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Does the lady have a cat?

Thursday, June 27, 2019

A few years ago I was renting my parents house (they have both died) to a lady who is a graphic artist, and her friend.

In the fall the furnace stops working, and the house is getting very cool. My heating and plumbing guy, Matt, can't make it, but he says to go look at the furnace, snap some pictures, send it to him, and we'll chat.

I do that. On seeing the furnace model number etc., he knows this type of furnace, and we determine that the furnace lights up the flame briefly, but then after a few seconds shuts down. A few minutes later it tries and fails the same way.

His next question is, "Does the lady have a cat?". I say, Matt, what kind of question is that ... and he says, "just answer the question". Yes, she does have a cat. His next question is "where is the litter box?" Now this is just crazy. "How far is the litter box from the furnace?". I'm thinking Matt is off his rocker, but the litter box is in the same room as the furnace about six feet away. Matt says, well that's the problem.


He tells me the silica in the cat litter, a fine powder to absorb moisture, gets into the air and put a fine coating on the flame sensor, and it doesn't detect that it has produced a flame, so it shuts the gas off thinking that the furnace is leaking unburned gas into a house.

He tells me how to clean the sensor and get the silica off it, and to move the litter box to another place in the house. Thirty minutes later the furnace is working, ... thank you Matt.
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