According to Boston Globe, this past summer, Massachusetts households experienced the highest summer fuel-oil prices of the last three years. In fact, prices averaged $3.73 a gallon last month, over a $1 more than the same time last year.
If these prices remain, it would increase the average Massachusetts home heating bill by $225, effectively pulling an additional $200 million out of their pockets.
No one knows where oil prices are going — some say over $100 barrel (currently the mid-$80’s) and others see it easing a bit. The bottom line is simple — if you are on a tight budget or fixed income, you don’t like the uncertainty.
In addition, there has also been serious talk about cutting the LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) by as much as 50 percent, adding to an already difficult situation. Even at the current cap of $1000, this provides participants a tank of oil — enough fuel for up to half a heating season. Any cuts and this benefit is reduced.
This never-ending spiral is what leads many homeowners through the doors of our dealers. They are tired of the vicious cycle and the strain it place on their lives. They want to take control of home expense that can be as high as $3500 a year or more.
Operating a wood boiler is not for everyone, it requires some tending every day. The good thing is that today’s advanced wood gasification boilers take away much of the hassle of traditional wood boilers — little or no smoke, less maintenance — and in the case of Greenwood Frontier less work since you don’t need to split the wood. In all cases, these appliances are convenient and are run from the home’s thermostat.
The one thing that all wood heating appliances have in common is that they decrease the operator’s heating costs and reduce the exposure to increasing fuel oil prices. With the ability to lower a heating bill by over 70 percent, year-in and year out, the question I continue to struggle with is a simple one:
With today’s clean, high-efficiency systems why aren’t we using wood-fired central heating and why isn’t our public policy moving those best suited to use wood heat to wood as fuel for heating their homes?