Baby, it's cold outside, but crankin’ up the oil furnace is getting more and more expensive. Alternative heating methods are becoming increasingly popular among homeowners.
In order to keep their homes warm, many people are turning to wood, electric heaters and gas fireplaces, but these new sources of heat bring with them a new set of fire-prevention concerns.
Always exercise caution when heating your home. Consider these safety tips:
Heaters or fireplaces powered by electricity:
The instructions and warning labels on your heater should be read and followed exactly as they are on the product you just purchased.
Keep an eye on it and unplug it when not in use. To avoid damaging the cord, make sure you unplug the device by pulling the cord straight out.
To avoid overheating, do not plug the heater into a power strip or extension cord.
Never block the heater's air intake or outlet with flammable materials, and always keep it at least three feet away from anything that could catch fire.
Wood Burning Stoves:
On a regular basis, have a professional inspect and clean your chimney.
Cover the front of the fireplace with a glass or metal screen to keep out flammable materials.
Lock up lighters and matches in a cupboard out of the reach of children.
Tips for a Safer Life:
During the holiday season, candles are a typical and add ambiance to a house. They should never be left unattended or burning in a closed location. To prevent a candle from falling over, always use sturdy holders. When you're done with the room, extinguish the candles.
The family should devise an escape strategy and practice it twice a year. There should be two ways out of each room, and an outdoor gathering spot should be chosen.
Ensure that you have smoke alarms on every floor of your house. Every month, set a reminder in your calendar to check them and to replace the batteries.
Keep your dryer's lint filter clean at all times. Lint accumulation has the potential to ignite.
Put out pan fires by sliding the lid over the flames and always have an extinguisher in your kitchen.
"Stop, Drop, and Roll" should be taught to every member of the family in the event that their garments catch fire. In order to acquire the greatest air for breathing, practice crawling and going down low.
It's a good idea to keep the phone numbers of your emergency contacts on hand.
Fireplace Kit Safety
To ensure great efficiency and safety, fireplace kits must be serviced on a regular basis. A chimney cap covers the aperture at the top of the chimneys, preventing outside particles from entering. If this cap is broken or missing, it must be replaced.
In the case of fireplace kits, shining a flashlight down the chimney to inspect the mortar within is an effective approach to ensure that the outside mortar between the bricks is intact. The crumbling mortar has to be replaced. Metal chimneys should not have damaged or rusted metal pieces, nor should screws be missing.
Cleaning chimneys at regular intervals is a good idea since creosote buildup can cause a dangerous chimney fire. Creosote is a hard, crust-like substance formed by the incomplete combustion of wood. Soot, like ash, is a combustible deposit that must be removed if it accumulates on the chimney walls. If this deposit accumulates to a depth of about 1/8 inch, the chimney must be cleaned to remove it.
It is important to remember that fireplace kits should never be utilized as furnaces. Fireplaces should only be used for short-term fires (approximately five hours). Up to three days after burning, fireplace coals can still be hot enough to ignite a fire. As a result, a vacuum should never be used to pick up the ashes because there is a chance that live coals will remain in the ashes. If there is still smoke in the house after cleaning out the chimney, ensure sure the damper is open. If there is a lot of smoke pouring out of the chimney, it means that the wood isn't totally burned. These are just a few of the safety precautions that a homeowner should take when using fireplace kits.
Looking to add the ambiance of a fire to your backyard? Looking at options, and settled on a few ideas? Outdoor fireplaces add ambiance to any outdoor nighttime event at a fraction of the cost that many people believe
A chiminea is the most common type of outdoor fireplace, and it consists of a concave base, a single entrance for feeding the fire, and a short chimney or smoke stack. Although these little outdoor fireplaces are typically built of cast iron, aluminum, ceramic, or terra cotta, there are larger and more robust devices (usually cast iron) that are intended for a controlled but roaring bonfire in the safety of your own backyard.
Chimineas and other outdoor fireplaces are made to be used in the summer and then stored for the winter since the clay or terra cotta-based units might shatter in excessively cold conditions. Cast iron chimineas or outdoor fireplaces are not susceptible to breaking, although they will rust quickly if exposed to snow or other weather. Depending on the material, size, and other safety or comfort features that you pick, these outdoor fireplaces can cost anywhere from $150 to well over $500.
Others are little more than a firebox with an open stack, with safety grills and pitched chimney stacks to protect hot embers or ash from floating away and causing a fire hazard. Only firewood should be used in a chiminea or outdoor fireplace, regardless of the kind. Other substances may emit poisonous chemicals that can both literally and symbolically destroy the ambiance of your gathering, and some fuels may leave difficult-to-clean deposits on the inside of the fireplace.
Outdoor fireplaces are becoming a more popular method for people to meet and enjoy the outdoors without having to travel too far from home in the evenings when the temperature becomes cooler and some brave souls brave the air conditioning. An outdoor woodstove might be the thing to try if you have fond recollections of open campfires from your youth.
A wood stove insert is a high-quality wood-burning stove that is designed to be installed in an existing fireplace and chimney. A wood stove insert is essentially a solid fuel room heater that must be carefully placed within a chimney. Only a certified installation specialist should accomplish this. This sort of stove is only used for warmth, not as a cook stove to cook meals.
The primary rationale for installing a wood stove insert rather than a stand-alone stove is to make use of an existing fireplace, but there are other advantages. A stove insert built into an existing brick or stone fireplace will undoubtedly be more efficient than a stand-alone device installed within the room. This is because the fireplace materials are insulating, provided the fireplace is an original element of the building. Keep in mind that better heat efficiency means cheaper heating expenditures.
There are several prerequisites for installing a wood stove insert, the most significant of which is a chimney. Without one, it is simply impossible. There are various types of chimneys, such as sound masonry chimneys or Stainless Steel Class "A" insulated chimneys, which are commonly used in new construction. We can presume that if a fireplace insert is being placed, the property already has a brick chimney, but this does not guarantee a safe and effective stove insert installation. There might be numerous issues with putting into an old chimney, such as the chimney needing to be lined, being too large or too tiny, or not being insulated. This emphasizes the importance of thorough preparation and planning before investing in a new wood stove insert, and the best suggestion would be to call a professional and have your chimney thoroughly inspected before spending any money.
Finally, even if you have an useable chimney, you will need proper floor protection behind your wood stove insert. This may not be the case if the fireplace has been empty, remodeled, or used for exhibition purposes. There are a few permitted materials for this purpose, such as concrete slabs, prefabricated Approved Stove Boards, ceramic tiles, or stone, but consult a specialist to ensure your fireplace meets the appropriate standards
Types of Gas Fireplaces
If your budget allows, one of the most beautiful and useful ways to liven up your home's decor is to add a gas fireplace.
Gas fireplaces are now available in every type and size to suit your every décor necessity or fancy. A gas fireplace can be everything from elegant marble to rustic wood.
Today's fireplaces are made to look like real wood-burning fireplaces, replete with logs and lifelike flames. When you choose a gas fireplace, you won't have to worry about sacrificing atmosphere.
Top vented, direct vented, and ventless gas fireplaces are the three types of gas fireplaces. The type you choose will mostly be determined by your home's construction and how you intend to utilize your gas fireplace.
Gas fireplaces with top venting are vented through an existing chimney or a freshly installed vent pipe that runs through the ceiling. For obvious reasons, these fireplaces are more common in new builds or single-story residences. Remote control, thermostatic, and blower capabilities are available on top vented fireplaces, just as they are on conventional gas fireplaces. These fireplaces range in price from $600 to $2,500, depending on the options you select.
Direct-vent fireplaces are those that are vented directly through the wall above the fireplace. This allows you a lot of flexibility in terms of where you can put your gas fireplace, and this venting structure also brings in fresh air from outside to utilize in combustion, ensuring that no air from inside the house is consumed. Gas fireplaces with a direct vent are also quite simple to set up. This style of fireplace can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $2,500, depending on your preferences and budget.
Although ventless gas fireplaces do not require vents, they do have some limitations. Although these fireplaces can be put practically anywhere, including against a wall, they are only intended for infrequent, attended, and supplemental use.
A ventless fireplace may be the best option for your house if you do not plan on utilizing your fireplace as your primary source of heat or when you are away from home. This is also the least priced form of gas fireplace, with prices ranging from $400 to $1,500.
So, if you're seeking for the ideal accent piece for your home, a gas fireplace can be the answer. Imagine having an artistically carved, stunningly beautiful fireplace with a marble mantel and no need to bring any wood with you. Simply turn a knob to experience the warmth, comfort, and beauty of a gas fireplace
The Best Wood for Your Chimney
While modern chimneys and fireplaces can handle any type of wood, some are better for your chimney than others. And by “better” we mean they have less of a negative impact and produce less “wear” than other types of wood.
First off, as a general reminder, burn only dry, seasoned firewood in your fireplace. This is actually a safety and care issue more than anything. Seasoned wood implies that the wood is clean, cut into 12 to 18 inch lengths, and dried out in a wood stack for at least one season – hence the term. Wood can also be kiln-dried, which rapidly achieves the same affects as a year stacked in a neat pile.
Newly cut wood is too moist – it contains sap, natural moisture and water, and must be dried out prior to burning – otherwise you risk excess smoke, which causes creosote buildup. Avoiding creosote buildup is the best way to care for your chimney, and to keep it clean between cleanings.
So what type of wood is best? If you have the option to pick from different types of wood, great. If not, that’s ok – as any of them are safe to burn, provided that they’re seasoned. But if you can, harder woods like ash, sycamore, walnut and oak burn at a higher temperature given their density. As a result, they produce slightly less smoke, which can help in keeping your chimney cleaner. In contrast softer woods like juniper, fir and pine produce more smoke – meaning they’ll add creosote deposits at a slightly higher rate. But again, if you can’t find these harder woods, that’s ok.
Sticking with clean, cut, seasoned firewood is the best thing you can do. And do everything in your power to avoid burning anything other than wood in your fireplace. It might be tempting, but the cleanup will be that much more challenging.
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Is your fireplace keeping you warm and cozy? - Advice for better heat generation.
Have an old boarded up fireplace in your home, or looking to breath new life into an existing fireplace? These rebuilt fireplaces and chimneys must be working properly in order to take advantage of the growing trend of reopening old fireplaces that have been bricked or boarded up. The hot exhaust gases and smoke must be expelled through a chimney if a fire using wood or coal is to burn properly. A hearth grate should also be used to keep the fuel from suffocating the flames by letting air and waste ash to pass through. It is impossible for the fire to function properly if the chimney or flue is insufficient if the air flow is insufficient.
Count Rumford stressed the relevance of the flue's size in relation to the fireplace's aperture in his thesis on fireplace design principles, which was published in 1799. He proposed that the flue's cross-sectional area should be around a tenth of the opening's size. However, after the mid-nineteenth century, fireplaces became smaller. One-to-seven is the preferred ratio among modern flue liner manufacturers; size charts produced to date outline current specifications.
Open a window and see if it helps if your fire is smoky or won't burn correctly. The room needs more ventilation if this happens. The installation of a window vent is one option, although it may result in an uncomfortable cross draft. Single or twin ducted vents installed into the floor in front of the fireplace or external walls on either side of a chimney breast are far more efficient ways to ventilate a room.
When wood or coal is burned, a variety of byproducts such as combustible gases, tar, acids, and fine particles are released into the air. As a result, not all of these chemicals are utilized since household stoves are inefficient. While some of them condense inside of the flue, they instead rise up the chimney and are expelled. Soot is formed when unburned carbon interacts with these tars and acids, diminishing the flue's diameter over time. Local trade directories are a good source of information for finding qualified and insured chimney sweeps who can clean your chimney at least twice a year, before, through, and at the conclusion of the heating season. Because the unburned components of the soot can ignite, resulting in a chimney fire that can reach high temperatures and damage the chimney, soot-laden flues are a fire hazard.
When a flue is overly large, a liner can be installed to lower its diameter and therefore increase its efficiency. Flexible stainless steel flue liners, ceramic flue liners, lightweight concrete sections, or concrete cast in situ are some of the processes and materials employed. It is also possible to reduce the fireplace aperture by raising the hearth or installing a baffle at the top of the entrance. It's worth asking a fireplace expert if a metal smoke hood or canopy is the best answer if raising the hearth level or putting in a baffle is impractical or unappealing.
A fireplace is a common feature in traditional homes that serves as both a source of heat and an aesthetic statement. The fireplace is a focal point in many houses, old and contemporary.
The basic fireplace is made up of a cement base, a hearth, a firebox, distinctive facing, ash dump and cleanout doors, a lintel and lintel bar, a breast, a damper, a smoke chamber, a throat, a flue, a chimney chase, a crown, a cover or shroud, and a spark arrestor. For decades and perhaps centuries, the fireplace's structure was incorporated into the designs of homes. For many people, a central heating system has supplanted the fireplace as a primary source of heat in their homes.
Fuel for the fireplace
Coal, wood, or peat were traditionally used to heat fireplaces. Natural gas and electricity have largely displaced these earlier fuels as the preferred means of igniting flames due to their superiority in terms of cleanliness, safety, and cost. To maintain a steady flame for an extended period of time, gas fireplaces typically use only a modest amount of fuel. A better and more cost-effective option is to use a modern fireplace.
designed with a metal firebox and double or triple walled steel tubing ascending through the wood chase, with a chase cover and a cap/spark arrestor at the top. Manufactured or Prefab Fireplaces This type of chimney rusts when it is near salt water, although it is more cost-effective than a brick chimney.
The lining of the chimney flue is protected from corrosion by the use of flue tiles in masonry fireplaces. These aren't built to withstand earthquakes!
Chimneys made of reinforced concrete were popular in the 1970s and 1980s, but are no longer in use. When heated, the flue will break due to the conflicting thermal expansion rates of the steel rebar and concrete. As the rebar inside the chimney rusts, the chimney's vertical fissures get worse.
In terms of aesthetics, fireplaces are alluring. There's something calming and soothing about a roaring fire, and mantelpieces are a popular way to display family photos. For all their imperfections, a fireplace's usefulness extends far beyond its original purpose. More than that, a fireplace is a symbol of the safety and security that comes with being in a house.
The American home fireplace has traditionally been the preferred gathering area for families and friends. The fireplace not only provides comfort, but it also serves as a focal point, helping to create priceless memories. There are several significant drawbacks to having a fireplace, and if they are not addressed, the appeal of having a fireplace may wane.
The main disadvantage of having a fireplace is that it wastes electricity, which is becoming increasingly expensive in today's world. Even though the heat radiates outward from the fireplace, a convection current can actually draw conditioned air from the room and up the chimney, making your furnace work overtime. When the fire is out, the fireplace includes a damper that prevents the inside air from escaping and the outside air from getting in. This style of damper hasn't changed in over 100 years, which means that the damper is extremely inefficient because it's constructed of metal and lacks a seal.
Fireplaces are supposed to warm your home, but they're actually wasting energy and costing you hundreds of dollars a year. Don't worry; with a little effort and money, you can convert your old, inefficient fireplace into a high-performance heater that saves you money on your utility costs while also adding to the aesthetic appeal of your home.
You can save a significant amount of money on your heating bills by implementing the following four simple changes to your fireplace.
Installed at the top of the chimney, Top Sealing Dampers replace the fireplace throat damper. With a seal resembling a storm door, the top sealing damper keeps the pricey conditioned air in and the outside air out of the house. Even if you're heating or cooling your home, this principle holds true. Purchasing and installing this device is simple, and it may be done by either a homeowner or a professional.
There are two types of firebacks: those made of cast iron and those that are made of wood. Its primary function is to shield the house's back wall from fire damage, but it can also serve as an attractive element. The fireback absorbs the heat from the fire and radiates it back into the room, increasing the fireplace's efficiency.
A fireplace heater is a device that uses heat from the fire to pump fresh air back into the room, where it is then reintroduced. The smoke from the fireplace is kept out of the house by using these heaters, which use closed systems. These heaters can make a big impact in your home's temperature, potentially heating a whole room on their own, depending on the model you choose. It's possible to save even more money by installing a fireplace heater with a fireplace glass door.
By completing part of the work yourself, you may be able to lower some of the expense of Fireplace Glass Doors. Several fireplace doors are available for purchase online, all of which come with easy-to-follow installation guidelines. The glass door of the fireplace creates a barrier between the living space and the chimney, so lowering the area that your furnace must heat. One of the many benefits of installing these doors is the fact that they are more secure. As a safety measure, fireplace glass doors shield youngsters and pets from the blaze. Screen mesh designed for use with fireplace glass doors should be purchased if you have a wood-burning fireplace. You can leave the doors open while the fire burns and still keep your house safe from flying embers and sparks. Modern fireplace glass doors are now being produced, and they significantly enhance the fireplace's beauty and charm.
You don't need to be an expert to carry out any of these tips. In addition, all of the things can be acquired online, even if they are difficult to obtain locally. Your fireplace is a great way to retain the heat in your home, but if you're worried about excessive energy expenditures, it's time to fix your fireplace.
Raccoons are well-known for their ability to quickly adapt to new environments, which is why so many people have a hard time dealing with the damage they inflict. As a result of the prevalence of pet doors in many homes, raccoons have developed a horrible habit of destroying garbage cans, fish ponds, and even the pantry in your home.
While this isn't all, raccoons can also be found in attics, chimneys, and porches, as well as cities and suburbs that have constructed an underground transportation system for these sophisticated critters. In addition to the invasion of your privacy, these raccoons can also inflict harm, such as by scurrying through your crops or making annoying noises in your chimney.
Determine whether or not your home has been damaged by Raccoons, because many people believe that Raccoons are responsible for the damage, while in fact, it is more likely that your dog, cat or other friendly animal is responsible.
If you can't see the creatures themselves, the next best thing is to look for their tracks. Use flour, nontoxic powders, and cornstarch to check for footprints on hard surfaces as a first step in this process. An important point to remember: Raccoons that live in or around chimneys or attics normally start making noise as it becomes darker, and cease doing so when the sun comes out. It is easier to find raccoons if you listen to the noises they make as they move. Purring noises indicate the presence of young lion cubs, so keep an ear open for them. When their mother returns to the den, you'll usually hear these noises.
It's wise to simply wait when you have a problem with raccoons; in other words, many raccoon-related issues (such as roosting in a building) can be resolved within weeks or even days. There is no reason for the cubs to leave your attic until they are nine weeks old, so if they are bothering you, you can rest assured that they will not travel into a strange area where they will be defenseless if they are still in your attic.
As far as chimneys and attics are concerned, raccoons are likely to use them for both denning and raising young cubs if they are left uncapped. After some time, you should consider adopting harassment measures in an attempt to force them out sooner rather than later. You may also leave the lights on in the attic or play a loud radio tuned to a talk show.
In order to protect your home from raccoons in the future, you should install an approved chimney cover as soon as you are sure you have exterminated all of them. Using fire or smoke to entice animals out of chimneys is a bad idea because young animals aren't able to escape on their own, and they'll most certainly die as a result.
When it's time for garbage pick-up, put the cans out on the curb to dissuade vandals from damaging your lawn or garden. Another option is to use bungee cords or weights to secure the lids. Consider the harm raccoons can bring to your fruit and vegetable plants when they feast on birdseed and suet, especially corn and grapes. When the crops are ripe and ready to be picked, garden vandals are more likely to strike, so be extra vigilant at those times.
It's important to take basic safety measures in order to minimize raccoon-related issues, which can become a nuisance if left unchecked for an extended length of time.