Alaska Homes Need Back-Up Heat
Whew! We made it through another winter.
I’m officially declaring today the last day to worry about home freeze-ups this winter.
One thing that I think a lot of us Alaskans ignore is that we are extremely vulnerable to natural or man-made disasters.
Almost all of us are tied to “the grid”. We are dependent on the electrical grid and the natural gas distribution system.
If we have a large scale failure in the grid the results will be disastrous. Most of the nice new homes that I sell these days have no means to stay warm if they lose both gas and power.
People brag to me about how their gas fireplace will keep them warm even if the power goes out. But I have to wonder what they will do with that 5 star home when the power AND the gas disappear.
How can that happen you ask? One word…EARTHQUAKE…
It seems almost inevitable that we will eventually have another large quake here. When that happens there is a good chance that both the electrical and gas distribution systems will be down for weeks. Can you imagine having to dig up and repair hundreds of broken gas lines throughout southcentral Alaska? And if this happens in mid-winter the damage to homes will be huge.
We all need some way to keep our homes warm in a disaster. You can go the cheap route…like me, and just store a barrel stove in the shed. Or you can install a $30,000 masonry fireplace that will heat your home so efficiently that you can kiss Enstar goodbye. Here are some good links:
- Craigslist…lots of used wood stoves that you can store in the shed, or install permanently.
- Frontier Heating Concepts…Palmer resident Andrew Good sells wood boilers.
- University site on wood heat…Lots of different ideas on how to heat with wood.
- Alaska Fireplace…Wood, Coal, and Oil stoves that run with or without electricity.
- Masonry Heater…Ned Rozelle article on masonry heaters.
- Cold Climate Housing Research Center…study on wood heaters.
Whichever route you choose…you have until mid-November to get it done. That’s six months.