Get in the know about plugging in your car

By CCHRC Staff home life.


Q: Is there anything I need to be cautious about when plugging in
my automobile?Q: I’ve seen that there are now roof shingles that are solar panels.While a wide range of solar technologies work in Alaska and other cold climates, photovoltaic roof shingles are still too new and untested for cold regions. The basic concept of solar shingles is excellent because the space is usually wasted and basic support structure is already in place. But remember, things perform differently in our extreme climate. If the shingles are glued on, you have to check how that glue performs in cold temperatures. When it comes to solar technology, there are some general rules to be aware of. Anything that applies to solar means you have to have a good exposure to the sun, preferable facing south.Q: What is a heat recovery ventilator and what does it do?

The “Ask a Builder” series is dedicated to answering some of the many questions Fairbanks residents have about building, energy and the many other parts of

For starters, there are the basics of electrical safety: when you are plugging in anything, you do not want to make direct contact with the circuit because of the risk of electric shock. Besides that, a lot of Fairbanks car fires can be attributed to improperly maintained vehicles. Oil leaks, fuel leaks or other heating elements can be ignited by a small spark. Because winterizing cars in Fairbanks includes installing electrical heating devices, people need to be more cautious about leaks because of the risk of fire.

So if you have leaks, get them checked out and perform any other standard car maintenance.


Could those work in Alaska?


The shingles are going to be covered with snow, so how will that factor into their

East or west might work too, depending on how your roof is built and the pitch of the roof. Consider all the options before choosing a system.


A Heat Recovery Ventilator, or HRV, is designed to bring fresh air into your home. The “tighter” your home is (fewer leaks in insulation, doors and windows), the more essential an HRV is to the safety of the occupants. The other important part of an HRV, heat recovery, means it captures as much of the heat that is leaving the building as possible. You have already heated the air in the house.

To bring fresh air in, you are going to have to expel stale air, but that air has heat in it that you do not want to waste. So the HRV acts as a heat exchanger. As cold fresh air moves in, the warm stale air moves out. When the two air flows pass by each other, the heat from the warm, stale air is transferred to the cold, fresh air through a heat exchanger. These devices will help keep your home warmer in the winter, while saving you energy and money because you do not have to reheat the air coming into your home quite as much.

Alaska HomeWise articles promote home awareness for the Cold Climate Housing Research Center (CCHRC). If you have a question, e-mail us at You can also call the CCHRC at (907) 457-3454.