Since we insulated the walls and attic spaces in 2009, we don’t buy fuel oil as often. –That’s right, I said fuel oil.
There is a big ol’ tank of oil in our basement!
So while it’s a good thing we don’t have to buy as much oil, the fact remains that oil furnaces are about the least efficient space heaters around. Oh, and they pollute and release a lot of CO2 etc. into the atmosphere.
Every spring we look forward to the day when we can turn off the ‘heat’ function on the thermostat for the summer. This year, as I watched the fuel gauge fall toward ’empty’ I was really hoping we would never have to fill it again.
Sadly, it looks like the renovation and retrofit will not happen before the weather gets colder again and the furnace kicks on again and we smell that familiar smell of burnt dust–the dust that builds up over the summer and burns off on that first day of heating.
Buying fuel oil for people like us who are fully awake to the realities of climate change is like a vegan buying a fast food burger.
We’ve done some research and we have some ideas which I will share soon, but we haven’t decided what system to replace the oil furnace with. There are many choices which can be lumped into two categories: 1. pay a lot now, pollute less and save money later or 2. pay less now but pollute more and get stuck with high fuel bills.
What do you think we should do?
One interesting question is whether we should switch to natural gas or go 100% electric. Examples of pure electric options are air-source heat pumps or ground source heat pumps. Natural gas is pretty cheap right now and more efficient than oil but it is still a fossil fuel.
My dilemma is that I want Hammond Forever House to lead the charge on sustainable retrofits so I am loathe to simply switch to another fossil fuel. If we were rich, it would be easy (ground-source heat pumps for EVERYBODY!)
In a nutshell, this is the challenge I am blogging about. How many other people are in the same position?