Thursday, December 15, 2011

Why your Fireplace Needs a Fireback

Not only do fireplace firebacks add a touch of history, romance, and practicality to your fireplace, they are also both functional and decorative.

What can a fireback do for your fireplace?
  • They retain and radiate heat from your fireplace back into your room. Which will keep your home warmer and help save more on your heating bill.
  • The prevent and conceal damage to the firebrick in the rear of your fireplace. Fireplaces, despite how far materials in home building have come since the earlier years of fireplaces, are still vulnerable to damage from the intense heat that a fire gives off, the fireback will help to prevent expensive damage to your fireplace's masonry.
  • Firebacks can be used with both wood fires or gas logs.
Interested in owning a fireback for your fireplace? How do you know what size you need?

In choosing a size for your fireback you will need to be sure that it is large enough to protect the area directly behind the fire. But it does not need to be so large that it extends into the flue. A fireback that extends into the flue can cause problems with the draft and also interfere with the damper in your fireplace.

At we have a beautiful selection of firebacks for fireplaces.

Friday, December 9, 2011

How to Prevent a Flue Fire

Tis the season to snuggle up next to a warm fire. But that romantic notion can easily be shattered and lost if a flue fire starts. How can you prevent a flue fire from happening? Well the first step is to know what causes a flue fire.

Flue fires are typically created by creosote build-up. Creosote is a very thick, sticky liquid that will stick to nearly anything. The burning of wood causes the creation of creosote naturally. Creosote is naturally very flammable and its appearance can vary from being be sooty or ash like, sticky, tacky, and runny tar glaze, dry honeycombs or curly flakes. It can also be a dense, hard, and shiny black tar glaze.You should be sure to clean your chimney and flue every year to remove creosote build up from the previous winter's fires, you will need a chimney brush to help in cleaning. If you do not feel comfortable cleaning it yourself, you can hire a local chimney sweep.

There are also things that you can do when it is the season to be using your wood stove or fireplace that can also help in preventing a flue fire.

When first building a fire, make a small, very hot fire, this will create a good updraft so that there is less buildup on the flue. (For more info read: How to Start a Fire in a Woodstove)

Always, burn wood that is well seasoned and/or dry. (For more info read: How to Season Firewood)

Avoid burning large amounts of paper and cardboard, using them to start a fire is fine, but do not burn more than you need. Wood stoves and fireplaces are not meant to be trash burners. Certain types of material will cause a much larger amount of build up in your flue than others.

Another little tip is to toss a handful of salt thrown on the flames occasionally, it will help loosen the soot. You should do this once or twice a month.

Try not to use extremely pitchy wood for anything other than starting the fire, as this wood will create more build up. Sometimes it cannot be helped, but be aware that by using this type of wood that you will have more creosote build up.

If you do have a flue fire, do not panic, call the fire department, and do not pour water into the firebox (this can have explosive results). You can pour salt or use a foam style fire extinguisher. But first and foremost get yourself and your family to safety. Things can eventually be replaced. Lives cannot.

Monday, December 5, 2011

How to Properly Dispose of Ashes from Wood Stoves & Fireplaces

While browsing the internet, I came across a news article dated 11-23 which was titled, "Forest Service urges proper disposal of woodstove and fireplace ashes"

Apparently there have been some forest fires due to some people disposing of wood stove ashes improperly. And there have been home fires that have started because of improperly stored fire ash.

Hot coals can hide amongst the ashes and stay hot for up to 4 days (sometimes longer). These coals were once used to reignite fires when people did not have an easy way to light a fire. But now these coals are a danger to our forests, fields, homes, and more if they are tossed out while still hot.

So what should you do with those ashes from your fireplace or wood stove?
Ash Containers are a great way to store hot coals and ashes from a fireplace or wood stove.  It is recommended to add a little water after putting ash in to be sure that any hot coals are extinguished. The ash should be stored away from anything flammable in case any cinders happen to escape. Be sure the lid on your ash container is tightly on.
Once you are sure that your ash is no longer hot, and that there aren't any coals still burning, there are a few things that you can do with your ashes.
  • Use your ash around plants that thrive in alkaline soil. 
  • Mix with water to make a paste to clean wood blemishes and water rings on wood.
  • They can be sprinkled around the perimeter of your garden to repel slugs and snails.
  • You can add them to your compost pile.
If you are safe with your wood stove and/or fireplace ash, then you can help prevent accidents from happening.

Stay safe and warm this winter!

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