Curling up in front a warm glowing wood burning fire is a pleasant thought on a cold winter evening. However, when you light your fireplace for the first time, you could get more than you bargained for. Every time you build a fire, a substance called creosote forms that coats the inside of your chimney. Repeated fires cause it to build up and the buildup can cause a chimney fire. It’s essential to make cleaning your chimney a regular part of preparing your home each winter.
If you want to tackle the cleaning yourself, the first step is to open the damper all the way. Tape plastic over the fireplace opening to cut down on falling debris as you clean the chimney. You can do the work either from the roof or up from the bottom. Using a chimney brush or rods, (you can buy tools designed for the job) loosen the creosote from the sides of the chimney. When you’re all done, vacuum the fireplace to remove any soot or debris.
A yearly cleaning will protect both you and your family from a potentially life threatening situation. Here are some other tips that can help protect your home from an unwanted chimney fire. Burn only seasoned firewood, build smaller fires, and never burn papers or other combustible materials in the fireplace. Stay safe, stay warm!
Vent-free, a new way to stay warm
Love the idea of having a fire in the fireplace, but thought it was impossible since you don’t have a chimney? Guess what, now you can! Add a vent-free gas heating system to your home. This also works if you have a damaged chimney that can’t be used. More than 30 million families worldwide and over 4 million US households already rely on vent-free gas heating products. Now, New York State has authorized the use of vent-free gas heating products in homes.
Since a vent-free gas-heating appliance operates without a chimney or vent, no heat can escape — saving you money. It literally costs only pennies per hour to operate. You can install one just about anywhere, even an inside wall. A variety of vent-free gas products are available, including space heaters, fireplaces, fireplace inserts and gas logs. Use them in hard-to-heat areas such as a basement, garage, room addition, sun porch or greenhouse. These appliances are energy efficient to 99%, provide warmth during power outages, and eliminate the need for wood, not to mention dealing with smoke, soot, ashes, chopping, stacking and carrying wood.
How do they work?
Vent-free gas heating products operate on natural or propane gas through a permanent line connected to a burner within the heating appliance and require no electricity. Appliances are equipped with a unique safety pilot system called an oxygen depletion sensor, or ODS. The ODS is the proven technological innovation that revolutionized the safety of vent-free gas heating appliances. The ODS automatically shuts off the gas supply in the rare event that the oxygen level in the room falls to 18 percent. Vent-free gas heating products meet or exceed the most current and applicable nationally recognized standards and recommendations for indoor air quality.