Saving with Space Heaters and Fireplaces
We're all trying to keep our costs of heating down, given that the price of oil doesn't drop as fast as it goes up... And, of course, this is also the season of highest demand for oil, so we aren't likely to see prices completely drop back to pre-Katrina prices until spring.
If you are trying to keep heating costs down and have decided to make better use of your fireplace, or even a space heater, be sure that you are using these things safely.
In 2002, there were 45,500 reported home heating fires in 2002 in the US. Unfortunately, this is the last year for which the National Fire Protection Association has detailed records. However, it does indicate that home-heating fires are a serious issue. Those same fires in 2002 killed 200 people and caused almost $450 million in property damage. Space heaters, including wood stoves, were involved in 25 % of these fires. Astonishingly, they were involved in 75 % of the deaths! Fireplaces and chimneys were involved in 43% of the fires in 2002 and 11 % of the deaths.
So, how can you be safe? Make sure your fireplace is properly maintained. Don't leave an open fire unattended! Consider a fireplace insert, which can help reduce the danger from a wood burning fire, and which also increases the amount of heat that you get from your fireplace.
If you are using a space heater, keep it away from drapes or other flammables. If you are using a kerosene heater, get yourself an inexpensive carbon monoxide monitor. These monitors save lives.
Stay warm and stay safe.