I had a totally different post in mind for today, but that can come next week. I have to share this with you instead.
Last night when hubby got home from work he went to put our heating on. Nothing. The boiler (furnace) didn't kick in at all. Hubby is very clever with these things as he is an Engineer and knows about all kinds of mechanical things. First all of the obvious things were checked, had we indeed turned it on - yes! Was something called the header tank full - this is a little water tank that regulates the pressure of the heating system and is in the loft and if it empties the heating doesn't work - no, that was full. We turned the system off and on again - a few times! - still nothing.
Hubby then decided to see if the pilot light on the boiler had somehow gone out in the strong winds that we have been having. Aha! That seemed to be the issue. No light to light the gas! Try as he might, hubby could not get the boiler to light and he thought that there wasn't any gas coming through. So he checked our gas fire - which makes a little hiss when you first turn it on so that you know the gas is coming through. No little hiss. That confirmed it. No gas.
So we called the emergency gas line and reported, no gas. They said not to worry, it is quite common. The explained to hubby how to turn the gas line to the house off - basically you turn a big lever to the off position on the gas meter - and said that someone would be with us within 2 hours. No mention was given of any potential reason for the problem.
We got the electric fire out of my office and set it up in the living room and made a cup of tea to warm us up and so on and sat down to wait a couple of hours. I heard an odd noise outside and went to investigate. When I looked out of the window there were flashing orange lights and someone coming up the drive in one of those fluorescent jackets. I opened the door and lo and behold - a gas repair man. It could not have been more than 15 minutes - and probably more like 10 - since hubby had got off the phone. We were amazed.
Anyway, the nice gas man came in and explained what had happened and why he was there so quickly. Apparently some workmen working in our village had broken through the big main gas line that serves several thousand houses and because of that the gas pressure was right down. The reason that we hadn't realised was because they had done a repair and gas was coming through, but as more people got home and turned their heating on or it came on, they pressure dropped and that is why ours went out. The gas people were going round to peoples houses as and when they called in and starting them up again, he had just come from someone else house around the corner to us.
The repair man turned our gas back on and got it coming through again and lit the boiler and fire again and left us about 15 minutes after he arrived.
So, although it wasn't good of course that the gas main got broken and that our gas went out, I was very impressed that they had people in the village already to come and sort everyone out and that they came so quickly and explained and resolved it.
We were also very pleased that it wasn't anything that we had done or not done and that our boiler wasn't broken.
So that was our evening all muddled up, but we didn't mind and although we ended up not getting anything done that we had intended - I had a big blog reading session planned! - we were OK.
Today though we were not as impressed when a meter reading man came round and wanted to read our gas meter! We said he couldn't read the meter, we had just given a meter reading and paid the bill earlier in the week!
Shows how they were great in an emergency and not so good on their day to day admin doesn't it!
I just wanted to say anyway that I was very impressed with the service - British Gas in case you are interested - as I think it is nice to hear a good news story instead of a bad news one.
I hope that all of your heating is working and that you are toasty warm - or nice and cool if you are somewhere hot of course!
Normal service will resume tomorrow - now that normal heating service has resumed here!
p.s. they don't know I am writing this!