I'm no engineer but here's my question;
we have a log home, approx 3,500 sq ft in PA, we have a great location
for a windmill and I'm seriously considering installing a windmill
that can augment and hopefully replace most of my oil usage.
the oil burner feeds a hot water baseboard system with 7 zones. We
use the zones to heat only what we need but it's still getting
I'm not looking to necessarily come out ahead, breaking even on the
installation of a windmill over 10 to 15 years and sending less $$ to
the Middle East would be very satisfying to me.
Are there ways to convert the oil burner to electric, from some of the
other postings that does not look feasible.
Would it be better to put some large electric heater in the basement
with heat rising throughout the house to reduce oil usage?
Installing all electric baseboard is probably not feasible in a log
home, wiring would be difficult and I don't think I have the capacity
in the existing electric panel.
Any advice is appreciated.
15 years ago oil was about $.80 a gallon so it was more cost effective
than electric heat. Now, with oil over $4.00 a gallon it would seem
that electric heat (electricity hasn't gone up all that much) would
make sense. I am thinking of buying several portable electric heaters
to supplement my furnace next winter.
On May 29, 10:39 am, firstname.lastname@example.org (---MIKE---) wrote:
I'd start by investigating the cost of the windmill part of the
equation. There was an article in the local paper about windmill
sizes, height, etc. As I recall, a modest size generator producing
around 6KW, needed about a 25+ ft diameter blade and was typicall
mounted on a 100 ft tower. That doesn't sound too practical to me.
But I'm sure you can find cost and other info online. And find out
about how much money you can get by selling power back to your
utility. Then you can estimate the economics of the generation part
of the equation.
On the furnace side, I'd say you'd want to put an electrically heated
boiler in parallel with the existing furnace. That way, when the wind
isn't blowing, you could use oil. Putting simple electric heaters in
the basement and hoping that heat will rise is a non-starter. Most
of the heat will be lost in the basement.
On May 29, 7:37 am, email@example.com wrote:
Electricity will go up as does oil, oil may come down alot someday.
Electric rate increases take time. You have to compare the cost of
fuels per BTU to know what makes sence today. Electric space heaters
are cheap and might help out alot. In 5-10 years oil could be cheaper
and your electric company may have gotten its rate increases through.
T Boone Pickens is investing something like 1-10 Billion in wind
farms, if you have the wind, use it if you can sell back to the grid.
Maybe you have oil underground too, alot do and at todays prices its
worth looking into. A guy in Seymore Ind was on Tv showing his
$100,000 rig that pumps 2-3 barrel a day.
If you do not have the capacity for electric baseboard heat in your panel,
you do not have the capacity for any kind of electrical heat except possibly
a heat pump. Baseboard heat is very efficient since all of the electricity
is converted to heat and it is directly in the rooms where needed. A heat
pump is more efficient unless the outside temperature is very low.
It is very unlikely that you can install and maintain a windmill system
large enough to generate adequate power for home heating. If available, the
electric utility is nearly always the cheapest source for large amounts of
Converting the boiler is not simple, but you can put in assorted electric
heaters to replace or supplement the windmill. Given that it is a
mechanical device, it will eventually wear and break. and need repair Good
to have that oil on hand at that time.
First step is to find out what restrictions may apply. Here in CT a fellow
put in a windmill, but the town made him take it down as it was too high and
violated zoning regulations.
Good luck, I hope it works for you.
Then there are always the NIMBYs. A private investor group with no
government subsidy (shocking I know) wanted to install windmills near
here. There is a development that is filled with giant McMansions with
multiple fluffed up trucks in the driveway where some influential people
live. Even though the proposed farm was 7 miles away from them they
managed to enact a convoluted zoning change to protect *their* view.
I'd measure the windspeed first. IIRC, PA is the 2nd least windy state in
A 10 kW windmill (eg Bergey's, about $40K with a grid-tie inverter and
tower) would produce 60 kWh/day at 25% capacity in good winds, something
like 2 gallons of oil. Or maybe 6, with a heat pump, or 10, with a water
source heat pump.
And it isn't just speed, it's the time-integral. In dead winter and
midsummer it is highly likely there are significant periods of very
little wind. Summer may not be such a load-saving time in PA, but
winter won't help much if it's normally nearly calm during that time of
I am in pittsburgh, my best friend erected a 14 foot blade windmill in
1960, its a nice yard ornament and never produced a impressive amount
of power. it charges a bank of 12 volt batteries
just drive by most windmills randomly in your travels, most wouldnt be
moving or turning slowly.
heating from wind just doesnt pay off.
my best friend has occasional visitors, his unit can be seen from
Interstate 279. people come with great expectations and leave sad...
most dont turn at all inb winds under 10 MPH,
sync troubles with lines, wear and little power,
OP might do better if he owns enough land with mineral rights to get a
oil well with gas drilled on his property.
owners usually get free natural gas plus 11.5 percent of
a casual friend had a oil well drilled on his property and gets free
natural gas heating.
Once upon a time in Texas, there were significant legal battles over water
rights between land owners on opposite sides of a boundary creek.
Now I hear there are places in Texas where there's not enough wind for two
This leads to court battles between adjacent land owners over wind rights.
So, the weather's a factor.
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