Today was a nuts and bolts kind of day… literally. Jeff and the coal boiler installer, Matt, worked in the basement on the new boiler non-stop from 7:30 am to 6:30 pm. The kind of work they did is just not the same kind of work you’d be doing in a modern house… Jeff had to chip away at the cement to change the opening from 4″ inches to 8″ inches to accomodate the exhaust pipe (I *think*). And, because a metal plate from the new (used) boiler was missing, Matt decided to cut a piece of sheet metal from the old boiler and fabricate it into a usable piece on the new boiler. This kind of work fascinates me and reminds me of times long gone by. I wonder what would happen if our country had to suddenly start manufacturing more of it’s own products again rather than outsourcing to other countries. Would our population know what to do? Would we be able to think mechanically or have the right tools? I realize there will always be a segment of the population that passes on knowledge or studies that sort of thing, but I tend to think that this type of knowledge was more commonplace a hundred years ago. Matt shared with us that he never imagined that he’d be getting calls from all up and down the east coast asking him questions about coal boiler installation and burning coal. I realize that coal is looked upon as “dirty” and damaging to the environment, but the truth, at least for residents of Pennsylvania and nearby states is that burning coal creates a smaller carbon footprint than oil when you factor in that it is local to PA and surrounding states and doesn’t have to be shipped from overseas or very far at all. I am looking forward to burning coal because it will also represent not being dependent on another country for my heating source. I will be paying a little more than 1/3 of what I was paying for oil equaling more money in my pocket and less in the pockets of foreigners. Oh, and I’ve been told that coal keeps houses warmer than oil or gas heat… but, I’ll give you the 411 on that fact once I have experienced it for myself.