Friday, June 5, 2015

Heating our 85 sq. ft. Alaskan Tinyhouse: A Tale of Survival

To heat our Home in this Subzero climate, we chose a classic Alaskan choice: The Toyo Stove. I grew up with one of these only bigger and its such a reliable heat source.

The price tag at our local retailer was $1300. We paid $45 for our barrel, and through the course of the winter had to amend some parts that leaked costing probably another $50.
Before we got the Toyo, The Winter snuck up on us after we had been burned by a local construction group [which was a pity, as it was my choice to give the young guys a chance to prove there worth]. They took a large sum of money and never finished.

We were disheartened and relatively broke. Then it snowed. and it got cold. We had two electric heaters going constantly, the house reached a high of 50 in the day time [ as in, a HIGH, when it was 50 we were actually excited] and a low of 35 at night. 

We huddled for warmth, and wore jackets and boots virtually all the time. I was working a night job at this point so i didn't have to bare the super low temps during the week days. December rolled around and we were still huddling for warmth and miserable.

We saved every penny possible and finally, after being pretty chilly for 2 months and freezing for the other 2, we bought our Life saving Toyo.

The moment we installed it and had everything working, it began heating the house, after an hour our bodies began to loosen up and we could breath again [the best way i can find to describe that bone chilled feeling]. Feeling real warmth in this house felt foreign, and luxurious. Finally our Tinyhouse began to feel like a Home. It`s more than enough [we could crank it up to 90 degrees and blast this place if we wanted]

We weren't all the way insulated, probably less than half the house.. It was still breezy. and for the time being i had to improvise, 

I began bringing boxes from work and cutting them to the width of the areas that needed insulation. For one winter we were insulated with cardboard boxes mostly! This said, keep it in mine when considering the cost of fuel for the winter, i guarantee next winter it will be less, our house will be much better insulated.

Compared to what I`m used to in Willow Alaska and Talkeetna Alaska, we had a mild winter; even by Chugiak standards I hear it was mild. There were a few weeks, however, of -20 -30 weather. 

During those weeks we went through more than one gallon per day. However the rest of the winter we used 4 gallons a week, and by march we used less than 4.

If you live in a Subzero climate, Definitely consider the Toyo a wonderful option [it is so worth the price tag] 

You will have many people tell you advice on whats right for your house. My advice? Be thankful for the wisdom they give you [as it is a gift of free knowledge] however, make your educated decision yourself. You are the one who has to deal with it.