Friday, February 26, 2010

Energy in Italia

As (sort of) typical Americans in the USA we don't think much about household energy - we might look at the monthly bill but other than that, we pay little attention. It's probably part of the reason we read somewhere that the USA has only 5% of the world's population but uses 25% of the world's energy. Italian must use a tiny share overall. The red "bombola" is our cooking gas supply- a simple pressurized can connected to the stove with a high-pressure rubber hose and regulator. A can like this costs about $40 US and we changed one out about a month ago. Heather cooks a lot, making homemade broth etc. so cooking gas is not a big deal until Larry has to lug the empty can down to the local gas store for exchange. We'd like to purchase Liquigas and think some of the euros were going to support Vincenzo Nibali but Larry throws the can over his shoulder and treks off to the nearest place to exchange it -- which doesn't sell Liguigas. We could probably pay extra and have a guy come over and swap out the cans for us but we don't like the Liquigas Cycling Team THAT much! The other photo is our water heater. This tiny thing is electric and we won't know exactly what the electricity costs will be until the landlord asks for money. We do know this little thing holds maybe 15 gallons at most - one bathtub full of hot water! It takes almost an hour to heat up another full tank so we're pretty thrifty with hot water, especially when the electric circuit breaker pops if you try to heat water (there's a handy switch to turn it on/off) while also using the washing machine! No dryer, gas or electric, we just hang the damp clothes (the centrifuge in the washer gets 'em pretty dry) to dry in our apartment. We've learned over the years that synthetic materials dry very quickly so 100% cotton clothes are a rarity for us in Italy.

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