Yes, it helps to check the thermostat. No, the name on the thermostat is not the name of the contractor who came for last night's inspired service call. Sometimes it makes sense to check the obvious.
Yesterday, just before bedtime, Vivian said: "It seems to be getting cold in the house." I didn't feel anything wrong then, suddenly, noticed, yes, something isn't right. I went downstairs to the furnace and found the fan blowing but no heat. I glanced at the thermostat, and noticed the temperature seemed lower than it should. I then went outside to check the intakes.
"Let's call for service," I said, recalling our 24-hour-service contract with a local HVAC company. (They won't get a plug here, and you will see why in a second.)
Dutifully, the answering service referred me to a technician, who called and showed up. He went with me to inspect the furnace and noticed the same 'problem'. "Let's check the thermostat," he said.
So, we went upstairs and like a flash of "duhhh", I noticed the obvious. The fan had been set to "on" but heat to "off". No wonder we weren't getting any heat.
Without hesitation, I accepted that I would need to pay the $120 for the service call, and got some value from it by having the technician show me how to set the pilot light and start the electronic fireplace -- a task that might have taken me an hour or so of reading and trial and error.
Of course, I am 100 per cent responsible for this error, the type of mistake we can make all too often. Sometimes the solution is so simple it is right under our nose. We assume the worst, and spend time and resources resolving a problem that could be solved with a simple check of a switch. This applies in our business as well as personal lives.
Now why doesn't the HVAC contractor receive a positive mention here? Well, the technician could have asked me to double check these things before showing up (good) or even better, could have worked with a company policy to waive charges when the mistakes are obvious, perhaps inviting a charitable contribution to 'pay' for the error. I am not angry about the HVAC contractor's service and certainly didn't question or fight the service charge -- rules are rules, and I accept responsibility for my obvious loss of awareness. (And I gained some value from the service call, regardless.)