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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Fuelish snowbird ways

The worse part of living in northern New Hampshire is the long and never ending winters. Of course, that's why so many people from up north become snow birds. Any fool can freeze to death.

In my case 50 gallons of gasoline brought me to the warm and sunny south. Sure beat burning a 1000 gallons of heating oil -not that I used that much heating oil. Most years mostly what I burn is firewood, much of it gathered from my own property.

Last year I used 30 gallons of heating oil. That was when we got back home in April. Actually, it wasn't even heating oil but off road diesel, which is pretty much the same thing. However, the heating oil company has a minimum fuel order of 125 gallons. It was much cheaper to fill up a few 5 gallon containers at the local gas station. Being in a rural area, off road diesel is pretty common. Regular diesel works too, but is more expensive because of the road taxes. The furnace ran steadily for a few days until the house and everything in it warmed up. After that I burned firewood cut from my property the year before.

Many snowbirds pay to heat their house all winter long, even with no one living there. They are afraid to drain the plumbing. Of course, then they are constantly in fear that the furnace will run out of oil or that something will break. There are elaborate warning systems that can be installed in case of furnace failure. I talked with one guy who had an emergency light that was supposed to go, visible from the road. One year the furnace failed but the emergency light burned out. After that he added an additional light to work if the primary emergency light burned out. Whew! So complicated!

People tell me that their insurance company won't let them drain the plumbing and winterize the house for the winter. Those folks should change insurance companies. My insurance company only requires that the house be shut down properly.

Some years I've had house sitters watching my place for the winter. That only works if you have people you really trust. I've never had a problem. It is nice to come back to a warm house. If you house sit for someone be aware that the IRS could come back on you. They feel that house sitting has a certain value and taxes should be paid. I've only heard of it happening once. Most house sitters never have any trouble with that.



  1. My parents winterize the deer camp every year after hunting season. Nice to be able to cut utility usage to zero. Glad you are safely in Florida and my prayers are for you all. If you guys want to take a road trip this winter a steak dinner is waiting in south Mississippi.

    1. Our old deer camp was so primitive there was nothing to winterize. Thanks for the prayers -and the invite!

    2. Exactly what I was going to say, Sixbears. Our camp was lit by kerosene lanterns and we had spring to get water and an outhouse. Worked for us and I spent many a happy week at that camp when I was a boy.

    3. We had pretty much the same set up with the addition of propane lanterns. Still had kerosene lanterns to back those up.

  2. I know a lot of people that haul the diesel. The oil company won't deliver unless you order at least 150 gallons. We use less than 200 for the year.
    Just saw my blog on your side bar.Thank you so much! :o)

    1. Hi Chickenmom! You are doing pretty good to use less than 200 gallons. I didn't even know you had a blog otherwise I'd have put it in earlier.