We all know about high oil prices. How high are they? you ask. The last time we filled our home oil tank, which was in the spring, it cost us $1800. And that was after a winter of using two ductless heat pumps to warm the main floor of our house. Ask us if we were shocked.
We were already slowly moving in a direction away from oil, hence the two heat pumps, but we needed to do more. Once we picked our jaws up off the floor, we realized that we needed to get totally off oil except as the backup heat source required by insurance companies. This ridiculous requirement is still necessary even though our real backup heat source is our energy efficient wood stove. Believe me we have had so many downed trees in the past couple of years that the stove is currently a free and cozy source of warmth.
So this year we have done the more. First, we installed another ductless heat pump in the downstairs family room. The best thing about ductless heat pumps is that they also cool and help remove humidity in the summer. With our summers getting hotter and stickier, thanks to global warming, installing heat pumps is a win-win situation.
Then, just two weeks ago, we finally got off of oil-fired hot water with the installation of an electric water heater. This was an exciting climax because heating hot water was burning a heck of a lot of oil. Not to mention that it is so nice and quiet now. There are no more creaking and banging pipes sending heat and hot water noisily through our house.
I know what you’re all thinking… but what about the additional cost of electricity. We are definitely going to use more electricity in the future. Especially when I purchase my next car which is going to be an electric vehicle. Believe me, we also have that covered.
We are converting to solar with the help of grants and an interest-free loan to go green. This is a huge deal for me. Me, who has been harping about being environmentally friendly for years and years. Me, who has been doing my best to do all the small things within my power to conserve energy and take care of the environment for my children and grandchildren. Me, who never thought I was doing enough because really how much can one little person like me do. Well now The Doc and I can do something BIG.
For little or no cost to us, we are having solar panels installed to generate approximately 85 percent of our required power. The loan payments are very low. Just a few dollars more than our joint family cellphone plan. Annually, it is less than our recent costs for oil and electricity combined. Plus, we won’t be subjected to constant increases in power rates. Excess electricity generated in the summer will be credited to our account to cover times when less electricity is generated in the winter. This was a GREEN opportunity we couldn’t ignore.
The solar panels probably won’t be installed until the spring because we are not yet finished the assessment process, and we still need our roof shingled to repair the hurricane damage from September. But it will happen; and I, for one, am very excited about it.
Up until this morning, chasing away the oil man was more of a metaphor than reality. But during yoga, while my legs were crossed, my waist bent so that my head was touching the floor and my arms stretched forward, I heard a familiar sound. One that I didn’t recognize right away because I haven’t heard it since the spring. There was a banging and then a clamping and then that pressurized gush that I finally identified. Holy crap, it’s the oil man! He wasn’t supposed to be here. For the past year, he had been arriving after a phone call, not on his own accord. I jumped up and raced outside barefoot in my yoga pants and tank top and screamed STOP!
Just about scared the shit out of the poor man, but he stopped. Not before over three hundred dollars worth of oil had been pumped into our tank. 155 litres in what seemed like 30 seconds. Our oil tank, which we knew was just under half full, is now just over half full. All just in case of an emergency.
Since then, a phone call was made, paperwork and gauges were checked and our account was updated. The only thing I can say now is, may I never have to physically chase the oil man away again. I just want to continue dealing with the metaphors.
Thank you for reading.
Photos: Jenn Stone