1) the thermostat is bad
2) there was a short causing the heater to stay on
3) there is a heat-pump thermostat on a gas-electric furnace, jerry-rigged to work
4) the furnace is 28 years old, the life expectancy is 18-20 years, and it's almost dead.
5) there is a "flutter" in the gas line, and a valve needs replacing
The cost to replace the thermostat & fix the gas valve? $400 more, for a total of $900. And how long will it last? They don't know, but insinuate it will be probably not too long.
The cost to replace the furnace? $1850, for the "most commonly purchased, 80% efficiency, single stage furnace." 80% efficiency is the lowest they allow to be made today. Ours? 60% efficiency. But they will credit us the $428.20 we spent so far, towards a new furnace.
But if we're going to replace it, and it will last 20 years? I'm planning on living here for about that long, so I want to make sure I get the best one for me (for the $$), not just the cheapest. Someone is coming out on Friday to see what we have, and "go through our options," but he said that the next step up is $1400 more for a "variable speed fan" to keep heat even through the house. And if we want to go higher efficiency (less $$ to heat), or dual stage (I think heats up the house fast, then drops to a lower more economical setting)? Ka-ching!
So I started out with a heater that simply cycled a few times as it shut off. Kept the house warm & at a stable temperature. Then, after they'd come to look at it (a few days later)? It started intermittently shutting off the heat, but blowing cold air. If you shut it off, and turned it on again after 20 minutes? Hot air again. Then they replaced the circuit board... hot air, but wouldn't shut off. So they were here today, checking it all out.
And when we got home? It will turn the fan on and pump cold air around (it actually cooled the house off 2 deg F to 65 deg F before we noticed it), and no heat. And there is snow around (not here, but nearby), and it's cold! And the SO hurt his shoulder, so chopping wood hurts. But he has to, because WE. NOW. HAVE. NO. HEAT!!!! None, nada, zip. Our little cyclone heater broke last year, and we haven't had need to replace it. So I'm bundled up in sweats, flannel nighty, fuzzy robe, and fuzzy slippers. And the SO is rubbing his shoulder as he makes a fire, as he just had to chop wood.
And I just had to replace the clutch in my car (it was almost not drivable, and I have 35 minutes each way to work) for $1150, and I need 2 crowns because 2 molars are cracked ($2512 estimate), and I'm about to cry. I just I'll have to hope the teeth hold out, chew on the other side, and cross my fingers.
And of course, this comes right after Christmas, when I overspent.