What to say after such a long time since our last post! Well, to begin we’re still here and we’re still working. Big projects, little projects, and unexpected projects!
Our biggest unexpected project was a gas leak we had in the basement over this past winter. And by a gas leak I mean 3 gas leaks. (Most of the gas lines haven’t been touched since the house was built in 1903!) So, Tabor and I got to working on it. It was an easy fix – or so we thought…Long story short and three trips to the hardware store later we ended up hooking our furnace back up to the line since it was going to be down to 14 F that night. We left the gas water heater and stove disconnected that evening. “Well, this off-grid’ing project really accelerated itself,” Tabor said between swigs of a well-earned beer.
The next morning I said, “Dammit Tabor! You’re a genius,” Which I say every morning but it was extra special that particular day. I mean, why hook these appliances back up when we’ll be disconnecting them eventually? It was over winter break so I didn’t have any classes – what a great opportunity to have the time to get this done.
I called up my dad who is a retired electrician and he came over and we figured out what kind of electric hot water heater I’d be able to operate once I switch over to my own electrical production. W purchased and installed a small 20-gallon hot water heater. Everyone always asks me if we run out of water but I’ve tried to run out of water in the shower and can’t. Since we installed low-flow shower heads, it takes over 20 minutes to run out of hot water. Ain’t nobody got time for that!
Our gas oven range was the next appliance which needed replacing. We swapped it with a toaster oven and hot plates we had laying around. Both run on electricity. Too easy! I want to expand on this but I really don’t know what else to say.. The toaster oven is silver-y in color.
“But Rob,” you say, “You’re still getting your electricity from Duke Energy which uses coal to fuel their power plants. And that coal comes from the Appalachian Mountains where over 400 mountains are slated to be leveled to get at all that yummy coal. What good is it switching from gas to coal?”
Well, we thought of that and switched over to an electrical provider called Ethical Electric which sources all 100% of their electricity from renewable resources. (Hit me up if you switch too and we can both get some mullah off of our bill.) So, all of our electrical power is provided by either wind or solar! It is about .03 cents per kWh more expensive than using coal which, if my calculations are correct, means that for every 100 kWh I use I spend $3 more dollars than I would have. Bad. Ass.
I originally thought gas was going to be the most difficult utility to disconnect from since there are three separate appliances: stove, water heater, and furnace. But, in less than a week we disconnected from two of them! You know what they say: Necessity’s mom makes inventions.