Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Really Expensive Electric fireplaces

Got an extra five grand laying around the house you don't know what to do with? How about a really expensive electric fireplace to brighten  up your favorite room this winter?

As is often the case, while searching for one thing, I stumbled onto something else that interested me. In this case it was an Amish electric fireplace media center that sells for around $2,900. What intrigued me was the price; almost three grand for an electric fireplace is a lot of kindling.

Since I was wasting my time I decided to waste some more and look for other examples of outrageously priced fireplaces. As it turned out, the price of the Amish fireplace shown here wasn't even close to some of the others I discovered.

So what I did was assemble pictures with prices for 17 of the most expensive electric fireplaces I could find and put them on a board on Pinterest. Who knows, maybe someone reading this can actually afford one or more of these beauties.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Fuel Corn Prices For The 2014/15 Heating Season

The abundant corn crop and near ideal harvesting conditions have had a positive effect on the price you will pay this heating season for bulk fuel corn.

A one ton bulk bag of corn which sold last year for $265 is now priced at $225 -  a savings of 16%. This price applies to those in the Midwest where corn is plentiful. If you live in the Northeast where wood pellets are the norm, the bulk corn price per ton is just under $300.

 Fuel corn is dried to a moisture content of 10-12%, generates around 7,100 BTUs per lb., and has an ash content of around 1.75%.

Cost to heat with corn vs wood pellets
With fuel corn at $225 a ton, the cost to generate 1mil (million) BTUs of heat is $15.64 before you factor in the efficiency (or inefficiency) of your heating appliance. At the Northeast price of $295 a ton for fuel corn, the cost is $20.85 per 1mil BTUs.

The cost to heat with wood pellets averages around $17.44 per 1mil BTUs - also before factoring in stove efficiency.

Friday, October 17, 2014

How National Fire Prevention Week Got Started

National Fire Prevention Week was started in recognition of the Great Chicago Fire of Oct. 8-9, 1871. Since President Calvin Coolidge issued the first national proclamation for the week in 1925, it has been held during the week in which Oct. 8 falls.

Blame it on the cow
According to legend, the fire started when Mrs. O'Leary's cow kicked over a lantern in the barn, resulting in a fire that killed 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, burned down more than 17,400 structures across 2,000 acres.

Last year in the United States half a million house fires occurred and 2,855 Americans lost their lives in fire.

Home heating safety checklist
If you haven't already, you can download a free, printable home heating safety checklist here.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Wood & Pellet Stove Safety - PenBay Pilot

 If you heat with a pellet stove, here's a quick reminder to help you brush up on pellet stove safety

Wood & Pellet Stove Safety - PenBay Pilot

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Recall of Propane Gas Indoor and Outdoor Fireplaces, Stoves, Inserts and Log Sets

Another week, another recall. This time it's 20,000 propane gas fueled products manufactured under the brand names  Hearth & Home Technologies, Heat-N-Glo, Heatilator, Outdoor Lifestyles, and Quadra Fire

The problem is a potentially leaky gas valve that poses a fire hazard.

The products include indoor and outdoor fireplaces, stove, log sets and fireplace inserts sold from May 2014 thru July 2014.

Details on specific products and serial numbers can be found at

You can also call Hearth & Home Technologies at 800-883-6690 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, or visit and click on Notices for more information.

Fortunately this defect hasn't caused any injuries or deaths yet.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Contemporary Wall Mount Fireplaces - Cool Looks Can Be Deceiving

Contemporary Wall Mount Fireplaces - Cool Looks Can Be Deceiving

If you want to heat just about any room in your home, but want to do it with style, you really ought to look into a contemporary wall mounted fireplace. Before you start shopping around though, I would suggest you take a couple of minutes to look over the article linked to above to get a good idea of what you should be looking for in a wall mount fireplace.

Friday, September 26, 2014

What Do You Say To A 37% Increase In Your Electric Rates?

When I read the Boston Herald online this morning I was shocked (but not surprised) to learn that the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities had approved a 37% rate hike in residential electric rates and - hold on to your hat - a 75% increase for manufacturers and other large businesses.

According to the article this represents an additional $33 per month for the typical homeowner and $19,000 per month on average for big businesses.

If memory serves me correctly, I was paying around 14 cents per kilowatt hour peak rate when I left Boston. A 37% increase translates to slightly more than 19 cents per kWh. This is almost double the rate I'm charged by Florida Power and Light.

Can you imagine any other business (besides the health care industry) that could raise prices 37% and still have customers for their product the next day?

The rate hike is attributed to insufficient supply of natural gas. National Grid describes the cause for the shortage this way: "Because the pipes that bring natural gas into the region have not kept up with increased 
demand for natural gas, the companies generating electricity for National Grid and others to deliver to consumers must pay more for the gas."

Since National Grid made around 2.7 billion (up 6%) in fiscal 2013, this rate hike feels more like a fine or penalty than an action based on market forces.

National Grid's argument for a rate hike is also predicated on a prediction that the coming New England winter will be as severe as last year. Not even the health care industry can get away with raising  prices based on the weather forecast.

Naturally, all the state elected politicians are supporting the increase including Senator Elizabeth "Fauxcahontas" Warren.

All I can say is that I, and thousands of others, have no regrets over moving to Florida and leaving all the chicanery that goes on in Massachusetts behind.