Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 50

Thread: Alternative Ways of Heating

  1. #1
    Member COtoAK's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    North Pole, Alaska
    Posts
    1,896

    Default Alternative Ways of Heating

    I am interested to see what other people on the boards are doing for Alternative Heating for this winter.
    I know that this kind of thread gets talked about somewhat in the wintertime, but I am curious if there are others (just like us) who are converting their systems this summer to prepare for the possible $6.00 per gallon over the winter months.

    We are considering the following:

    1. an external boiler system / wood based / where we stoke it once every morning and transfer the heat generated into our current system.

    2. pellet stove

    3. more effecient wood burning stove

    4. making our water heater electric?

    Is there any other kinds of ways that I am not posting here... that I am forgetting... or that I don't have knowledge of?

    We are seriously considering numbers 1 and 4 and using our PFD to pay for #1. We are considering installing a pellet stove in our upstairs area and the wood stove downstairs in our office space to keep the heat going in both areas. (almost 2200sq/ft) With the external boiler system, we are considering having enough firewood to get us through the winter time to be able to keep our shop/plane hangar at a cozy 35-40 degrees in the winter time, too.

    What else is everyone doing?
    I am curious to know?
    Lurker.

  2. #2
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Eagle River
    Posts
    372

    Default New wood stove

    No doubt,

    Heating this winter is going to be a major financial undertaking for you and your northern neighbors this winter. Of course, we have lots of cheap natural gas in our part of the state, so it's not such an issue . LOL Yea right....

    Don't worry, Enstar is going to get that line going soon.

    Anyways, I decided to update my wood stove to a bigger and more efficient model and cut more firewood this summer. And that is cutting into my fishing time. I went with a Jotul F500. Those Scandinavians know how to build a good stove. I wasn't too surprised to learn that a waiting list exists for new stove orders. I'll try and sell the 80's vintage Vermont Casting stove as soon I can clean it up and take some pictures.

    Maybe we'll get some Sarah bucks this fall to help pay for the new stove.

  3. #3
    Member COtoAK's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    North Pole, Alaska
    Posts
    1,896

    Default

    Sarah bucks would be wonderful this year. She has NO idea how much we would all appreciate it!

    I don't think that the natural gas situation will be soon enough here in our parts of Alaska. I told my husband two years ago when we were building that we should have considered a converter to natural gas and he explained that diesel has always been cheaper in these parts. Unfortunately, that has changed over the last two years and we both agree that we should have done it while we had the opportunity to during the build.

    As a suggestion, when you clean up your stove, you might want to consider posting it on these following websites because it's sure to go quick.
    Of course here on the Swap and Sell
    anchorage.craigslist.org
    www.eielsonforsale.com
    I know that there is an Elmendorf location for baseforsale.com as well.


    Ahh... the days of doing natural gas. It wasn't that long ago, but boy... let me tell you that it was much cheaper and much, much easier!
    Lurker.

  4. #4

    Default $.092/KWhr

    At least here in SE electric is a VERY viable and cheaper alternative. Last winter we bought 3 space heaters and out fuel oil bill dropped $400! This year I am planning on installing baseboard heaters. I am also quite certain the only way to avoid financial ruin is to wall off most of my house and live only in the living room and connected bathroom for the colder months this year. It may seem extreme, but these are extreme times. I feel things may deteriorate in this economy to the extent where we will act like Frenchmen burning books and furniture to keep warm in Nazi occupied France... but we gotta do whatever it takes I suppose.
    There are also reverse cycle A/C systems which can heat if there is a viable water source that stays above 50 year round. This could be ground water, or sea water... Wood pellets and wood burning fireplaces here are not really a good option. The wood available is all pithy softwood.. and even that is $200/cord.

  5. #5
    Member Unalakleet yooper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Unalakleet
    Posts
    135

    Default

    I had an external wood boiler when I lived in Michigan and think you should figure on at least 5 PFD's to pay for that plus the insulated pipe and everything else for the hook up. I had some issues with my brand and had relatives with issues with other brands. PM me and I will go over them with you. The amount of wood that you will burn with an outdoor stove will be considerably more than with an indoor stove.

    I am thinking of putting in an on demand electric heater. Does anyone have any input on them?

  6. #6

    Default

    I made the switch to geothermal two years ago, it has worked well. On cold days I can still keep my house at 70. I run a dual fuel system which is nothing more than having a natural gas boiler as a back up. I run a verticle loop system because of space constraints i had to deal with.

    I live in Girdwood so we don't have realy that cold of winters, I think -10 was about the max I saw temp wise last winter.

  7. #7
    Member COtoAK's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    North Pole, Alaska
    Posts
    1,896

    Question

    Diesel prices here are now at $5.24 per gallon.

    The way we have been doing it is we have been using our 5 gallon cans and filling up 2 per week. Today, that costed me $55.87.
    I have been doing this since the middle of April to try to save on costs.
    When we run out of hot water, we run out of hot water. That's it. Done deal.
    (And then we go to Alaska Club for showers for the rest of the week).

    This can only go so far because we are currently not using the boiler system we currently have for heat. That'll all change once our weather starts ringing the tune of 55 below weather for 5-7 days straight like it did last year.

    The steal of the deal with our situation is that first... we are on radiant heat and second... we have about 2200sq/ft of living space and another 4k/sq/ft of hangar space to heat if we so choose. We are on 7 zones, so we can quarantine certain areas to heat and not heat. Last year, I limited it down to 3 zones and we still went through significant heating oil.

    This year, we already have 3 cords of wood. A guy that has the kind of external boiler system we are looking into used it solely for his heat last year and it took 17 cords of wood. $3400 for wood sounds 100% better for me instead of something like $524 for 100 gallons of heating oil.

    There are 5 members in our family. We will use our PFDs to make this happen and work.

    The system we are looking into is called HeatMor or something like that.
    Any info would be appreciated.
    Lurker.

  8. #8
    Member GrassLakeRon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Grass Lake Michigan
    Posts
    1,978

    Default

    Co,

    You are .25 cents higher on Diesel then Michigan. There is no easy way around the heating issue. We feel it here to. My brother went wood to offset his $500-$700 month gas heater bill. The furnace goes on in late September and goes off in early May. His place in always cold. Good Luck on your quest.

    Ron

  9. #9
    Member Unalakleet yooper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Unalakleet
    Posts
    135

    Default

    A couple of questions for you.

    One, how big of an area that the person who used 17 cords heat and are we talking face cords or pulp cords?

    How well insulated is the hangar area and are the heat runs in the floor?

    Just asking these questions so you can estimate your wood needs and I would be getting wood now so that you are not burning green wood in your stove. It will work, but my experience has been that it doesn't burn the best and is not as efficient.

    Another thing you may want to start collecting are old pallets, many from the lower 48 are made from hardwood and have a better burn time. Also you can stack wood on them to keep wood from being froze in the ground.
    I would also look for any other wood sources like slabwood which is quick to cut and easy to handle.

    I do think that to heat both areas, the outdoor stove is a good idea for your needs.

  10. #10
    Member AKDoug's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Talkeetna
    Posts
    5,714

    Default

    My buddy that owns the local Arctic Cat shop went to a wood fired boiler two years ago to heat the place. It has worked extremely well for him. He buys wood for no more than $150 a cord and buys the "tops" from the local firewood guy that are 6" diameter and less..cut to 42". The firewood guy loves it because the logs are small and long..requiring much less chainsaw work. He doesn't split it, he just burns it whole.

    The last time he heated with oil he burned 4000 gallons in a winter. Which would have cost him around $16,000 at that time. The unit cost him around $9000 installed and his wood cost $4000 the first year. The first year alone he saved $3000. This year his fuel would cost him $20-25,000 and he will spend about $5000 on wood if he doesn't cut it himself.

    That's a HUGE savings and frankly you could throw away a boiler every two years and still save a ton of money.

    We are lucky to live in a wood rich area where it's still cheap. I scored over 100 cords of wood that has been down a year for free. I just have to haul it out with my dozer and cut it. When all is said and done I will have it in place under cover for less than $50 a cord...after I figure my labor, dozer time, and a couple guys labor to help me. I figure this will be a four year supply for me.

    So, I just ordered a big outdoor wood boiler for my business to offset the huge $20,000 bill I expect to heat my building with oil this year. If it works well I will get a slightly smaller one for my other building. Yes, I realize it's inefficient..but it's still much cheaper than oil.

    I am working on a plan for an off-peak electric hot water system to go into use in three years. The savings burning wood for those three years should pay for it by then.

  11. #11

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by rain View Post
    I made the switch to geothermal two years ago, it has worked well. On cold days I can still keep my house at 70. I run a dual fuel system which is nothing more than having a natural gas boiler as a back up. I run a verticle loop system because of space constraints i had to deal with.

    I live in Girdwood so we don't have realy that cold of winters, I think -10 was about the max I saw temp wise last winter.
    Can you tell more about your geothermal system? Would you say it is a cost savings over natural gas? Who installed it for you? When you have a vertical loop, does that mean you just drilled a well and put the loop in it?

    I think my well water is about 36 degrees, so that wouldn't help me.
    Wasilla Real Estate News
    www.valleymarket.com

  12. #12
    New member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    867

    Default

    This doesn't help with the space heating but for the bathing situations. If you have wood why not have a wood fired steam bath? In all the villages in South West Alaska the locals mostly bathe with them. Built right you can clean a whole family with a few pieces of wood and every other day is good. Also you sleep so much better...

    Anyway just a suggestion.

    George

  13. #13
    Member upinak's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Alaska
    Posts
    350

    Default Geothermal huh?

    Rain, I think it is interesting on how you came up with Geothermal.

    Can you please tell me how exactly you did the geothermal here in Alaska without a permit through the State Agencies such as DGGS, DOG, AOGCC or BLM? Also, if you have a geothermal unit in your area of Girwood, have you let the Assembly of Girdwood know? The people of Girdwood? And then could you please tell me how you were able to find a contractor in the area of Alaska, to drill far enough down for your geothermal unit? Husky drilling doesn't exsist anymore, and I am sure Nabors, Doyon, Epoch, Sperry or Schlumberger won't do it... as well as any water well contractors have a need for a special permits here in Alaska due to the Methane take off of some areas.

    I would very much like a reply on this... when you have the time.

    Thanks and please respond soon.

  14. #14
    Member AKDoug's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Talkeetna
    Posts
    5,714

    Default

    Geothermal..poorly named and otherwise known as a ground-source heat pump. Google it.

  15. #15
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    on the Little Su...
    Posts
    32

    Default Heating Alternatives

    A couple of places you may want to look at is Hearth.com , and go to the boiler room forum. Tons of great info...

    also look at rohor.com

  16. #16
    Member Big Al's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Palmer,Alaska
    Posts
    1,737

    Default

    I wonder when people talk about geothermal, if they are talking about an earth connected heat exchanger loop? Used with a heat pump? A/C units with just a air to air heat exchanger using the reversing valve don't do much heating when the ambient temperature drops to blow 50 degrees + F. They do cost a major increase in electrical costs for no return in heating benefit. Earth coupled heat exchangers on the other hand have the earths own heat for the thermal bed to exchange. The deeper the install the warmer the exchange temperatures. This does not mean that you have any contract with water at the outside of the exchanger, in fact the transfer medium does not have to be water as the supply and return. Vary often we see that eutectic salts are used for the thermal transfer.
    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tryants." (Thomas Jefferson

  17. #17
    Member COtoAK's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    North Pole, Alaska
    Posts
    1,896

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by akgrizcr View Post
    A couple of places you may want to look at is Hearth.com , and go to the boiler room forum. Tons of great info...

    also look at rohor.com
    Thank you. This will be a GREAT site to look into.
    Lurker.

  18. #18
    Member COtoAK's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    North Pole, Alaska
    Posts
    1,896

    Default

    There was a previous question that asked what kind of heating we are currently using and the square footage of our space.

    Total lower level (Hangar, wood shop/paint booth, office, bathroom, spare room/work out room:
    4000sq/ft
    Upper level (3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, great room made up of kitchen and living room space):
    1200sq/ft
    All currently on radiant heat. We did have a temporary wood stove last winter, but would consider fully installing it. (It's an older model... we might purchase a newer model).

    Insulation. That one is tricky. We should be working on more insulation than what we are, honestly. There is only so much time to get fishing and hunting in before the winter sets in again up here. We have R-13, R-19, and R-21 throughout our place with vapor barrier and with another spray insulation of some sort. (Vertex is where we got it from).

    Last year, I quarantined the area and only had 3 zones on the upper level going. This was kind of a dangerous way to go considering all of our plumbing could have froze up because it starts from the bottom up (it did 3x last winter, but that's not a big deal because I just had to start the heat tape directly from the breaker).

    So... that's kind of the deal on our place. We hope to have the hangar heated for the winter, but it's not a priority to have it done.

    This is the only wood that we have so far for heating for the winter:
    Lurker.

  19. #19
    New member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    867

    Default

    I am very intrigued about the ground loop heat pump. Is there anyone in Alaska that works this or some printed info for the intelegently challenged. Thanks in advance,

    George

  20. #20
    Member COtoAK's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    North Pole, Alaska
    Posts
    1,896

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by George Riddle View Post
    I am very intrigued about the ground loop heat pump. Is there anyone in Alaska that works this or some printed info for the intelegently challenged. Thanks in advance,

    George
    I'd be interested in reading about this as well, George.
    Lurker.

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •