Energy Savers Guide - 2010

  • View

  • Download

Embed Size (px)


Advice from the experts on quick and easy energy-saving tips for Fairbanks, Alaska homeowners.

Text of Energy Savers Guide - 2010

  • The voice of Interior Alaska since 1903

    Saturday, September 11, 2010Saturday, September 11, 2010

    Learn how to test home appliances for energy consumption

    Some quick and easy energy-saving tips

    Assess your boilers efficiency

    Get advice from the experts

  • 2 Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Saturday, September 11, 2010

    Study looks at insulation practices for climates similar to Fairbanks Molly Rettig

    There are many good rea-sons to retrofit your house, including saving energy, sav-ing money and adding com-fort. And a new building study tells you how much insulation you should add and other factors you should consider to increase energy efficiency and avoid molding walls.

    The Cold Climate Hous-ing Research Center recently completed a report from a yearlong test of how various wall systems handle moisture in Fairbanks. The study test-ed whether the conventional ratio for insulation applied to the local climate.

    The rule of thumb is that two-thirds of the R-value (thermal insulation) should be outside the structure and one-third inside, said Colin Cra-ven, product testing director at the research center. What we found for the worst-case scenario is that this is defi-nitely true.

    Craven manages the Mobile Test Lab, a 100-square-foot

    trailer containing a patchwork of nine walls, each with dif-ferent combinations of studs, insulation and vapor barriers. Last winter, Cravens team simulated a worst-case sce-nario by setting an extreme indoor temperature 70-degree indoor temperature with 40 percent humidity (average is 25 percent).

    Humidity is important because your walls need to dry in the summer by shed-ding moisture deposited in the wall cavity during the winter. When walls warm in the sun, built-up water vapor wants to go back outside where theres less moisture.

    You want your walls to be able to breathe one way or the other, Craven said.

    Today, many homeowners add foam board outside their houses to save energy. But the side effects of this type of ret-rofit in Fairbanks have never been researched.

    We always thought, Should we really do this? It seems to be working, but theres no real data besides We havent seen houses

    fall down yet, said Terry Duszynski, a Fairbanks ener-gy rater who helped jumpstart the project.

    During the winter, the lab not only exaggerated the heat and humidity but also punc-tured the vapor barrier with picture frames and windows and pressurized the interior to push air into the walls. The researchers wanted to know whether adding exterior foam would help walls by keeping them warmer or hurt them by encouraging condensation. It all depends on how much insulation you use.

    A balancing act Water vapor, generated

    by cooking, showering and breathing, permeates your walls from the inside through little leaks and seams in your vapor barrier, a polyethylene sheet directly behind your drywall (if you have one). Walls can handle a certain amount of vapor without growing mold, but problems develop gradually once they become moist enough.

    Every summer, the water

    vapor tries to escape, typi-cally through more-permeable outside walls but also through the same channels it entered.

    But adding exterior foam blocks this escape route and creates a vapor barrier on each side. But would this double vapor barrier cause moisture problems?

    Testing showed that add-ing enough insulation to the outside kept the walls warm enough to deter moisture problems, because the wall surfaces couldnt get cold enough for water vapor to condense into liquid.

    It allows the water vapor to stay a vapor instead of let-ting it condense to a liquid that can then accumulate, Craven said. But (not every-one) does that. Theyre put-ting a couple inches of foam on the outside, and that reverses the ratio.

    The recommended ratio usually translates into three or more inches of outer insu-lation, Craven said, but varies depending on your wall com-position.

    Insulation that was prob-

    lematic was only a couple inches of foam on the outside, three inches or under, he said.

    While this research high-lights potential risks of insu-lating outside, retrofitters shouldnt be deterred, said Craven and other local build-ing scientists.

    As an energy rater, I dont hesitate to recommend an insulation to the outside for every house that hasnt yet, said energy rater and borough assemblyman Mike Musick, who helped create the trailer.

    The trick is maintain-ing the thermal balance and vapor control of your walls.

    Its a little bit of a tough message because insulation costs money. Because of the costs, people prefer to put a thinner layer on the outside, Craven said. If youre com-mitting to do this, we want to make sure you do it right.

    Beginning this April, the research center will study the same walls under more realis-tic conditions.

    We anticipate that will be more forgiving, Craven said.

  • 3Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Saturday, September 11, 2010


    30 Minute ULC 30 Minute ULC 30 Minute ULC Certification Certification Certification

    Welded Seam Welded Seam Welded Seam Lifetime Warranty Lifetime Warranty Lifetime Warranty

    against defects, against defects, against defects, fire, and corrosion fire, and corrosion fire, and corrosion

    EXCEL EXCEL EXCEL Chimneys Chimneys Chimneys The Technology The Technology The Technology

    Leader. Leader. Leader.



    Experience the beauty Experience the beauty and security of an RSF and security of an RSF

    Wood Fireplace. Wood Fireplace.

    WOOD HEAT ... WOOD HEAT ... bringing the Alaskan lifestyle home.

    The Woodway Where: On College Road

    next to Farmer's Market Products: Wood and gas

    stoves and fireplaces, Monitor and Kuma oil stoves, chimney and stovepipe, hearth accessories, chainsaws and accessories, lawn mowers and small engine products

    Services: Wood stove, fireplace and chimney installation, Monitor service, chainsaw and small engine service

    Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday

    Phone: 452-4002


    Unless You Own An Oil Well, You Had

    Better Own A


    E WOODWAY On College Road next to the Farmers Market 452-4002

    Warming the heart of Alaska since 1 9 78

    Paid Advertising Content


    Ask us about Tax Credits!

    The Only


    Blaze King Dealer

    in the Interior!



    (for a limited time only)

    Incredible Efficiency

    Long Burn Time Available

    w/Ash Drawer Thermostat


    Open: Weekdays 9-6 Saturday 9-5

    The Woodway would like to thank the Fairbanks, North Pole and surrounding communities for their continued loyalty over the last 32 years. The community has continued to grow and change over the past few decades, and The Woodway has striven to adapt, improve and diversify to meet our customers needs. In the last few years there have been all sorts of stores opening and closing that have sold different types of heating appliances. The Woodway welcomes competition as it helps us to assess what we do more critically and enables us to offer the community even more.

    Stop by to see it burn!

    This last year has offered us the opportunity to help people take advantage of the Federal Tax Credit which enables a homeowner the ability to save up to $1500.00 on a qualifying wood or pellet stove. On top of this, the Borough is spearheading a Woodstove Changeout Program by incentivizing eligible residents to upgrade their older woodstoves to cleaner burning appliances. These newer stoves not only assist in cleaning up our air, these units also help people to burn up to a third less firewood than their older stoves did. (For more information on the Borough program, please call 459-1312).

    Another exciting opportunity that has made its way to Fairbanks is the opening of a local pellet mill. The mill enables The Woodway to offer appliances that use a locally made, renewable fuel as an economical alternative way to heat their homes. We are excited to introduce the Enviro pellet stoves that are not only extremely quiet, but they have the ability to burn lower grade pellets which cost less, allowing people to save even more money on their heating bills. The Woodway small engine shop has expanded to cover everything from lawn mowers and chainsaws to ice augers and snow blowers, and with an average turn around time of 3 days, we service what we sell! Dont forget The Woodway also has local pottery and art that is displayed throughout the year and new artists are featured along with refreshments throughout the winter months on First Fridays. We also offer our Light the Fire classes free of charge on Saturday mornings where folks can come in and ask questions and learn how to start a fire properly and operate their stove as efficiently as they can. The Woodway would again like to thank the community for its trust over the years and look forward to keeping interior Alaska warm for many winters to come.

  • 4 Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Saturday, September 11, 2010 18372287-9-11-10ET

    Keith's Heating Service

    Call before

    this happens.

    CALL 978-0059

    or 389-3001 Tune-ups and inspections on

    boilers and forced air furnaces.