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January 26, 2013

Many struggle to heat homes

PLATTSBURGH — With temperatures hovering around zero degrees, the streets of Treadwells Mills are almost entirely void of people.

But the Caron family is warm inside their home on Brown Street in the Town of Plattsburgh community, which some locals call “Wiggletown.”

Nine people, including five children, live at the Caron home.

It costs between $150 and $250 to heat the mobile home each month, said Richard Caron.

This month, it’s going to be on the higher end, he said.

“Lately, it’s been running nonstop,” Richard’s wife, Danielle, said of their furnace.

TURN DOWN THE HEAT

Usually, the Carons keep their thermostat at 67 degrees, Danielle said.

But “on a nice, normal day, we’ll turn it down so it (the heat) won’t kick on” to save on the bill, she said.

On especially cold days, Danielle and her daughter will use electric blankets or a space heater.

Some of their neighbors have resorted to putting plastic on their windows to add insulation to their homes, Danielle said.

“It blocks the wind out from drafts,” Richard said. “The wind, you can hear it blowing through the windows.”

BURNING LOGS

The Carons hope to invest in a pellet stove in the next few years.

“They do (heat) 3,000 square feet,” Richard said, and the stoves are cost efficient.

“It’s $350 for a ton of skid.”

To supplement their kerosene heat, the Carons sometimes use their fireplace. They’ve been trying Enviro-Log Firelogs, which are composed completely of recycled materials, according to the company’s website.

Richard said it costs about $20 for a box of eight logs at stores like Wal-Mart.

With so many people living in their home, money is tight, he said, between food bills, utility costs and other living expenses.

And the family has already worked through their regular Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) benefits and started on their emergency benefits.

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