"Feeling, Hot, Hot, Hot'... or not

This year has been an extremely cold winter (I know, when we were young these temperatures were balmy), and I don’t recall being this cold for this long. To make matters worse Hydro, my heat provider, is not helping.

My challenge is I have an electric forced-air furnace (natural gas is not available on my road), which has been doing a so-so job of keeping my house warm - I stress ‘warm’ not hot. Several months ago the giant utility sent me a note saying my electricity had gone up to, what I consider an unrealistic amount, so the time for action has come. I was setting out to purchase a brand new furnace and was quite excited about the prospect.

Where does one begin? Most people I spoke with use natural gas and those that don’t were all over the map. Some recommended oil while others swore by propane. A few even suggested wood, but I quickly ruled that out because I am unable to train my dog to fetch enough wood every day to warm my house.

Such terms as ‘efficiency’, ‘environment’ and ‘clean burning’ became household words for me and I called in the experts to advise me on what route to take. The specialists shook their heads (some thought natural gas was the only choice for consumers) while others explained the insurance costs associated with oil. The cost and unsightliness of a ‘submarine’ tank in my yard, the possibility of a big oil tank in my basement and numerous other sleep-losing obstacles, were raised during conversations, further adding to my frustration.

Then came the fear tactic: Propane can leak and explode, oil smells and you need a chimney, electric