This picture was taken a couple of nights ago. After a phone call earlier in the day, I felt the need to go down to the basement and take a photo of this amazing machine. Just look at it! Aren’t you feeling an upwelling of emption? No? Well, maybe you need to hear a little more about the furnace and the phone call.
I’ve mentioned before that our house has been in the family for generations. It has some quirks, but we love the old place and have put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into making it our own. One thing we have never replaced is our furnace.
I’m not sure when this furnace was installed (my dad may be able to comment here on the blog to let us know if he remembers), but I did some looking into how old it is. According to the info I was able to find stamped inside the front cover and searching it out on the internet, this furnace was manufactured either in 1961 or 1966. Yep. The old gal is 50-55 years old. As far as we know it has the original firebox inside too!
About 10 years ago, we seriously looked at replacing it with a newer, more efficient, propane furnace. I had three different companies come in to look at our situation and make a recommendation. All three pointed out that due to the small size of our house, we would actually need to add more heat runs to make a newer furnace run more efficiently. The amount of air that the new machines push was just too much for our current duct system. The only option was some major duct additions and added expense to “save” money.
After hearing the same thing from the third vendor, I was getting discouraged, and voiced my concerns. He asked me if he could take another look at my furnace, so down to the basement we went.
When we got there, he took the cover off and started to really poke around. Our furnace is old, dirty, and a fuel-oil burning beast, but this guy looked it over with a smile on his face. After poking around for a few minutes he looked at me and said that he just loved these old furnaces. He said ours was in incredible condition, and he really felt that we would be better served in keeping it. His inspection showed that the firebox was in good condition, and he felt that the only thing we may eventually need to be concerned with was the burner itself. So, we decided to stick with the old beast.
We found out the furnace vendor was prophetic about 5 years later when the burner did fail. Since it was an ancient thing, there were no parts available for it. My fear of a huge expense and renovations to our house began to loom, but after calling in the same vendor that had looked at it before, he was able to find a new burner that could be retro-fitted into our furnace for only $700 instead of several thousand! He said it would almost be like getting a new furnace again. We went for it and have been worry free ever since.
Fill-ups for the furnace have always brought a sense of dread as we wait to see just how much our efforts at being frugal would be rewarded, and in talking with the delivery guy, I would often hear from him that he was amazed at how much less fuel we used than comparable homes on his route. That brings us to the phone call.
The Phone Call
Monday I called to make sure that we were still on our fuel oil company’s “keep full” system. We had received a fill-up last April, but had not seen a delivery since. We had enjoyed the warm fall and early winter, but I was beginning to wonder just how much fuel was in our tank as the weather had finally changed and the furnace was running more often. I had gone out a couple weeks earlier and had dipped the tank to find that we still had about 18 inches of fuel in there! I was pleased that we were not in danger of running out, but wanted to be sure that we were on the schedule nonetheless.
When I talked to the man at the fuel depot, he told me that they were considering taking us off the “keep full” list due to the fact that we use so little fuel! In fact, he said that the average home in our area that burns fuel oil gets at least 2-3 more deliveries MORE than we do! In 2015 we only had one delivery for the entire year, and with the warm temperatures we had at the end of last year, we will likely not need another delivery until at least December based on our historical use.
Think about that! We know our house is not kept at a super warm temp throughout the winter. We might be a little cool, but we never see our breath! What is happening in this old furnace? How is this possible? How many 50+year old ANYTHINGS do you see still running along without problems and running efficiently as well? (I’m a 42 year old something and can’t claim that!)
My take on it? God is working in my furnace. You might think I’m crazy, but I have no other explanation. Let me be clear, I don’t think God is working on my furnace because He wants me to claim a miracle is taking place in my basement. I think He does it because He wants to use His work in my basement to do a work in me.
The fact that my furnace is ancient by industry standards, still runs without any real issues, and runs efficiently may be considered “luck” by many, but I believe it is God’s way of giving me a chance to give Him glory for his daily care for me. He does it in order to give me a chance to proclaim His work as He reshapes my heart and my attitude from one that focuses on what I am missing out on, and then He turns it toward a grateful heart for what He has done for me.
The list of things He has done for me is long, and while the furnace stands as an amazing gift, it pales in comparison to the gift of His mercy and grace and a new title as an heir with Christ, an adopted son of God. I am His child, and I have much to be thankful for.
I tend toward a negative outlook at times, but I want to be Relentless about seeing the good that God has shown in my life. If I cannot keep my eyes on God and His goodness to me, I will be filled with dread every step of the way, but as David said in Psalm 27:13:
“I would have despaired had I not believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”
I’ve thought a lot about that verse over the last five years, and I think I have come to the conclusion that God is showing His goodness all the time, but we need to look for it in order to see it. Sometimes, you might even need to go to the basement!