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Emergency heat, no fireplace, wood stove nixed by insurance

 
pollinator
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Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7 AHS:4 GDD:3000 Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
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Propane/Natural Gas Heater
3KW of fossil fuel = 3KW of heat inside the house

Electric Heat Pump
3KW of fossil fuel at a power plant is converted to 1KW of electricity. The heat pump then takes that 1KW of electricity and pump in 3KW of heat. So heat pumps are not more efficient than a regular propane heater. (They are however better than an old fashion resistive heater, which would have only given 1KW of heat from the 3KW of fossil fuel at the power plant).  In some location like say Iceland that generate all of there electricity from renewable sources, it would be truthful to say that one is heating without any fossil fuel. As an average only 20% of the US grid is renewable so it would be more accurate to say that 20% of the heat pump would be from renewable.
 
pollinator
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S Bengi, I am surprised coal is 19%, so many other countries have a much higher figure.
In Australia everybody has piled money onto renewables, much of it from overseas which I dont like because the profit benefits dont stay in Australia.

Accordingly we have problems of congestion points, lack of transmission lines and other technology to spread the power around.
So the community has to finance new transmission lines for foreign owned companies to use!
It seems a pity.
BUT, with the right policies in place it has become an area of improvement, even with political parties who support coal because of jobs.
[and donations]
 
pollinator
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Cath Chirgwin wrote:If you want a long term solution you could look into geothermal heat. A ground source heat pump is a significant up front investment but you'll not be relying on fossil fuels once it's up and running and the ongoing cost is minimal.


Heat pumps are excellent tools in the right time and place. They require electricity to operate though. The OP is looking for emergency heat in the event of another failure of the electrical and natural gas grids. Unless the OP has a fossil fuel powered generator, a heat pump doesn't really help.
 
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Thanks to all who chimed in with more help and good thoughts after my last check-in: Lorinne, William and Cath. Totally love these ideas, including the small guesthouse that could be our own Air B&B in a grid-down, kerosene (of course...so appreciated your thoughts), geothermal, etc.

At the moment I have 2 Big Buddy heaters, and a wall/freestanding heater that can be used with either gas or propane. I thought of plumbing that one into natural gas to start, and having the propane units as backup. A friend also gifted us with a BriteLyt lantern, which I know can produce heat as well as light. So, we are getting there!

The 5K generator would be the next step, plus a bigger propane tank.

And maybe by next year, we can do a wood stove if that still seems worthwhile...

I guess if everything went off in the summer, we would just sweat like pigs...so that is another frontier to navigate! LOL.

So grateful for everyone's input!
 
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Pearl Allan wrote:

I guess if everything went off in the summer, we would just sweat like pigs...so that is another frontier to navigate! LOL.

Considering how many people in BC died last summer due to the "heat dome", that is a very serious frontier. It wouldn't be a bad idea to start a new thread: "Emergency cooling, no electricity..." or whatever words would describe this sort of problem. In BC during that week, it peaked our electrical system at a new high and I've heard of brown-outs in areas of the States on many occasions. Having a *lot* of water stored and some solar panels large enough to at least run a fan or two would be the low-hanging fruit, but planting trees now to shade areas of your property for future use seems good - start from seeds or cuttings to keep them cheep since you're unsure of how long you'll stay there.
 
John C Daley
pollinator
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It may sound looney, but maybe an air tower along the lines of what its used in the middle east can be built.
I use them, and I am aware they have experimented in Germany with them in plazas.
Basically they are tall hollow towers the cross section being will be about 10% of the size of the house, in the Middle East.
Mine are about 9 sq ft. because It took me 45 years to find that rule about the sizes.
Mine rise about 30 ft and draw from the lower part of the house.

In the hottest summers I always have a draft of moving air.  Yes it may be hot, but its moving.
In the Middle East they draw the air over ponds before it goes inside the house, so it creates a cooling effect.
No power is used to operate.

Modern take on wind catchers
 
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