Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Heating Self-Sufficiency

A couple of years ago, we had a forestry expert come to look at our wooded acreage.  We had been noticing a lot of fallen trees after storms throughout the year.  He determined that our woods were in need of a bit of logging.  Thinning out the oldest trees would make for a healthier forest...allowing younger saplings to take hold and grow.  The tree trunks were sold and the tree tops were left behind.  This left us with enough firewood for a life time.  I suspect we will never have to cut down a tree to burn in our lives and maybe in the lives of our children.  Those treetops lying in the woods afford shelter for the wildlife, too.

Pennsylvania's electricity has been de-regulated.  As of last month the price of electricity has risen by about 30%.  With this added expense we have tried to cut our usage back as low as possible.  Our heat source for the log home is an electric geo-thermal heat pump.  This past weekend we turned it OFF.  We have switched over to the wood fireplace as our heat source.  I am happy to report that it is warmer in the house with the wood burning, than it was with the geo-thermal.  Our fireplace is a Fireplace Xtraordinare.  It has a catalytic converter that the smoke passes through...burning the smoke as well.  As a result, it has a lower impact on the environment than a normal fireplace.  A blower transfers the heat from the firebox into the room, making it highly efficient.

I am able to dry my hair in front of the blower, eliminating the need for my blowdryer.  Also, a wooden drying rack set in front of the fireplace replaces the need for our dryer on laundry day.  I am eager to see how this affects our electric bill.
(I'll have this all folded and put away before Hubbs gets home!)

By the way, it is cold and drizzly outside, but it is a toasty 72 degrees upstairs in the loft and sewing room and 69 degrees on the main level.  Much warmer than that is too warm for me and more so for my girls (dogs).

Eventually,when solar power technology becomes more advanced and affordable, we would like to get off the energy grid entirely.

And just because I hate to leave you without something cute...here is your smile for the day...
"Look how big we are getting.  Two weeks old, and already we are starting to eat hay from the hay feeder.  Oh, and we now have little horn buds on our heads."

Oh my, they don't stay kids for long, do they!
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8 comments:

  1. Your fireplace is awesome! I especially like the fact that it is "green". Wish our fireplace was a wood burning one, but sadly it is gas.
    I love your drying rack, where did you get it? I've been looking for a wooden drying rack for a while, but every time I find one (online), the shipping is just outrageous.

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  2. Nice post, I am glad you have a back up heating system as power outages are always possible in your neck of the woods. Cute little babies, and yes, they all grow up so fast. My grandson, is now 10 months and I can hardly believe it!

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  3. Good for you...isn't wood heat great..lots of work but worth it..especially if you have the wood. With us building houses we "generate" lots of scrap wood and use every bit of it in our wood stove. You would think in Az we would be advanced is nolar power but we are not...I have never understood why almost all the solar panels that are manufactured here in USA are exported...something wrong with this picture...

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  4. Bev, you have such a beautiful place!

    Hope your heating bill comes down, while you get happier! Love your fireplace!

    Those two lil kids...they do grow so fast! So cute!

    xoxo

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  5. OMG shrink the kids, they are getting too big!! Boy do they grow fast. Still cute as ever. You need to live in Oregon for we have lots of solar power. Even our State freeway lights are being lite by solar panels. I've been doing some research as to going solar at my little house. I do have a heat pump which has reduce my power bill by double. I purchase a little red cast ion wood burning stove. I still need it installed so hopefully soon. It's even cute!

    Stay warm and enjoy your day.

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  6. We have a regular fireplace, but have been talking about getting a woodburning type stove. I really thought about it after the propane guy filled up our tank yesterday. YIKES!!!!! I am very, very conservative, and our tank can usually last 2 closer to 3 months. This winter though we have been extremely cold for the south. I also hang my clothes outside on the line even on cold days, well not below 32 days! We have been talking solar too. It is used so much in Europe, and when we were there we saw so much of it including the wind power. It is a shame that we as big as this country is remain so far behind. I think it is great that you have so much wood and do all of those things! By the way the little ones look real cute!

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  7. Oh boy, sounds like your electic bills might become more like ours. We pay some of the highest rates in the country though, so I am sure you will always be better. Isn't it funny though how the government is letting people charge us more and more in a bad economy!!?? I do love to cuddle up to my woodstove all day and night though, so I can relate to your good fortune at having a good system too. XXOO

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  8. First time commenter on your blog. Great info here, and I've only scratched the surface!

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