Flameless Electric Heat - Carefree & colorfree.

It's June, citizens! Time to think about how you heat your home, and the Edison Electric Institute had strong opinions about that. They wanted you to use electricity. Lots and lots and lots of electricity.

Apparently, in 1970, coal and oil were still common heat sources for residential homes. So much so, that a total lack of soot was a selling point for anything that wasn't coal or oil. I didn't know this until now, but I guess coal- or oil-burning furnaces put a lot of soot into the air in your house, which eventually found a home on your walls, furniture, clothing, and pulmonary alveoli. So, if you're an electric company - or better still, if you're an association that represents LOTS of electric companies, a good way to sell your product is by pushing the "no soot" feature. With electric heat, you could decorate your pad in a pure white Space 1999 Clorox motif, and just use throw pillows to coordinate with your pants suit... just like you always dreamed of.

Fair enough, but what the Edison Electric Institute would like you to forget is that electricity is just about the most expensive an inefficient way to generate heat. Your blow dryer may use as much as 1500 watts of juice. Now imagine 1500 watts of noise coming out of your stereo's amplifier. That's enough sound to destroy your hearing and attract the police. 1500 watts of heat will dry your hair, but 1500 watts of sound will make you permanently deaf. Electric heat is very power-hungry.

For a few years, I lived in a one-bedroom apartment with electric heat. In the winter, my electric bills would get up around $160, and this was in 1997 dollars. I don't want to think what it would cost to heat an entire house with electricity.

Know what, though? For those lucky enough to have electrically-powered everything in their house, the EEI had a special award for you: the Total Electric Award. See?

The Total Electric Award meant that your total income went directly into the coffers of your local electric company, in exchange for which you got a perfectly soot-free, cash-free life, and a gold medallion of some kind - probably a sticker - to put in your picture window. This served two purposes. 1) It showed your neighbors that, if by chance you happened to look like a family of chimney sweeps, it was because you were a family of chimney sweeps, NOT because you lived in a coal-heated house. And 2) it discouraged burglars, because they would know that you had zero cash and valuables in the house.

Click for big.


Post a Comment