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Sleep Deprived

It is 6:45 p.m. I am so tired I can barely move. I need sleep. I can’t go to bed right now. If for some reason I should manage to sleep the full 7 hours my body requires, I’ll be wide awake before 2 a.m. Bad, bad, idea. Even if my body decided to take an extra hour to make up for the past several sleep disturbed nights, I’d be awake before 3 a.m. Still a bad idea.

I can’t sleep because of my furnace. The thermostat keeps sticking and even after the blower stops blowing the thing keeps running. The noise is irksome, and my fear of the coming power bill motivates me to wake, roll across the bed, sit up, lean over and give the wall a good whack. The thermostat, on the other side of that wall, unsticks. Then I snuggle back down to sleep for another 30 to 45 minutes until I have to do it again.

I’d leave the furnace off, but I don’t think I’d sleep any better shivering then I do listening to the unit run. As to having the thermostat replaced — I am renting a circa 1970 mobile home. It is actually scheduled for destruction sometime next summer. Minor repairs are still being made on all the units, but major repairs result in tenant moves – -they’d just relocate me to another trailer. Well, from what I’ve seen, I already live in one of the better units.

Besides, I am planning on moving away from Las Vegas next summer. I don’t want to move now, then in a couple of months move again. Packing and unpacking is not one of my favorite things. And then there’s the fact that by mid-March I won’t need the heater anyway.

You know, something just occurred to me — the furnace hasn’t stuck once this evening. During the day I lower the thermostat to 40F. Since our daily temp is in the low 60’s, I figure that’s safe, the unit won’t run while I’m not home. Tonight I only turned it up to 65F, rather than my customary 69F. It comes on. It goes off. I may actually get some sleep! I can’t believe the fix was that easy.

Now, if only I can stay awake until at least 8 p.m.

Quilly is the pseudonym of Charlene L. Amsden, who lives on The Big Island in Hawaii. When she is not hanging out with Amoeba, she is likely teaching or sewing. Or she could be cooking, taking photographs, or even writing. But if she's not doing any of that, she's probably on Facebook or tinkering with her blog.


  1. Hey, Quilly, are you comfortable wearing earplugs? I will be ever so happy when you have a place that has flowers in the yard and no noises or scary people in your ‘hood. Not that I worry…

  2. It is the receipt of my December gas bill that’s keeping me awake tonight. My house payment is cheaper. I’ve taken vacations for less than the gas company wants. Where are you moving to? That’s so exciting!

  3. Yo, Quilly—-have you tried popping the cover off that thermostat and blowing out the dust? Get a can of air like they use on computer keyboards, or even a hairdryer set on stun or even kill. I don’t think a shot of WD-40 would short the thing out. I would squirt it. Crikies, that sounds so frustrating.

  4. You have alot of temperture related problems every where you go. Is there some sort of Jungian message in that for you?

  5. Kat — the thought of my next bill frightens me. As the “where” of my move, someone is campaigning for Maine.

    Gawpo — cleaned out the dust and the cobwebs. thought of WD-40 then chickened out.

    Bazza — I didn’t catch up on my sleep last night either. I got the furnace to stop running, but my mind wouldn’t.

    Nessa — my temperature problems have all been right here — the frozen pipes and stuff. And I don’t need Jung to tell me I live in a dump.

  6. As far as replacing it, you can pick up a cheap thermostat for $10-30 dollars. You will save that much in heating, it sounds like. Try to find one that looks like the one you are replacing. Turn off the power, read the instructions, and give it a try yourself. It usually consists of noticing where a red/blue/green/white/pink/plaid wire is and plugging those wires in the same place on the new one. You may have extra wires, and the directions will tell you exactly what to do with those old wires. It’s very simple and if you have any problems, remember EXACTLY how the old one was on there, replace it, and go the WD40 route.

    Otherwise, space heaters are awesome, they travel well, and the carbon monoxide isn’t the problem it used to be. 😀

  7. Brig — then why is the office saying it’s too expensive? They just replaced a water heater next door, and I’m certain that cost a bit more!

  8. If it’s just the thermostat (which it could be) then they are being lazy. If it’s the whole heater or the thermocoupler, then that’s a little more expensive. Even the thermocoupler isn’t too expensive if it’s just the sensors on or near it (I forget exactly where they are). You should know that I don’t actually know anything about heater repair myself, but I know the steps involved and what to look for. It sounds like the thermostat, because you hitting your thermostat isn’t going to do a thing to fix a broken heater or clean the sensors. Make sense? So I suspect they are just being cheapskates who don’t want to replace a thermostat in a place they plan on tearing down. I asked my husband about it to get a second opinion, and he said that if it’s the old round kind with the dial, they operate on springs, and the spring is probably stretched out. That’s exactly what I was thinking. Again, we’re not pros, but we have done a lot harder projects than this, and it’s a good place to start. If you write down where the wires came from, you won’t get yourself into any trouble that you can’t get out of. Good luck!

    Also, if you do it yourself, many utility companies offer rebates to customers who replace an old thermostat with a digital one. The digital isn’t any harder to install.

  9. Brig — it’s the old spring type — and it’s looking a bit rusty. If I just lightky tap the thermometer box with my fingernail it will click off. However, in my beadroom I hit the opposite side of the wall, and that takes a bit more force. I’ll talk to management again before I try anything myself — can you say, coward? Thanks.

  10. LOL! I would give you my lecture about how every woman needs to know how to change a tire, kill a spider, and do simple home repairs, but part of your rent includes them coming in and fixing these things- so give ’em what for!!!

  11. Brig, I’ve changed tires, oil, fuel pumps, an alternator; I can do wall board, fix faucets and do minor plumbing. Electricty scares me. Besides, as you say — my lease says they do this.

  12. You’re one step ahead of me then. 😀 Thermostats are low voltage, so you shouldn’t have to worry. Not that I suggest you test that theory.

  13. Oh how I can relate. Our bedrooms are upstairs and it is hot. Downstairs it is cold!. I refuse to touch the thermostat since whenever I do that $$$$ just keep going up and up. It’s hard enough to pay the utility bills here.

  14. Although my sleeping issues aren’t related to my thermostat — which does come off and on during the night so I don’t wake to a freezing apartment — I do wonder if its “first week of class” anxieties keeping me from a full night’s sleep.

  15. Quills, I’m confused by your use of the words “pet” and “tarantula” together. I’m pretty sure those words aren’t able to be combined. I think instead of “pet” you might have meant “squished”. 😀

  16. Jill — $$$ is a major motivator for accepting less comfort than we’d like.

    Snay — I have that at the beginning of every year — doesn’t matter that I’m the teacher.

    Brig — when the trantual first came to my room, the child it belonged to asked if he could take it from the aquarium. I responded, “I don’t know, Jorge. Do you want me to kill him?”

    Melli — I think I’m going to. If anything bad happens to me, my family will expect to see you and Gawpo after the funeral.

  17. No Quilly! Don’t DO it! Hubby says the WD-40 won’t work — cuz the type of thermostat you have (he knows cuz of the smackin’ the wall clue) works off a little tube with a ball of mercury in it — the tube has has little wires stuck in it and the tube is held level by a heat sensitive spring. When the spring cools off it unlevels the tube causing the ball of mercury to roll down and hit the wires — this completes the circuitry and causes the heat to come on! The heat then warms up the spring which expands and the tube tilts back the other way again. Voila, the heat shuts off. So the spring is probably rusty or something…. but when you hit the wall it knocks the ball of mercury down to the other end and does what the spring should do! Okay?

    NO WD-40!

  18. Melli — tell your husband thank you. Yes, there is a mercury tube. Yes the spring is rusty. No, I won’t spray it with WD-40. How about Rustoleum?

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