken care of before now, what with winter so close around the corner. I hope it gets sorted out soon. :)