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What is your PRIMARY fuel source for home heat? (updated)

Discussion in 'Energy, Environment, and Policy' started by bonnie, Feb 16, 2014.

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What is your PRIMARY source of heat for your home?

Poll closed Feb 23, 2014.
  1. Geothermal

    8 vote(s)
    11.1%
  2. Electric – Solar panels (Grid or direct)

    8 vote(s)
    11.1%
  3. Electric – Grid supplied

    10 vote(s)
    13.9%
  4. Wood/pellets

    4 vote(s)
    5.6%
  5. Propane

    4 vote(s)
    5.6%
  6. Coal

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  7. Passive sun

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  8. Other (please explain in post)

    38 vote(s)
    52.8%
  1. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    #1 bonnie, Feb 16, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2014
    What is your primary fuel source for home heat?

    UPDATE: PLEASE VOTE OVER HERE AT NEW POLL WHILE WE GET THESE MERGED
    http://www.teslamotorsclub.com/showthread.php/27576-What-is-your-PRIMARY-fuel-source-for-home-heat-%28updated%29

    I'm curious how many people are still using coal or gas - and what long-term plans might be in place to change over to more environmentally friendly ways of heating their home. I'm personally still on propane, but have managed to reduce my usage to the point where I use less than a tank/year (and plan to eliminate it entirely following a home remodel).
     
  2. AudubonB

    AudubonB Mild-mannered Moderator Lord Vetinari*

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    I chose "wood". In Alaska, we heat mostly with wood - have two enormous "Blaze King" woodstoves; they've a catalytic convertor for extra heat extraction and to minimize uncombusted hydrocarbons. In July and the first half of August it is common for us not to be using them, but it is by no means unusual to have them going even then.
    In Arizona, we're heating mostly by passive sunlight (yay!); there is a wood-burning fireplace that would be the source of endless giggles in Alaska but can take the edge off those bitter Arizona winters (you know: when it gets below +40ºF..... ;) ).

    As far as coal goes: in Alaska there are a vanishingly small number of residences that do use it for heat. Around Homer and Anchor Point, there is enough coal sloughing off sea-cliff erosional sites for people to collect, for free, some low quality coal, and around Denali Nat'l Park a couple of people get some lignite from the Usibelli coal mine. And in parts of Appalachia there is a small amount of coal used in homes. But I very, very strongly suspect that the overlap between people who burn coal for heat and people who have Teslas in their garage is a big, fat, Zippity-Blank-Oh.

    But you miss a very large heat source. In northeast US, in most of Alaska, and in a limited number of other sites throughout US, fuel oil (it's diesel #2 or #1 without road tax paid) is the dominant heat source. Out-numbers coal by orders of magnitude. THAT​ is the Big Thing that ought be the focus for those looking to move off HC combustion.
     
  3. ChadS

    ChadS Petroleum is for sissies

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    #3 ChadS, Feb 16, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2014
    Primary fuel at our current house is natural gas (what most homes in the area use; though some older ones use oil or electric baseboards, some farther out use propane. Alt-fuel homes are really hard to find; I've been looking for months). We've got a high-efficiency forced-air furnace.

    We've got in bid in on a net-zero energy home that uses an electric heat pump powered by solar panels (and uses it to heat water pumped through radiant floors), but the builder is holding out for more money. If that doesn't go through, we recently found a home that's a ways out but has electrically-driven geothermal heat.
     
  4. chrisdl

    chrisdl Member

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    Wind energy is missing. I chose other.
     
  5. dhrivnak

    dhrivnak Active Member

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    Sorry the poll was confusing to me. While we have a passive solar house the sun meets less than half of our heating needs. So we have an electric heat pump. We also have solar panels but again they meet only half our our winter electric needs. Because electricity is one big pot I really do not know how much electricity goes to the heat pump versus all the other appliances including the Roadster.

    So in honesty I can say I heat with the sun (passive solar), electricity (heat pump) and I am supplied by both the grid and solar panels.

    Finally gas can be a very efficient way to heat a home. Coal is definitely old school but natural gas is very common in our area and quite clean.
     
  6. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    Didn't mean for it to be confusing. What I really meant for it to do was cause a discussion. I know some of our members proudly use coal and I'm curious about that. I hope they speak up. I'd like to learn more about it.
     
  7. AlMc

    AlMc 'Senior Moments' member

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    I voted 'other' as we use natural gas but not in a propane tank. I have scheduled for a new roof this spring and will go with some solar. I say 'some' because with our heavily wooded lot and poor southern exposure on our main roof lines may not enabled us to go 100% solar.
     
  8. ggr

    ggr Roadster R80 537, SigS P85 29

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    I think a lot of people are probably using natural gas. Certainly we are. Maybe you should start a new poll with that as an option.
     
  9. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    Ottawa, Canada
    Natural gas. The vast majority of people here us it. The remainder are mostly electric heat ($$$), and propane in outlying areas. A very small percentage use a heat pump or ground source heat pump.

    I didn't vote because natural gas doesn't deserve to be lumped into "other".
     
  10. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    Options added.
     
  11. carrerascott

    carrerascott FUEL FTR

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    Charlottesville, Virginia
    We are all electric, other than heavy wood stove usage (we're in the boonies). But just added 9.4kw solar system. Adding 3.6 more shortly.
     
  12. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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  13. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    Las Vegas, NV
    Hydroelectric
     
  14. jamtek

    jamtek Member

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    #14 jamtek, Feb 16, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2014
    Here in New Hampshire, I recently switched from propane to a whole house wood pellet boiler. Now, instead of paying exorbitant per gallon pricing for propane that originates mostly from foreign oil and natural gas processing, I buy locally sourced wood pellets for fuel. The pellets are made from the waste sawdust that comes from the local sawmills. The fuel is carbon neutral. This being my first year heating solely with wood pellets, I calculate my savings in fuel costs to be 40-50%. This has been a brutally cold winter in New Hampshire and the system has not let me down :biggrin: If propane costs continue to rise in my area for the remaining weeks of the season, savings may be greater than 50% this winter. System payback should be less than 5 years.

    Though my whole house pellet system has been more of an undertaking than I would have liked, I'm pleased with the system I have now. The technology has improved vastly in just the past 5 years. Bulk pellets are now delivered to the house 8-9 tons at a time and blown in from a big tanker truck that looks like a standard propane truck--filling a storage tank (bin) through a feed tube just like liquid fuel. This requires no involvement by the homeowner. The pellets are then fed from the storage bin to the burner/boiler system through an automated vacuum system that feeds pellets as required. Everything is computer controlled and the boiler modulates BTU output based on inside/outside temperature differential. Even the ash is automatically processed and stored for easy maintenance.

    I'm happy to elaborate more if anyone is interested. I'm a big fan of wood pellet heat.

    Next project--add solar to charge the Model S!
     
  15. AudubonB

    AudubonB Mild-mannered Moderator Lord Vetinari*

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    Bonnie - I strongly believe there is a conflation of thoughts over "what energy" is occurring here. For a huge number of people, "coal", "wind", "hydro"....are the ultimate energy source, but they are using it after it's been converted into electricity. "Nuke" would go there, as well. It's pretty evident from the responses prior to that post that some of that has been going on...
     
  16. SCW-Greg

    SCW-Greg Active Member

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    Nat gas.
    I'd love to go solar, have to change our roof first (cedar shake not acceptable for panel mounting).

    In the northwest, gas is the overwhelming heating fuel source.
     
  17. Merrill

    Merrill Active Member

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    We are all electric and have a heat pump, we very rarely use the heat pump to heat the house and never use the a/c. We have a house that is orientated to the south and has windows the complete length so passive solar, especially in the winter when the sun is low in the sky. We have a 4.5kW solar system and have replaced all windows with dual pane and all the mechanicals with energy efficient equipment. Mostly led lighting and new pool equipment, hvac and appliances. We try to supplement heat with wood stove since we have an endless supply of wood which I cut and split, also save on a gym membership. Went with a second meter for the Tesla which gives us a better rate. We have a fairly mild climate in Northern California, so heating is not a big deal. I would say that if we left the house heater on to 65 degrees we would not be able to afford to pay the PG&E monthly bill. We have no coal power plants in California, and PG&E is mandated to have at least 20% of the power generated from clean sources.
     
  18. Liz G

    Liz G P03056

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    We have natural gas here but are looking into geothermal. We put solar on the house over a year ago. So geothermal is just the next natural step for us.
     
  19. roblab

    roblab Active Member

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    I would love to see your house! I'm jealous.

    Ours is a "vintage" standard designed by a missionary about 60 years ago, so rather ho hum, but I do have about 8 kW of solar on a bank behind the house facing Napa Valley. But I'm not replacing much Nat Gas electricity.

    This whole area, down to San Francisco, up to the Oregon Border, is powered in large part by the 26 geothermal plants just north of me.

    I did not see anyone saying much about this power source, so I thought I'd mention it. The water is grey water waste, pumped into a very active seismic area, turned to steam to run turbines. It is quite interesting to tour. Well, for a half hour, anyway.

    The solar is because, for some reason, PG&E wants to charge us for all this renewable power. I prefer Free (well, paid for, by now) Forever. I know, not free, but as free as Elon's Superchargers. I guess I can say it if he can. :)

    But the HEAT is Nat Gas. It's hard to get away from that around here.
     
  20. caddieo

    caddieo Member

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    #20 caddieo, Feb 16, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2014
    I hate to dampen the enthusiasm in this survey, but I have to point out that those who rely on grid electricity for their heating will affect poll accuracy since the basis for the electricity will vary from state to state, ranging from 96% coal in WV to 76% hydroelectric in ID plus all kinds of combinations in between. Here in FL, it's 26% coal, 56% natural gas, 10% nuclear plus "others". CA is 1% coal, 53% NG, 16% hydro, 16% nuclear and 9% wind/solar/geothermal plus a few "others". Data obtained from Dept. of Energy, 2010.
     

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