Friday, February 18, 2011

3 Fireplace Myths

There are some myths that have been floating around about fireplaces for some time now.  Well, we want to help you out with a few, some are more truth than myth, other myths can be fixed with just a few tweaks to your fireplace, and the rest are just that; myths.
  1. To be green (or to save on my electric bill) I should never use my fireplace.
    While it is true that fireplaces can suck a lot of heat out through your chimney, most of the time this can be resolved by using a fireback or installing a fireplace insert.  A fireback maximizes the warmth of your fireplace and a fireplace insert decreases the amount of warm air lost by around 60%.
  2. A fireplace is inefficient when operating.
    Fireplaces actually lose more heat when they are not operating, due to leaks around the damper.  This can be easily resolved by installing fireplace doors.  Fireplace doors will help to add an extra barrier and seal your home from leaking out warm air or cool air (depending on the season). 
  3. It is okay to use unseasoned wood.
    Unseasoned wood causes more problems that just taking longer to ignite than seasoned wood.  Unseasoned wood can lead to creosote building up in your chimney at a much quicker rate than it normally would have. And a lot of chimney fires are due to creosote build up. A way to prevent this problem is to always use seasoned wood and to have your chimney inspected yearly by a certified chimney sweep. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Wood Stoves - A bit of history

I'm sure many of you have seen, used, or know someone who has a wood burning stove.  These stoves have been around for quite some time, with Benjamin Franklin perfecting them in his design "The Franklin Stove" in the 1740s.  Benjamin Franklin made the stoves more efficient, they heated homes more easily while still using less fuel.  However, these original stoves were made for primarily heating the home.  Free standing stoves, that had flat tops ideal for cooking upon, came a little later. Cast iron cookware was and is still used upon wood burning stoves for cooking. This freestanding design was quite popular due to the ability to cook upon it, and it is a design that is still used today.

The use of a wood stove has not much changed since its earlier uses.  In order to use one you will need to build a fire inside the oven, and if your stove has a flue it will need to be opened in order to allow for the smoke to go up through the chimney and out of your home.  After you get your fire going, you will want to securely shut the door on the front of the stove to keep the fire contained.  You will need to adjust your grate so that the fire will die down a little as a fire that is burning too hot can damage the stove.

Fuel is wood, and there are many aspects you will want to keep in mind as you are choosing the type of wood you want to use for your wood fire.  Some woods burn very quickly, and other woods can be a smoke and fire hazard while they are still freshly cut.

Wood burning stoves are great for heating a home, and they can be handy during a power outage during colder weather.  They also add an interesting decor element to any home.  Wood stoves come in different sizes and styles now, while the stoves haven't changed all that much since their invention, they have been made safer and more aesthetically pleasing since days gone by.
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