Monthly Archives: August 2015

Home List: Fix Foundation Insulation

When our house was built 31 years ago, the foundation wall was sprayed with foam on the outside to insulate it. This material was neither thick nor particularly durable. We’d offset these weaknesses by insulating the inside of the crawl space some time back, but there was still a section where sunlight was breaking down some of the old exterior foam, bringing it down to a thickness of zero in places. Ugly and cold, I’d think each time I walked by it. And so it made it onto the Home List.
Continue reading

Ahh, Sweet Princess!

The Fairbanks North Star Borough has an air pollution problem. That sounds surprising for a small Alaska population center with vast wilderness all around it. But on some winter days, especially the really cold ones when an inversion forms, fine particulate matter gets trapped. Combustion goes up then, too, as people need more fuel to heat homes, buildings, and vehicles. “Ice fog” is what it’s called, and it’s hard on the health of people who live at the lower elevations and have to breathe the polluted air until the weather changes and it blows away. The problem only grew worse with the increase in fuel prices. As heating oil went up over $2 per gallon in about 2005, more people began using wood stoves for their heating needs. This exacerbated the problem, and figuring out solutions has been an ongoing and contentious discussion in our community.

Continue reading