Moving from the lower 48 to the Alaska frontier may sound like a dream for many people, but it’s important to understand the climate before jumping into the snow of Alaska.
Even for us lifelong Alaskans, it’s easy to procrastinate and let winter catch us by surprise! Thankfully, down here in Southcentral Alaska, we typically don’t experience the 30-below weather that is more the norm up in the interior. But it can definitely get cold, and it doesn’t take a lot of cold to create a ton of problems!
#1. Prepare before leaving.
Even a short trip away from your home can be disastrous if there’s a freeze up. I don’t know how many times I’ve checked on one of my sellers’ homes to find that the heat is out and it’s on the road to freezing up! Make sure everything is working properly, and consider getting set up to remotely monitor the temperature in your home on your smartphone.
#2. Consider energy updates.
It’s fairly expensive, but you can get an actual blower door test that pinpoints areas of heat loss. Even without this test, simple upgrades like blowing in additional insulation in attics (seek professional input), insulating your foundation, replacing old inefficient windows, and sealing cracks around doors can make a huge difference in the heating bill!
#3. Check your roofs and gutters often.
When we get heavy snowfall and runoff, your roof may take the brunt of the damage, so check for any cracks or holes and clear the gutters of any debris.
#5. Keep your stove and chimneys clean.
Many people in Alaska use wood-burning stoves or pellet stoves. You want to have them cleaned and inspected regularly and before purchasing your home. You also want to make sure you have enough fuel or wood stocked up in a dry place.
#6. Backup energy is a big plus.
Our utility companies tend to be pretty on top of things, but there’s always the chance for a period when the power goes out for a period of time. Candles, flashlights, a generator, and a wood stove or an alternative cooking source are all very helpful!
#7. Moderate moisture
Moisture in our homes is a catch-22. Enough moisture for our skin to not dry out tends to produce condensation on windows (and this can be very destructive). If it’s dry enough to avoid condensation, our skin tends to dry out. There’s a fine line somewhere in between. In order to regulate, consider installing dehumidistat switches in bathrooms in conjunction with bath fans, to pull out excess moisture.
#9. Don’t forget your car.
Don’t forget to have your tires upgraded to winter tires, check the oil and have it changed before winter, and double check your battery. The battery can crack when temperatures dip below zero. Maybe consider an engine block heater to warm the engine before you even start it.
#10. Have an emergency bag ready to go.
Keeping an emergency bag in your car means you’re more prepared in case … always in case. Here in Alaska, you never know when you may break down somewhere more remote and end up stranded for a time. Better to be safe than sorry.
We LOVE living in Alaska and I’m sure you will too. It just takes a bit of preparation and adjustment to handle an Alaskan winter with ease! Give us a call if you plan on moving this way and need some advice on homes in Anchorage, Wasilla, or Palmer, or any moving tips!