Space heater leads to death of 10 in NYC

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Space heater leads to death of 10 in NYC

Postby NY Woodburner » Sat Mar 17, 2007 3:45 am

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17648466/

The March 7 inferno claimed 10 lives when flames ignited by a space heater ripped through a century-old town house inhabited by two immigrant families from West Africa.

This is the #1 suggestion I see on this site - don't heat with wood - use space heaters instead. Wood stoves have very strict code requirements that when followed, make them very safe. Space heaters have no governing installation codes, and this unfortunate story is far too common.
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Postby FriendofAir » Sat Mar 17, 2007 8:48 am

Not too many people advocate space heaters for permanent heating solutions.

I'm not exactly sure what your point is, I'm sure that all heating methods have caused home fires and death. Wood stoves and fireplaces maybe at the top of that list. The stats are probably out there, if not, it would make an interesting study.
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Postby NY Woodburner » Sat Mar 17, 2007 5:12 pm

FriendofAir wrote:Not too many people advocate space heaters for permanent heating solutions.

I'm not exactly sure what your point is, I'm sure that all heating methods have caused home fires and death. Wood stoves and fireplaces maybe at the top of that list. The stats are probably out there, if not, it would make an interesting study.


Anti-Cancer from New York thinks electric space heaters are the solution to the world's energy needs and are a safe alternative... I tend to think otherwise. I prefer to see well-educated woodstove users who follow clearly documented codes. I can't even recall when I saw a woodstove fire that was not due to gross code violation. For space heaters, people assume they're easy, they go to the local big box store, plug 'em in and light up the house. Not a great solution.
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Postby Anti-Cancer from New York » Sat Mar 17, 2007 8:05 pm

NY Woodburner: i was misunderstood. i do not suggest electric CERAMIC HEATERS as the only source of heat; however whenever i type on this website, i have my ELECTRIC CERAMIC HEATER on, that was suggested to me by the accountant in my office who also heats with oil, not wood.
yes, i proudly pay my damn oil bill. it was $438 a couple months ago. but i then joined citizen's fuel group and it should lower my oil bill. last month my oil bill was about $250. i am willing to pay my oil bill to preserve my health. if you want to risk your health, go ahead. i have in front of me a news article from warwick valley dispatch, and it says: "He relayed the story of a recent tragedy in Deerpark that involved an outdoor furnace that caused an explosion, the subsequent loss of that home and the near loss of life. Pascal also felt that the emissions from outdoor furnaces are an environmental hazard in the more confined living space of the village, etc."
i live in a rural area, and the whole damn town is smokey and polluted from all the indoor and outdoor wood furnaces. it is disgusting.
Woodsmoke causes cancer. Woodsmoke kills. Cigarette smoke kills 1200 people a day in America. About 1 out of 2 people now have cancer in the United States. Without your health, you have nothing
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Postby NY Woodburner » Sun Mar 18, 2007 7:34 am

Anti-Cancer from New York wrote:NY Woodburner: i was misunderstood. i do not suggest electric CERAMIC HEATERS as the only source of heat; however whenever i type on this website, i have my ELECTRIC CERAMIC HEATER on, that was suggested to me by the accountant in my office who also heats with oil, not wood.
yes, i proudly pay my damn oil bill. it was $438 a couple months ago. but i then joined citizen's fuel group and it should lower my oil bill. last month my oil bill was about $250. i am willing to pay my oil bill to preserve my health.


It's great that you're preserving your health.

Too bad you're not worried about the health of the servicemen fighting and loosing their lives every day to support your oil addiction as the United States tries to stabilize an oil supply in the middle east.

Too bad you're not worried about the ocean ecosystems that are completely destroyed in oil tanker spills.

Too bad you're not worried about your contribution to global warming. Your oil consumption rate is something to be ashamed of - if you really cared about the environment, you'd move to a much smaller home with a much lower bill.

And by the way, I also don't like paying to subsidize your oil through high federal taxes and ballooning budget deficits.

Again, you are just dumping the problem on someone else. I fully sympathize that where you live, you need to educate folks on better woodburning practices, and as stated 20 times over on this site, most woodburners would not endorse OWBs in their typical form. They usually support gasification-style burners that run hot and fast using thermal storage tanks to meter out heat long after the fire is out. But those are expensive, and unfortunately, our government doesn't subsidize those clean burning options yet - we're too busy securing your oil supply.
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Postby bodhi » Sun Mar 18, 2007 9:44 am

NY Woodburner wrote: I fully sympathize that where you live, you need to educate folks on better woodburning practices, and as stated 20 times over on this site, most woodburners would not endorse OWBs in their typical form. They usually support gasification-style burners that run hot and fast using thermal storage tanks to meter out heat long after the fire is out. But those are expensive, and unfortunately, our government doesn't subsidize those clean burning options yet - we're too busy securing your oil supply.


NYWB,
what would be an efficient way to educate woodburners on better burning practices? especially in populated areas where the impact of smoke is often very intense due to the proximity of homes and meteorological conditions. is this a problem that has a solution?
~bodhi
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Postby VT Woodburner » Sun Mar 18, 2007 11:02 am

If AC lives in upstate New York, she can use the ceramic heater all she wants. You see, th epower for upstste NY comes from Oswego. And that's a NUKE PLANT.
The power source emits no pollution. Only steam is visible from the cooling towers
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Postby xarmynsdq » Mon Mar 19, 2007 8:04 pm

bodhi wrote:
NY Woodburner wrote: I fully sympathize that where you live, you need to educate folks on better woodburning practices, and as stated 20 times over on this site, most woodburners would not endorse OWBs in their typical form. They usually support gasification-style burners that run hot and fast using thermal storage tanks to meter out heat long after the fire is out. But those are expensive, and unfortunately, our government doesn't subsidize those clean burning options yet - we're too busy securing your oil supply.


NYWB,
what would be an efficient way to educate woodburners on better burning practices? especially in populated areas where the impact of smoke is often very intense due to the proximity of homes and meteorological conditions. is this a problem that has a solution?
~bodhi


the best ways to combat bad practices are code enforcement and education, the industry itself works harder than you might imagine to educate its representatives, dealerss, chimney professionals and lisenced installers, local and state govt's enforce code compliance and manufacturers list spec's for proper installation and operation in their respective manuals. since EPA phase 2 was enacted the woodstove manufacturing industry has take enormous leaps in cleaner burning technology. i happen to agree that OWB's are in desperate need of regulation or they should be banned, but the rest of the industry has done a stellar job of cleaning up the emmissions coming from modern solid fuel burning units. they should be applauded for their efforts, not bashed for improper use of the tools they provide.
more and more people die in auto accidents every day but speed limits on highways keep going up, where is the logic in that. at the same time the auto industry comes up with more and more safety oriented additions to their new cars, we applaud them for it , and we dont bash them for making them go faster. whats the difference?
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Postby NY Woodburner » Mon Mar 19, 2007 8:27 pm

bodhi wrote:
NY Woodburner wrote: I fully sympathize that where you live, you need to educate folks on better woodburning practices, and as stated 20 times over on this site, most woodburners would not endorse OWBs in their typical form. They usually support gasification-style burners that run hot and fast using thermal storage tanks to meter out heat long after the fire is out. But those are expensive, and unfortunately, our government doesn't subsidize those clean burning options yet - we're too busy securing your oil supply.


NYWB,
what would be an efficient way to educate woodburners on better burning practices? especially in populated areas where the impact of smoke is often very intense due to the proximity of homes and meteorological conditions. is this a problem that has a solution?
~bodhi


I think this site could do a lot to help promote better choices among the woodburning options out there so that when someone decides to go down that path, they are educated on the best way to pursue that option, or if they already own a stove, they become smarter about how to minimize their environmental footprint with it.

For example, a big opportunity is emphasizing the quality of wood that one burns. This is something that a lot of new woodburners unfortunately skimp on until they discover just how nice it is to have really dry wood. There is a saying that cutting your wood supply is like putting money in the bank - and the time it sits before you burn it is earning interest. That is, the extra drying gives you much better efficiency when you burn it, meaning you burn less wood thanks to hotter fires. And a careful analysis of a study cited on this site reveals that this also results in much lower particulate levels as opposed to burning wet or green wood. A valuable conclusion that I believe the authors missed in their data.

Sizing a wood stove correctly to burn it hot is an important step. In many cases, smoky stoves are the result of someone who bought a stove that is way too large for their application, so they try to "damp it" by cutting the air supply. It is better to buy a smaller stove and burn it at high temperatures ensuring more complete combustion than buying a large stove and damping it down. Non-EPA OWBs are an extreme bad example of this problem.

I think steering folks away from poorly designed uncertified OWBs and towards EPA stoves is a great step. I support the NY AG's report on this subject.

Masonry heaters and boilers with heat storage are great technology to promote as alternatives. They remain very expensive with costs in the $10-25K range, but are among the cleanest options out there. They run hotter than any other technology out there due to their ability to absorb heat from very hot and fast fires and then radiate it back out over time. Most Americans don't even know about these options, but they are quite popular in Europe.

These are just a few ideas... I'm sure other woodburners can add more.
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