6 Gallons of oil

That’s about what we’ve used so far this season.  Six years ago we were burning over 1,000 gal/season.  To be sure, the real heating season isn’t underway yet, but our historic consumption in these “shoulder months” has always been substantial.  In addition, we’ve used 445 Kwh of electricity or about $70 worth.  So heat and hot water from Sept 1 through yesterday has cost about $91 – the equivalent of about 26 gallons of oil.  Oh, and we have also burned about a wheelbarrow of wood.

Over the past five years I’ve been making changes to reduce oil use, increase comfort, and utilize renewable fuels.  In this blog thread (home energy on the right if you want to skip the politics) I’ll describe some of the changes and post a running commentary of the actual fuel use.

The project involves weatherization, switching to alternative fuels, a new boiler, solar hot water panels, and an electric mini-split heat pump.  In 2005-2006 we burned 1,065 gallons of oil, and last year 500 gallons and 1.25 cords of wood.  This year, the solar panels and heat pump should offset most of that oil, and the wood should remain at about 1.25 cords burned primarily during the cold months of Dec, Jan, and Feb.

Our home is about 3,000 sq ft and much of it was insulated with Icynene foam. The remainder has walls insulated with R19 fiberglass. Over the next few weeks I’ll go through the changes that we made and the effects those changes have had.  Some of what I’ve found out debunks much of the conventional wisdom you will get from local builders and heating contractors about insulation, heating, oil and gas efficiency, and economics of alternative systems like heat pumps.

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