Facts About Gas Fireplaces

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A gas fireplace can be a very clean, energy-efficient way to heat your home, while adding a special charm. Whether you have one, or are thinking about getting one, here are some safety tips and maintenance tasks you should consider.

Types of Gas Fireplaces

There are three different types of gas fireplaces, and each has its own set of advantages and operating needs: Fireplace Inserts; Direct Vent Fireplaces; and Vent-Free Fireplaces. Each type can have additional features such as fans which circulate the heat into the room, automatic thermostats, remote controls, etc. And most will operate during power failures, which is a nice plus (although the electric fan will not work until the power comes back on).

If you are thinking about getting a gas fireplace, here’s an important tip: if you enjoy watching the flames, then do not get one that is too high of capacity (BTU/hour heat rate) for the size of your home, otherwise, because they are so efficient, it may only need to operate for a short while and then shut off after quickly bringing your room up to temperature.

Fireplace Inserts

Gas Fireplace Inserts are installed in the opening of an existing wood burning fireplace, and they are vented throughfurnace duct cleaning st. cloud, dryer vent service st. cloud, dryer vent installation st. cloud, dryer vent cleaning service sauk rapids, clothes dryer vent installation st. cloud, cleaning dryer vent duct st. cloud, class a chimney installation st. cloud, chimney video inspection st. cloud, dryer duct cleaning cost st. cloud, dryer exhaust cleaning st. cloud the existing chimney with a special vent pipe that carries the exhaust to the outside. Depending on the particular model of insert, the combustion air can either come from a pipe layer which is around the exhaust pipe, or it can come from inside of your home (it is more energy efficient to have a style that uses outside air), and some models have outside air vents.

 

Direct Vent Fireplaces

Direct vent fireplaces can be vented directly through an exterior wall, and do not require a traditional masonry chimney. Like fireplace inserts, direct vent gas fireplaces come in styles which can either bring combustion air from the outside, or from the room inside. And again, the models which use combustion air from the outside are more efficient, because you are not burning heated air from your home. These models can operate at or near 90 percent efficiency. Some models can even produce up to 45,000 BTU/hour, which can be as much as some furnaces.

Vent-Free Fireplaces

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Gas Fireplace Safety Tips

Have your fireplace inspected and serviced by a trained professional at least once a year. This is best done just before the heating season begins.

If you’re moving into a newly constructed home, clean the area around the fireplace thoroughly of drywall dust and other debris before turning it on. Contaminants and dirt can damage the burner, fan, and motor. Before you turn on your newly installed fireplace, read the manufacturer’s instruction manual carefully. If you have questions, contact a heating contractor or contact the manufacturer directly.

Never modify your fireplace or the mantle before checking with a heating contractor.

Always wait for at least five minutes before lighting a pilot light that has gone out (to allow time for gas to dissipate).

Even if your gas fireplace is vented to the outside, consider putting a carbon monoxide detector in the room where your fireplace is located (see types, costs, and reviews of CO alarms).

If you notice unusual flames, odors or the smell of natural or propane gas, turn off your fireplace and contact a heating contractor or your local gas company.

Always keep your fireplace fan clean.

Always keep outside air vents clear of leaves, debris, ice, and snow.

Do not keep combustible materials such as newspapers, paint or other flammable liquids near the fireplace. In addition, keep furniture, curtains, and rugs away from the fireplace.

Keep children away from the fireplace. Even though the flames are behind glass, the glass can get very hot and can stay hot even after the fireplace is turned off.  Make sure children understand that the glass can burn them. Use a safety gate or screen to keep children away from the fireplace (helpful accessory: child safety fences).

Do not use the fireplace if the glass doors are broken or cracked.  Keep the gas turned off and refer to the owner’s manual for how you should proceed.

If you have a Vent-Free Gas Fireplace (which vents exhaust to the room they are in) then there are some special safety issues which you should be sure to address:

  • Be sure that the unit is not too large for the room that it is in, or it can dangerously remove too much oxygen from the room.
  • You must have either an oxygen depletion sensor (“ODS”) built into the unit or one in the same room it is in.
  • Don’t run your Vent-Free fireplace for long periods of time, as this can lead to oxygen depletion and carbon monoxide build-up

Gas Fireplace Safety Tips

Shown below are the routine maintenance tasks which you should be sure to perform on your gas fireplace.

As mentioned above, before each heating season be sure to have your gas fireplace inspected and serviced by a trained professional.

Things you will want to be sure they check are:

  • clean the glass and check for irregularities
  • inspect, clean and adjust pilot system
  • check and clean the control compartment
  • inspect entire venting system
  • check on/off switch and thermostat
  • check and clean blower (if applicable)
  • adjust the primary air shutter
  • check combustion chamber for any cracks
  • adjust the primary air shutter
  • check the valve pressure
  • inspect the heat-exchange area
  • verify the log positioning
  • check the tightness of all electrical connections
  • sweep and vacuum the firebox to remove any loose soot
  • replace ember material as necessary
  • conduct a gas sniffer test to detect any gas leakage

Be sure to check your room carbon monoxide detector regularly.

And never clean the outer glass if the glass is even the slightest bit warm because the pores in the glass will expand and draw the glass cleaner into the pores, which may cause the glass to become cloudy.

To schedule a chimney inspection, cleaning, repair & build out, or dryer vent cleaning & repair and duct cleaning & repair, contact Sweep Dreams Chimney & Ducts today at (320) 252-6242.

Home Fireproofing: Prevention; Detection; Action

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The National Fire Protection Association estimates that each year almost 400,000 homes catch on fire, and these fires claim the lives of 3,500 people and injure approximately 18,000 more.  And unfortunately, children are one of the highest risk groups for deaths in these fires. Keeping your home and family safe from fires involves focusing on three areas:  prevention, detection and emergency actions in the case of an actual fire.

PREVENTION

Prevention covers the steps you can take to make sure fires don’t break out in your home. So let’s take a look at the household danger areas that can be prone to starting fires.

 

Cooking

The leading cause of household fires is cooking, particularly the stove top.  And here are several steps you can take to minimize your risk of kitchen fires. Grease accumulation can be dangerous. So keep your stove and oven clean, and also check your vent hoods, regularly clean your filters, and make sure that, if you have an exterior vent, there is nothing in it that impedes the airflow to the outside. If you have a gas stove, make sure your system doesn’t have any loose fittings, leaking valves, faulty pilot lights, or improperly stored flammable materials in areas nearby. Keep all flammables, such as dishtowels and curtains, a safe distance away from the stove. Don’t cook when you are very tired or under the influence of alcohol or medications; as you are more likely to do something careless that could lead to a fire starting. And never walk away from the stove until you have turned off the heat.

 

Heating

The second most common cause of fires in the home is heating. Furnaces, space heaters, fireplaces, and wood stovesfurnace duct cleaning st. cloud, dryer vent service st. cloud, dryer vent installation st. cloud, dryer vent cleaning service sauk rapids, clothes dryer vent installation st. cloud, cleaning dryer vent duct st. cloud, class a chimney installation st. cloud, chimney video inspection st. cloud, dryer duct cleaning cost st. cloud, dryer exhaust cleaning st. cloud all can present a risk of fire. In the winter months, when heaters are run most often, this is of particular concern. Make sure your furnaces get a yearly inspection and cleaning by a trained professional to catch any potential troubles before they start. If you use space heaters, make sure they stay at least three feet away from anything flammable, such as curtains or bed linens. Be certain to turn them off before you leave the room or go to bed. For fireplaces and wood or coal stoves, have them inspected by a service professional every year. Don’t store flammables such as newspapers or matches anywhere nearby, or have them too close to exposed rugs or wooden floors.  Clear them of ashes and unburnt debris on a regular basis.  Have glass doors or a wire mesh spark screen across the front of the fireplace to keep the fire safely contained.  And install a chimney spark arrester to prevent roof fires (see types, costs, and reviews of chimney spark arresters).

 

Smoking

Smoking is not only the third most common cause of home fires, it’s the top cause of home fire deaths. Almost a thousand people are killed each year due to smoking-related home fires, so it is important to exercise caution when smoking cigarettes in your home: don’t put yourself in a position where you could fall asleep while smoking; never smoke in a home where oxygen is used; And douse cigarette and cigar butts with water before dumping them in the trash. Or better yet, don’t allow smoking at all in your home.

 

Electrical and Appliances

When electrical systems fail they sometimes can result in house fires, but more often the danger lies in incorrectly installed wiring, or from the overloading of circuits and extension cords. Be sure to properly use and maintain your electrical devices. Do not overload your outlets or extension cords. Check the power cords on your appliances. Look for missing grounding prongs of the plugs, damage to the insulation, or frayed wires. Repair or replace them before continuing to use the appliance. Check your house wiring in unfinished areas for damage by pests. Be on the lookout for insulation that has been chewed through by rodents or insects. Check the hot coils of your clothes drying for an accumulation of lint or other flammable materials. Be sure to keep the lint trap, vent piping, and other areas of your dryer clear of lint, as it is very flammable.

 

Candles, Matches, and Lighters

Candles cause an estimated 15,600 fires in residential structures, 150 deaths, 1,270 injuries, and about $539 million in property damage each year. To use your candles safely, do not leave them unattended, or allow children to light them unsupervised. Store matches and lighters in a safe, nonreactive place where children cannot get to them. Always use stable candle holders made of a non-flammable material. Extinguish candles if you’re going to be leaving the room.

 

Gasoline and Combustible Chemicals

Gasoline vapors can explode with even a small spark. If you must store gasoline in your garage, use a special safety container specifically designed for gasoline. But never bring gasoline inside your house. Tightly seal the lids on all combustible chemicals and put them away in a cool location after using them. Store them in a safe place, with a lock if possible.

 

DETECTION

The next aspect of fire safety is Detection.  Improving detection is about increasing your awareness of the potential for the outbreak of fire in your home, so that you can act quickly.  Examples include:

 

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Install smoke alarms on every floor of your house (see types, costs, and reviews of smoke detectors/alarms). There are two kinds of smoke alarms, photoelectric and ionization. For maximum protection buy some of both kinds, or if possible, buy “combination” detectors that have both kinds of sensors. Keep your detectors free of dust and replace the batteries at least once a year. If they begin making a chirping sound, that means their batteries are low and should be immediately replaced. If your detector is wired directly into your electrical system, watch for a blinking red light, as this indicates that the sensor is active. If it is not blinking, then it should immediately be serviced.

 

Monitored Home Security

If you have a monitored home security system, you might want to consider having your smoke alarms connected to your security system. Talk to your security company to see if you can have this done, so that you (and the fire department) can be notified when your alarms go off when you are not at home.

 

Flickering Lights

Keep an eye out for flickering lights, or intermittent power surges. These can be indications that you may have a short in the circuit, which can trigger a house fire.

 

Frequently Tripping Circuit Breakers

Note circuit breakers that trip, or fuses that frequently blow. This is almost always a sign of an overloaded circuit or another wiring issue, which should be solved before it can become a fire hazard.

 

EMERGENCY ACTIONS

Finally, we will talk about the actions you should be prepared to take in the case of an actual fire.

 

Escape Plan

First, make sure that everyone in your family knows what to do if there is a fire in your home. Prepare an escape plan and have your family practice it several times a year. Make sure all family members know not to put their lives in danger trying to save property, but instead just take the most direct way outside. And if they must exit through smoke, then drop to the ground to move beneath it and to try to cover their mouths to avoid breathing smoke directly in. Also, if a door feels hot to the touch, do not try to open or go through it.

 

Rope Ladders

If you have a two-story house, each bedroom should have a rope ladder easily accessible, so that your family furnace duct cleaning st. cloud, dryer vent service st. cloud, dryer vent installation st. cloud, dryer vent cleaning service sauk rapids, clothes dryer vent installation st. cloud, cleaning dryer vent duct st. cloud, class a chimney installation st. cloud, chimney video inspection st. cloud, dryer duct cleaning cost st. cloud, dryer exhaust cleaning st. cloudmembers can climb down the outside rather than be being trapped (helpful accessory: fire escape ladders).  Designate a meeting location outside the house and take attendance so that you can tell right away who has gotten out safely. This will keep people from endangering themselves going back to look for someone who has already escaped. If someone is missing, alert the firefighters. Do not re-enter the house once you have left it.

 

Stop-Drop-Roll

Make sure everyone in your family knows how to “Stop, Drop, and Roll.” If your clothes catch fire, drop immediately to the ground, cross your hands over your chest, and roll back and forth until the flames are smothered out. Cool the burned area with water and call for immediate medical attention for serious burns.

 

Fire Extinguishers

Be sure that high-risk areas of your home, such as your workshop or fireplace, have fire extinguishers nearby, and that each family members know how to properly use it to fight a fire. See that your extinguishers are inspected regularly and re-charged or replaced as needed (see costs and reviews of ABC fire extinguishers).

 

Stove Fires

It’s also useful to know how to deal with a small pan fire that may occur in your kitchen. Immediately suffocate the fire by placing the lid on the pan, turning off the stove, and allowing the pan to sit unmoved until the flames are smothered. Small grease fires can be put out by throwing baking soda on them. But never use water to put out a grease fire, as it will either explode into steam, which can also cause burns, or cause oils to splash and spread the fire.

 

SUMMARY

Now you know the three areas you need to focus on to fireproof your home: Prevention, Detection, and Action. We hope that this has motivated you to take the appropriate steps to keep your family and home safe from the dangers of fires.

To schedule a chimney inspection, cleaning, repair & build out, or dryer vent cleaning & repair and duct cleaning & repair, contact Sweep Dreams Chimney & Ducts today at (320) 252-6242.

 

A Better Sealing Clothes Dryer Vent

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Have you ever noticed your clothes dryer feeling cold in the winter and warm in the summer? If so, your dryer’s vent pipe is likely not sealing properly, and you are wasting energy as outside air leaks into your home. To prevent this, you should consider installing a new style of dryer vent chimney inspection St. Cloud, chimney repair cost St. Cloud, fireplace damper replacement St. Cloud, chimney cap repair St. Cloud, chimney design St. Cloud, fireplace cleaning St. Cloud, fireplace damper repair St. Cloud, local chimney sweeps St. Cloud, chimney cleaning cost St. Cloud, mortar repair St. Cloud, chimney mortar repair St. Cloud, fireplace brick repair St. Cloud, dryer duct cleaning cost St. Cloud, clothes dryer vent installation St. Cloud, cleaning dryer vent duct St. Cloudclosure.

One that we particularly like is the heartland 21000 Dryer Vent Closure. The Heartland 21000 is a good buy for under $38. Installing this type of tight-sealing dryer vent can save you up to 1% on your home’s energy bill or about $14 annually. So this is an investment that can pay for itself in under 3 years.

This easy-to-install vent lets your dryer’s hot air exhaust escape when the dryer is operating and uses gravity to seal it tight to keep outside air from leaking into your home when the dryer is not operating. The way this vent closure works is that inside the cylinder part, there is a plastic cup-like apparatus that rises when hot air is flowing out of your dryer. And then when the flow of hot air stops, the cup floats back creating a nice seal which prevents outside air infiltration. And further, it tightly blocks the path for insects or pests which might try to crawl in.

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The Heartland 21000 dryer vent closure is simple and effective, but it does require some maintenance from time to time. You will need to remove the vent lid periodically to clean out any lint built-up, especially as it may affect the free movement of the floating cup.

To schedule a dryer vent cleaning, repair or duct cleaning or repair, contact us today at (320) 252-6242.

Clothes Dryer Safety and Energy Tips

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Did you know that dryers are the second highest energy-consuming appliance in most homes? And lint build-up is one of the major causes of the over 15,000 dryer fires that occur each year.

This article gives you tips for keeping your dryer safe and for saving energy too.

Why Is Dryer Care So Important?

Washing and drying clothes is not typically a task that most people enjoy. It never ends, and if you have a large family, your washer and dryer are dryer exhaust cleaning St. Cloud, dryer vent service St. Cloud, dryer vent cleaning cost St. Cloud, dryer vent cleaning service Sauk Rapids, Chimney Installation St. Cloud, Class A Chimney Installation St. Cloud, Dryer Vent Installation St. Cloud, Dryer Vent Installation Cleaning St. Cloud, Furnace Duct Cleaning St. Cloud, Chimney Masonry Repairs St. Cloud, Chimney Relining St. Cloud, Chimney Repairs St. Cloud, Chimney Sweeping St. Cloud, Chimney Video Inspection St. Cloud Chimney Waterproofing St. Cloudlikely running constantly. And a dryer takes a lot of energy to operate. The annual cost for operating a clothes dryer is about $85 a year and can go up to $170 a year depending on the frequency of its usage. In most homes, the only household appliance consuming more energy is the refrigerator. Further, your dryer is an expensive item to replace, and as we mentioned above, the risk of a dryer fire is all too real.

The good news is that there are things that you can do to keep your dryer operating safely, reduce energy consumption and extend its useful life. So read on.

Safety Tips

You may have heard the truly scary stories of clothes dryer catching fire because of lint accumulation. Here are some things you should do for the safety of your dryer.

  • The first is to clean your dryer’s lint filter trap after each load. In addition to helping keep your dryer safe, it also helps keep it performing efficiently.
  • clean your vent pipe of lint Also check your vent pipe. It is recommended that you use the straightest and shortest duct available. Flexible ducts can be a potential safety concern as they can be crushed or restrict the airflow, and may not be able to withstand high temperatures from the dryer.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher in the same room as the clothes dryer, near the door where you can access easily in an emergency (see costs and reviews of fire extinguishers).
  • If you are not confident of how to properly clean your dryer, check your vent pipe, etc., Then do not hesitate to call in a professional to give your clothes dryer a thorough cleaning and inspection.

 

Energy Savings Tips

Unlike most appliances, clothes dryers do not display “Energy Guide” labels. This is because dryers don’t vary much from model to model regarding the amount of energy used. But there are a number of things you can do to save energy when using your clothes dryer:

  • Reducing the frequency of use of the dryer is a sure way of reducing the energy used by your dryer. For larger families who run their dryer nearly every day, consolidating loads to reduce usage to three times per week can save them approximately $84 per year.
  • If you are looking to buy a new dryer, then it is recommended to buy one with a moisture sensor. This allows the dryer to automatically stop when the clothes are dry and thus saving energy since it prevents “over-drying” your clothes.
  • Use the retained heat of the dryer to do consecutive loads.
  • Use a dryer vent closure where the vent pipe exits your house, which will save you on your heating and cooling bills.
  • And of course, the biggest energy-saving step is to not use your dryer, and instead use an old-fashioned clothesline. This can save you around $100 on your annual energy bills.

 

Extending Your Dryer’s Useful Life

A clothes dryer is an expensive appliance, and so you should consider ways to extend its useful life. Here are some tips for you:

  • Sort the clothes according to their thickness. This way the dryer will dry it in a shorter time, dry more evenly, and will also leave fewer wrinkles.
  • Clean the lint filter trap after every load, so that the dryer can be operated optimally (in addition to helping maintain its safe operation, as mentioned above).
  • On the days when it is warm outside, dry your clothes on a clothesline. This will give your dryer a much-needed rest and extend its life.

To schedule a dryer vent cleaning, repair or duct cleaning or repair, contact us today at (320) 252-6242.