Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Sustain-ability: Redundancy Case Study

By the way, this is officially my 100th post!

Our house came with a new, but very cheap, electric coil stove. After six year of heavy use (including a great deal of canning, which involves large heavy pots full of water and glass jars filled with stuff) it began to fail. We'd replace electronics and burners and put up with increasingly erratic oven behavior. After my last batch of fruit preserves, the large front burner didn't just die again, but actually cracked into the stove top. It was time for a new stove.

A glass top stove isn't recommended for canning (and so was a non-starter) and another coil stove just seemed depressing. So after some debate we decided to take the leap and have natural gas piped to the house so we could get a "real stove" in my husband the chef's words.

This is quite a production. The gas company has to run the line and install the meter, another company has to install the internal piping (with the attendant permitting and inspections) and install the stove. The hood (we had a lame stove top microwave recirculating thing -- not to code for gas) needed to be installed and piped out of the house. The original plan was to tap into the existing line to my neighbor's house reducing costs, but this plan fell apart. Everything was delayed. The hood installation was so terrible that my husband had to redo most of the work himself. We had to reschedule the internal installers because of the logistics delay with the gas line. The stove was sitting forlorn in our garage for weeks. Finally the installers came and the old stove went out to the curb... just about a minute before the gas company called to reschedule our install to September 2nd. Ooops.

This means that we are in the midst of a 2-week gap with no working stove.

This is annoying. It's doubly annoying because the new stove is right there in the kitchen, all shiny and beautiful -- and it doesn't work! And my stockpile of preserves will no doubt suffer.

But it's actually not that big of a deal. Why? Redundancy.

We currently have a crockpot, an electric pressure cooker, a backyard propane grill with a side burner, a bread machine, and a countertop top induction burner (as seen on TV). I know it sounds nutty, but all of these appliances were in regular use already. Now they are just getting more attention. I can't bake (except bread). I can't can ("can't can" lol). But we can cook and feed ourselves easily enough. There are a lot of one pot meals and grilling, but it's just fine.

And ironically, the installation of the gas stove just increases our redundancy. Previously, if we had a power outage, we'd be grilling. But now we'll be able to proceed as usual. Of course when the Cascadia Subduction Zone quake hits, we'll be completely screwed in any case. I guess we'd need a redundant house in another part of the country to deal with that.

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