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Fireplace Screens And Their Importance

Joseph Coupal - Monday, August 30, 2010

Our blog generally has a lot of different safety tips or information about stoves and chimneys. You can never be too careful with fire, although the fire is in a controlled environment with our fireplaces or chimneys, accidents can happen. In this blog we'd like to share with you some great information about fireplace screens. They are an essential and important fundamental part to any lovely fireplace you have inserted in your home.
Screens around fireplaces and wood stoves do more then just protect your carpet from flying sparks - they protect people - especially children - from serious burns. Whenever you are burning in your fireplace or wood stove it is very important to have a screen in place. Most screens are very lightweight. This makes it easy for them to be moved when required so that you can load wood into your stove. It also means that if they fall over on a child they will not be harmed. The sound of a screen falling over will scare the child and alert the parent to check on things.
Screens aren't just for the safety of children they are also important for adults as well. It is far too easy to brush up against a hot stove and get a burn. This is especially true when you have company visiting who may not be used to a wood stove.
A proper screen may also assist in preventing flammable materials from coming in close proximity to your wood stove. Once again children have a tendency to throw balls and dolls and all manner of things in all directions. A screen will prevent these objects from coming in contact with your stove. Thus saving your home from an accidental fire and also the child's toy, which could end up being a tragedy for people with children.
A screen does not need to be large and intrusive. Many are very decorative and ornate. The consequences of not having a screen are severe enough that nobody should consider burning a wood stove without one. So consider any of our attractive fireplace screens for a safe and beautiful new addition to your home.

The Fireplace Showcase Jungle Gyms Are Great For Child Development

Joseph Coupal - Monday, August 23, 2010

A great addition to any family home is a jungle gym. The Fireplace Showcase's "Fantasy Jungle Gyms" offer great opportunities for children to gain confidence, increase strength, mobility, and coordination. 

A jungle gym creates the opportunity for children to learn how to make use of the different spirals of the body.  Spirals are muscle movements that are contracted (rotated inwards) or expanded (outward rotation).  Spiral movement maturity is one of the main differences between clumsy youth and the coordinated adult.   Jungle gym play is an efficient classroom to learn spiral development, body balance,  left and right, up and down, and appropriate muscle  tension and relaxation. These are skills the human learns subconsciously from birth.  Depending on how quickly, accurately, and ingrained these subconscious lessons are learned often dictate the difference between the injury free and the injury prone.  

Many of the jungle gym activities involve balance and provide an opportunity for children to master the necessary skills to manage their center of gravity better. By frequently playing on a jungle gym, their movements become more skillful and graceful. They learn to manage the force of gravity and how to use their bodies in a space that has certain limitations and obstacles. As they develop these skills, they gain confidence and learn to trust their bodies, as well as when not to push too far and when to push a little bit further.

Today’s jungle gyms are also safe learning spaces for your children.  Advances in bar spacing, non-slip material, and shock absorbing floors make today’s jungle gym offer little resemblance to the jungle gyms of previous generations. The biggest “risk” of today’s jungle gym is increasing your child’s popularity in the neighborhood and making your back yard  “the place to be”.  I think most of us would gladly accept that “risk”.  We actually offer five different styles of jungle gyms and welcome the opportunity to discuss each of them to you.   Give us a call to learn more.

Important Tips For Safe Gas Grill Operation

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, August 17, 2010

In this blog post  we will share some safety tips on using your gas grill. Even if you do not own a gas grill it is still a good idea to read on as you or your family inevitably will find yourself in close contact with a “griller”.   You would be surprised at the dangerous things people do around flammable gas.  

  • When you are barbecuing, only open the propane tank valve half-a-turn. This supplies enough gas to the burners, and makes emergency shut off very fast, should you ever need to close the valve.
  • The proper sequence for starting a grill is (1) Open the grill lid, (2) turn on the gas supply, (3) turn the ignition burner to high, (4) light the ignition, (5) turn on the second burner if needed. By following this sequence, excess gas will not accumulate inside the grill before it is ignited, preventing an explosion that could damage your grill and even cause personal injury.
  • Never fuel lawn mowers or any other tool or motorized toy anywhere near a burning grill.  
  • Perform routine maintenance such as inspection and cleaning of venture tubes for insects or grease.
  • Check gas hoses for wear such as cracking, brittleness or leaks. Be sure there are no sharp bends.
  • Keep gas hoses away from hot surfaces or install a heat shield to protect them.
  • Replace scratched or damaged connectors which could leak gas.
  • Following your manufacturer's instructions, check for gas leaks. You should not smell gas. If you do, immediately turn off the gas until the leak is fixed.
  • Keep lighted cigarettes, matches, candles or any open flame away from a leaking grill.
  • Never use a grill indoors. It must be at least 10 feet away from any building. It should not be used in the garage, breezeway, carport, porch or under any surface that could catch fire.
  • Never try to repair the tank valve or the grill by yourself. See a qualified LP gas dealer or repair person.
  • Always follow your manufacturer's instructions that came with your grill.
If you have a propane tank  then a couple of Propane tank tips are mentioned below:
  • Always keep containers upright
  • Never store a spare gas container under or near the grill or indoors
  • Never store or use flammable liquids, like gasoline near the grill
  • Always transport LP gas containers in a secure, upright position
  • Never keep a filled container in a hot car or car trunk. Heat causes the gas pressure to rise, which could open the relief valve and allow gas to escape.
  • Always use extreme caution and carefully follow your manufacturer's instructions when connecting or disconnecting your LP container.
Your friends at The Fireplace Showcase sincerely care for you and your families.  Product safety education and training is fundamentally important to all of us here.  When you purchase industry-leading quality gas grills from The Fireplace Showcase, you can rest assured we will be there for you to discuss the safe operation of the same.  Our final point is this.  While you might find most (if not all) of these tips to be "common knowledge", the fact is that grill mishaps cause injury to Americans on a daily basis. We will do our part to ensure this never happens to you.   Please be smart, be safe, and enjoy your grilling.

Thinking Of Cleaning Your Chimney Yourself

Joseph Coupal - Friday, August 13, 2010

Thinking Of Cleaning Your Chimney Yourself? Read This first.

It's important to clean your chimney after a long winter of using your fireplace. If you don't want to have it done professionally, we do offer chimney sweep kits to do-it-yourself. The task of cleaning your own chimney can be a very long and tedious one, it is recommended that you hire the professionals here at Fireplace Showcase, however if you insist on doing it yourself consider these tips before you buy the brushes.

One of the first things you need to think about when buying chimney sweep brushes is the height of your chimney. You will have to measure the height of your chimney from the smoke chamber to the very top. The rods used for chimney sweep brushes come in sections that measure from three to six feet. You need to make sure you buy enough sections so that the brush will be long to cover the height of your chimney.

You will also have to choose from different types of rods when you buy chimney sweep brushes. Fiberglass roads are stiffer and suitable for straight chimneys. Chimney sweep brushes with rods made of polypropylene will be more flexible.

One of the next things you will need to consider when buying chimney sweep brushes is the size. If you buy a brush that is too small for your chimney, it won't clean it properly.

One of the final things you need to consider when buying chimney sweep brushes is the type. If there isn't a heavy buildup or creosote in your chimney, you can get the job down with a standard wire brush. However, if the buildup is heavy, you will need to use flat chimney sweep brushes.

How Often Should You Clean Your Chimney

Joseph Coupal - Friday, August 06, 2010
There's really no general rule to how often chimneys should be cleaned, however a thorough chimney inspection will help determine if chimney cleaning is to be done.  This should be done once a year in general.

After a while creosote, the residue from burning wood, will start to form around the interior walls of the chimney, a build up of 1/8 of an inch or more requires cleaning.  

It's important to keep your chimney clean not only for efficiency, but to also preventing the built-up creosote from catching fire resulting in a flue fire.  These fires can be very dangerous.

Although there are many do-it-yourself cleaning equipment to handle chimney cleaning, it's also best to consult with professional chimney cleaners.

The Revolution In Outdoor Grilling Is Here

Joseph Coupal - Monday, August 02, 2010

Outdoor grillers look no further for the perfect grill. Fireplace Showcase has what you need. Whether you like to smoke your meats or cook your food at a high heats, the Big Green Egg has the best of both worlds. It is arguably the best outdoor grill on the market in terms of flavor and versatility. Here are some facts about the Big Green Egg to convince you:

Porcelain Glazed Ceramic Construction - The Big Green Egg is made of an advanced ceramic material. It is perfect for retaining moisture and heat within the grill. This means it is the most efficient, precise and best grill on the market! Most grills with thin metal walls don't retain heat well and dry your food out.

Precise Temperature Control - Because of the temperature retention of the ceramic walls of the grill, your charcoal fuel can be kept at just the right temperature for whatever your cooking style. By varying the opening of the fire dampers you have precise control of temperature to within a few degrees!

Smoker and Grill - Like most barbecues, the Big Green Egg can be used both as a smoker and a grill. Rarely do you find one outdoor cooking utensil which is this versatile and can do both so adeptly.

Easy to Start - Because of its recessed and entirely contained shape, the Big Green Egg acts like chimney, intensifying and retaining heat perfectly. It protects your charcoal from wind and the elements while helping it ignite so that it will be ready to cook in minutes.

Safe - Because of its unique ceramic walls and the porcelain-glazed outer coat, the surface of the Big Green Egg stays relatively cool, even when it is hot inside. So this grill is safer around children and pets than metal grills which get very hot on the outside as well.

Natural Flavors, No Metal - Some people don't like metal grills because they can impart a slightly metallic taste to your food. Not the Big Green Egg, just the natural flavors of your ingredients and the wood smoke you choose to cook with. 

Fireplace Maintenance Tips To Remember

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Regular cleaning of your fireplace is essential if it is to effective and safe. It doesn’t matter whether you have a wood-burning or gas-burning unit. Here at Fireplace Showcase we recommend getting your fireplace cleaned once a year. Our professional chimney sweepers will check all parts, including the chimney draw, fans, pilots, burners, ignition, combustion and vents. Actually, the chimney is one of the most important parts that need to be inspected because it can often become obstructed by nest-building animals such as birds and raccoons. A chimney cap can help prevent animals from nesting. A fireplace that is not properly maintained and cleaned can result in carbon monoxide buildup in your home, a dangerous and potentially deadly occurrence.

Keeping your fireplace up to date in its cleaning also keeps ashes from building up in a fireplace. However, ashes and small embers from a fire can remain hot for several days and should be removed very cautiously. Remember; never use a vacuum to remove ashes from a recently used fireplace because it could easily start a fire. It's also important to open the damper before removing ashes; with no air going up the chimney, any blown-back ash and dust will spill out onto the floor. If you have a gas fireplace, we recommend cleaning it about once a month with a bristle brush. Be sure to wait until the log has cooled completely before cleaning it.

Why More People Are Buying Vent Free Gas Fireplaces

Joseph Coupal - Friday, July 23, 2010
Yes more and more people in America are buying vent free gas fireplaces. In fact, there are over eight million who prefer vent free gas fireplaces to any other supplemental gas-heating device. This is because of the ease and convenience provided by a vent free gas fireplace.

When it comes to appearances, one of the most attractive vent free gas fireplace motifs is Fireplace Showcase’s peninsula design. It offers three viewing surfaces and releases heat in three directions. This particular vent free gas fireplace model is most often used in a short divider wall positioned between two rooms. This design is also suitable in a large room since it provides a bigger area where folks can gather around. As for see-through models, they can give off heat and ambience for two rooms. The most excellent features of the vent free gas fireplace are the fireplace surround and mantel.

Fireplace Showcases’ vent free gas fireplaces are inexpensive and have low operating costs. Because it doesn’t need a chimney, there is no heat loss so the efficiency of the vent free gas fireplace is almost 100 percent. Moreover, a vent free gas fireplace has the capability to supply heat and warmth during power outages.

Benefits of a Catalytic Stove and Cleaning Tips

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Your wood burning stove is the primary heat source for home heating. The catalytic combustor in your wood stove is the heart of your wood stove. Keeping your wood stove operating at its optimum efficiency increases the stoves performance. Installing a catalytic combustor in the wood stove forced all smoke to be re-burnt before it entered the chimney. This resulted in cleaner emissions in the air.
The most surprising result of adding the catalytic combustor to the wood stove was a huge increase in heat output from the stove. In order for the catalytic combustor to engage the stove must reach an internal temperature of around 1100 degrees. Once the catalytic combustor is engaged it slows down the burning process in the stove. The wood is slowly cooked as opposed to being burnt. The slow cooking of the wood is a more thorough burn which results in total combustion. Coals and ash are reduced to a fine white powder. The total combustion utilizes the wood as a fuel source with no waste.
The increase in heat output by using less wood to heat your home has been a huge savings. Keeping your catalytic combustor operating properly adds to the wood stoves efficiency. Burning firewood that is not seasoned puts excess moisture into the wood stove and this can cause the ceramic cells in the combustor to deteriorate. Keep your combustor clean and it can last five years or longer providing heat into your home. If the catalytic combustor starts to crumble it must be replaced.

Chimney and Fireplace Awareness

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Some people neglect their fireplace or chimney and figure it cleans itself and nothing bad could ever happen. However, this kind of behavior can end up costing you more than you would pay to have it professionally cleaned. If you can't remember the last time you cleaned your chimney it might be good to contact Fireplace Showcase to schedule an inspection. Here are some tips on how to prevent chimney disaster.
Unseasoned wood is actually a cause for concern. It takes longer to dry out and produce a solid, crackling fire but there are also serious repercussions to using this type of wood. The extra smoke and lower temperatures, associated with unseasoned wood, also means greater and faster creosote build-up.
Another factor with creosote build-up is the temperature of your chimney flue: the colder the flue, the greater the build-up. Creosote is created when the smoke from a fire condenses. For this reason, most of this by product is created at the beginning of a fire. People who use their fireplace a lot, but for shorter periods of time, may be at the greatest risk for the worst types of chimney fires.
Fires can start in chimneys but many fires also start outside the chimney. Due to rotted wood in your attic, which could be from from roof leaks or poor ventilation, have an ignition temperature equal to or lower than a piece of paper. If this wood is touching the outside of your chimney, the fire can actually start outside your chimney and quickly spread throughout your home.

 So do be careful and make sure you are aware and take care of your chimney.

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