Monday, May 9, 2011

Decisions, Decisions

Last year's local price for home heating oil was around $2.75/gallon. I just called around and got prices of $3.75--after a drop in prices last Friday. We have averaged around $1725 in oil purchases annually over the past four years; the new price would bring that up by over $750.

The question is whether we should go ahead and rip up the back lawn to put in a geothermal system. It could pay for itself (with incentives, givebacks, etc.) in anywhere from 7 to 12 years, depending on the price of oil. Will we still be in this house in 12 years? Is it worth the investment just to get away from the oil industry? Can we afford to keep sinking this much money into the house? Can we afford not to? Will oil prices keep creeping upward, or will some global political event suddenly drop them through the floor?

Geothermal is not 100 percent green; it relies on electricity. Good luck figuring out where our electricity comes from; NYSEG isn't telling.

It would have been funny if we'd taken the check we got for our mineral rights years ago and used it to put in geothermal back then. Hindsight is 20-20--had we only know about this technology when we built the house, we wouldn't be looking at this enormous expense for a retrofit.

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