The wonderful aroma emitted from the heating vents when I kicked the furnace on for the first time this season reminded me it was time to have it serviced. Today was the day, he promptly showed up at 8:15 this morning. I pointed him in the direction of the basement and went about my business.
Soon after he returns and asks if I have a garbage bag. He announces that our chimney is clogged and not allowing the furnace to vent properly, he's already removed a five gallon bucket of debris. I'm obviously alarmed and concerned, but he seems to just shrug it off and claims it's common with old chimneys. Then he goes back about his business.
Twenty minutes later, he's back. He needs another garbage bag. This time I decide to go back down with him to inspect what's going on down there. He shows me where he's getting all the debris from. There's no trap at the bottom of the chimney, like most have. He was actually digging the debris from the point where the duct meets the chimney. I was looking straight at it. That means there is five foot of dead birds, nests, droppings and other chimney crud in the bottom of that chimney!!! After recoiling from the horror of it all, he calmed me down by saying that as long as there's enough room for the duct to vent we're ok. I don't necessary agree with that statement, but he is the expert I suppose.
In fact he's the guy who installed this furnace to begin with. He mentioned that he doesn't recall the previous owners ever having him come back to service it. Nice. He proceeded to pull out about two foot of the crud and then apologized for having to charge me an extra $40 to do so. I was thinking $40 was a bargain since I wasn't about to reach my hand in there.
Before he left, he of course recommended that we have it serviced every year. I asked him what day he'd like to come back. He laughed and said to call him next spring. I wasn't trying to be funny.
And that, boys and girls, is how the technician saved Christmas. Now Santa wont get stuck in our chimney. And hopefully we now won't die of asphyxiation during the night.