The heating season is just around the corner. It’s always best to have your stove and chimney cleaned and serviced before you need it. There is nothing more frustrating than on that first cool evening or morning of the season when your stove won’t start or run properly.
Over the summer season animals or especially birds could have built a home in the chimney. Many times we have responded to calls where house filled with smoke because of a nest or dead duck, or bats had decided to set up residence in the chimney and blocked the airflow.
Your stove should be completely disassembled and cleaned thoroughly.
Check all the gaskets to be sure they seal correctly and are in good condition.
When your stove is dirty and a bit plugged up the efficiency drops, and as little as a 59% drop could pay for the cost of a professional cleaning. Less pellets or wood being burned is good for the environment and your pocketbook.
The owners manual should have information and be a good place to start for cleaning instructions, or call your professional.
We often get calls that stoves are overfeeding and the pellets are piling up. Stoves barely if ever overfeed, but “undercombust” from a lack of air due to dirty conditions in the stove or chimney.
Just like going on a summer road trip in your vehicle make sure your stove is in good working order before you set out for the heating season
Call to book now , we are getting busy!
Proper installation, set-up and maintenance required.
Click through to read this great article from the WETTink Digital magazine.
With the recent winter making many families’ lives around the country miserable for the past few months, many have come to the conclusion that if the past cold season is a sign of things to come they had better get serious about home heating.
There’s much to think about with regard to keeping the family home warm during the colder months of the year. In addition to the initial financial outlay of, for example, replacing old bathroom radiators with new ones and investing in underfloor heating, energy-efficiency and long-term cost-effectiveness are two of the most important issues.
If you’ve ever walked on a cold bathroom floor in the middle of winter, you’d understand why underfloor heating has proven so popular in Canada and throughout the world. Though depending on your home and your bathroom flooring, there are both pros and cons to underfloor heating systems including:
- Most flooring types are covered
- Underfloor heating can replace bulky radiators in small bathrooms
- Some models take a long time to heat up
- Some models can be expensive to install
Bathroom radiators are still popular and where styles are concerned there’s something for every homeowner. As a result, whether you’re heating a contemporary or traditional bathroom you’ll find you have quite a few options to consider.
Bedrooms should be warm and cosy for comfort’s sake, though taking into account the fact that you’re going to curl up under the covers or duvet there’s no need to go all out on a massive heater for your bedroom and in most cases that money would be put to better use in another part of the home.
Space heaters are a popular choice because they’re small and effective, though to be honest, many on the market are hardly attractive!
Safety is an issue with space heaters, particularly in children’s bedrooms, so when buying a new space heater in readiness for the winter take this important consideration into account. Natural stone heaters are a top choice in this regard.
Underfloor heating is proving quite popular in regions that are hit hard by the cold, though unless you experience seriously cold winters where you reside, or you have already invested in something like the popular Neff cookers, there’s generally no need to go to this extent to keep your kitchen warm in winter.
Some handy tips for keeping your kitchen cosy in winter without the need for underfloor heating include:
- Minimize the use of exhaust fans (this also goes for bathrooms)
- When you’ve finished with the oven leave the door open
- Bring the space heater from the bedroom to use in the kitchen
- Reverse the ceiling fan blades to keep the heat from rising
Space heaters are a common sight in living rooms though it won’t prove difficult to find something better, like a trendy radiator that suits the style of your home.
If compatible with your home, a wood or pellet stove isn’t only an excellent way to keep your living room (or kitchen) cosy, but is also the most inviting heating device you’re likely to come across.
A top quality stove can cost hundreds of dollars but it’s certainly worth the financial outlay and will last a lifetime.
Furthermore, look at aiding energy efficiency and minimizing heat loss with long-term, cost-effective measures like installing double-glazed windows and replacing thin curtains with thick curtains – most heat is lost through the windows.
Give some thought to these home heating tips in readiness for the coming winter.
Calling all you Traeger grill aficionados. Traeger Canada has just released a new free app!
With this app you can stay updated with any events and sales that Traeger dealers will be offering, find information on the grills, photo gallery, videos, find a dealer near you, try a new recipe from the cookbook and even upload photos of your “Tragerized” creations to them.
It is available for Apple and Android devices right now. Either go to your app store and type in “Traeger Canada” or scan one of the QR codes below to get the app on your device now. (Blackberry devices coming soon).
When you think of your fireplace, you might think of a romantic evening or a source of heat if you don’t have central heating. However, that fireplace can be a hazard if not properly maintained. The U.S. Fire Administration estimates that 36% of residential fires start with fireplaces, wood stoves and other household appliances that burn solid fuels. That percentage can be reduced by following proper fireplace safety precautions.
Some Common Precautions To Make
- Have the chimney inspected at least annually. It might be fun to watch the chimney sweeps dance and sing in Mary Poppins, but the chimney inspector’s job is much more serious. By having your chimney inspected and cleaned, you can catch budding fire hazards early and eliminate them.
- Prevent creosote buildup. Creosote is most commonly used as a wood preservative and is a toxic substance. To prevent buildup in your chimney, open the glass doors while the fire is burning so that the fire receives proper air flow. Use seasoned hardwood as a fuel and avoid soft, moist wood as much as possible. If you have a wood stove, make sure the air inlets are never blocked.
- Keep flammables away from the fireplace. Especially clear the area around the hearth of any flammable materials and use fire-resistant building materials around the fireplace.
- Keep glass doors closed when not using your fireplace. This helps keep any stray embers from escaping the fireplace area and causing a fire.
- Clear away leaves and debris on your roof. Flammables near the top of your chimney can catch fire from flying embers and cause damage.
- Wait until ashes cool before disposing of them. If you feel any heat or smell smoke when inspecting the ashes, they aren’t completely cool. Douse them with water, place them in a tightly sealed metal container and take the container at least ten feet away from any buildings.
- Only burn wood in your fireplace. Cardboard and garbage should be burned outdoors if your city ordinances permit it, recycled if possible or disposed of in a safe manner if not.
- Never just walk away from a fire. Extinguish it before you retire for the night or leave the house. Double-check to make sure it’s out because the fuel and ashes can continue to smolder long after the visible flames have gone down.
- If you have children, teach them about fire safety. Besides making sure they keep their flammable belongings away from the fireplace, teaching them what to do if a fire gets out of control could save their lives in a variety of situations.
- Make sure you have a plan in place if your house catches fire. Inspect your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors frequently, have family fire drills, and make sure everybody knows what to do if there is a fire.
It sounds like a lot of work just to enjoy your fireplace, doesn’t it? However, it’s worth it to avoid losing your most valuable possessions and possibly even your life because of a stray ember. By using your fireplace in a safe and responsible manner, you can enjoy those romantic evenings by the fireplace without worrying about becoming another statistic.
Adam is a content contributor for Smokey Mountain Fireplaces. Adam enjoys writing about home improvement tips, new technology, and much more. He recommends you check out this website to see some great fireplaces.
Saving money is as simple as conserving energy and let’s face it — everyone wants to save some dough. The environment is usually just seen as a nice side bonus. Both the environmental and financial savings are not insignificant either; over a year, conserving energy can save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, per household. But, saving money starts with you, and you need to take the first step, even if it’s just changing a light bulb.
1. Change the light bulbs in all of your household’s light fixtures from incandescent light bulb to compact fluorescent bulbs.(CFL). CFLs use 70 percent less energy and produce 90 percent less heat than incandescent light bulbs. Just switching the light bulbs will save you money in electricity costs and cooling costs.
2. Plant a tree. Trees produce shade. By planting trees around your house, the shade reduces the cost of cooling your house in summer. Plus, planting trees benefits the environment.
3. Replace old appliances, such as water heaters, dryers, washers, and refrigerators. Old appliances consume more energy for two reasons. They’re dated with older technology and the appliances often have things wrong with them, which causes them to use more energy.
4. Embrace technology. When in the market for new appliances and electronic gadgets, choose an energy star variety. Energy star gadgets meet strict energy usage requirements.
5. Put your computer to sleep. Your computer uses less energy in sleep mode, so set your computer and laptops to “go to sleep” after five or ten minutes of inactivity. When you’re done, turn them off.
6. Eliminate leaks. Heating and cooling costs rise when air escapes through gaps along windows and under doors. You might just need to repair the window by caulking, sealing and weather-stripping around the windows and other openings. For older homes, you should replace the windows with energy efficient.ones. Door wedges and other on market items reduce drafts from under doors. If your outside doors don’t fit well, consider purchasing new exterior doors..
7. Keep a full refrigerator and freezer. Although keeping your refrigerator and freezer full seems like an odd way to save money, these appliances work more efficiently when filled with foods. Think about it. When your freezer is full, the food stuffs touch and assist in reducing the energy needed to maintain a low temperature. Bottles filled with water can be stuffed into the appliances instead of food stuffs.
8. Install a thermostat and use it. Turn the thermostat down in winter and turn it up in summer when you leave the house for more than four hours. Your utility bill will reduce by 10 to 20 percent just by using this method.
9. Unplug appliances when not in use. Unplugging every appliance, such as DVD players and VCRs, modems, cable TV boxes, cordless phones, stereos, radios, coffeemakers. lamps, toasters and electronic gadgets. The Department of Energy says unplugging appliances saves 5 to 10 percent of energy per year. This results in about a yearly savings of about $250.
Reducing the amount of energy your household uses will save you money and the environment. If you can unscrew a light bulb, you can reduce the energy consumed by your house each year. Soon, you’ll be wondering where you can spend the extra cash.
Natasha Risinger is a dedicated conservationist. She writes about going green and saving energy for a number of eco blogs. Visit Texas Electricity Providers for more information.
Pellet stoves save energy and money – and they are highly durable, with most stoves lasting for many years; however, regular maintenance is essential to keep them working efficiently. In this article, I’ll dissect pellet stoves, explaining the specific areas that owners need to clean and attend to, adding priceless tips on how to keep a pellet stove operating smoothly for a long time.
How Does a Pellet Stove Work?
A pellet stove is similar in appearance to a wood burning stove; however, the components of a pellet stove are slightly more complex. As opposed to using split logs as fuel, a pellet stove relies on wood pellets. The majority of pellet stoves require between 30 to 130 pounds of pellets, which are loaded into a device known as the “hopper.” The larger the pellet stove is, the more pellets it is able to hold and the more pellets it can hold, the longer it will provide heat without having to reload the hopper. Once the pellets have been loaded, they are automatically transferred to a heating chamber at a controlled rate. The stove has an internal thermostat which gauges the level of heat to determine when more pellets should be added. The air from the room is drawn in through a fan built into the stove and then transferred through the heating chamber and hot air is distributed back into the room or through a vent system. The device responsible for carrying the pellets to the combustion chamber is known as an auger. Pellet stoves either have a top feed auger or a bottom feed auger.
Top and Bottom Augers
With a top feed auger, the pellets enter the stove from the top, which reduces the risk of a fire burning back into the hopper, however, ash buildup is common in a top feed, so it is important to keep the grate clean to prevent the fire from being suffocated. A bottom feed auger moves the pellets horizontally through the stove and the ash is shifted to the sides and falls into a pan, so it is easier to clean and maintain.
Cleaning the Burn Pot
The burn pot requires regular cleaning to avoid a buildup of ash and prevent blockage. It is best to clean the burn pot with a pellet stove vacuum, a device designed specifically for removing the ash from your pellet stove. If you do not have a pellet stove vacuum, a small hand broom can also be used to sweep the ash out and into a pan. The burn pot should be swept or vacuumed at least once each week and thoroughly cleaned at least once each year.
Cleaning the T-Vent Pipe
The T-vent is a pipe that connects to the back of a pellet stove and is designed to catch ash with the waste air. The T-vent opens on the bottom to enable easier cleaning. It is recommended that the T-vent be cleaned at least once each month. To clean the T-vent, place a bucket under the pipe to catch the accumulated ash from behind the elbow (the ‘T’ section of the pipe). Remove the small metal screws from the bottom of the plug. With one hand, grasp the top of the T-vent pipe and push up on the bottom of the pipe with the other hand, turn and unscrew the plug on the bottom of the pipe. Allow the ash to fall into the bucket. Use a small hand broom or a pellet stove vacuum to remove any ash that is stuck in the pipe.
Check for soot buildup on the inside surfaces of the pellet stove and clean any soot from the inside with a wire brush. The heat exchanger should also be routinely cleaned according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Clean the glass on the door each week so you can if the fuel is effectively burning. Clean the glass using warm water and a drop of dishwashing liquid then rinse well and dry using a soft cloth. Never use Windex or other cleaners on the glass as it may pose a fire hazard.
Always make sure the pellet stove is completely cool before you begin cleaning it. With the proper maintenance, your pellet stove can last for years. Remember to do a yearly cleaning that includes cleaning the flue and all parts of the stove. Always empty the pellets at the end of the season and clean out the hopper with a pellet stove vacuum.
Aaron Trussell is an environmental research scientist. His articles mainly appear on environmental and business blogs where he shares his research and findings. Visit the link to learn more about Environmental Data Resources.
Having an open fire in your home is a wonderful way to keep warm over the winter months. However the heat, relaxation and cozy comforts that open fires bring are not without risk. You need to be careful when you sourcing your fuel and setting up the fire. Some people go to hardware stores and other outlets to buy pre-cut firewood. However if you’re a little more adventurous you might want to collect and gather your own. If done safely and correctly this can be a great way to gather free fuel for your wood fire.
This post will go over how to gather, cut and prepare your own firewood safely. After reading this you should be familiar with the fundamentals and be on your way to being able to source your own fuel.
The first thing to do is plan out your wood requirements. Having a clear idea of how much wood you need helps you to gather only as much as you need; which helps minimize waste. It also means that you can save yourself repeat trips. On average if you cut fresh wood it will take at least 6 months to dry enough to burn well. Therefore you need to work out your wood requirements over winter and make sure it’s cut at least 6 months in advance.
Once you’ve got an organized schedule it’s time to get to work and start cutting. For the purpose of this article it is assumed that you are not going to fell a tree from scratch. This is a whole different matter and unless you’re qualified this can put you at serious risk of injury. For amateurs it’s best to cut up fallen trees or further cut down wood that a professional has felled.
To safely cut your own firewood you’re going to need a chainsaw and the protective gear associated with it. If you don’t have protective clothing you’ll be exposed to serious injury from the chainsaw itself. The main gear to get is chainsaw trousers or chaps, protective gloves, a helmet/visor chainsaw boots and noise cancelling muffs. This will require a little bit of investment up front but the safety gear will last you years. After these initial purchases it’s pretty much free firewood from then on.
In terms of actually cutting the wood it’s best to take the main trunk and break it down into cylinders of about 1 foot at a time. Keeping this size makes transportation easier if you have an open deck pickup. However if you’re taking the wood home in an enclosed space you can further split it down vertically into halves or quarters. The smaller your chunks of wood are the faster they will dry. But at the same time the more susceptible they are to taking in water. Therefore if you’re storing your wood outside keep it in larger chunks; but you can split it down if it’s being stored in a garage or enclosed space.
This post was from Peter McAllister from SGM a company that sells protective outdoor clothing and other arborist equipment/accessories.
When we think of the patio, we often think of the long days of summer, the BBQ and the idea of deckchairs, sunshine and heat comes to our mind. However, a patio can also be used during the colder months of winter – meaning you don’t have to retreat inside when the cold comes. Here’s how to winterize your patio.
Turn Up the Heat
Of course, the most obvious problem with the patio in the winter months is the cold and so having outdoor heating is vital. Fortunately, there are a number of options available ensuring you can enjoy your patio in the depths of the winter.
Gas patio heaters are increasingly common and increasingly affordable, as are the likes of outdoor fireplaces, fire pits and also chimneas. These are just some of the choices at hand to create a cozy feel outdoors. One of the biggest benefits of the patio heater above all others is that they can be moved, look aesthetically attractive and can be positioned where they are required most.
Electric heaters are also a good option and run odour free and silently. They can be fixed or stand alone. They have also gotten significantly more efficient in recent years and don’t emit fumes.
These are seldom seen but an excellent addition to those that want to be sheltered from the rain and chilly winds during the winter. The patio blind allows for the area to be used comfortably and are easily rolled up and down, and can even be automated if possible. These shelter you from the impending rain and also in addition to gas patio heaters can make a very comfortable outdoor area with many of the benefits of the indoors. They are also fantastic for blocking wind and chills from the area.
These patio blinds come in a range of fabrics and can be purchased in clear and tinted PVC, making them ideal for days there is a glare too. They are also available in tough material like fabrics, if you wish to give your patio a different feel. These can complement some of the other heating options wonderfully.
A Little Splash of Colour
The winter is a drab time and that’s why adding a little bit of colour can make all the difference to the patio area. Depending on where you live, there are whole arrays of options that can be added to brighten up the area for winter. From colourful patio plant pots, to rugs made from numerous materials; the patio area can be greatly brightened up with a few pieces of colour here and there. This can really lift your mood and turn the patio into the perfect outdoor retreat for those cooler days.
Winter plants also can add to the area and the likes of heather, cabbages and others can be attractive during the winter – making for an appealing natural spectacle. Ask at your local garden centre to see what they thing fits in with the climate.
Winterizing your patio area is a great idea and gives you a warm and cozy outdoor retreat when the rest of the neighbourhood is stuck between the four walls.
Cormac Reynolds writes for UK company Patio Heater Hire and loves his patio all year round.