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Friday, September 14, 2007

Propane Pain

How many of you knew that you have to buy propane in bulk? Go ahead, don't be shy, raise your hand if you knew.


To those of you who have your hands raised...



Like I have a spare $400 in my budget to purchase propane all at once?? Which, by the way, only fills half that torpedo at the side of my house. HALF.

What brainiac came up with this whole fossil fuels as energy idea in the first place, thinking, "Hey, here's a good idea, let's take this non-renewable energy source and sell it, and we'll make a mint--until it all runs out at some unforseeable point in the future that we don't care about because we'll be dead..."


Makes me crazy to know that there ARE renewable energy sources out there (solar, wind, etc) and ways to build houses that would maximize those to make them viable options... but are they available to the general public? Nope.

So I'm stuck robbing Peter to pay Paul in order to heat my water and, when it gets cold enough, the house. (Which is, technically, still heating water--it's steam heat.) I do find it kind of interesting to have an actual gauge outside, though, telling how much energy we've used. It certainly makes you more conscious, and I like that part. We now have 5% left. When we called to ask how long the propane company thought that might last, they replied, "For some people, it could be a month, for others, about three days."

Of course, we had to err on the side of caution and order propane now--just in case we're propane hogs and don't know it. But it will be interesting to see how much energy we use, and how much we can conserve. A rather fun experiment.

If I'd only known we had to pay it all at once, I would have planned for it, ya know? *sigh* I guess we'll know for next year, and start planning accordingly.

I just wish we didn't have to use non-renewable energy sources at all. But it really is interesting, how living out here forces you to think about things you take for granted in the suburbs or the city. Out here, rubbish pickup is direct. Propane tanks sit at the side of houses like huge torpedos. Your personal consumption and waste is definitely more in-your-face, which makes it much, much more conscious. Not necessarily a bad thing.

People out here still try to disguise it, though. As if that big thing shaped like a bomb at the side of your house doesn't actually contain enough explosive material to blow up half the county. I've seen people plant lots of flowers around their tank to hide it, or even paint it:

I'm tempted to paint mine too, believe me.

But I definitely wouldn't be painting flowers on the side. Oh, no. Mine would be more... graphic...

Well, I'll just leave it to your imagination...


Amy said...

Propane must work a lot like oil. People use oil out here (we have gas but nearly everyone we know has oil) and you do have to buy that in bulk too. Watch out if you let it run out! Oil gets stored in these enormous tanks in the basement of a house...that freaks me out more than it being outside...imagine having thousands of gallons of flammable right underneath your feet!

eileen said...

oh my gawd, I remember the old green submarine beast in my back yard. It would require $600 minimum to get a propane truck out there each time but it wasn't enough to last the whole season. I remember one winter season I went over 6 weeks without any heat cuz I just didn't have the money! I had to send the kids to stay with their dad during that time. Before that next winter came, I had moved where there was NO submarine beast and I didnt have to come up with $600+ to stay warm during the winter months!
I love the country, but there has GOT to be another way besides that expensive Propane Heat! Got a fireplace?