Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Some Like it HOT
YAY, SPRINGinginging! Energy - both mine and the Solar on the upswing. Fabulous to be enjoying my favorite Spring things: seeing the ground again, rushing water from the melt off, seasonal stream topped with bobbing, splashing, gabby ducks, hoofed hoodlums (Diesel and Pumpkin) running the property, frog song. However, with Spring comes thoughts of hot water. More specifically, NOT taking cold showers. Unseasonably warm temperatures are making firing either of the masonry heaters completely unnecessary and opening the windows absolutely necessary. I fire the downstairs heater once a day (in the evening after the Sun goes down) just to keep some warm water coming through the shower head. Have I mentioned that I do NOT want to take cold showers this Summer? What to do? What to do? Mike and I had THE talk: Do you want to bring in propane? GASP! While one of our goals is no fossil fuels, I am tempted by visions of candle-lit hot, old farm girl muscle soothing bubble baths. So the weather has stirred and re-prioritized the project list a bit. We stopped by Bob’s Sheet Metal and talked to our buddy, Roger. He’s working on two quotes for us. Mike and I were thinking of changing out our current boiler for one that we could ADD an electric heating element to. In the Summer, our system is in float by 11:00 in the morning. Enough excess solar power to heat water electrically? Emphasis on the question mark. Also, we could sell the current boiler to help offset the cost of the new boiler. However, in working up the quote, Roger’s supplier has some Eos Solar Hot Water parts sitting on a shelf that he’d like to move out. The current boiler is already set-up for Solar Hot Water input. Opportunity knocking? We’re all investigating. It would be easier to open my tightly clenched fist and pull the funds from finger nail impressed palms if I actually KNEW EXACTLY what the production would be. Does Solar Hot Water even work in our climate? We are looking at the evacuated tube panels which are reputed to perform in our wintry climate. Mike’s been googling. There’s an evacuated tube solar hot water system working in Maine for a family of four. It provides for their needs in the Summer; gas assisted in the Winter. No specific temperatures given but we’d have our wood/masonry heaters as back up in the Winter. Sounds promising. Come on, this old farm girl wants to splash like a duck and and soak some aches away....will post the actual quotes as soon as we get them.