Posted by & filed under Furnace Repair, Heating.

Changing the air filters for your furnace is an important, but sometimes overlooked, home maintenance task. Regularly replacing your furnace’s filter can not only improve the air quality in your home, but can also save you money by making your heating system operate more efficiently.

furnace filter

The main reasons for changing furnace air filters

There are three major reasons why it’s important to change your furnace filters. First, when a filter becomes dirty after several weeks of catching dust and small bits of debris, it causes your furnace’s blower to work harder. That means it takes more energy for your furnace to keep your home at your accustomed level of warmth. Changing your furnace filter can help trim your energy bill by allowing your heating system to provide your house with warmth while using less energy to do it.

Second, a dirty furnace filter can become clogged with the particles that it’s designed to remove from the air – particles like dust, pet dander, pollen, mold spores, and soot. As a result, it will lose its ability to catch dirt and dust, and those particles will end up circulating in the air throughout your home. Replacing your dirty furnace filters regularly ensures better air quality in your home, which is particularly important if you have young children or elderly people living with you, or if there’s someone in your home who has asthma or allergies.

Third, a blocked furnace filter can cause damage to your furnace unit. As noted above, a dirty furnace filter will hamper airflow, which over time makes your heating unit work harder to move the warm air needed to maintain the desired temperature in your home. This overwork can lead the furnace’s motor to overheat and burn out. Emergency maintenance for your furnace system can be an even bigger drain on your bank account than a high energy bill, and you don’t want to be stuck without heat for any length of time during the cold winter months.

How often you should change your furnace filters

The importance of replacing furnace filters is well-known, but there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer for how often homeowners should change their filters. The frequency of filter replacements can range from once every month to once every three months. The unique circumstances of your home will help you determine just how often your furnace filter should be changed. Consider these factors:

  • As noted earlier, a clean furnace filter can help people in your home with respiratory problems. If you have someone in your home with asthma or allergies, you may want to replace your furnace filter more frequently to ensure the air circulating in your home is as clean as it can be.
  • If you have pets in your home, have someone in your home who smokes, or live in an area that may have higher levels of particulate matter (because of construction or heavy traffic), you’ll want to change your filter more frequently.
  • Check the furnace filter that you’re using. Depending on the manufacturer and type of furnace filter, there may be recommendations for how frequently the filters should be replaced. For instance, high-efficiency filters tend to remove more particles from the air, but because of that efficiency, they also tend to get clogged faster and need to be replaced more often.

Posted by & filed under Fireplaces, Heating.

Back in October, the Ontario government announced that carbon monoxide alarms would be mandatory in almost all homes across the province. The new law follows the provincial legislature’s November 2013 passing of a private member’s bill proposed by Progressive Conservative MPP Ernie Hardeman.

Carbon Monoxide Detector

Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless, and tasteless gas, but a potentially deadly one. Every year in Canada, more than 50 people die of carbon monoxide poisoning, including about 11 in Ontario.

The law now in effect is called the Hawkins-Gignac Act, named in honour of Ontario Provincial Police Constable Laurie Hawkins and her family, who died of carbon monoxide poisoning inside their Woodstock home in 2008. A blocked chimney caused the eventually fatal build-up of the gas in the Hawkins’ home.

The new law is part of an update to Ontario’s Fire Code, and necessitates the installation of carbon monoxide detectors near all sleeping areas in homes that have fuel-burning appliances like furnaces, stoves, or fireplaces. The law also applies to homes with attached garages. Homes that are solely powered by electricity and which have no attached garages are exempt from the new regulations, but these residences comprise only about two per cent of Ontario dwellings.

Before the Hawkins-Gignac Act came into effect, only houses and residential buildings constructed after 2001 were required to have carbon monoxide detectors. Aside from Ontario, Yukon is the only other jurisdiction in Canada where carbon monoxide detectors are mandatory.

Although inspectors can be reluctant to issue tickets, penalties are in place for individuals and organizations that do not comply with the new regulations. These penalties are similar to the ones faced if you do not have a smoke detector in your home. If you fail to equip your home with a carbon monoxide detector, you could face a $235 ticket or even have charges laid against you, which could result in fines of up to $50,000 for individuals and $100,000 for companies.

Carbon Monoxide Safety Tips

The Hawkins-Gignac Foundation for CO Education offers a number of tips to ensure homes are kept safe from the hazardous effects of carbon monoxide. These tips include the following:

– Ensure that you install at least one CSA 6.19.01-approved carbon monoxide detector outside bedrooms. It’s recommended that you install one detector on every floor of your home.
– Have a licensed technician inspect your fuel-burning appliances (like your furnace, fireplace, and water heater) annually to ensure they are in good working condition and properly vented.
– Check the expiry date of existing detectors and replace any devices built before 2008. Carbon monoxide alarms need to be replaced every 7-10 years depending on the brand.
– Replace the batteries in your detector annually, or choose models equipped with 10-year sealed lithium batteries.
– Help older parents or relatives inspect their carbon monoxide detectors.
– If your detector sounds, make sure to get everyone out of your house and call 911. The longer you’re exposed to carbon monoxide, the less clearly you’ll be able to think, so don’t delay in evacuating.

Posted by & filed under Furnace Repair.

In the middle of a cold winter day, the last thing you want is for your furnace to stop working. Unfortunately, furnaces can malfunction when they’re needed most, simply because their vents become blocked with snow, ice, or frost. However, there’s a good reason why many furnaces shut off when their vents are blocked – it’s a built-in safety mechanism. Without proper ventilation, carbon monoxide can build up inside the house, the consequences of which can, at worst, be fatal. As a result, many furnace manufacturers design their units so that they shut off automatically when the vent becomes blocked.

House covered in Snow

Even if your furnace is running, there’s a possibility that its vent could be partially blocked. Over the course of the cold winter months, frost can build up slowly in and around the vent, reducing your furnace’s efficiency. A furnace vent can also become blocked by a buildup of snow or ice. So whether it’s for optimal efficiency or protection from carbon monoxide, it’s important to keep your furnace vents clear. Here’s how to do it.

Dealing with Frost

If the temperature outside remains below freezing for a few days in a row, it’s time to inspect the furnace pipe vent on the outside of your house. It’s usually a white plastic pipe that comes out of the side of a house. If you find a thin layer of frost on the pipe, you can scrape it off with a plastic putty knife. Next, use a flashlight to look into the pipe vent to see whether there’s any buildup on the inside.

If there’s a heavier buildup of frost, you’ll need a source of heat to get rid of it. One way is to plug a hair dryer into an outdoor extension cord. Turn up the dryer to its highest setting and use the hot air to melt frost inside the pipe. Remember to keep your hands safe and wear protective gloves while you use the hair dryer.

While the hair dryer is a handy tool for clearing frost, don’t ever use it in the rain or during a snowfall, as it poses a risk for electrocution.

Clearing Snow

Check on your furnace vent during and after heavy snowfalls, and clear snow away from the vent’s opening if it builds up. If you do notice a mound of snow blocking your furnace vent, clear it away by hand – don’t use a shovel or a snow blower, as either could cause damage to the furnace vent pipe.

Don’t Forget the Meters

Just as with a furnace vent pipe, gas and electric meters can malfunction if exposed to frost, ice, or a buildup of snow. A malfunctioning meter can cause your heating system to run less efficiently, or shut down altogether. While you check on your furnace vent, it’s a good idea to have a look at your gas and/or electric meter as well, and ensure that it’s free of snow, ice, and frost.

Restarting your Furnace

If your furnace shut off as a result of a blocked vent, restart it according to the manufacturer’s instructions after you’ve deal with the blockage.

On average, fifty people a year die in Ontario unnecessarily from Carbon Monoxide poisoning. While it’s mandatory to have carbon monoxide detectors in all homes now, they are not 100% reliable (they become unplugged, they might not be in the right room, etc). This is why it is important for you to take every step to ensure your furnace is being properly vented. Dryer vents also need to be checked too. During heavy snowfalls, be sure to check your dryer vent to ensure that it has not been covered with snow before you use your dryer. If it has, dig it out by hand and make sure the exhaust fumes can escape your home.

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The warmth and light of a fireplace are much easier to appreciate in the cold, dark months of winter. Whether you have a gas-powered or a wood-burning fireplace, you’ll want to operate it safely over the next few months as temperatures continue to dip and as daylight hours become barely noticeable. Safe operation of your fireplace will prevent fire and smoke from spreading to other parts of your home. Here are some pointers to keep in mind as you keep your place warm and bright with your fireplace.

Woman Relaxing by Fireplace

Keep the Chimney Clean and in Good Repair

As is true of any structure of your home, the chimney will deteriorate over time. Bricks can crack or fall off, mortar can wear away, and the flue can become blocked. All of these breakdowns can make your fireplace a hazard. Smoke from the fireplace may not be able to properly vent out of your home, and falling pieces of debris can be particularly dangerous if there’s an active flame in your fireplace.

However, the most common concern about chimneys is a build-up of creosote. Creosote forms on the insides of the chimney walls when waste products from wood go unburned. That waste material clings to hard surfaces and can ignite when another fire is burned. A chimney fire can spread quickly to other parts of your home and cause major damage. To avoid such a disaster, have your chimney inspected and cleaned at least once a year by a certified, insured chimney sweep.

Burn Slow With Wood Fireplaces

For wood-burning fireplaces and wood stoves, it’s important to start your fire small. Begin with paper and small pieces of kindling rather than large blocks of wood. Never use accelerants to start a fire, or the flames could get out of control very quickly.  When it comes to wood, it’s best to burn dry, well-seasoned pieces rather than green or unseasoned ones. Unseasoned wood burns at a lower temperature, which can cause creosote to build up inside your chimney at a much faster rate.

After you’ve enjoyed a fire, clean the ashes out of your fireplace or stove and store them in a covered metal container. Keep that container outside the house, and remember to keep paper, wood, and other flammable materials well away from the fireplace as well.

Know the Best Times to Run Gas Fireplaces

If you have a gas fireplace, it’s a good idea not run it at the same time as other appliances that vent outside your home, such dryers, central vacuum systems, kitchen range hoods, and bathroom vents. Running all of these appliances simultaneously can overwork your venting system and cause some carbon monoxide to stay trapped in the house.

Pay Careful Attention to Surfaces around a Gas Fireplace

The glass window and ceramic surfaces around the outside of a gas fireplace can remain hot even after the unit has been turned off. Use caution when you’re near these surfaces, and use a screen or barrier to keep children from touching the glass.

It’s also important to ensure the glass on a gas fireplace is cool before cleaning it. Wiping hot glass with a damp cloth can cause the glass to crack.

Have Working Detectors and Fire Extinguishers

It’s important to have both smoke and carbon monoxide detectors installed and properly functioning in your home. In fact, as of October, 2014, failure to have a carbon monoxide detector in your house now carries a fine of $235. Change the batteries and test each detector regularly (you can use the clock changes for daylight savings as reminders to check your detectors). Also, keep a fire extinguisher near the fireplace (but not too near, you don’t want the extinguisher to get hot) and make sure that everyone in your household knows how to use it.

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Some power outages can only last for a moment, with a flickering of the lights the only indication that the power even went out. But in the aftermath of a severe storm, you could be faced with days, maybe even weeks, without power. It’s important to keep your home ready for a power outage, and to know what to do when there’s no electricity. I think in Hamilton, for the ice storm of December 2013, we all learned that a house with no power for 2-3 days can get pretty chilly fast.

Getting your home prepped for a power outage

One advantage of a gas or wood fireplace is that it will be a source of heat and light even in the middle of a power outage. For wood-burning fireplaces, you’ll obviously need to keep a supply of firewood on hand. For gas fireplaces, you’ll most likely be able to simply flick a switch and get the fireplace going. Many gas fireplaces use a self-generating millivolt system that functions separately from any outside electrical current, meaning they’ll still run when there’s no power. It’s important to ensure that your fireplace, whether it’s gas-powered or wood-burning, is properly vented with the appropriate chimney flue.

If you don’t have a fireplace in your home, you may consider having an emergency generator on hand. But before you buy one, check with the manufacturers or dealers of your furnace and appliances to find out their power requirements and proper operating procedures.

Ice Storm Aftermath Hamilton 2013

Actions to take during a power outage

If your home is without power, take a quick look around your neighbourhood to see if other homes on your block are also without electricity. If your neighbours have power, you may have a problem with your circuit breaker panel or fuse box, or wires running to your home may be damaged. If you find visibly damaged or downed wires on your property, keep back at least 10 meters and call your power company to tell them about the issue. If you live in a more rural area, such as Mount Hope, Lynden, or Binbrook, take a drive down the road to see if street lights are off, or if any neighbours further down the road are missing power.

If your home isn’t the only one with the lights out, notify your power company. Next, turn off all appliances and electronics, and turn down the thermostat for your heating system. These measures will safeguard your appliances from a power surge when the power comes back on. It’s also easier for power companies to restore electricity when there is a lighter load on the grid.

It’s also a good idea to keep your fridge and freezer doors closed unless it’s absolutely necessary to open them. A full freezer will keep food frozen for 24 to 36 hours if the door stays shut. If any food begins to thaw in your freezer, cook it up. Never re-freeze food, or else you’ll have some pretty serious cramps and food poisoning. For perishable foods in your fridge, just toss them if it seems questionable, particularly things like chicken, or leftovers.

What not to do during a power outage

There are some no-nos to keep in mind when the lights go out. Never use charcoal or gas barbecues, camping heaters, or home generators while indoors. In addition to emitting heat, these appliances give off carbon monoxide, which can be fatal. Even if you’re not using these appliances indoors (and again, you shouldn’t), it’s important to have a working, battery-powered carbon monoxide detector in your home. This includes using these items in your garage. It’s easy for Carbon Monoxide to get sucked into your garage ceiling and leak into your home, where it can prove to be deadly. There have been many tragic stories of power outages where children have died in their bedrooms from carbon monoxide poisoning when their parents were bbq them dinner in the garage.

In case of evacuation

Evacuation orders are more common in the winter, when freezing temperatures can make houses uninhabitable. If you’re given an order to leave your home, remember to turn off the main circuit breaker panel or power supply box; turn off the water at the point where it enters your home; drain the water from your plumbing system; and unhook washing machine hoses. This ensures your pipes won’t freeze and cause flooding in your home. Turning the power off reduces your risk of fire too if you are out of the house. It’s easy for someone to leave in a space heater, an oven element or a heating blanket when the power goes out. Even a hair curler can be left in by accident, which can cause fires.

Posted by & filed under Fireplaces.

While a traditional wood-burning fireplace offers heat, light, and the rustic sounds of crackling wood, the amount of upkeep required to keep them functioning safely can drive homeowners towards a gas alternative. Not only do gas fireplaces require far less maintenance, they also offer a more efficient way of heating a room. Plus, turning them on and off is as easy as flicking a light switch. If you’ve decided that it’s time to ditch the firewood and convert to a gas fireplace, here’s an overview of the options you have at play. Additionally you have many choices regarding styling to compliment your home.

Gas fireplace inserts

Gas Inserts

This is perhaps the most straightforward way of converting a wood-burning fireplace to a gas fireplace, because an insert is a complete fireplace that will be installed within the firebox of the wood-burning fireplace. Inserts have a glass front panel that will replace the need for a grate, which you may have used in front of your wood fireplace. The glass doors are always closed as the fire chamber is sealed; all of the air needed for combustion is piped in, and all of the exhaust air is vented out. Since gas insert fireplaces direct their exhaust directly outdoors, by-products from the gas fire will be kept out of your home.

A gas fireplace insert is essentially a heater that operates much more efficiently than a wood-burning fireplace. So even though you’ll lose the option of an open fire, you’ll be able to heat a room with the aesthetics of a fireplace in a much more affordable way.

Gas Log Sets

Gas log sets

If you want to keep a good deal of the realism of a wood-burning fireplace, a vented gas log system may be the right option for you. These synthetic logs are constructed to resemble various species of trees, and the flame they emit looks comparable to the real thing. But unlike real firewood, you won’t need to chop and stack these logs.

Wood Inserts

Wood insert

These inserts fit directly in your old fireplace opening and are well known for their durability and dependability. Napoleon’s wood burning technology ensures an extremely clean burn. There are a variety of styles from traditional with cook top surfaces to more elegant and sophisticated types.

Pellet Insert

Pellet insert

Pellet inserts deliver great performance as wood and wood pellets are eco-friendly, convenient, renewable, and cost efficient fuels.

Any of these options give you the chance to replace your drafty old fireplace with an efficient, warm and stylish insert.

 

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With winter about to blast us with icy winds and deep-freezing temperatures, homeowners should consider the benefits of a zoned heating system. Having a zoned heating system allows you greater control over heat distribution in the house by turning up the heat just where you need it and whenever you need it. This results in significant savings on your utility bills.

The reason that rooms in your house tend to be warmer in some places and colder in others is best explained because:

  • Heated rises, so rooms on the upper floors are often too warm.
  • Since heat rises, basement rooms are typically too cold.
  • Rooms with high or vaulted ceilings are difficult to retain heat.
  • Rooms that have a southerly exposure and receive long hours of sunlight tend to be too warm.

Although these are just a few reasons for the variations in temperatures throughout your home, there is one way that you can establish an evening-out effect by installing a zone heating system.

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When you have a standard, non-zoned central heating system, the system controls the temperature of the entire house as a whole. It is designed to heat the house with the same temperature, which is both inefficient and costly. In contrast, a zoned heating system makes it possible for the homeowner to control the temperature of each room or zone individually. It allows you to heat rooms that are used more frequently during the day, like your kitchen and family room while preventing usage of energy in parts unused, like bedrooms.

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zone-heatingA typical zoned heating system includes the main floor as one heating zone of the house and the upstairs bedroom areas as a separate heating zone.  By having a zone heating system installed, a homeowner can save an average of 20 to 30 percent on energy costs, thereby maximizing comfort and minimizing utility bills. Since utility costs accounts for more than 40 percent of an average household’s heating and cooling costs, the savings can really add up for homeowners. Unlike a standard one control heating system, a zoned system can be adjusted for personal comfort and a home’s environmental conditions. Zoned systems help homeowners operate their heating systems more effectively; thereby, distributing heat to the desired location when needed.

Zone heating is also known as an automatic balancing system and in theory it’s pretty simple. The system is designed to eliminate hot and cold spots in the house, using duct dampers and multiple thermostats. The multiple thermostats are wired and connected to a master control panel, which operates the dampers within the ductwork of your forced-air system. The temperatures are constantly being read by the thermostats for their specific zone and then the dampers within the ductwork open or close accordingly for the thermostat’s setting.

use of lasix in dogs New Homes and Zone Heating:

For homeowners building or purchasing a new home, the zone system can be easily installed during construction. The more zones that you have installed, the more control you’ll have over your heating and cooling. There are a wide variety of thermostats available on the market including programmable versions. However, points out Daniel O’Brian, a technical expert from Supplyhouse.com “Any thermostat can be used to zone a home, but not all thermostats are for the same application.”  He goes on to state that “Voltages, the heating/cooling system layout, and features on different thermostats can be geared more towards one or another application.” bobvila-zoned-heating-systems

viagra uk purchase Existing Homes and Zone Heating:

Homeowners might be hesitant to make the transition to system zoning because of the initial cost of installation. However, if you are considering adding a zoned heating system to your existing home, consult with a professional installer because the process is a fairly complex project.  It requires wiring in the control and thermostats, hooking them up to the furnace and cutting into ductwork to install zone vales and dampers. This project will most likely require opening wall and running electrical lines.

watch The Ultimate Benefits of Zone Heating:

 

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Fireplaces are considered one of the favorite amenities that most home buyers consider as a positive addition when they’re searching for a home.  The fireplace adds comfort and an extra touch of architectural vitality to a house. They offer the kind of cozy warmth that you can only get from a fire and they help to melt away the cold outside.  Fireplaces offer an inviting and cheerful place to gather around with the sounds of crackling flames with family and friends. It can be a place of solitude to curl up in front with a favorite chair and read a good book. Fireplaces provide a place where you can enjoy countless other favorite indoor activities.

Sitting in front of a fireplace is very romantic and when winter storms hit and electricity is knocked out, you can keep warm and have plenty of light.  People without fireplaces get freezing cold when waiting for the utility company to restore power. Fireplaces that have a mantel are especially pleasing to have because they can be used for interior décor and design, particularly when certain seasons are upon us, like fall.

Autumn Fireplace Mantel

Even though the chill is in the air, you can warm up your home during the fall with cozy and inviting fireplace designs. Gathering around the fireplace in the autumn season is a great way to spend time unwinding with your family and friends as the colour of autumn makes this the most heartwarming season. Although the main function of a fireplace is to provide warmth, it’s also a perfect place for you to create a stunning focal point by designing a display of fall foliage.

Fall mantel decorating ideas are about warmth, coziness and bright autumn leaves. The front mantel of the fireplace is something that you can easily decorate and personalize your room. The fall season is a great time to redecorate your fireplace mantel in line with the cooler temperatures making it more cozy and inviting.

Fireplace Decorating Ideas

dining delight fireplace

Whether the fireplace is used on unused, it’s a centerpiece in the room that’s just waiting to be adorned with seasonal decorations to enhance the autumn feel in the air and add warmth to your home. There are creative and inexpensive fall decorating ideas that can transform any unused fireplace into a showpiece for the season. You should decorate your mantelpiece to emphasize it for the autumn, but as with any ornamental display, a fireplace mantel display requires the right amount of balance and proportion.

Decorating for autumn is easy with the bountiful fall harvest, such as pumpkins, gourds, fall leaves, fallen nuts, and branches that are plentiful, ensuring that there’s no better time to decorate with beautiful nature. Regardless of your particular decorating style, you are likely to find easy and inexpensive ways to accessorize your home indoors with items found in nature for your fall mantel.

 

The mantel décor is very personal and a lot of it depends on what style you want to create and what finishing touches you want to use to design your masterpiece of fall foliage. To create a rustic feel, you can add some natural or faux vegetables, fruits, berries, branches and a fall inspired checked fabric for the topping. If you want to go for a festive touch glitter letters and pumpkins are ideal along with some wreaths and garlands of fall leaves. The modern look can be achieved by using white pumpkins, candle holders and the ever popular faux leaves.

Fireplace mantels command attention in any room. A beautiful mantel display can give a fireplace new life and fall is the perfect time to be inspired.   Decorating your mantel for fall can be simple, fun and elegant. Fall leaves, real or ceramic pumpkins, candles, twigs, branches, berries, pinecones, ceramic planters, flowers, fruit and autumn wreaths enhance the spirit of the season in your home with a beautifully designed fireplace mantel.

For even further inspiration, visitNapoleon’s Fireplace’s Pinterest Page for Autumn Mantel Decorations.  Images above are from that Pinterest Board, and were provided from The Frugal Homemaker and Dining Delight respectively.

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red wine by fireplace.

As more and more homeowners consider adding a fireplace to their house to spruce things up, gas fireplace manufacturers are coming up with new designs that take aesthetics, utility, and size into account. As a result, there are now a number of gas fireplace types and styles to suit the needs of just about any homeowner. Here’s a sampling of some of that variety.

Direct vent gas fireplaces

These prefabricated fireplaces expel all gasses from combustion directly to an exterior vent, making them approximately five times more efficient than traditional wood-burning fireplaces. Direct vent gas fireplaces are also a more health-conscious option, because they direct exhaust gasses outside the home, rather than back into a living space.

Direct vent gas fireplaces can be made to look like traditional fireplaces, or designed with a more modern style in mind. For the former, have a look at Napoleon’s GD36 Direct Vent Fireplace, which creates yellow flames that emanate from ceramic logs that resemble real wood. A number of decorative panel options let you customize the façade to fit the décor of your room.

If your style is more modern, Napoleon’s LHD45 Linear Direct Vent Fireplace is sure to catch your eye. The clean lines give the fireplace a distinctly contemporary feel. When placed higher up on a wall, this fireplace resembles a framed work of art, which in a way, it is.

Gas inserts for fireplaces

If you already have a wood-burning fireplace setup in your home and want to switch to a gas fireplace, gas inserts can make the process quick and easy. Gas inserts come complete with a combustion chamber and gas logs, designed to keep the look and warmth of a traditional fireplace, while at the same time eliminating energy-wasting drafts. The realistic ceramic-fibre logs featured in many gas inserts ensure you won’t lose the allure of a real wood-burning fireplace. Accessories like bay fronts and cast iron surrounds come in a variety of finishes to let you customize the gas insert to suit your living space.

Direct vent gas stoves

Like direct vent fireplaces, these gas stoves drive combustion gasses to a vent that leads outside your home. Direct vent gas stoves are ideal for adding some charm and warmth to a smaller room. Also like direct vent fireplaces, these stoves create realistic flames, but within a smaller unit. These stoves are a wonderful way to bring a bit of rustic style into your home, while still taking advantage of their modern energy efficiency.

Gas fireplaces come in a number of sizes and styles, many of which can be further customized with accessories and finishes to fit perfectly within your home. In addition to adding some aesthetic value to a room, these gas fireplaces are easy to use and simple to maintain, unlike wood-burning fireplaces, which require chimney cleaning to ensure soot doesn’t build up. If you weren’t sold on the looks alone, keep in mind that gas fireplaces can also help cut down your energy costs, as they give your furnace a break while you heat only the rooms you have in use.

Posted by & filed under Fireplaces, Heating.

Crystallo direct vent gas fireplace mounted directly in the wall

When’s the last time you saw someone curl up with a cup of coffee and good book beside a baseboard heater? Sure baseboard heaters and furnaces get the job done when it comes to heating your home, but they don’t quite have the allure and feel good-factor of a fireplace. If you’re looking to bring a little coziness to your home, a fireplace is a worthwhile investment.  Furthermore, last year Hamilton had a massive ice storm that left some areas of Hamilton without power for three days in December. Fortunately gas fireplaces don’t work on electricity, and you can still keep warm with them (provided they have proper ventilation). Let’s look at the advantages of both gas and wood-burning fireplaces.

Natural gas fireplaces

If you want the look and feel of a fireplace without the cleaning and wood-chopping involved with maintaining a wood-burning fireplace, you can opt for a natural gas fireplace. Not having logs means not having to worry about chopping firewood, not having to clean ashes, and not having to worry about heat running low as each log burns out; you control exactly when the fireplace turns on and off. Keep in mind that modern gas fireplaces are built with style in mind, and many come complete with faux logs that look like real ones.

Another benefit of gas fireplaces is that they don’t release fumes or particles into the air above your home or into the air within it. You can breathe easy while enjoying the warmth and glow of the fireplace. What’s more, gas fireplaces usually utilize a ventilation system rather than a chimney. If your home doesn’t already have a chimney, gas fireplaces are therefore easier and more cost effective to install. Plus, no chimney means no need to worry about cleaning the creosote build-up that inevitably comes from a wood-burning fireplace.

When fireplaces come to mind, you wouldn’t typically think of them as being able to heat a large area. However newer gas fireplaces are being fashioned with built-in blowers, which can help circulate warm air throughout the home, and not just in the fireplace’s immediate vicinity.

If you have pets and/or children, a gas fireplace may be a safer option than a wood-burning one, because the flames will be controlled, and there’s no danger of flyaway sparks.  There is normally a glass window in front of the fireplace.  Normally this glass gets hot enough to burn you, however you can buy special screens that prevent young children from touching the actual hot glass.

Wood-burning fireplaces

There’s a real rustic appeal to a traditional, wood-burning fireplace. You not only get the warmth of a fire, but also the crackling sounds and the scent of wood. It’s a way to bring a bit of the outdoors inside your home; you can’t roast marshmallows over a gas fireplace.

There’s also a money-saving benefit to installing a wood-burning fireplace. Since it wouldn’t be connected to your gas or electricity lines, you can create heat for your home without relying on your local utility company.

On the surface, a wood burning fireplace may not seem like an environmentally-conscious heating option, (think of the trees you’ll have the chop down) but in fact, it is. Burning wood emits a relatively small amount of carbon dioxide compared to what’s emitted through the burning of fossil fuels. Wood is also a renewable resource, and trees are considered by some organizations to be carbon-neutral – meaning that while they emit CO2 when burned or when they decay, they offset those effects by absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere during their lives.

Wood vs Gas Fireplaces

Depending on your preference, either type of fireplace is acceptable.  Most people prefer a gas fireplace now, as they are convenient and tend to be more energy efficient (they have fans that blow warm air into the house, rather than having it sucked up into the chimney.  The glass plate in front of it also gets hot and keeps your house warm.  If you are interested in a Gas Fireplace, or you want to convert your wood fireplace into a gas fireplace, call Hamilton Home Comfort today.  We install fireplaces, repair fireplaces and do general maintenance to keep your house warm.