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Dutch
06-24-2008, 05:34 AM
NORTHPORT — Apparently, the sky IS falling!
That’s the word not from Chicken Little, but from former Maine Governor Angus King, who says he doesn’t use the term “catastrophe” lightly.
“This is a human catastrophe coming at us in the state of Maine in terms of energy supply and costs,” King said last week at a daylong seminar on harnessing tidal energy and offshore wind to confront runaway energy costs, costs he sees as a direct threat to Maine being habitable.
“This winter, the cost of fuel oil is going to more than double,” he said. “What’s being quoted now is $4.96 — $5 a gallon. That’s $1,000 to fill up your tank in the basement one time, and most people are going to have to fill up their tank six times.
“How is somebody who is making $350 or $400 a week going to pay to fill up the tank to keep warm? How are they going to pay to fill up the truck to get to work? This is, I think, the most serious crisis to ever face the state of Maine.”



http://ellsworthmaine.com/site/images/stories/news/2008/06/061908-catastrophe-awaits-2.jpg

Tapping the energy of coastal Maine’s offshore winds will require development of wind turbines not unlike those phased into use last fall six miles off the coast of Liverpool, England. The Burbo Bank Offshore Wind Farm uses 25 turbines, each standing 459 feet above the Irish Sea, to generate enough electricity to power 80,000 homes.—PHOTO COURTESY OF NATIONAL RENEWABLE ENERGY LABORATORIES





King told an audience of 20 state, regional and national experts on alternative energy concepts that the time for talk is over and that solutions need to be found and implemented. An investor in an onshore wind farm in western Maine, King said the greatest and most reliable source of wind energy is in deep water, some 25 miles offshore. Although the technology for harnessing that wind energy has yet to be developed outside of Europe, it better be soon, he warned.
“This is a catastrophe,” he said. “This isn’t business as usual. This isn’t some minor little problem. This isn’t do not pass school buses or what’s the speed limit on the Interstate. This is a disaster in the state of Maine that’s coming at us.”
King first sounded the alarm about energy costs undermining the social and economic fabric of Maine during a speech in April at Bowdoin College titled “The Saudi Arabia of Wind: Confronting Maine’s Energy Catastrophe.”
In that speech, and in his address last week at The Power of the Gulf seminar sponsored by the University of Maine Law School and the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, King noted that no state is more dependent on oil than is Maine.
“Eighty percent of homes in Maine are heated with oil,” he said. “The national average is 9 percent. If you do the math, 87 percent of the total energy bill of the average Maine person is dependent on oil or natural gas, and that is a particularly serious problem.”
King notes that oil prices have more than tripled in the last 10 years. Only six months ago, he said, the price of oil was $75 a barrel. Last week it was $114.
“A non-hysterical prediction is that, by 2020, oil will be $300 a barrel, which means $10 a gallon for gasoline, which means $10 a gallon fuel oil. It means filling up the tank in your car will be $200, with incomes not that different. It means $2,000 to fill the oil tank in the basement.
“Here’s the catastrophe part,” he said at Bowdoin College. “In 1998, energy — all energy: cars, home heating and electricity — was 4 percent of the average Maine family’s budget. Today it’s 20 percent. It went from 4 percent to 20 percent in 10 years. That’s pain.”
Should oil hit $300 a barrel, King said, that percentage would increase from 20 percent to as much as 50 percent of the average family budget.



http://ellsworthmaine.com/site/images/stories/news/2008/06/061908-angus-king.jpg

Former Maine Governor Angus King





“We go from pain to lethal,” he said. “We simply can’t survive that. This state and this country are not viable at that level of energy costs. If this happens, it’s all over. We won’t have an election for governor in 2020; we’ll have an election for chief park ranger, because that’s all this state will be, a large park of some kind that is largely uninhabitable.
“Fifty percent of your budget for energy and 20 percent for health care leaves 30 percent for everything else: mortgage, rent, food. It’s just absolutely unsustainable.”
King predicted in Northport that $300 oil would see families pulling up stakes and dramatically changing how they live.
“The old thing we heard was people choosing between medicine and food,” he said. “People are going to be choosing between heat and food. People are going to be living together. People are going to be moving in to have five or 10 people in an apartment to deal with this problem.
“This is a really urgent problem, and I don’t think the world has come to grips with how serious.”
Doing nothing is not an option, King said. That’s what created what he sees as an unsustainable status quo.
“Every president since Nixon has been talking about energy independence — all of my adult life — and we haven’t done a damn thing about it,” he said. “Nothing. We are just as dependent on oil today — and particularly foreign oil — as we were in 1970.”
King realizes he’s hardly painting a rose-colored scenario. He’s not being a pessimist, he feels, as much as a realist.
“I hope I have sufficiently depressed you,” he said at Bowdoin College. “This is serious stuff.”

martin schulz
06-24-2008, 05:41 AM
Yes offshore wind-energy is definitely an additional option, but as here you will probably see people protesting against ruining nature & natural sights with windmills...

Milo Christensen
06-24-2008, 05:47 AM
So help me understand how windfarms fill fuel oil tanks? Is there a new process that I didn't know had been invented yet?

Tylerdurden
06-24-2008, 05:57 AM
I can tell you story's. As part of my Job is repairing boilers and burners its been non stop questions from family, friends and acquaintances.
My buddy up the road has a pellet stove. He spent a full day trying to find pellets last week. There are waiting lists now. He finally went to a high school buddy who owns a hardware store. The guy took him in back and told him he has 6 ton set aside on his next shipment and would sell him three jumping the list. He paid with delivery set a week from now. He got a call and was told it will be at least the end of July.
Some can be had in the further areas I am told but anywhere their is a concentration of people the demand is great. The spring was bad for wood cutters here according to the local rags and if you don't have your order in chances are you will get greenwood in June. Thats kinda unheard of.
I told you about the elderly man up the street burning rail road ties last winter so I can only imagine whats going to happen to people on fixed incomes this one. Its going to be terrible across the north this winter.
I pray a miracle for the weak and disadvantaged.

Rigadog
06-24-2008, 05:59 AM
Milo, I think he means that people could convert to electric heat. Added to that is the law of economics. If alternatives exist, then demand for oil falls and the price should follow. One of the things we need to do, especially in northern states, is adopt Canadian building codes. This produces a much moer energy efficient structure.

martin schulz
06-24-2008, 06:02 AM
So help me understand how windfarms fill fuel oil tanks? Is there a new process that I didn't know had been invented yet?

Deliberately being ignorant is a known method in rhetorics. I don't feel motivated to play the opponent in such a futile discussion.

Just stick to oil as energy (and fight the necessary wars for it), but stop whining about high energy costs, which are still too low to cause a change in your consumption habits.

ishmael
06-24-2008, 06:07 AM
I consider myself lucky that I filled my tank in spring at just about half the price it is now. I'll need at least one more to see me through to next spring. It ain't gonna be pretty.

I've gotta get some wood in. I've got a woodstove that's a great burner, not hooked up. The insurance company won't certify it. Don't know why, there's no reason I can see. I'm about ready to tell them to flip off. The stove is a bit big for the space, but not out of bounds. I'm not going to extol the virtues of wood, so as not to drive the price up.

The Bigfella
06-24-2008, 06:16 AM
Its going to be interesting to see how the defence industry adapts eh? Given that they are typically the largest single user of oil in most developed countries. I heard somewhere that they are 12% of our oil consumption in Oz. I might see if I can find some hard facts.

This may be the best thing ever for world peace.

Milo Christensen
06-24-2008, 06:21 AM
Deliberately being ignorant is a known method in rhetorics. I don't feel motivated to play the opponent in such a futile discussion.

Just stick to oil as energy (and fight the necessary wars for it), but stop whining about high energy costs, which are still too low to cause a change in your consumption habits.

Sorry, Martin, I am far from ignorant in this discussion. For decades now, the entire country has had to suffer higher energy prices in the winters due to the enormous demand for fuel oil for heating poorly sealed, poorly insulated older homes in the Northeast. You can predict the increase in fuel costs across America in the winter by the weather forecast for Massachusetts. They didn't do enough when energy was "only" 4% of their budget, now they have to not only pay the price but they also have to invest in new infrastructure and invest to convert to a more affordable method of heating.

They're behind the eight ball up there and now that it's time to pony up it's a triple whammy.

The Bigfella
06-24-2008, 06:22 AM
Oh dear. 395,000 barrels per day for the US military in 2004 according to this site:

http://www.williambowles.info/empire/us_mil_oil.html

Lessee. That's about one half a percent of total oil consumed around the world - just for one customer. Think about it - just what sort of "defence" is it. If they stopped buying for a month - ground the planes, park the trucks and ships - just what do you think would happen to the speculators?

Perhaps our various military forces should do something to actually defend our lifestyle eh?

Rational Root
06-24-2008, 06:28 AM
In germany, there are houses built using passive heating.

Google it.

And before you say it won't work in Maine, check out the winter temperatures in Germany.

When Energy gets expensive, people will start to make an effort to use less.

People who start to early will pay a premium as they are on the bleeding edge. People who start to late will pay a premium too, as they are competing with all the other main stream adopters.

PeterSibley
06-24-2008, 06:48 AM
I read a book 25 odd years ago by a bloke called Alex Wade ,something like "20 Energy Efficient Houses " . All North East USA, all small ,comfortable and affordable ...apparently it wasn't a popular idea .A pity .

huisjen
06-24-2008, 07:20 AM
http://www.motherearthnews.com/uploadedImages/articles/online_articles/2006-02-01/HeatGrabberIllus.jpg

http://www.s101470521.onlinehome.us/mediac/400_0/media/hotaircollector.jpg

http://store.altenergystore.com/Solar/descfiles/cansolair/ra240/air_flow.jpg

http://shop.solardirect.com/images/p-solarsheat-2pak-d.gif

They may not do much on cloudy days, but they'll cut your heat bill a lot, especially if you have a monster like in that second picture.

Bigfella, our military is sworn to support and defend our constitution, not our way of life.

Gary E
06-24-2008, 07:24 AM
Southwest Airlines has survived the rise in fuel costs because they bought futures that rose in value as the price of fuel rose. This was esentially locking in their future cost of fuel. Maybe some smart fuel oil co op could do the same thing, but they better not wait to long to get started. An individual could do it on their own, if they are skilled in trading.

Or.... MOOVE SOUTH

Or... Start cutting down the dam trees

huisjen
06-24-2008, 07:29 AM
Why? With global warming, south is moving north.

Gary E
06-24-2008, 07:41 AM
Then Quitcherbitchin...
and tell that hasbeen gov of yours to shut the hell up

Tylerdurden
06-24-2008, 07:53 AM
I spent a while wanting to build an Air formed concrete dome.
Insanely efficient they are built mostly in the Colorado rockies.
Issue is the spray foam is oil based and expensive but it is a one time shot. Hobbit holes is what I called them as they can be partially buried.
Of course banks and building codes make it near impossible to build such a thing.
I will stick to heading south right now. The stick was just delivered and the boat gets wet this afternoon. If Dan is right I can always come back;)

huisjen
06-24-2008, 08:02 AM
Then Quitcherbitchin...
and tell that hasbeen gov of yours to shut the hell up

What's your problem? :confused:

Governor King was pretty good. As an independent, he's not wrapped up in party bickering and seemed to do a decent job. He was sometimes referred to as "The second most popular King in Maine", after Stephen. He used to meet and greet cruise ship passengers in Portland on his motorcycle. :D

Gary E
06-24-2008, 08:05 AM
What's your problem? :confused:

Governor King was pretty good. As an independent, he's not wrapped up in party bickering and seemed to do a decent job. He was sometimes referred to as "The second most popular King in Maine", after Stephen. He used to meet and greet cruise ship passengers in Portland on his motorcycle. :D

Awe... I guess he wuz just a swell fella...
Why'd ya replace him?

George Roberts
06-24-2008, 08:06 AM
"In 1998, energy — all energy: cars, home heating and electricity — was 4 percent of the average Maine family’s budget. Today it’s 20 percent. It went from 4 percent to 20 percent in 10 years."

One should not count what is spent on energy but rather what is left over to live on.

Tylerdurden
06-24-2008, 08:07 AM
"In 1998, energy — all energy: cars, home heating and electricity — was 4 percent of the average Maine family’s budget. Today it’s 20 percent. It went from 4 percent to 20 percent in 10 years."

One should not count what is spent on energy but rather what is left over to live on.

Are you saying we should just hang tough George?

Woxbox
06-24-2008, 08:08 AM
It seems to me that people lived in Maine and other cold places before oil was discovered. In fact, the first couple of houses I lived in as a kid didn't have heat in the bedrooms, and the downstairs rooms were heated when in use and let cool the rest of the time. I did have a hot water bottle, which became a good friend in the winter.

A lot of the response to rising energy costs invovles going back to a 19th century lifestyle, although the proponents don't put it that way. Walk or ride a bike, hang laundry out to dry, buy local produce or grow your own, and so on. But I haven't heard anyone questioning the value or need for central heating yet. Why do we take that for granted? If you heat rooms as you use them, and don't waste money heating bedrooms where an extra cover will do, you'll cut your heating costs way down. Worked for the grandparents.

huisjen
06-24-2008, 08:10 AM
Awe... I guess he wuz just a swell fella...
Why'd ya replace him?

Term limits, I think. I'd just moved back here. I don't remember exactly. Why the chip on your shoulder?

Tylerdurden
06-24-2008, 08:11 AM
It seems to me that people lived in Maine and other cold places before oil was discovered. In fact, the first couple of houses I lived in as a kid didn't have heat in the bedrooms, and the downstairs rooms were heated when in use and let cool the rest of the time. I did have a hot water bottle, which became a good friend in the winter.

A lot of the response to rising energy costs invovles going back to a 19th century lifestyle, although the proponents don't put it that way. Walk or ride a bike, hang laundry out to dry, buy local produce or grow your own, and so on. But I haven't heard anyone questioning the value or need for central heating yet. Why do we take that for granted? If you heat rooms as you use them, and don't waste money heating bedrooms where an extra cover will do, you'll cut your heating costs way down. Worked for the grandparents.

Of course back then the forests were gone completely in most of New England.

Gary E
06-24-2008, 08:16 AM
Term limits, I think. I'd just moved back here. I don't remember exactly. Why the chip on your shoulder?

Ahhh...term limits... the way to get rid of the so called good guys... :D:D

chip?... no chip here... In winter time I still sit around in shorts and a T shirt

huisjen
06-24-2008, 08:17 AM
Wox, I agree. I've got a hot water bottle, and she's cute. My house is about 165 years old. That near useless oil furnace is about 15 years old. Sometimes I think I'm going to eventually have to remove both the oil and wood furnaces (when the wood furnace wears out) and replace it with a big solid masonry item that sends heat up through a big grill in the dining room floor. I've seen a few old houses with set ups like that.

I'd never put in one of those outdoor wood boilers. I'd hate to rely on the pumps and elecric power to get the heat into the house.

huisjen
06-24-2008, 08:18 AM
Gary, I just talked with Angus. He said to tell you to shut the hell up too.

Gary E
06-24-2008, 08:21 AM
ohh...so YOUR "connected"... Big frikkin deal...
it still wont help you now that HE dont mean squat anymore

huisjen
06-24-2008, 08:39 AM
:rolleyes: ...

Dutch
06-24-2008, 10:22 AM
It seems to me the answer may lie in somethig akin to this - I know a guy who has one and he and his family love it. He says when you are out doors you cant even tell its burning. The US has the coal reserves for hundreds of years- with a bit of ingenuity we can also probably overcome any acid emissions and if we solar and electro power up, we can probably offset the carbon emissions. Were I facing Maine winters, Id be investigating coal - the state government if they have real concern for its citizens ought to give some kind of low interest loans for folk to convert.

http://www.harmanstoves.com/images/stokerlitk.jpg

Milo Christensen
06-24-2008, 10:26 AM
The "nice" thing about a lot of those old energy wasting houses in the Northeast is that so many of the fuel oil fired furnaces were actually coal burners to begin with.

Dutch
06-24-2008, 10:32 AM
Or check out this wood pellet burner by the same company. Its totally automatic with a battery back up option. Also click on the link that has a fuel cost calculator- its a cool page for comparing what its going to cost to heat your place.

http://www.harmanstoves.com/features.asp?id=1

Henning 4148
06-24-2008, 01:04 PM
Seems coal is still cheapest ...

Did one winter on coal as a student, it's just less comfortable.

martin schulz
06-24-2008, 01:24 PM
Seems coal is still cheapest ...

Yes and as far as I remember there is still a German invention to make synthesised gasoline from coal (extensively used during WW2, because Germany didn't have access to oil-fields).


The technology for transforming natural gas or coal into synthetic fuel was invented by Franz Fischer and Hans Trophsch in the 1920s. The Fischer-Tropsch process transforms gas derived from coal (or other substances) into liquid gas. The Fischer-Tropsch synthesis process is the best-known synthesis process and was used on a large scale in Germany during World War II. Other processes include the Bergius process, the Mobil process and the Karrick process. An intermediate step in the production of synthetic fuel is often syngas, a stoichiometric mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen, which is sometimes directly used as an industrial fuel.

The leading company in the commercialization of synthetic fuel today is Sasol, a company based in South Africa. Sasol currently operates the world's only commercial coal-to-liquids facility at Secunda, with a capacity of 150,000 barrels per day (24,000 m³/d). Other companies that have developed coal- or gas-to-liquids processes (at the pilot plant or commercial stage) include Shell, Exxon, StatoilHydro, Rentech, and Syntroleum. Worldwide commercial gas-to-liquids plant capacity is 60,000 barrels per day (9,500 m³/d), including plants in South Africa (Mossgas), Malaysia (Shell Bintulu) and New Zealand (Motor-fuel production at the New Zealand Synfuel site has been shut down since the mid nineties, although production of methanol for export continues. This site ran on the Mobil process converting gas to methanol and methanol to gasoline).

When the barrelprice hits the right mark I am sure they will dig out the old "Hydrierwerke" to start production again.

Henning 4148
06-24-2008, 01:35 PM
Two other things to make winters nicer - a woman to cuddle with and a thick blanket that is really big enough for the two of you.

Dutch
06-24-2008, 02:34 PM
Seems coal is still cheapest ...

Did one winter on coal as a student, it's just less comfortable.

I dont know how you burned your coal, but the folks I know love their coal burning stove. They started off with an oil burning furnace years ago and as prices rose and their drafty old house got more expensive to heat they added the usual insulation and sealed it tight, but fuel costs continued to rise and still ate up their smallish budget in winter. They got a wood burning stove and used that for a few winters- it worked but so did they -to keep it fed and emptied. And they had to buy their wood so it wasnt all that cheap either. Then they heard about the coal burner and bought one a couple years back- they love it and the consistent temps it produces.

Dutch
06-24-2008, 02:44 PM
I just did a cost comparison using number 2 fuel oil at $5 a gallon and coal from a maine supplier at $325 a ton. The cost per million btu's of heat are

#2 fuel oil + $46.45

coal = $14.16

difference of $32.29 - and youll be feeding the US economy, not somebody in sandland.

at that price difference it would not take long at all to recoup your initial investment for the stove. Im sold on the idea.

BrianW
06-24-2008, 03:38 PM
NORTHPORT — Apparently, the sky IS falling!
That’s the word not from Chicken Little, but from former Maine Governor Angus King, who says he doesn’t use the term “catastrophe” lightly. “This is a human catastrophe coming at us in the state of Maine in terms of energy supply and costs,” King said...

... An investor in an onshore wind farm in western Maine, King said the greatest and most reliable source of wind energy is in deep water

Hmm... maybe a great guy, maybe a great scam artist. :)

paladin
06-24-2008, 04:07 PM
Oklahoma has lots of coal...and I grew up in houses with cast iron coal stoves for heating and cooking, the walls of those old houses were over 6 inches thick, and granddads still stands...warm when the snow was up to the eaves of the house....
I purchased a pellet stove last year....and have a godawful supply of pellets.....they seem easy enough to get here...

ishmael
06-24-2008, 04:34 PM
Hm.

It is difficult to believe that in a state so rich in wood we're headed into a catastrophe. But the price of oil is gonna hit people where it hurts.

I wonder what a cord of wood sells for around these parts? When I last had this stove running I was paying 85 for a reasonably dry cord. Stack it around now and it was perfect for November. I'll bet it's twice that now -- at least. I used to burn around four in a good winter, plus a minor amount of oil. I like the heat, though it's a fair amount of work, and is dirty in the house. If I didn't already have this stove I'd consider coal, though when I looked into it a couple years ago supply was an issue. I don't think there's a smidgen of coal in Maine.

Wood pellet stoves are popular here just now, but the ones I've seen need AC to run. If things get stormy here we can be without electric for up to a week.

It's a nice feeling to have a stove and fuel for it when things turn cold. Ya know you've got heat.

LeeG
06-24-2008, 04:49 PM
well, I wonder what will be the solution?

How about a $300,000,000 prize for the person who can think of one, it's only a $1 per person in the country!

LeeG
06-24-2008, 04:56 PM
Its going to be interesting to see how the defence industry adapts eh? Given that they are typically the largest single user of oil in most developed countries. I heard somewhere that they are 12% of our oil consumption in Oz. I might see if I can find some hard facts.

This may be the best thing ever for world peace.

it's gonna be funny to see how Congress dickers over the reconsidered contract for aerial tankers.

And those turbine Abrahms tanks,,ooohweee,,what a challenge to trade armor for fuel.

Obviously the solution is to annex large parts of the world,,or reconsider what constitutes protecting our vital interests. Buzzing around consuming fuel to protect access to oil is gonna look like making fuel from corn, or digging up ashphalt to get the oil out,,(tar sands),,or extending troops on so many tours the career officers start bailing out.

Dutch
06-24-2008, 05:16 PM
Everyone in the great white north needs to sober up now and decide how they are going to pay for this and future winters heating bill. It isnt going to get any cheaper no matter the fuel.

Dutch
06-24-2008, 05:19 PM
We used to burn 100,000 US gallons every 3 days when I was part of the the USN, and we were one of the little guys steaming around in circles slowly.

Joe Dupere
06-24-2008, 05:31 PM
Hm.

I wonder what a cord of wood sells for around these parts?



$200 plus for green, pushing $250 for dry, don't even try to find
seasoned. It's gone.

If you're going to buy wood, better get it now so it has a bit of time
to dry out before you need to use it.

Joe, FPoP

Tylerdurden
06-24-2008, 06:10 PM
$200 plus for green, pushing $250 for dry, don't even try to find
seasoned. It's gone.

If you're going to buy wood, better get it now so it has a bit of time
to dry out before you need to use it.

Joe, FPoP

250 to 350 green in Portland. You guys up Bangor way should have better luck.

Dutch
06-24-2008, 07:55 PM
coal

John of Phoenix
06-24-2008, 08:09 PM
We have tens of thousands of acres of dead pine forests in the West thanks to a nine year drought (sorry Leon) and the resulting bark beetles.

Figure out a way... you know, supply and demand.

It only takes one good idea to make a zillion bucks.

Maybe I'll do this myself.

Brian Palmer
06-24-2008, 09:11 PM
Anybody know anything about using solar with a baseboard hot water heating system? We usually use about 600 to 700 gallons of oil per year here and it is likely to be over $4/gallon for sure next winter. We need to start looking for a long term alternative.

Thanks,

Brian

Gary E
06-24-2008, 09:30 PM
Brian
I looked into something that would heat the house in the early 80's... Baseboard was a posibility, but the heating of the water was the problem. There's just not enough sun in the eastern Pennsy area to amout to much. And the only thing that stood a ghost of a chance was a fireplace with a tubing system in it to transfer the heat to the water and circulating pumps to move the hot water to a manifold where it could be separated into zones and a big tank to store warm water.

There was at that time a company in Lancaster doing this type of instalation and another one up in the Allentown area, but when I really looked at it I decided I did not want the headaches, or the inconvience and trouble it was going to be so I installed a gas forced hot air system. Best thing going, no mus no fus, set the thermostat and it's done.. I traveled a lot, and did not worry about what if the place freezes if I'm away...

I dont know what it would cost to install gas in your area, but when I asked about it the Gas&Electric Co installed the line for free to the meter because I was installing 2 gas using appliances... heater, and water heater... and set up the interior piping so a gas stove could be installed later...

I traveled, I spent a lot of time away.. summers "down in Cape May on the boat" ... I didnt want to fool with what should be a automatic heating system.. Lazy?.. maybe, but that's the way it is...

Good luck

Woxbox
06-24-2008, 09:32 PM
Brian,

I see you live in Pennsylvania, home of the world's best anthracite, as do I. During the last energy crunch, around 1978 or so, I installed a coal furnace in my basement, next to the oil burner. The coal was far cheaper then at around $100 a ton than the oil was, which, if I recall right, was just passing $1 a gallon. I saved a bunch, and didn't mind a bit stoking the thing twice a day. A pea coal burner fed by an augur means you only have to clean out the ashes. (An excellent substitute for salt on the drive if you don't mind the mess come spring.) I kept the oil furnace for spring and fall, when use was on and off.

At any rate, coal gets expensive if you don't live near the mines. But we do, and it might be the cheapest alternative. But who knows, the speculators might run up the price of coal, too.

I can't find a current price for coal locally, but if it's still under $200 a ton, then it would be far cheaper than oil at $4 a gallon. That's pure economics, of course. If you're concerned about carbon footprints and such like, then there's another issue altogether.

My current house is all electric. If it weren't surround by trees, I might experiment with wind. As things are, I'll just sit tight for awhile.

coelacanth2
06-24-2008, 09:35 PM
Chainsaw and maul Sunday A M and I've got the first 6 weeks of winter taken care of. The stuff's been down for 2 to 3 years, just not bucked and split.
Last winter I made a hotbox heater as a trial piece. 2x6 sides, 1/4" ply back, two layers of black aluminum screen and the inside painted barbeque black, covered with translucent fiberglas corrugated roofing. 4'X8' with 4" stovepipe for the duct connections. I'll switch the translucent for cleat this summer and up the efficiency, but on a sunny day you could feel the warm air rising out of the top hole. I've got some flexduct and a 12v muffin fan, it'll be supplemental shop heat this winter. The next version will be set up to heat the basement, and heat rises.
Might get some of the Cansolair panels for the upstairs and office.

Gary E
06-24-2008, 09:42 PM
see you live in Pennsylvania, home of the world's best anthracite,

That reminds me of a huge sportfishing boat in Cape May... "ANTHRACITE" .. that boat has to be 60' or more..

pipefitter
06-25-2008, 01:00 AM
I lived up in Dillon, CO. nearly 30 years ago. I, from Florida, had never seen 20-25 below before. The only heat in the place we stayed was wood and there wasn't any when we got there. I found out real fast how much warmer it was inside than out, even without heat. It meant keeping layers of clothes on. I had thermals and flannel/jeans on indoors. We lit candles and stayed wrapped and the temp eventually got into the 60's from 4 candles and us being in there. Had a heavy, handmade grandma quilt and would lay all my jeans and shirts across that as well and I was never cold at night.

To start, look at the heat that escapes out the chimney pipe on a gas water heater. That could probably be converted to heat water at least part of the time for hot water heat. Heat from the clothes dryer may be another.

Dual purpose heat sources. A coil could be mounted in the bottom of a range/oven to heat water as you cook. The possibilities seem endless once you start to think of wasted heat just with normal appliances, including light sources.

Doesn't seem like it would take long to at least knock a couple dollars off the price of heating fuel. Even if I was filthy rich, I would still feel odd for thinking I could hang out in my skivvies all winter long. If living in a drafty/leaky house, that would be the first, most noticeable improvement anyone could make and with all of the products around for fixing it, seems ridiculous that anyone living in cold climates would live under such conditions. Even the best heat and abundance of fuel still is unsatisfactory in a drafty house.

Brian Palmer
06-25-2008, 08:08 AM
Our house was built in 1964. After we moved in, I put more insulation in the attic and we added good quality storm windows (but nothing special) all around. We also put in programmable thermostats (we have three zones), so we can automatically turn the heat down at night and when we aren't there during the day.

Last winter, I went to an EPA website and plugged in our oil consumption and information about our house, and it spit back that we were in the 95th percentile for oil-use efficiency (that is, only 5% of similar sized houses in similar climates used less oil). That seems to indicate that most houses could stand to reduce oil use by quite a bit.

Brian

Dutch
06-25-2008, 08:14 AM
I imagine quite a few of the poorly insulated houses are rental units. Landlords have no interest in saving their tenents money do they?

Saltiguy
06-28-2008, 08:39 PM
When I was in Army Basic Training in Fort Dix NJ, they sent me to Firemans' School, a one-day course where they taught you to tend the coal fired furnaces. Our barracks were the WW2 2- story buildings, and housed one platoon. There was a small furnace room at one end for the furnace which provided hot air heat and also neated the water for 50 men. The buildings were simple frame construction with no insulation, but that little coal furnace kept the place comfortable. Very impressive and efficient when I think back on it.

S B
06-28-2008, 10:41 PM
I don't have to worry about the price of oil, I get enough junk mail everyweek to burn and heat my house.:)

Tylerdurden
06-30-2008, 06:28 AM
Northeast braces for home heating oil increases

By Associated Press / June 28, 2008 New Englanders struggling this summer to pay gas prices topping $4 a gallon should brace for more bad news -- home heating oil costs next winter are expected to hit record highs.


One retail heating oil dealer says she expects a typical household delivery that cost $500 last winter will climb to at least $850 this winter.
"It's going to be staggering," said Northboro Oil Co. owner Sandra Farrell in telephone interview with The Associated Press. "It's going to be a real problem going into this winter for everyone unless something changes."
Farrell, whose family has owned and operated the Northborough, Mass., business since 1953, said some dealers are talking about prices in the $4.89 per gallon range for the coming winter, about $2 more per gallon than last winter. An average household usually needs four deliveries from December to March, she said.
Record-high crude oil prices have sent gasoline costs soaring this year. The National Energy Assistance Directors' Association, which represents state-run low income energy assistance programs, recently predicted that home heating oil costs will hit record levels this winter.
The group said the national average cost to heat a home with oil this winter will be $2,593, up from $1,962 last winter. Families in cold-weather Northeast states will be hit even harder.
About 40 percent of Massachusetts homes use oil heat. More than 963,000 households in the state use home heating oil which is delivered by more than 800 distributors, many of them small businesses. In Maine, one of the nation's coldest states, four out of five households heat with oil.
Farrell told a Senate panel she expects high heating oil costs will force many cash-strapped families to make tough choices between eating and staying warm.
"It is very tough looking into the eyes of these customers when they ask me what I think they should do," Farrell said in testimony Wednesday at a Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee hearing. "I don't know what to tell them. For the first time I think some of my customers are going to have to choose between main essentials like groceries, gasoline, warm clothes and heating oil just to pay their bills."
Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., who heads the Small Business panel, warned of an impending crisis in the Northeast, which is more reliant on oil heat than other regions.
"It is reality not rhetoric that price spikes will force people to decide whether to feed their families or heat their homes," Kerry said at the hearing.
Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe, the panel's ranking Republican member, said high oil prices are a matter of life and death. She said parts of Maine could literally "become uninhabitable" for many this winter.
"When people can't afford the cost of home heating oil, they simply freeze," Snowe said. "Consumers and small businesses are being stretched to the limit and beyond, but nowhere is the ensuing calamity looming larger than in New England where just getting through this winter is fast-becoming our No. 1 priority."
To ease the oil heating price crunch, Kerry and Snowe are pushing legislation to give businesses hurt by high heating oil costs access to credit through Small Business Administration disaster loan programs. They also want to help more families by expanding government home heating aid through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. Millions of poor and elderly people on fixed incomes rely on heating assistance to help pay their bills.
Snowe has a bill, co-sponsored by Kerry, to mandate that heating oil from the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve should be released if home heating oil tops $4 per gallon this winter.
Farrell said the line between running a business and a social services agency can sometimes seem to blur when she's dealing with families who can't afford to heat their homes.
"It is painful to have to tell someone when the temperature outside is below zero that we cannot deliver to them because they have no money," she said in testimony. "I have made so many exceptions, but if I make too many more, the business won't survive."
Small oil dealers are feeling squeezed because many customers can't pay, or else they get way behind in what they owe. The credit crunch means dealers can't pay their suppliers, who want their money within 10 days, Farrell said.
"We're finding the cash coming in very slowly," Farrell said.
http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2008/06/28/northeast_braces_for_home_heating_oil_increases/

Tylerdurden
06-30-2008, 06:30 AM
Bring your families in to the shelter to keep warm. And please do not forget to bring all your weapons and ammunition in for safe keeping.
Doing so will make it easier on the search and confiscation teams as they go house to house for health and welfare checks.:D