Tips for Maintaining Your Outdoor Fireplace

An outdoor fireplace is a great way to extend your entertaining space and enjoy your backyard year round. Regardless of the material, an outdoor fireplace will give your yard a touch of beauty and ambiance. But if you plan on enjoying the fireplace for years to come, you’ll need to keep it clean and maintained. Read on for some simple ways to keep it in working order.

Wood-burning fireplaces

  • It’s important to trim any surrounding plants or shrubs and to move planters away from the fireplace. These are all potential fire hazards if you’re not careful. Also, plants growing on the fireplace could weaken the structure and cause cracks.
  • Make sure to keep your fireplace free of ash and debris. You can use creosote sweeping logs along with clearing it after every use will also help reduce any build up over time.
  • When it comes to cleaning the chimney, it’s best to have a professional come out and evaluate the structure.

Gas fireplaces

  • Before you start any kind of cleaning or maintenance, you should always make sure the gas is completely turned off.
  • Check the fireplace’s vent and exhaust fan to make sure everything is ventilating properly. 
  • You should also use a soft-bristle brush or cloth to remove any soot from the burners. Look at the manual for more information on what cleansers are acceptable for your fireplace.

Whether you use a wood-burning or gas fireplace, you should have a professional come out and inspect it at least once a year. They will make sure everything is in working order and that there are no serious fire hazards. 

Our knowledgeable staff at Energy House would love to help you with all of your fireplace needs. Contact us today and learn more about the services we offer in the Bay Area. 

3 Benefits of Installing a Fireplace Insert

Homes with traditional fireplaces often need a lot of maintenance and repairs, which are not always easy or affordable. Fireplace inserts however can be custom designed to fit into your existing masonry and offer an extensive list of benefits for you and your family. Here are some of the things you should know:

Heating your home

Traditional fireplaces are a beautiful addition to your home, but they’re not always efficient when it comes to heating it. Many fireplaces actually pull out more heat through the chimney than what it provides to your home. Fireplace inserts however have a closed design and are insulated which means your home will retain much more heat and keep you warm.

Different fuel sources

You also have control over the type of fuel you want to heat your home with. Unlike traditional fireplaces that burn wood, fireplace inserts offer a variety of fuel sources like natural gas, pellet, wood, propane, and coal. Using alternative fuel sources like pellets are often more cost effective and easier to use.

Avoid masonry repairs

The cost for maintenance and repairs on your fireplace can add up quickly. Fixing your existing chimney will require a masonry expert and might cause disruption in your daily life. On the other hand, getting a fireplace insert installed is much less time consuming and much more affordable. 

As a trusted fireplace company in Northern California, our qualified experts at The Energy House can find you the perfect fireplace insert for your home. You can contact us here for more details.

Advantages of Gas Fireplaces

A clean-burning gas fireplace from Energy House helps you set the mood. The dancing, flickering flight blends illumination with shadow and creates a lovely, ever-changing background that brings forth a sense of safety and warmth.

That’s one of the great advantages of gas fireplaces – safety. There’s no spark, no smoke, and no soot – but there are other ways to set a mood. Candles are also great, with or without the fireplace on, but candles burn in the open and carry their own hazards.

Just as we would advise safety with a gas fireplace – regular maintenance, a carbon monoxide detector – so do we express a few warnings where candles are concerned. Be careful with candles – they’re easily knocked over, they drip, they can create a hazard.

  • Never leave a lit candle unattended. Fire is unpredictable. Extinguish lit candles when you leave the room.
  • Avoid using candles during a power shortage. Flashlights are much safer. In the event of a fire during an emergency, you cannot be assured of timely services from first responders.
  • Make sure candles are nowhere near anything else flammable. Again, the potential for fire, smoke, and damage means candles should not be within reach of curtains or atop a tablecloth.

Light is healing and appealing. Be safe with candles. Rely on your gas fireplace from Energy House.

wood burning stove, wood stove, fireplace safety

Tips for Wood Stove Safety

Wood stoves are often a more efficient way to heat your home than traditional fireplaces. Many wood stoves can even provide warmth for more than one room. Yet, more than 4,000 residential fires each year are started by wood stoves. To keep your wood stove operating safely, consider these tips:

  • Check with your local fire department about solid fuel burning appliances before buying a stove unit.
  • Be sure the unit has been tested and is listed with a nationally recognized testing laboratory.
  • Pay attention to manufacturer’s clearance requirements and follow directions. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) advises 36” or 1 meter clearances away from any flammable items, such as curtains or flooring.
  • Install a floor protector that meets the heating appliance manufacturer’s requirements, and extends at least 18 inches on all sides of the heater, unless the manufacturer states otherwise.
  • Yearly, have the chimney and stovepipe cleaned and inspected.
  • Burn only seasoned hardwood or wood pellets in the stove.
  • Wait until ashes have cooled before removing them. Transfer ashes in a covered metal container to an outside location 10 feet or more away from the home, and douse them with water.

At The Energy House, our professionals can match you with the perfect wood stove or fireplace for your home. Check out our selection of Wood Burning Stoves or contact us today for more details. The Energy House has installed over 100,000 fireplaces in the Bay Area and is one of the most trusted fireplace companies in Northern California.

Wood or Gas Insert Fireplaces can Prevent an Expensive Fireplace Remodeling

If there are problems with your fireplace in any way, letting those issues go unresolved for too long can become a potential fire hazard. This is not to mention the fact that un serviced traditional fireplaces typically are a major source of energy loss. If you are considering a fireplace renovation, there are serious reasons why you might want to consider holding off on fixing up your old traditional fireplace. New gas insert and wood insert options are available, each offering serious advantages over traditional fireplaces.

A gas insert fireplace is one that will hook up to either a city natural gas line or to a propane tank that you can refill as needed. The upside to a gas insert is never needing to worry about fussing with a log, or even a bag of wood pellets. As long as you have gas in your tank, you’ll be ready to start using the fireplace and enjoying heat. Of course, the downside to the gas route is an either real or perceived loss of aesthetics. Some would say that only a real burning wood is capable of giving that real earthy, homely effect. If you feel that way, there’s always a wood insert option.

Similar to gas inserts, a wood insert fireplace is your “best of both worlds” option in that it takes the ambience and aesthetic of a traditional wood burning fireplace but makes it more efficient. These newer forms of fireplace technology make it possible to have a specialised unit placed into the housing of your old fireplace that can actually burn real wood, but it does so in a more efficient manner. So, not only is a wood insert saving you money on the back end with reduced utility bills, but it will also be cheaper to purchase and install a brand new wood insert fireplace than it would be to fix an already existing traditional fireplace with age-related issues.

If you’ve been quoted to have your original fireplace fixed, you could be looking at an estimate ranging into the thousands of dollars. When you consider the idea of paying to repair your current fireplace, it just doesn’t make sense. Why would you want to leave an antiquated, drafty, and problematic fireplace in your home? Gas and wood inserts are efficient, cost-saving and modern solutions and they’re extremely affordable.

Best Time For Purchasing A Gas Fireplace

Days are getting longer and nights are finally warmer. Spring is one of the best times to have a gas fireplace installed – before cold weather arrives and fireplace installers get busy. Whether you’re building your dream home or want to make your current home a little cozier, consider a gas fireplace. Create opportunities of gathering your family and friends in the warm indoors and save on a fireplace or gas insert. Read more

wood ash uses and benefits around home and yard

Wood Ash Use and Benefits

Do you have a wood burning fireplace but don’t know what to do with the messy ash? Don’t throw it away!  Wood ash has many practical uses around the home and even in the garden/yard. Here are some benefits of using wood ash outside of the fireplace.

HOUSEHOLD CLEANER AND SILVER POLISH

White wood ash can be used to clean and maintain your home. Using ash is a good alternative to some cleaning products. Test a small area that is hidden before using on or near fabrics and furniture. If you want to get rid of dirt and grime on glass, stainless steel or frying pans, dry ash can help. You can clean the glass window of your oven or even the fireplace door by dipping a damp sponge in ash and scrub the glass gently. For a homemade silver polish that’s nontoxic, make a paste of ash and water, then rub with a cloth.

DRIVEWAY STAIN REMOVER

Ash has the power of melting ice on driveways and front walkways. You can sprinkle ash on icy spots and the ice will melt within a day, without hurting the soil or concrete underneath. You can also combine white ash with water to form a paste, which can remove stains from driveways. Gently buff the paste into the surface and then wipe it off with a soft cloth. You can also use dry ash to remove wet paint on cement. Sprinkle ash directly on the wet paint splatters and it will be absorbed by the ash.

GARDEN AND YARD

Other than sunlight and water, plants need elements that can be found in ash, such as phosphorus, potassium, calcium and boron. Ash is very alkaline and raises pH levels in garden soil, which is a great environment for seeds to grow. Ash also acts as a pest repellent. It gets rid of slugs and snails when spread evenly around garden beds.

FRIDGE AND PET ODOR REMOVER

Ash is a great odor remover. Place a small bowl of ash in the fridge and change it every two days until the bad smell is gone. For pet odors, you can sprinkle ash in cat litter boxes to neutralize the smell.

Beware, after using the ash, store it in a fireproof container with the lid shut to choke any embers.

How to Clean the Glass on Your Gas Fireplace

Did you know you that you should clean the glass of your gas fireplace at least twice a year? You will have an optimal performing gas fireplace by routinely cleaning the glass doors or window. This will ensure that your fireplace lasts for many years. You may notice a white-grey buildup or a film on the glass, but do not worry.

 

During the first 10 hours of operating a new gas fireplace, particulates will mix with the products of combustion and deposit on the glass as condensation when the fireplace cools. For an older fireplace, film may build up through the natural venting processes. It should only be necessary to clean the glass twice per year.

 

Minerals in the fuel, such as sulfur and calcium, can cause film to build up and deposit on the glass, or it can come from minerals in the outside air that are brought in through the venting system. Cleaning the glass will be based on how often you use your fireplace, and should be cleaned at the first sight of any type of buildup on the glass.

 

How to clean the glass of your Direct Vent Gas Fireplace

  1. Turn off the fireplace, including the pilot light, and open the glass front.
  2. Leave the glass front on its hinges if on hinges. If not, remove the glass to a soft surface like a drop cloth, towel, or your carpet.
  3. Use a cream fireplace glass cleaner. Pour about 2 tablespoons directly onto the glass.
  4. Using a soft cloth – preferably cotton- spread the cleaner. Leave the cleaner to sit on the glass until completely dry. This takes roughly 15 minutes.
  5. Buff the cleaner off using a soft clean cloth in circular motions.
  6. Clean the front of the glass in the same way, using strokes in the opposite direction than you used on the other side. This will help you figure out which side has streaks if the cleaner is not buffed off.

 

Beware! Before cleaning, make sure not to use an ammonia-based cleaner, do not use an abrasive cleaner and do not use a paper towel.

For any cleaning questions or concerns, contact us today. The professionals at The Energy House can guide you on how to properly care for your gas fireplace.

 

How Gas Fireplaces Are Energy Efficient

It’s getting to be that time of year when people think about curling up on the sofa in front of the fireplace – a clean-burning gas fireplace from The Energy House.

Gas fireplaces are safe. They’re efficient. They add the beauty of a fire’s flickering light to the house while warming the room.

Thinking about a new fireplace? The Energy House is ready to help you make this upgrade to your Bay Area home. We only offer the best, and that includes the installation of your new fireplace. We get it done right!

All of our fireplace installation crews in Northern California are factory trained and certified to install the fireplaces that we sell. Our installation specialists are kept up to date on local building codes and requirements for each particular installation. Our goal is to make sure you have a smooth installation and a safe product installed in your home.

We provide service on only the fireplaces that we sell. This allows us to be available to our customers – to you – in a timely manner when they need service for the product purchased from us. We honor all manufacturers warranties and all of our service technicians are factory trained on the products that we sell.

That’s what you get at The Energy House. Let’s make the autumn mood right. Contact us today!

Fireplaces Add Elegance & Style To Any Home

The very mention of a fireplace brings to mind images of European castles and roaring flames in a huge main hall.

Central heat has come a long way since then. As have fireplaces.

Not that there’s any less allure to that open blaze in a rustic lodge or a stately family room. But there are so many reasons to include a clean, gas fireplace in your residence.

Contemporary fireplaces don’t dominate the décor as did their historic predecessors. They complement a room without overwhelming it, even as they become a visual centerpiece. They’re warm, clean, and quiet.

A gas-powered flame behind glass provides a beauty of its own while serving as a source of heat. It alters moods and soothes as it flickers out of reach.

You enjoy so many options when you decide on a gas fireplace. We offer a fabulous selection of DaVinci fireplaces, which can help you change the entire shape and utility of walls. We carry Eclipse and Fireplace Extraodinair.

Forget about chopping wood and collecting brush for a smoky fire that leaves a dangerous residue in the chimney. Let Energy House help you select a gas fireplace that complements your décor and adds not only beauty but heat and light to your home.

Contact us today!