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.