If you haven’t already, please check out my post last month to find out how my husband and I are saving over $500/year in electricity costs!

Photo Credit: Tim Leach

Heating, however, has posed a larger problem for us. Heating in Alaska accounts for 65 – 77% of your home’s energy usage – the single largest energy expense.   At our house, it’s even higher. While the previous
owners took advantage of the Home Energy Rebate Program (which created more than 1300 jobs in Alaska!), they added some insulation but left us much more to do. Fortunately Alaska Housing Finance Corporation gave us a copy of the energy audit so we could see what other efficiency recommendations were made.

We fixed weather stripping around doorframes, installed foam insulation to exterior wall outlets, and installed a programmable thermostat. Used properly, a programmable thermostat can save up to $150 a year, according to Energy Star. We also turned our hot water heater to 120o and keep our thermostat fairly low, ranging from 60 – 65o unless we have guests.

Our problem was evenly distributing the energy. We found it difficult to increase the temperature past 60 on very cold days in the living room, yet the bedrooms became saunas. Last December we installed a wood stove insert into the fireplace. For $15, we bought moisture meter to ensure our wood is under 20% moisture for more effective burning. ‘Bring slippers!’ is no longer a tag line on our winter dinner invitations. We are actually using more energy now with the wood stove, but are more comfortable in our home. Next on our to-do list is adding even more insulation and saving up for the inevitable new boiler.

Learn more about saving energy in your home.

By Shaina Kilcoyne