Quite literally. It's now 5:26am here, and we woke up feeling unusually chilly about an hour ago. Took a look at the furnace and surprise surprise, it's not running. It's 10c now, which is 50f, and it's -20c outside, so it's cooling off pretty quickly. The thermostat's batteries died at some point in the night, so I replaced those first thing, and the furnace fan comes on but the burners aren't igniting. Yuliya ran the restart procedure a couple of times while I whipped out the yellowpages. As it turns out, One Hour Heating/AC is just a name, and what they mean by 24/7 service is that they have operators on 24/7, not repairmen, so I've called six places and the first callback was at 6:23am. They'll have a serviceperson out between 8 and 9, flat rates, no hourly rates. Which is good news all around. Yes, this is a lot of unnecessary detail about furnace repairs for someone who lives 3000km from you, but from where I am sitting it is quite relevant. So there.
Our gas line works just fine, and the auto-start on the furnace is trying to ignite, so at this point my guess is faulty valve, limit control, or control board. I have no idea what that costs, but I'm sure it's less than a brand new furnace.
On the plus side, we have a gas fireplace downstairs. When we bought the place we thought it was garish and have not used it in three years. Tonight, it's a life saver; we cranked the thermostat up to 30c and flipped the switch. It took about half an hour but the room temperature is starting to feel livable again, and Yuliya opened the oven door and turned it on as well. We also got each other some fluffy fleece bathrobes for Xmas, and they're helping the situation.
I remember once as a kid, we had a furnace repairman come and do some work in the dead of winter that required it to be shut off all day. We had to wear our winter jackets inside, and my mom didn't have any plants after that was over. We haven't got quite to that point yet, thank goodness. Fuzzy slippers and bathrobes doesn't seem quite so dire.
Our cats gave us the first warning that something was wrong. They're both long haired, and usually sleep near the bed, but not on the bed. It's just too hot for them usually, but tonight they were piled up on us, and rolling over was like trying to climb out from under some sandbags. Once we got the fireplace going downstairs, they came down to sleep in front of the fire, and Yuliya began shuttling all her plants to the coffee table in front of the fire as well. Now it's getting bright outside, and we're yawning and waiting for the furnace guy to show.
Furnace repair guy arrived at 9:04am, opened the panel and said the igniter was broken. Ten minute repair, $400. Furnace is back in operation.
My theory behind why it broke is as follows:
1) Batteries in thermostat go dead.
2) Furnace shuts off, early evening sometime
3) Basement cools quickly, and the igniter cracks as it cools
4) Batteries changed, no furnace worky