Fall — The time to do a lot of checking

Yes, it is October, check your flashlights, your smoke alarms, get some candles ready. Winter is coming.

I turned over the calendar page and stared at the big black letters that shouted ‘October.’ No sense in arguing or denying that it has arrived, just give in and accept it.

I folded up all my pairs of shorts and stuffed them on the top shelf of the closet and tucked my T-shirts into the bottom drawer of the dresser. I tossed my sandals onto the floor in the corner of the closet, knowing that even though they are together now, when I go to get them next summer one of them will be missing.

I dug out my flannel sheets and pillow cases and the heavier duvet and changed all my bedding over to the warmer winter linen.

Next stop was the furnace. I pulled out the filter and put in a new one, then I popped off the inspection door and peeked in to make sure the pilot light was still flickering and there was no dust or debris. I put the door back on and felt good that I had “looked at the furnace.”

This is important because, during the next few weeks, when I get those calls from Bob’s Furnace Company that they are “going to be in my neighbourhood” and want to do a winter service, I can truthfully say, ”No thanks, my furnace has already been looked at this year.”

After all, most of us don’t actually have anything done to our furnace until that bitter four-day cold spell in January when we wake up and find there is no heat in the house. This is usually followed by a frantic call to Bob’s Furnace Company, wherein we shout indignantly, “Two days, what do you mean you can’t get here for two days? My family is freezing to death.”

Preventive maintenance is defined as “a scheduled program of regular inspections, adjustments and lubrication designed to maintain an asset’s function and efficiency.” The two words in there that cost most of us money are “scheduled” and “regular.” What the heck, if something is working fine, just leave it alone, right?

We ignore the strange little sounds that predict bearings about to seize or belts about to break. We grab those flannel covers and heavier duvets and pull them up over our ears and maybe that squeaking from downstairs will just go away by itself.

After all, even if the caller from Bob’s Furnace Company tells us they will just be adjusting, inspecting and lubricating, we know what will happen when that guy gets the door off the furnace. He knows we don’t know anything about them.

“So, you know you have a hot surface ignition model here don’t you? One thing I see right now is a problem with the connection between your plenum thermostat and your air proving switch, which is going to affect your combustion air blower assembly.”

Of course you pretend to know what he’s talking about until he catches you off guard and he asks, “Your door safety switch is bent, has someone been looking in here recently?” At this point, rather than admit it was you, you should quickly mumble something about your idiot brother-in-law and suggest maybe he was looking in there.

Yes, it is October, check your flashlights, your smoke alarms, get some candles ready. Put on your snow tires, check your car battery and yes, have someone look at the furnace. Winter is coming. At least that’s what McGregor says.