The Backyard

The Backyard

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Replacing Appliances and a Fossil Fuel Furnace

Hubby and I got into a discussion this morning about the future, money, and appliances that are wearing out and will have to be replaced in the next couple years. It got the old brain waves thinking about where the future is headed and energy efficiency when replacing those things. The dishwasher is easy -- no replacement there. I can't say I'm ready to give up the frig, stove, microwave, washer/dryer, lawn tractor, water heater and water pump just yet; although I 've read where folks really do live without these things. They cook with solar stoves and ovens, use solar-powered units to generate battery-power for the refrigerators and other appliances - the Amish have it figured out! (I need to visit a couple of my neighbors!) Maybe I could try my luck without the dryer and a microwave, but definitely not the others. Then there's the furnace. This sparked a little more conversation with hubby. He said, "I'd replace it with another oil furnace." And that was the end of his conversation. I asked if hasn't thought about all the other possibilities out there? Being a little more energy-efficient and being less dependent on oil? What if oil goes up to $10 a gallon in a couple years? What will you do then? "Blankets." was his answer. Ain't he cute?? He said "go ahead... see what's out there." But he has no desire to look into further. He truly has it in his head, we're simply getting another oil furnace, end of story. I can see his point -- the gent who would install is fabulous. He's been cleaning our furnace for 20 years (in our other house too), and he replaces furnaces in a day or two at a very reasonable cost, and is on our doorstep within hours if there's a problem. He's extremely reliable and trustworthy. And I'm sure Rick is thinking of all these things getting another oil furnace (he doesn't say it, but I've learned to figure him out over the years -- he's usually right in the long run 'cause he's smart!). But is it reasonable if oil is $10 a gallon? Is it really reasonable in the long run as the world runs out of oil? So my thoughts are leaning toward an alternative energy-efficient source of heat. Much research is in order. Geothermal is definitely out -- it costs $40,000 to install! We live on top of a sunny hill so wind and solar are options, and I'd LOVE to get an old fashioned cook stove. No, I wouldn't heat a house with it, but I'd use it to cook year-round and it would certainly warm the room I'd be cooking in (a "patio" room adjacent to the kitchen.) I love to dream. How does one go off the grid? It seems unimaginable to me -- but its certainly not impossible. Folks are doing it! Here's my favorite -- Greenpa. And Adapting in Place gives a ton of other links of folks doing it.


DailySAHM said...

The microwave is super easy to get rid of. We got rid of ours a few years ago and the only time I miss it is when I don't plan ahead for making baked potatoes.

Our air conditioner needs replaced, but since we don't use it, it's not an issue at the moment. We used it 3 days last summer when my mother-in-law came to visit. Chris would probably have it on more often if I let him. But we did discuss what we would replace it with and since we too have an oil furnace we wanted something to replace that as well. We'd love geothermal, but like you said, it's too expensive. (Although if I was building a house I would shell out the $$$ for it.) It seems that our only option is a heat pump, which comes with its own set of issues - like heating when the temps get extra frigid.

Chili said...

Oh it's nice to hear you guys are thinking of it too... maybe you can get Chris to talk some sense into Rick's head about a furnace! So you can live without the micro?? Nicee... I think we'd at least try it. Solar is interesting. I'm going to research that one a little more. The technology has come a long way - espcially recently with more $$ going to busiensses to develop better technology. Maybe someday it WILL be affordable.

Doxrides said...

a quick way to look at what solar power could cost/save you.

Your garden looks beautiful!