Finally, the last of the Emergency Preparedness series, WARMTH. Check out the past posts for WATER and FOOD.

In an Alaskan winter, where temperatures can often dip to -30 degrees, it is prudent to have a plan for keeping your family warm if gas and power are lost. Out of the three topics discussed in this series, this implementation is likely to be the most costly. Your options if your primary heat source is unavailable during the winter months is 1) abandon the house and seek shelter elsewhere, or 2) prepare by purchasing and implementing a second, “off-grid” source of warmth. We’ll take a look at these two options separately:

  1. If you don’t have a way to heat your home in an emergency, you’ll want to take steps to protect your investments from freezing temperatures. To lessen the speed at which heat leaves your home, take the following steps: check the weather stripping around your doors and windows, and replace if necessary. Check your attic insulation and blow/lay in more if necessary. Simply Insulate has detailed information on determining your actual and recommended R-value and adding insulation.
  2. Install an off-grid source of heat. Temporarily, heaters that run off of propane could be useful, but they’re not meant for long term use, and they must be used carefully to insure the safety of your house and family. A generator can be tied into your current heating system to provide warmth, or a generator can be used to power several electric heaters. Your best bet if you’re interested in long-term off-grid warmth is to invest in a wood stove. We just bought a stove at Central Plumbing and Heating’s annual sale last month. With the 20% off discount we were able to purchase the stove, pipe, and accessories for less than it would have cost for just the stove at regular prices. Thank you God! If you’re in the market for plumbing or heating supplies, keep this sale in mind as it affects the prices of nearly all items in CPH.

Don’t get overwhelmed by the amount of work it takes to get prepared in this area. Baby steps, eh? For example, you could start saving for a stove and plan on checking your insulation R-Value this summer. Have fun crawling around in your attic 🙂