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Winter is on its way. In Alaska, that means turning up the heat and the heating bills. That gets pricey, especially in homes that rely on oil for heat.

A representative from the Alaska CDC is in Wrangell this week to talk about a program for weatherizing homes.

Weatherizing a home basically means making it less likely to be affected by the weather.

Curt Christiansen is the housing manager for the Alaska Community Development Corporation, or CDC.

He says this is the kind of assistance that would be beneficial to anyone.

“The intent of the program is to fix homes so they use less energy.”

And that translates into lower heating bills in the winter. Christiansen says each structure is evaluated individually.

That way, the repairs and upgrades are specific to each home.

And he says, the program covers the weatherization process from start to finish.

“So we come down, and we run tests on the home. Using a computer modeling program the state has provided us with, we come up with the most effective items to do in that home. We have contractors already on retainer that come and do the work. Then we send an inspector in. So it’s all covered by the State of Alaska program.”

He says that homes different parts of the state require different upgrades. But there are some common repairs.

“The main things we see are insulation in the attics. In a lot in the Southeast areas, we’ve upgraded the insulation in the floors. Then, we do a complete test of the heating systems and very often can exchange those out for a more efficient system.”

For example, the CDC might install a newer, more efficient wood stove to replace an old one that isn’t really doing its job anymore.

He says the repairs are also done for safety—especially with wood-burning stoves.

When a home is weatherized, there are some extra upgrades to help it compensate for being more efficient.

“As we make a house lose less air, we need to bring in some fresh air for the occupants. So we bring in some fans and possible range of things to keep carbon monoxide from getting stagnant in the home.”

And, he says the process shouldn’t inconvenience the residents.

“We’ve operated for close to 30 years now and never had a family have to move out of the home during the repairs.”

He encourages anyone who is interested to contact a representative and fill out an application.

Program representative Carrie James will be at the Nolan Center from 8am – 5pm Friday and Saturday.

For more information about the program, call James at 907-821-8167 or email