Theft Deterrent

One thing I like about heating with wood is that it’s not an easy fuel to steal.  I started to hear a few stories in 2008 about people’s outdoor kerosene tanks being drained while they were out of town, and the like.  It wouldn’t be much harder to pump out a cellar oil tank, or even to suck out a propane tank, with a bit of gear.  If your neighbors noticed someone monkeying with your tank, they’d probably just assume they were delivering, rather than removing.  I don’t think heating-oil prices would have to get that high before people started pilfering it routinely.  I’m old enough to remember people stealing gas out of each other’s cars during the 70’s energy crisis (youngish people may wonder why you have to open the gas-cap-flap with a lever inside the car?)

Anyway, I suppose by the time oil hits $5 or so a gallon, everyone will have run around and installed locking caps on their oil-tank fills, and something similar on their propane tanks.  But for my money, nothing beats the natural theft-preventing features of wood.  It’s heavy, it’s unwieldy, it’s highly space-consuming, and even the casual observer can discern in which direction it’s moving.  Even if it’s stacked in the open in your back yard, it’s not that easy to pilfer.

Not to say that it’s impossible.  If anyone has a really nice pile of three-year-seasoned birch or oak, I wouldn’t tell me about it.  And if you have a stash of dried apple wood, you should definitely have that hidden.

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7 Responses to “Theft Deterrent”

  1. John Says:

    Hmmm, I’m pretty sure my natural gas feed is harder to steal. 🙂

  2. Will Says:

    ditto on the natural gas.

    • coldhousejournal Says:

      On the other hand, the gas company could, should they get the notion, just shut you off… not to be too apocalyptic, but it’s not entirely far fetched. The city of Anchorage, for example, has recently at least considered the possibility of having to resort to natural gas equivalent of “rolling blackouts”. (See this post).

      At least when you have your own tank full of BTU’s on your property to get some leeway from that. (Thought experiment: imagine having a car that has no gas tank– instead it sucks gas from a pipeline in the road… convenient… but if the pipeline’s turned off, the car stops. Would Americans go for that??)

  3. John Says:

    In many states, you can’t legally be shut off in the winter months.

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