Energy Rebate Program Update: Front Door and Attic Insulation

It’s been awhile since I’ve updated on our Alaska Energy Rebate Program progress. We’re nearing completion. While we hoped to have it all done in time to get our rebate check around the same time as the PFD, we’re now aiming to finish up by the end of the year (with the check arriving 8-12 weeks into the new year).

First of all, we have decided not to replace our furnace. If we don’t replace the furnace, we can only get $7,000 back. If we do replace it, we can get $8,500. Mr. T geeked out on me (which I love since he doesn’t always get excited about spreadsheets) and created a spreadsheet based on our natural gas usage from before we made any energy-efficient updates. He wanted to see in a best case scenario, how long it would take to recoup the costs of the furnace (assuming the furnace was the entire usage of our gas, which it is not). If we did the work ourselves, the price of a qualifying furnace and all other materials needed would cost between $2000-2500. Mr. T calculated that under the best case scenario, even with the $1500 reimbursement we would get to replace it, it would take 11 years to recoup the cost of the furnace. If we hired out the furnace installation, it would cost a full 40 years to make up those costs in gas bill savings. So, we’ve decided to aim for the $7000 rebate and not replace the furnace. Now, if the furnace decides to die on us, we’ll obviously regret that decision…

Mr. T installed a new front door. No exciting story or anything. It took a day. And now it opens and closes. YAY! Cost: $289.44 – Fully reimbursable!

Yesterday, we recruited two of our neighbors (one who has a truck!) who also wanted to insulate their attics. We picked up the machine (which is free after the fully-refundable deposit) and the blown-in insulation packs and got to work. We started with Mr. T in our attic with the blower and my neighbors and I feeding the insulation into the machine in our driveway. When you open the bag of insulation, it expands super fast like one of those snake fireworks. (Remember those? I haven’t seen those in awhile. Now I want to find one…) When we were done with ours, we wheeled the machine over to the neighbors’ and did each of theirs. We did all three houses in about four hours. I bought two pizzas at Costco for all of us to celebrate (since I talked them all in to doing it and helping us!). And now we have a very cozy and fluffy attic. Total Cost: $369.60 – $349.70 is reimbursable (all but the pizzas!).

So, here’s where we stand on the program:

  • Furnace Replacement: Nope.
  • Front door replacement: $289.44 – full reimbursable.
  • Attic insulation: $369.60 – $349.70 is reimbursable.
  • Water heater replacement: $2592.75 – $1911.84 of this is reimbursable. And now my hot water never runs out! (We’ll see how this changes in the dead of winter.) We still have to figure out the best way to drain it. This may involve a pump in the crawlspace. Right now it drains into a bucket in the garage. 
  • Garage door install: $1042 – fully reimbursable. The only project we had to hire out.
  • Bathroom Fans: $405.87 – $371.46 of this is reimbursable. And now they vent!
  • Replacing the Windows: $2796.20 – $2726.13 is reimbursable. Another Costco pizza cost to bribe some help lifting the upstairs windows. (Do not underestimate the $10 Costco pizza.)
  • Insulate the Crawlspace – The last thing left to do! This process is much more involved than the attic. We have to seal each of the rim joists, insulate the walls, put insulation on the floor by the walls, and put new vapor barrier down.

Grand Total So Far: $7,495.87 – 6,690.57 is reimbursable. That means we have $309.43 left in our $7,000 to be reimbursed. We’ll definitely go over that amount with the crawlspace insulation and the hot water heater drainage solution, but we’re trying to be as frugal as possible! We’ll see how much out of pocket we end up with at the end of it all. I’m hoping to do everything for right around $1000 out of pocket. Watch for an update in November!



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  1. Awesome work! Especially DIYing most of it! Great job not doing the math and not going with the furnace replacement. You definitely made the right decision there.

    • MaggieBanks

      Thank you! It’s been a ton of work, but because we’re getting so much of our money back, it’s been totally worth it! As I said, I jut hope the furnace doesn’t die in the next few years!

  2. Wow! This is incredible. Way to take on the advantages of a reimbursement program & doing it by ourselves DIY style! It’s amazing how much magical convincing power pizza can have. 😉 I’m definitely a huge fan of pizza! Looking forward to the next update!

    • MaggieBanks

      I’m also looking forward to the next update! The crawlspace sounds like such a major undertaking. But, I suppose, after installing all our own windows and rerouting gas lines for a new hot water heater, it can’t be that bad.

  3. I am feeling major jealousy reading this rundown! We can’t even get our small town water authority to pay for us to rip out our lawn, and we’re in a major drought! What a wonderful program, and even more wonderful that you all are taking advantage of it to increase the efficiency of your home. I think we can get like $10 off the price of a new toilet if we swap it out, but that’s about it. 🙂

    • MaggieBanks

      The program has recently been defunded because the price of oil has caused major deficits in the state budget, but we got in just in time! And I’m so glad we did!

  4. Wow, this is awesome! Especially since you’re doing a lot of the work yourselves. Now you’ve got me thinking about what I should be looking into for my home. I wonder if Tennessee offers anything like this?

    • MaggieBanks

      We had no idea about the program in Alaska until we mentioned to friends that we needed new windows! It’s been great so far. I have to keep reminding me it’s totally worth the work! (Especially now that we’re spending a lot of time hunched over in the crawlspace.)

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