More Oil  

Posted by Roland

Why do New England-ers heat their homes with oil? Maybe back in the day all they had was wood to burn, so oil seemed like a good idea at the time. But now-a-days its expensive, Eco-unfriendly, and inconvenient. Of course, it was those things in the past too. In case I failed to mention this in an earlier post, we had our home's oil drum replaced 2 months ago with a new one because it leaked. Apparently they last about 30 years. Anyway, our new one holds as much as the old one: 250 gallons.

This rental home of ours is not well insulated. The basement is unfinished and has no insulation. The ground floor has large, old windows that leak coldness and are fairly inefficient. The upstairs is pretty decent since its been renovated, but we don't even use 1 of the rooms much except for storage. The bedroom doesn't need to be too warm because Violet likes to sleep in the cold so we can snuggle under the covers. I have to add a blanket to my side of the bed though.

The oil heats the house by burning the oil in a furnace which then heats the air. Really OLD vents are located in each room to distribute the warm air. The vent in Violet's office was so old the metal handle that lifted/shut the vent was broken, thereby closing her office off from any heat. No wonder it was so cold in there. The hot water heater also uses oil. There is no A/C BTW, its a heat-only system, typical of the homes here. In my neighborhood there's no other options. No natural gas lines run through the narrow, twisting cow paths they call "roads" here. There isn't enough sunlight or wind to justify using either source. We could burn a tree or two, I suppose, but we don't have a fireplace. We're only like 15 miles from Boston. It's suburbs here, not the middle of nowhere.

We thus just have to eat $2.099 a gallon. Slightly less than gasoline. But 250 gallons is a big tank to fill. We can burn through that in about 5 weeks. During the winter season (granted this winter has been unusually warm) it would be typical for us to fill that tank every month each of the 3 or 4 winter months, and then 1 more time for each other season. Le Ouch. I don't like it.

So to help cut costs I did some cheap winterizing. I fixed the vent in Violet's office. Now her office is MUCH warmer. Since that's where she spends most of her day we can keep the heater temp down, which helps a lot. I also wrapped the hot water heater in a thermal hot water heater blanket covering. It should help some. The pipes are narrow and integrated into the house so covering them with pipe insulation isn't really a viable option. I covered several of the windows with that clear plastic covering that you tape to the front of the window frame and then use a blow dryer to get out the wrinkles. I used that stuff in Wisconsin and it worked pretty well, cost only a few bucks, and most of the time you can't even notice its there. That's about as much as I can do. This isn't even our house.

Well this post was longer than I was wanting. I just wanted to convey how expensive burning oil to heat your house seems to be. There's a reason this blog is called Roland's Ramblings.

This entry was posted on Saturday, January 13, 2007 at Saturday, January 13, 2007 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


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