Wednesday, September 7, 2011

oil vs. solar

We have oil heat in our house. The house was built just after WWII when oil was cheap and plentiful. There is also little to no insulation in the house, and the heat ducts from the oil furnace only reach the 1st floor. Pretty cold where we sleep (and bathe) come winter!

Last night our oil company called us, asking us to pay $188 to lock in a price of $$4.09 per gallon. It turns out our oil usage is about 450 gallons per year, our tank is half full, and we can still get our locked in price from last year to fill it up..$3.09 per gallon. We will take an oil delivery this week and I'll watch the tank and monitor the price of oil this winter, and have it filled again when the price drops. We only burn 3 tanks full of oil each year with the size we have.

Of course the furnace is original to the house and both large and inefficient. We replaced the furnace on our previous home and decreased our costs of heating dramatically, and could maintain a comfortable temperature to boot.

A dollar increase a gallon in one year has me thinking. And our electric company will increase our electric rates by13% this week.  That also has me thinking. We can't really charge more for what we grow here on the farm, we need to reduce our costs, not have them increase if we are going to make it here.

our tank, housed in our basement:

and our heat pump actually has ducts that go into our upstairs. The thought of heat in our bedrooms is tempting..but I have no idea how to compare the efficiency of either unit.

And then there is solar. Homer has built gear that is circling the globe, engaged in activities he is not allowed to discuss. I'm thinking, can't we purchase the panels and have him install them? Our first thought is that they need to go on the roof and that mounting those heavy things would be dangerous. Then, um, we think..we have 13 acres! Why not on the ground with the wires buried? A trench is easy to dig, support stands fairly simple to install..wires go to a circuit breaker, and our meter spins backwards for a portion of the year.

I'll be asking our accountant today how the federal and state rebates work. And knowing that if our liability insurance, home owners insurance, real estate taxes and steady rains were not predicted for the next 7 days we would have the money to do this in September! Funny how a small change can make a huge difference. We will be working to figure out just how we can fire this up using the sun!



2 comments:

  1. Check out www.econsolarpower.com and see if they can get you panels as an add on to one of their commercial orders. If they are doing a large commercial project, they can add your panels on to the order and get you a good price. Probably true of any large solar company. :-)
    Marie

    ReplyDelete

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...