Sunday, January 8, 2012

Thing of beauty

We were going to label just the smoke alarms' breaker, but I have a label maker and a slight case of OCD, so Ken let me label everything in the panel, from his new schematic and COMPLETED wiring job for the entire house + garage.

That's a lot of wirin', cowboy! Well done.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

In hot water now

We are DONE - officially, completely done - with all of the electrical re-wiring in this house. That means the whole house has been 100% re-wired. Nice going, Ken! The cellar is done and wired and all set for the rest of the remodel. We even did fancy (code) stuff like putting the furnace emergency shutoff where it belongs (top of the stairs). We did a little dance when we put the panel cover back on the breaker box - it's been sitting on the floor for literally years, since we've been constantly upgrading the box.

Speaking of the furnace, we've been steadily making improvements to infrastructure that are allowing us to (1) quit using oil, and as a bonus, (2) have redundant systems for everything. Our heat is from a pellet stove, with pellets made in Maine and emissions that are very low. Our insulation, closing the flue, making all the doors and windows actually close, and other basic projects (like storm windows) cut oil usage in half, even before the pellet stove.

As of Friday, we got our hot water off the oil-fired furnace! This means no running the furnace in the summer (which always seemed ridiculous), and massively reduced oil use in winter. We went with a simple, basic - though well-insulated - electric water heater. It was cheap, easy to install, and based on the energy label, should cost about $40/month to run. A big savings over a couple hundred in oil! And, our electric is primarily from hydropower generated from the river we can basically see from a couple of blocks away - nice to be more renewable and much more local in our energy use. We'll see what happens - but again, Ken did a great job installing this and hot showers after a hike today were just perfect. 

Up next - more insulating (we started and need to find more discount foam).