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Thread: Cost of Heating + Powering Small Cabin

  1. #1
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    Default Cost of Heating + Powering Small Cabin

    I've always dreamed of having a small cabin to myself. I finally have the resources to make this come true, but I'm finding it difficult to figure out how much it would cost to live there full time. What would the most cost effective method of heating it be, other than a wood stove? How do I figure out how much it would cost monthly to heat the entire place in winter and summertime? I'm looking at 16x20 size wise. And I'm also curious how much it would cost to provide electricity to the cabin and the best methods of doing this. Anyway, I appreciate your help!

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    It depends on where your cabin will be. On the low side doing away with wood and adding electric will be a couple hundred a month X12
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    There are just too many factors involved to be able to give you a good idea. Mostly, it will all depend on how well insulated your cabin will be? What kind of temperatures it will be exposed to?

    For the most part natural gas is the least expensive, but there again it's not accessible to most of AK. Other than wood, I'd have to believe that most places UP HERE heat with either propane or heating oil (#1 diesel), which is pretty darn expensive.

    To actually know how much a cabin is going to cost to heat, you really have to study up on different types of heaters to find out how efficient they are....BTUs and such, and then weigh that against the costs of the fuel. Weather it be gas, oil, elec, etc...

    But overall, the cost will directly relate to how well your cabin is insulated.....
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    some of the oil drip stoves without power needed are nice.

    i want one to pair with my wood stove

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    Why "other than a wood stove"? No wood use at all, or just a supplement to the wood stove?

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    It's impossible to say how much energy will cost because the cost can vary by a factor of 10 based on where the cabin is located, what types of fuel is available, and how the fuel will be transported to the cabin.

    If you have a cabin that is in the Southern part of the state where you can get on the grid for natural gas and electricity, energy costs will be minimal. If you pick a location in the interior with temps running 40 to 50 below for several weeks straight, a cabin that gets no direct sun for several months and you have to transport in the propane, fuel oil and diesel for a genset, then your energy costs will be very high. I could see how in the right location you could get by on $100 a month, and in the wrong location $1000 a month wouldn't even make it.

    Summer heating costs should drop pretty much to zero for a few months, again depending on location.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

    If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

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    Member dkwarthog's Avatar
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    The answer is...... 3

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carlsdrivein View Post
    I've always dreamed of having a small cabin to myself. I finally have the resources to make this come true, but I'm finding it difficult to figure out how much it would cost to live there full time. What would the most cost effective method of heating it be, other than a wood stove? How do I figure out how much it would cost monthly to heat the entire place in winter and summertime? I'm looking at 16x20 size wise. And I'm also curious how much it would cost to provide electricity to the cabin and the best methods of doing this. Anyway, I appreciate your help!
    Difficult question subject to many variables. Alaska's a huge state with different costs in different areas. Depends on where you're located, how many square feet, how well built/insulated, what type of heat source/fuel, etc, etc.

    I use less than 200 gallons heating oil per year, and supplement with a cord or two of wood depending on how cold the winter is. My monthly electric bill is less than $40.
    ...he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
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    Are you talking remote cabin? ie off the road system? Do you want to be near a village? What part of alaska? Not trying to be a jerk, the answers will make a big difference is the suggestions you get. As I'm sure you're aware AK is huge with many different climates. Insulation is your friend. I heat a 4400 sqft lodge with 6 cords per year and I live in a pretty chilly part of the interior. ( there is also a 16x24 cabin that gets heated part time out of that too)

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    There is an on-line (free) energy use/cost predictor available to help define how to insulate and what various fuel (yearly) costs might be, based on local costs, for any design you wish. Go 'AK Warm', do the down load and start filling in the blanks.
    It is best to have a design on paper with square foot calculations of all surfaces, square foot calcs for windows/doors, heating source selected and some knowledge of a wall, floor or ceiling assembly and building terminology.
    I used this program to predict heating costs for various fuels in my cabin....will let you know how close it is after the first heating season.
    Steve Wisdom (teaches building science to builders through out AK) said today during class, 'the program is accurate if you get all the correct data entered'.
    Do your home work and spend some time 'in state' to get a feel for where you want to live and what kind of neighbors you want. It can make you or send you running.

  11. #11
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    A buddy of mine has one of these installed at his camp and he leaves it on all winter. His cabin is usually unoccupied during weekdays. Very fuel efficient and uses no electricity. If I were building a cabin I would definitely consider one of these.

    http://kumastoves.com/index.php?disp...w&product_id=8

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