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Stories Living In Alaska

Does it get COLD:

  Well when it gets down to -50 degrees and you are trying to heat a 1200 square foot house which only has two inches of insulation in the walls, yes only two inches, see dad put 2x2's over the blocks to nail paneling to so there was only two inches of room for the insulation. The heat for the basement was an old oil stove which set in the living room combination, dinning room and kitchen. I can remember standing in front of the oil stove turning around from time to time as one side of your body would get warm the other side would get could so you would turn to warm the other side back up, it was pretty cold in there most of the time.



 And to make matters worst it would get so cold outside that any condensation inside the 225 gallon fuel oil barrel would freeze in the line going into the house, So of corse it was my job to go outside and thaw it out, well we would use one of those small butane torches which is all fine and dandy but it would be so cold outside that the torch would only work for about four or five minutes and then stop because it was so cold the butane would not turn into a gas to burn, so you would have to run back inside and warm the torch up under the hot water and then run back outside and heat the line some more, Often it would take three of four trips in and out to get it thawed out. The only real bad thing about this was some times the water would freeze up to, for some reason which I never did figure out why but my dad had to run the water lines from the well which was the hand dug well in the corner of the basement to the kitchen through the bathroom under the tub on the floor next to the outside wall. This was the furthest away from the heat and the coldest part of the house since it was on the exposed outside side wall. The water was frozen more often than I would ever like to remember, and because it would always freeze under the bath tub it was the most difficult to thaw out.


 In the spring when the snow starts melting the water would run in through the walls on one side across the floor and out the other side, dad did not water proof the wall or put any drain pipes under the ground along the wall so the water would just flow in one side and out the other like a stream. There was always a big mess on the floor in the spring.



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