Matthew Nistico wrote:removed from the urban sprawl of DC, but still only a short drive to it, yet also a short drive to the more rugged parts of Western MD.
It's about as urban as I'm willing to deal with. I work an hour's drive east. I went to high school in Boonsboro, which is closer to Hagerstown than Frederick, and my mom had 10-12 acres a couple miles outside of town in farm country where she raised horses and maintained a similar balance with a long commute to a more urban work. I've moved around all over the country in my adult life to different big cities but never really gotten used to them, and Frederick still seems pretty urban to me. The farther west I go in Maryland the nicer people seem to be. Ultimately I'd like to be much more secluded - I've thought about places including West Virginia, Missouri, the Carolinas, or perhaps somewhere in the midwest/southwest...yeah that's a bit vague I know! I'm thinking somewhere a bit warmer would be good but I'm okay with the climate here as well. I don't think I'd want to live in a much colder climate.
I am betting that a house that old will really burn through some firewood come winter. Have you needed to use much yet this year?
Apparently the previous tenants averaged nearly $250/month in electric, and also burned through a high volume of heating oil. Our electric usage thus far has been averaging around 10-12kwh/day, with some days a bit more than twice that. I check the meter daily though to give live feedback on how we're doing and the housemates are adjusting their habits to save as much as they can. I believe the water heater is our biggest consumer of electric. We haven't used any heating oil (or electric required to run the furnace fans) since the first day. The wood stove is kept going all the time, with the fireplaces only used on occasion. It uses a fair bit of wood but keeps the house tolerably warm overall. The walls are a foot and a half thick stone and there are storm windows over all of the original single-pane windows, so insulation doesn't seem to be a big concern as of yet. It's been down to 36 degrees outside at night and we've been comfortable enough, with the indoor temperature in the room with the wood stove and above it staying near 70. We are definitely using more wood than I can comfortably keep up with producing, and with winter coming on I fear we'll have to buy some firewood and/or use the oil heat a bit. We also have been doing all cooking exclusively on the wood stove so that's essentially free, and I have an oven that is designed to sit on top of a wood stove coming soon which will allow baking, though I'll need to get some rust damage on the bottom tended to before it can be used. Next year I'll stock up a good wood supply all spring & summer, so it shouldn't be an issue. I think I will try to get a trailer and perhaps a truck in order to do more myself, and probably a chainsaw as well although I don't want to use it most of the time. There are a lot of people giving away free wood to anybody who will come cut it and haul it away, since the recent storm knocked a number of trees down. Would be good to be able to capitalize on such opportunities.
It is a bit warmer down here. I currently use a plug-in, oil-filled, electric radiator (those things are awesome, BTW). It is my sole source of heat, and can heat my tiny little place for only about $20/month. But then again my current place is REALLY tiny.
I've used those heaters before when I've rented small places - they're definitely my favorite form of electric heat. I will pick one up next time I see one at a thrift store just to have as a backup, perhaps just for the least cold-tolerant of my housemates to avoid heating the entire house too much.
It is so funny that you mentioned solar space heaters built from aluminium cans... I am in the middle of designing a home-built space heater following exactly the same method, which I hope to install this winter in the little outbuilding in which I know live. This heater will be a test run for two similar ones I plan to install on the main house. There are some good examples of this same type of DIY space heater on YouTube.
Yep! I have watched all the videos Paul has ever posted on YouTube and numerous others on subjects that have caught my interest. My options are a bit limited with the house being a rental that I can't modify. My own house one day will have rocket stoves built in.
Good luck finding the right partners to make the journey with you!
Thanks, but I'd be quite happy to find just one!