TODAY   |  January 21, 2014

Safe and affordable ways to heat your home

“Home Wizards” host Eric Stromer joins TODAY to give tips on how to efficiently keep your home warm, including lighting a fire with a self-starter Duraflame log, and plugging in the efficient Lasko Ultra Ceramic Tower Heater.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> we're back with more of "today" on this booze day, tuesday, with me is jenna bush hager filling in while kathie lee is taking a few days in the sun.

>> she's the smart one. even though it is one of those days where we just wish we could cuddle up with a log on the fire and wrap up in a cozy blanket. you could use a blanket.

>> since fireplaces and electric heaters are getting their fair share of uses, we brought in home improvement expert and home of "home wizard" eric stromuhr, here to tell you the best ways to keep warm and safe without overspending.

>> it is freezing in here. my goodness!

>> talk to us. when you have a fire, you think to yourself, let's heat up the house, throw a few logs on. is this a great way to warm it up?

>> you have to be careful. understand how the flue works. the flue is the device in the chimney that opens and closes and allows the smoke to come out. the way to check if it is working, put a flashlight up, if you see daylight, it is open. you know that position, so you could have it open to start a fire.

>> don't you light a piece of paper and see if the smoke goes up?

>> you can do that. and check with fireplace maintenance once a year, make sure there isn't creosote buildup.

>> and the logs, there are these kinds of logs that hoda goes for, that are easy.

>> all made of organic materials . they produce less tommexins into the atmosphere. and hard and seasoned wood, things like walnut, oak, hard woods burn much better, more dried out in season.

>> i've seen the glass ones and the netting ones, the covers.

>> the fire screen keeps the embers from bursting out and setting fire to the floor or the carpeting. also about the glass doors, you leave those open when the fire is on and had it is dying down, close them, keeps the heat in the house. otherwise the fireplace is inefficient, sucks the heat out of the house. this is a great example of a fire. newspaper underneath and dry seasoned hard wood on top and kindling below. and it gives you the ability to start quickly and start the fire to make it look like the one we have behind us.

>> okay.

>> and then also when lighting fires, i want you to always consider using longer lighters, longer fireplace matches to get away from the fire. so you're not so close and setting your eyebrows on fire. you can do that, but it is risky.

>> is that the way you want to do it? okay. maybe we shouldn't light a fire with hoda.

>> and gas fireplaces, they usually come with a pipe that comes from the wall and provides utility and gas from the company. it shoots out these little holes. and then a lot of people just light these -- this open exposed gas and that's when it goes -- and that's when the eyebrows go.

>> not a good idea.

>> have a device that sparks and then lights that way, rather than you manually lighting it.

>> nobody wants their eyebrows burned off.

>> no, we like our eyebrows. this is a beautiful example of a wood burning stove , an old pot bellied stove but modernized. and this company makes a great design. fashion forward, fits and radiates like crazy. this is another example of a way to -- to heat. it is called pellets. pellets are compressed hard woods that are just like this, exactly. and then there is a system inside one of the fireplaces that deposits when it needs it and burns really efficiently and cleanly.

>> are those popular, by the way?

>> really popular, especially here in the northeast. because it radiates heat.

>> first i've seen it right now. this is important for jenna.

>> i had an apartment and we have a lot of space heaters because it is very cold and including one in my baby's room. so i got the note last night and i had to take a lot of deep breaths, because i'm afraid that -- these are very dangerous.

>> they're very dangerous if they're close to combustible materials. now, if they tumble over, they definitely stop and they won't be heating anymore.

>> all of them do?

>> get a ceiling fan and move that heated air around the apartment because that will just take it from one location to another, especially up, heat rises, get that heat coming back down again.

>> so i need to put a fan in my frozen apartment.

>> that was great. all right.

>> you like these types?

>> infrared heater and ceramic heater,