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Old 08-14-2018, 01:26 PM
 
Location: Paradise CA, where else, Zip 95969
516 posts, read 323,095 times
Reputation: 1276

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If we live that long we plan to visit Bella Vista in July 2019. But if our house burns down this year we'll go much sooner. There is a 10-20 % chance of that. Forest fires are all around us and every day a new fire pops up. Most of them are arson or other human causes. The Redding fire was caused by a flat tire on a trailer; over 1,000 homes burned so far and it is not yet over. We live in a small mountain town in Northern California, ask Nita, she knows Paradise well. I hope she reads this because I value her posts among the best.

Here come some technical questions, and I thank you all in advance for taking your time.

Regarding heating a home in the winter, what are the most common options? Electric, natural gas, propane, or wood stove?
Are wood stoves restricted to be used only on certain days ? (They are in California, in some towns).

What was the highest bill you ever had for utilities? Heating in winter, and A/C in summer ? (our highest was $ 310 in January, natural gas).

Is the drinking water city water or well water ? (we have city water, expensive too)

Is irrigation for lawns and trees necessary and expensive? (We are facing severe restrictions like 120 gallon per day, coming in 2020, thanks to Governor Jerry Brown).

What is the average water bill monthly?

Is the sewage city sewage or septic? Expensive ? (We have septic, no problems).

What is the average cost of homeowners insurance ? Is it hard to get or switch companies ? (Where we live now most ins. companies won't write any new policies due to the extreme fire danger. Every year we get a 13-14 % increase).

As for winter driving: necessary to have an all-wheel-drive truck, or chains, or just any car with special winter tires? (I lived in Europe and drove in snow, but that was a long-long time ago).

What is the biggest concern for the average homeowner ? Tornado, flood, fire, or falling trees ? (here is fire, followed by trees falling).

Once again, thank you for reading, and many thanks to all who would reply.

Last edited by mgforshort; 08-14-2018 at 01:35 PM..
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Old 08-14-2018, 04:53 PM
 
Location: SE corner of the Ozark Redoubt
2,091 posts, read 617,201 times
Reputation: 1983
Quote:
Regarding heating a home in the winter, what are the most common options? Electric, natural gas, propane, or wood stove?
Yes. All of the above.
I know at least one person with each of those options.
I also plan to have Kerosene as back up, by next winter,
in case an ice storm kills our electricity.

Never heard of any restriction on wood stoves.
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Old 08-14-2018, 05:29 PM
 
Location: Paradise CA, where else, Zip 95969
516 posts, read 323,095 times
Reputation: 1276
Thank You, Trex2.

Can you please explain about the Kerosene as backup? Heater?

We have a natural gas powered Generac whole house generator, but it doesn't get much use. Nevertheless, it gives us peace of mind.
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Old 08-14-2018, 05:39 PM
 
Location: SE corner of the Ozark Redoubt
2,091 posts, read 617,201 times
Reputation: 1983
Quote:
Originally Posted by mgforshort View Post
Thank You, Trex2.

Can you please explain about the Kerosene as backup? Heater?

We have a natural gas powered Generac whole house generator, but it doesn't get much use. Nevertheless, it gives us peace of mind.
Yeah, my heater heater may never get used either.
But just like seat belts, it is good to have.

This area gets hit by an ice storm about once every several years.
How often? I don't know.

If the electricity goes out, the furnace (I have gas) won't
run, and pipes can freeze. Not too mention, I freeze

I have a house with a basement (I like having a basement,
even though it adds to the cost), but if it gets below freezing
for a few days without electricity, it can freeze pipes in
a basement too.

Burning about 1 gallon of kero per day should keep my
place from getting too cold, according to my calculations.
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Old 08-15-2018, 05:42 AM
 
Location: Bella Vista, Ark
69,169 posts, read 79,318,397 times
Reputation: 38549
ok, here goes and I certainly do not have all the answers:

I am guessing the majority of the people use electric heat pumps for heating. We do and most of our friends do, but there are a lot that use propane. If you do depend on Electric you will need a back up. WE have been here over 10 years and never had the power off for long enough to get really cold, but it does happen. We have a propane fireplace which is what we would have to depend on in case of a power failure. Some people also invest in generators. We never have. As for wood stoves, no restrictions.

Our electric bill: we are on a balanced or budget plan and it runs between $130 to $160 a month year round. We have 1700 sq ft plus a heated and a/c glassed in room that is 250 sq ft. I will mention we do not use it a lot. I don't know exactly how much our water bill is. We are on a septic tank btw. Most of us, west of the highway are. many on the east side are on sewers. We have city water.

Our home owners insurance with $1000 deductible is about a little under $1000 a year. Of course being included in our house payment I don't always keep tract. I think it comes up for renewal in Nov. We do,often search around if we think we can save a little. We also keep our car insurance and home insurance wiht the same company. This supposedly saves us some.

No you really do not need a four wheel drive, but it is nice. We rarely have long lasting snow or ice storms that make driving too bad. If we do, we just stay in the house or proceed very carefully. There are hills tha make it almost impossible to manage without 4 wheel drive and you do see cars stuck by the side of the road. This is rare.

I guess the most worrisome or the one thing most of us are concerned about would be ice storms. Yes, there is the threat of tornadoes, but the chance of us having one here that would amount to anything is less than the chance Pasadena will get wiped out by an earthquake. Probably thing issue many of us have, is not safety or weather but knowing we do have to travel at least 15 or 20 minutes to get to a store if you live on the west side, in the Highlands. You get used to it, but there are times it is a pain. That is the price we pay for the beauty and safety of living here. It is a fair trade off.

Trees falling, again it does happen but I don't think any of us pay much attention to the possibility. Oh and you asked about irrigation. We do not have system but wish we did. Our summers can be very hot and yes, dry from time to time even though the air is humid. The truly beautiful yards do have sprinkler systems. The other option, which of course is becoming more and more popular around the country is rock. We are going to completely rock our front yard next year, keeping our trees of course and some flower area. The back yard we will keep our grass.

Ok, hope this answers some of your questions. Thanks for the kind words and for heaven sake ask God to end your fires. I know you have had a horrible year. My brothers daughter lives in Redding.she didn't lose her house, thank God, but it was several days before she could return. At least she had a daughter she ould stay with.

Good luck with your plans, keep us posted and let's hope you get some rain soon. At least your summer hasn't been all that hot, yet.

BTW: I don't have all the answers, but I sure think I do
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Old 08-15-2018, 08:08 AM
 
Location: SE corner of the Ozark Redoubt
2,091 posts, read 617,201 times
Reputation: 1983
Quote:
No you really do not need a four wheel drive, but it is nice. We rarely have long lasting snow or ice storms that make driving too bad. If we do, we just stay in the house or proceed very carefully. There are hills tha make it almost impossible to manage without 4 wheel drive and you do see cars stuck by the side of the road. This is rare.
I have a daughter and a grand daughter that live on unpaved roads, so I switched to All Terrain tires, even though I don't have 4WD. Unless he gets off the beaten path, I don't think he will see any unpaved roads.

Are you saying there are some fairly steep hills in your neighborhood?
I haven't made it that far west, yet.

As for Ice storms, there was one in the 90's where "Pioneer Woman" lives. (She is in Oklahoma) and there was one here 5 years ago, and one South of Batesville about 10 years ago. That is all I can remember hearing about. I assume if there is Ice or Snow, I just won't go anywhere until it melts, usually in a day or two.
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Old 08-15-2018, 08:26 AM
 
Location: Ozark Mountains Arkansas
1,788 posts, read 1,097,788 times
Reputation: 3560
Quote:
Originally Posted by TRex2 View Post
I have a daughter and a grand daughter that live on unpaved roads, so I switched to All Terrain tires, even though I don't have 4WD. Unless he gets off the beaten path, I don't think he will see any unpaved roads.

Are you saying there are some fairly steep hills in your neighborhood?
I haven't made it that far west, yet.

As for Ice storms, there was one in the 90's where "Pioneer Woman" lives. (She is in Oklahoma) and there was one here 5 years ago, and one South of Batesville about 10 years ago. That is all I can remember hearing about. I assume if there is Ice or Snow, I just won't go anywhere until it melts, usually in a day or two.
While Im not in Bella Vista, 4wd or AWD is really a necessity for me due to the steep hills and the fact that all the roads except for the highways are dirt roads. (unless you live right on the highway). We also keep 10 ply tires on our vehicles.

Even in Bella Vista, 4WD & AWD will help alot if there is snow or ice on the roads.
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Old 08-15-2018, 09:09 AM
 
Location: SE corner of the Ozark Redoubt
2,091 posts, read 617,201 times
Reputation: 1983
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hollynla View Post
While Im not in Bella Vista, 4wd or AWD is really a necessity for me due to the steep hills and the fact that all the roads except for the highways are dirt roads. (unless you live right on the highway). We also keep 10 ply tires on our vehicles.

Even in Bella Vista, 4WD & AWD will help alot if there is snow or ice on the roads.
Well, you do live off the beaten path!
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Old 08-15-2018, 09:39 AM
 
Location: Bella Vista, Ark
69,169 posts, read 79,318,397 times
Reputation: 38549
Quote:
Originally Posted by TRex2 View Post
I have a daughter and a grand daughter that live on unpaved roads, so I switched to All Terrain tires, even though I don't have 4WD. Unless he gets off the beaten path, I don't think he will see any unpaved roads.

Are you saying there are some fairly steep hills in your neighborhood?
I haven't made it that far west, yet.

As for Ice storms, there was one in the 90's where "Pioneer Woman" lives. (She is in Oklahoma) and there was one here 5 years ago, and one South of Batesville about 10 years ago. That is all I can remember hearing about. I assume if there is Ice or Snow, I just won't go anywhere until it melts, usually in a day or two.
Actually in our exact neighborhood it is relatively flat but some neighborhoods around us are hilly enough that it is not easy to drive them in the really bad weather without 4 wheel drive. As for the ice and snow, the only really bad ice storm we had was the year after we moved here, so it must have been early 2009. It was about 3 days before it melted enough for us to leave the house for about 3 days. We also have had one or two years where the snow has been bad enough to keep us pretty home bound for a few days.
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Old 08-15-2018, 10:29 AM
 
Location: Paradise CA, where else, Zip 95969
516 posts, read 323,095 times
Reputation: 1276
Many, many thanks to Nita, Trex2, and Hollynla.
I am quite familiar with you all, especialy with Nita, because I spend plenty of time on City Data, mostly California, Arkansas, North Carolina, and on the dogs and cars forums.

You see, I'm 72 years old. If our house burns it could take 4-6 years before we get it rebuilt. I'd hate to spend my very last years in a motel or in a studio apartment , even if the insurance pays for that. After spending my entire life working hard I'd like to enjoy the last bit of it remaining.
I sincerely love our home and the town of Paradise, but I just can't wait 4-6 years to get back on my feet. In Northern California we have a shortage of good contractors. It took me 2 months to find someone to do minor repairs on our deck.

The other lure to me in Arkansas is the lakes. I love to be in or near water, even though I'm not a good swimmer any more.
Our Paradise Lake here is a bit smaller than Loch Lomond, bur we can't swim there, it's the town's water supply. Nita would know, she lived here. So we can fish or kayak, but no swimming or motorized boats allowed.

If we ever make it to Bella Vista I'd love to take you all to dinner, our treat, your choice.
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