Well, we had our house for almost a week before we broke it. Not a bad record for us really – normally it takes us only a day or two to break new stuff.
The long story is during closing, we asked the previous owner when we should be filling up the oil tank (we have oil heating as there are no public gas or water lines out to our house) and he told us he usually fills up in November and March. The poor assumption on our part was that we figured this meant he’d done his normal thing and filled the tank up the previous November. Unfortunately this wasn’t the case.
Over the last week, Pittsburgh (and most of the northeastern US) has had some of the coldest weather in decades. We’ve seen a maximum temperature outside of about 25F (-5C) with it dropping to -5F (-22C) or lower at night. Last Wednesday the house started to get cooler and by Wednesday night we knew there was some problem as the furnace just wasn’t coming on and the temperature inside the house was noticeably below freezing (the layer of ice in the toilet reinforced this). So, after some effort trying to get the furnace running I quickly made a trip out to Home Depot and got some electric heaters to at least get the place up above freezing. Fortunately all the taps were still running and we could still hear water circulating in the pipes so I think things are going to be ok.
Having the three new electric heaters brought the temperature up to 50–60F (10–15C for those who use real units), so the worst problems really have passed but we still have no oil. Cash is a little tight after closing so we’re just on the waiting list for 150 gallons but hopefully things will just start working after that. In the meantime though, Tahnia’s decided rather firmly that it’s far too cold there for sensible people to actually go and work in the place so we’re just organizing for other people to come in and do stuff right now. At least we should have the floors all fixed up and polished by the time we move in!