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Don't go potty to stay warm, experts warn

Take note – story published 1 year ago

The weather is getting colder and high heating costs are prompting people to think of alternative ways of heating their homes.

However, one supposed method that has spread on social media has prompted warnings that it is both ineffective and potentially unsafe. 

Online tutorials suggest using a clay pot and candles to create an ersatz radiator. However, experts warn that it is neither warm nor safe.  

Agris Šūmanis, operational duty officer of the Operational Management Department of the State Fire and Rescue Service (VUGD), explained: "This is a way in which you absolutely should not try to heat your home these days. It is a generally dangerous way to try to warm up. And this is already indicated by the statistics. From of all the fires we have, more than 60% are due to complete carelessness. You never know what could happen the next moment... If you have small children or pets at home, this can lead to with very serious consequences."

As well as the risk provided by having several naked flames indoors, the heated clay pot may split or burst at any moment, as it is not designed to be exposed to high temperatures.

"You won't know what they can do with those candles at the bottom, and then it's an even worse scenario if you're not there at that moment. It's October now, but we're already looking forward to Christmas. We go to [fires caused by] Advent Wreaths quite often in December, when the Advent season begins. And this is an even more dangerous thing," Šumanis pointed out.

Meanwhile, naturalist and environmental expert Māris Olte compares this type of heating to sticking a band-aid on a corpse. 

"It's better to wear thicker socks than to hang around with an open flame on an open structure that can tip over... it's hard to think of something stupider. Maybe it would be even dumber to keep the lid open when cooking soup, because [you believe] the house will warm up that way," Olte said.

So it is not worth spending money to buy candles and clay pots, because this method of heating is neither safe nor effective.

It is much wiser to look at professionally made electric heating devices.

According to Toms Lācis, the project manager of the Energy Efficiency Center: "Each heater type has its own way of spreading heat in the room. Air heaters, where there is a fan, or convection type heaters that have a heating element inside, or oil radiators - they all use electricity. An oil radiator might take longer to heat up that whole room, but it will stay warm longer. But with the convection type or those with fans inside, they will heat up the whole room faster, they will spread the heat throughout the room faster, but with more air exchange, this heat will also go further to the walls. If our walls are cool, there is a lot of heat loss, and when you turn off this heater, the heat will immediately disappear from the room as well."

There are also infrared heaters that will heat only the nearest object. For example, a mat that will warm your feet, or a special panel to be installed in the ceiling. It should be noted that all f these types of heaters have about the same electricity consumption – one kilowatt heats approximately 10 square meters of space.

When asked what type of heater is better to use, for example, in a typical two-room apartment, the representative of the Energy Efficiency Center recommended an oil radiator.

Meanwhile the VUGD reminded that heating devices, which were stored somewhere during the summer, are very likely dusty and this too can cause a fire, so heaters should be thoroughly cleaned before first use.

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