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Conversion FAQsDistribution pipe pressure testing on Bluesbell Street Image - Photo provided courtesy of Dan Britton.

  1. Do I have a boiler or a furnace? What’s the difference?
  2. How will I know how much it will cost to convert my system?
  3. What are my options for converting my existing heating system over to the new natural gas heating system?
  4. Am I expected to pay for any permitting fees associated with updating my system?
  5. The AHFC weatherization program is paying to upgrade my furnace/boiler.  Will they consider replacing it with a convertible unit?
  6. How do I get started?
  7. What if I cannot afford the conversion?
  8. Do I have to pay for this conversion all at once?
  9. Am I required to change over my system?
  10. I have a rental property. Do the conversion rates differ for me?
  11. Who qualifies for AHFC weatherization programs?
  12. What’s the difference between AHFC’s rebate program and Energy Conservation Loans?
  13. How do I get started whether I am an interested in the energy rebate or conservation loan programs?





  1. Do I have a boiler or a furnace? What’s the difference?
    Boiler vs. Furnace exampleA quick way to determine whether you have a boiler or furnace is to look at the way air is vented to your home for heating purposes. If you have baseboard heating, you likely have a boiler while forced air or heat that comes from vents indicates that you may have a furnace.

    A boiler uses hot water (think of boiling water) to deliver heat to your home. A furnace uses warm or forced air to heat your home. A boiler heats water in your home to approximately 180 degrees then moves the water in a circular motion through pipes that lead to baseboard heaters, radiators, or radiant tubing. A warm air system uses a furnace to deliver the heat throughout the home. The air is heated in the furnace and a blower forces it into a duct system. The warm air is then released into your home, through vents or registers in your walls, ceilings or floors. If you are still unsure about the system you have, visit the Fact Sheet and Information page on the AHFC's website. There you can find information on different heating systems and guides and a plethora of helpful information.


  2. How will I know how much it will cost to convert my system?
    Depending on each home’s existing heating system, the cost of converting to natural gas is expected to range from approximately $2,300 to $13,500. High-efficiency boiler/furnace systems may range from $7,300 to $13,500 (including water heater), with $10,700 being the average estimated installation cost. Average-efficiency boilers/furnaces may range from $7,500 to $10,000, with an average installation cost of $9,000 (including water heater).

  3. What are my options for converting my existing heating system over to the new natural gas heating system?
    Depending on the type and age of the existing heating system, conversions to natural gas heating systems are anticipated to occur in one of the following three ways:
    • Switching the burner in an existing boiler to operate with natural gas (least expensive conversion option, but only possible with (some) boilers less than 10 years old)
    • Replacing an oil boiler and hot water heater with a new natural gas boiler and hot water heater
    • Replacing an oil furnace and hot water heater with a new natural gas furnace and hot water heater
    • Replacing an oil space heater with a new natural gas space heater

  4. Am I expected to pay for any permitting fees associated with updating my system?
    Home owners planning to convert their homes to natural gas should anticipate permitting fees in addition to installation and equipment costs. Permits are required for homes located within the boundaries of the City Fairbanks and City of North Pole. These boiler/furnace installation permit fees are $120 in Fairbanks and $50 in North Pole. Permit charges apply for the replacement of a heating unit and not for burner replacements on existing units.

  5. The AHFC weatherization program is paying to upgrade my furnace/boiler. Will they consider replacing it with a convertible unit? (back to top)
    The AHFC Weatherization program typically does not replace boilers or furnaces; however you should check with your local Service Provider for this program or contact AHFC at 1-800-478-AHFC.

  6. How do I get started?
    The first step in the conversion process is to determine what kind of system you already have. If you are unsure, contact a local mechanical contractor to assist you.

    Once you have determined what type of system you have, contact the AHFC to learn about the various energy programs that are available and which program best suits your needs.


  1. What if I cannot afford the conversion?
    Home retrofit projects can be costly and require upfront costs so saving in advance is important for financing. Early planning and saving efforts are encouraged; however, for those in need of financial assistance, AHFC has programs on energy rebates, weatherization programs, grants, and heating assistance programs for those who qualify. Go to AHFC’s website to learn more about conversion financing options that apply to you.

  2. Do I have to pay for this conversion all at once?
    If you participate in AHFC’s Home Energy Rebate program, you will be required to pay your costs upfront and then submit the receipts for eligible improvements towards your rebate. AHFC offers a financing option which you may qualify for called the Second Mortgage for Energy Conservation. A payment schedule for the Energy Conservation Loan will be established between you, Alaska USA, and AHFC. Click here for information on the Second Mortgage for Energy Conservation.

    The gas distribution utilities in the Fairbanks North Star Borough are also exploring a variety of conversion associated programs that will aid homeowners and businesses. Please stay tuned as these proposals are evaluated.


  3. Am I required to change over my system? (back to top)
    No. Changing over your system is not mandatory.

  4. I have a rental property. Do the conversion rates differ for me?
    Rental property owners receive tax deductions for equipment upgrades to a property and may therefore be incentivized to convert rental properties. Check with your landlord or property manager for conversion plans and rates for your rental. Upgrading a rental property’s heating system will also make it more attractive to renters who will benefit by paying cheaper heating costs.

  5. Who qualifies for AHFC weatherization programs?
    Residences must be owner occupied to qualify for the Home Energy Rebate. Both homeowners and renters may qualify for the Weatherization program if income guidelines are met. Contact the AHFC for more information.


  6. What’s the difference between AHFC’s Rebate Program and Energy Conservation Loans?
    Rebate program costs are paid upfront by the property owner for energy improvements. The property owner will be reimbursed up to $10,000 based on eligible improvements made to the home. The Energy Conservation Loan is a second mortgage loan program up to $30,000. The loan process is facilitated and originates with Alaska USA Federal Credit Union. The loan is managed by Alaska USA in accordance with AHFC requirements and guidelines.

  7. How do I get started whether I am an interested in the energy rebate or conservation loan programs?
    Initiate the rebate process by requesting a home energy rating. Click here for a list of qualified energy raters. Get the rating, complete the paperwork and submit it to AHFC within 90 days. Complete the energy-efficiency improvements identified in your Energy Rating Report then get a second rating after the improvements are finished and submit the rebate paperwork to AHFC. Contact Alaska USA to initiate the Energy Conservation Loan process. A representative will explain the loan process as it applies to AHFC’s financing requirements and guidelines.
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