Chasing Away The Oil Man

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

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27 thoughts on “Chasing Away The Oil Man

  1. That’s wonderful, congrats! I’ve often thought of solar but it’s so expensive here. No grants, just some kind of small rebate. We put a heat pump in the barn and love it, but our house doesn’t have enough big open space for it to be feasible. We’d need at least 5 and I don’t think I like them that much.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As I have no central heating system (a previous occupant ripped it out the fools!) and am all-electric (apart from a wood burner in the lounge), I had to instal solar panels. Here though, you should only ever instal them if you get batteries to store the electricity you don’t use while it’s being generated (which, as it’s during the day, you generally don’t). But here we don’t get paid for producing electricity and nothing gets credited to our accounts ( we are a pretty backward country). Well, we do get something – we get 0.015ppKWh for selling to the grid and have to pay over 30ppKWh for buying it in – something wrong there isn’t there?!

    Heat pumps are a pretty phenomenal price here – at least £15000 for an air source heat pump and £30000 for ground source so only the rich can afford them unfortunately. At least we don’t need cooling during the summer (although humidity reduction would be great as it’s damp all year here).

    I also find here that the solar only really generates for 8 months of the year as the sun is too low otherwise (and generally hidden behind thick cloud anyway). But I am slightly downhill from a very large and wide house which doesn’t help the panels catch the sun!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would like some kind of battery backup for when we lose power. That may come in the future. I am pretty happy with the set up so far.

      Heat pumps have become very reasonable here. And very popular.

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      1. The way our installations are set up, if we lose power we also lose the solar and the batteries as they have to go through the inverter to provide power and that runs on the mains. I know other countries have better systems where you can still run your house off the solar and the batteries when the power is down though – we’re just very behind I think over here!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I think hybrids are best but EVs are good if you can charge them. In the UK, we can only really charge them if we live in the town so I don’t think I’ll ever be able to have one ‘out in the sticks’ as it were. They’re really expensive here too – around 3 times the price of a normal car.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. We need to strongly consider going solar. I’ve never heard of an oil man showing up uninvited. You must have been quite a sight to him. Stop!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Now that the government has made it easy to go solar, I am seeing solar panels getting installed on several homes. It is nice to be part of the change. The oil man will come uninvited about every 6 weeks if you are on auto delivery. But we were no longer supposed to be on auto delivery. I certainly scared the one who showed up today.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. That’s a lot of work, but good for you. We were surprised on our maritime trip last summer at the big oil drums used for heating. I have only ever lived in Manitoba and Alberta where we have natal gas furnaces. Thank goodness they’re not too expensive.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There is some natural gas here but the rocky terrain makes extensive pipelines difficult. We are going to be so happy to be off of fossil fuels. The more people that go solar, the less fossil fuel will be needed to create electricity in Nova Scotia. It is kind of nice to be part of that.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. We don’t live in a region that has many homes heated with oil so I had no idea it was so costly. I’m unfamiliar with ductless heat pumps, although some neighbors have a heat pump but it requires [I think] ducts. I am familiar with solar panels, but they’re not considered viable options here because we don’t get enough sunshine to make them cost efficient. Yet, I suppose. About the best we can do is to keep our thermostat very low in the winter and very high in the summer, so that we save fossil fuel– and don’t pay big for that which we do use.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Your description of yourself when you confronted the oil man made me laugh.

    I’m happy you’re able to get solar and a heat pump (not the same as geothermal, correct?) I looked into geothermal, but haven’t enough space for the loop on my small property. A pity, because there are state incentives for having one.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I looked it up for my state. The idea of summer cooling is attractive, but I’d still need the furnace when the temperature drops below freezing. The initial pre-incentive cost is more than $10K US. Oy!

        Liked by 1 person

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