Looking over my spending records for the past few years, I was surprised to see that we were averaging $800 a year for propane. Egads, that surely isn't approaching self-reliance. We were using propane to heat water, run a house room heater on chilly mornings & evenings, use in outdoor BBQ, cook food and bake, dehydrate foods, and run a weed dragon that killed weeds in the garden. Way, way too much propane.
Steps to cut propane gluttony:
1- sell the weed dragon and use a hoe. While the weed dragon was a fun toy, a scuffle hoe does just as good a job and just as fast. Thus the weed dragon is history. I've actually come to like the hoe better because I can use it in mulched areas and close to the base of plants.
2- only turn on the Paloma (hot water heater) when we need it. Running the pilot light 24 hours a day uses propane, far more than we expected or were told. We found that our habits showed that hubby took his hot shower in the mornings, while I took mine just before dinner. So we fill the dishwashing sink with hot water then take a shower. Paloma stays off most of the day. Oh yes, I now wash my clothes in cold water, well not really cold. I coiled a garden hose up on the shed roof and run the washer's water through it. It's nicely warm by the time it enters the wash machine.
3- we built an outdoor BBQ pit for wood fuel. Now our grilled veggies and meats are cooked over guava or kiawe coals.
|The Morso Squirrel woodstove just installed. First firing.|
5- the propane room heater got moved to the bathroom where it seldom gets used compared to before. Hubby will use it on chilly winter mornings to pre-heat the bathroom for a couple of minutes. In the livingroom in place of this propane gobbler, we installed a Morso Squirrel woodstove. It's a small wood burning stove that is the perfect size for the house. A quick fire morning and evening is enough to take the chill off the place. Plus I can heat the teakettle atop it at the same time.
|Cooking on the stove|
If you've noticed, I've substituted wood in place of propane. Wood costs me little other than my time and labor. I have easy access to a vast supply of wood.
People suggest that we install solar hot water. The systems are a bit pricy and require electricity. We would have to look into just how much electricity they demand and at what times during the day. On top of that, we normally only have sun in the mornings. And no sun for 5 days is not unusual. So this is something to think about, but I'm not ready to run out and buy a system.