Sunday, July 16, 2017

Electric or Gas

About a year ago, I installed 14 solar panels on my roof.  They do a pretty good job.  I still pay a little for electricity, but the panels produce the overwhelming majority of the electricity we use.

Right now, I have a full house.  That means we average 6 or more people in a week and about 3.5 dogs.  I say this because besides myself, there is my wife, mother-in-law and two daughters.  One lives here a bit over half time and the other half at their boyfriends parents.  Her boyfriend is here about half time.  There is a niece with a newborn that comes here to work remotely about 8 hours, five days a week.

You might wonder why I would mention dogs.  First we have three full time dogs.  2 Outdoor medium sized mutts, and one indoor psychotic mutt that is half Chihuahua and half Jack Russel Terrier.  Finally, my daughter and her boyfriend share a dog that is half Doberman.  I think the other half is Rhodesian Ridge Back.  It is a huge dog and is usually in doors cause of issues.  So why do I count them, because the remainder of my family seems to think that the big dog needs to TV running when we have to go out, so the dogs consume electricity.  Even the two outdoor dogs often have music playing to keep them calm.

At some point we will go from a full house, to an empty nest where it will be just my wife and myself and I am wondering what to do about electricity and gas.  First, we will be producing more electricity than we will be using and Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) is required to buy our surplus electricity and pay for it.  I can't wait for that first check from them.  I am going to get a picture of it, frame it and hang it on the wall!  I want everyone to know they finally paid me, instead of me paying them.

After that, then what?  I still pay for gas.  I buy my gas from another company, but it is sort of a joke.  PG&E still charges for using their pipes to deliver the gas and that costs more than the gas does.

So I made a list of the things I use gas for:
Wall Heater
Stove and Oven
Water Heater

Gas is still cheap, so I always have the option to just continue using gas for these things, but I will be producing more electricity than I consume, so here are some ideas that I have come up with:

Heater - I have a pellet stove in the living room, so that may be my answer.  There is a full heat pump (Electric heating and air conditioning system that is in the Sun Room and my In-laws bedroom.  At some point, we may need to move into that bedroom cause it is not up half a flight of stairs.  If I want more heat, I already have an nice electric space heater.  It is one of those oil filled radiators.

Stove/Oven - I really don't like electric ranges, but I hear the induction ones are very nice.  My wife already uses the toaster oven more than the gas oven, so we might keep it that way.

Water Heater - Is much larger than we need.  I might get two small ones, one for the upstairs and one for the down stairs and just turn them on when we need them.  I am thinking of doing that soon for my mother-in-laws bathroom now.  I could add a solar water heater.  The technology needed is so simple, even I can design one.

Dryer - We did have an electric dryer in the past when we rented.  It was ok, but not great.  I image they have improved over the years and we are willing to set up a clothes line in the backyard and drying racks in the sun room.

I still want to improve the insulation in the two attics we have and probably put an awning over our bed room window to keep it from getting too hot in the summer.

Those are my ideas for now.