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How to Be Prepared for Winter Black-Outs

 

Depending on where you live, winter can be a long and arduous time of year. The temperature drops, the road freezes over, and people get sick. This is the time when you should be prepared for all eventualities. You have no way of knowing whether something will happen when you least expect it. This is why you should have the following list of items in your home to be ready for a possible black-out this winter.

 

Ventless fireplace

Ventless fireplaces can be fueled by natural gas. This means that they have no need for electricity. The latest models of these fireplaces come with an automatic ignition. When the power goes out, you will still have the ability to operate the fireplace. You will be kept toasty warm throughout the power outage. 

 

Medicines

If you have medicine that normally is kept in the fridge, it will not remain cold forever. The power to the fridge will be cut off, and eventually everything inside will go bad. This is especially the case if the fridge is continually opened. Try keeping a small cooler in an accessible place. This will keep the important medicine cold for a longer period of time. 

 

Alternative light sources

The darkness can be a frightening thing. Prepare for a winter black-out by having some extra light sources handy. Flashlights and lanterns are a safe bet. They require batteries and oil to light up the darkness, so make sure you keep a supply of those as well. Candles can work in a pinch, they provide a smaller beam of light.

 

Stock up on water

If you know in advance that a winter storm is coming, it is a good idea to have clean water available. Many people will fill up their bathtubs with water so that they have a large supply. This water should be used for hygiene purposes. Have a separate supply of water on hand for drinking.

 

Check the insulation

If you do not have proper insulation in your home, you will not be happy during winter black-outs. If you can, check to see that the work was done properly and efficiently. Having to redo insulation can be a huge pain. However, it will be worth it in the long run when you and your family are safe and warm during winter black-outs.

 

Winter black-outs do not have to be scary. By making a few key preparations beforehand, you can get through the storm in comfort. If you know that a storm is coming, it is easier to make preparations. However, you should always have some supplies in place in just case you are caught unawares.

Ventless Fireplace vs. Wood Burning

When you are curled up next to a cheery fire on a cold winter night, does it really matter what type of fireplace you have? Of course it matters! Do you want your home to be energy efficient? Or would you rather have the genuine smell of wood stoves? Wood burning fireplaces are considered the traditional model. Ventless fireplaces are the modern and convenient alternative to wood burning. Your preference in this decision matters, because you will be making the deciding vote between ventless versus wood burning fireplaces.

Ventless fireplaces

A ventless fireplace could be powered by gas, electricity, or ethanol. There is no end to the different styles of ventless fireplaces, meaning that you have plenty of options available.

Pros

Electric ventless fireplaces can operate with or without heat. If you prefer, you can simply have the synthetic flame running for people to admire. Ventless fireplaces do not require ventilation, and therefore do not need to be connected to a chimney. This is a pro because they are more flexible about where they can be placed in the home. As well, they do not waste as much energy, because heat is not leaving the house through the chimney. This type of heat source will warm your home the same way that a heater would.

Cons

Ventless fireplaces do not typically warm huge amount of spaces. They are most suitable for small homes, or apartments. Another con for this type of fireplace is that they can have high initial purchase price. Although ventless fireplaces do perform the job adequately, some people may simply prefer the real thing.  

Wood burning fireplaces

These types of fireplaces function by burning wood. They provide a real flame, and they give off a traditional ‘fireplace’ smell of burning wood.

Pros

These are the traditional fireplaces that have been around for hundreds of years. Many people love this type of fireplace because they enjoy snuggling together around the crackling flames. Wood burning fireplaces raise the value of a house, because they are considered to be desirable to home owners. These fireplaces are fueled by wood, which is a renewable resource. This means that you do not need electricity or gas to operate it.

Cons

Wood burning fireplaces are typically the most expensive option in terms of start-up costs. This is largely due to different components such as the gas line, assembly, ventilation and wiring. 

Wood burning fireplaces are not known for energy efficiency. Some of the produced heat is immediately lost because it escapes out the chimney. This means that it is taking more heat to warm your home and requiring more wood for fuel. 

When the wood combusts, soot, ash and various gases are let out into the air. This means that these fireplaces require cleaning often. If they are not cleaned  there is a safety concern. Excess creosote in the chimney can cause dangerous fires. Another safety concern includes children and pets. They will need to be kept away from the fireplace to ensure that they do not get burned by touching the hot surface.

Although wood burning fireplaces are still the favorite of many, they come with an innumerable list of cons. Ventless fireplaces can solve most, if not all, of these issues. The overall convenience and modern touches make going ventless a joy! You may be attached to your old wood burning fireplace, but take a minute to think over the alternative. You might be doing yourself a favor in the long run.

Giving Your Patio a Makeover

 

Are you tired of looking out the window at your boring old patio? Perhaps you are finally getting sick of sitting outside at the same 20-year-old table? Could you use some inspiration when it comes to redoing your patio? Well look no further! We will be talking about some basic ideas when it comes to sprucing up your patio and giving it a much-needed makeover.

Outdoor Rugs

These rugs are soft and durable; perfect for bare feet to run over. Outdoor rugs tend to be made out of materials such as polypropylene and nylon. These are more weather resistant than other materials, and bring a splash of color to the space.

Ventless Fireplace

Ventless fireplaces are becoming more common and popular. This means that they are also getting more affordable than they were in the past. They do not require ventilation, so they can be installed outside on the patio. They provide a warm synthetic flame which will be appreciated on cool summer nights.  

Weather Resistant Furniture

Choosing furniture that is made out of natural wood may be a good option for your patio. This could include a cedar sofa that has been upholstered for comfort. The material must be able to stand up to the weather conditions of your area. The furniture will not look as worn out or frayed if you are careful about selecting the right material for it.

Throw Pillows

Any seating area looks more welcoming with pillows, am I right? Adding a few throw pillows to the benches or outdoor sofas can bring a sense of comfort. The space will feel more like an outdoor living room, as opposed to a patio.

Plants

Plants don’t have to be restricted to the garden, they can have a space on the patio too. Adding some potted or hanging plants will provide a breath of fresh air. Hanging plants are nice because they do not take up any floor space on the patio. As well, they give some privacy from neighbors if the houses are close together.

Candles

The patio should be a calming atmosphere for you to relax in. This means that you can incorporate things that help you to de-stress. Candles appeal to most people because of their fragrant scents. Lighting some candles and sitting outside at night looking up at the stars can be exactly what you need.

Artwork

This can include whatever you consider to be art. If you enjoy figurines or statues, you can find a place for a few on the patio. Perhaps you enjoy a certain decoration and want to add it into the design. Personal touches such as artwork can bring the space together and make it more inviting.

How to Decide When to get a Ventless Fireplaces



 

As time goes on, people are being offered more and more choices. Companies want you to choose their product over their competitor. This means that they will be continually expanding their product line, trying to find something that will entice you. Eventually, this can get pretty overwhelming. For example, if you go to the store to buy a fireplace, you will be confronted with many different types. Gas, electric, wood burning, ethanol, and more. This article is meant to help you narrow down when you need a vent less fireplace.

Cost

If you are on a budget, a vent less fireplace may be the right option for you. These models are typically less expensive than a wood burning one. They cost less to install, so the initial payment is lower. As well, they do not cause a significant increase in your electricity bill. On a monthly basis, electric vent less fireplaces cost less than their gas equivalents. As well, you do not need to buy fuel for them, as they are powered by electricity. This is opposed to traditional stoves, where you need to purchase wood to keep them burning.

Environmentally Conscious

If you are someone who worries about polluting the atmosphere, you will not need to with this fireplace. Vent less fireplaces do not produce any harmful by-products into the air. They only provide a synthetic flame, instead of a real one. This is also helpful if you are worried about the health effects of the inhabitants living in the home. There is no danger to them if there are no toxins being released.

Smaller Spaces

Electric vent less fireplaces do not provide as much heat as traditional models. They will sufficiently heat one or two rooms, but not the whole house. This is why they are preferred by people who live in smaller spaces. For examples, people who live in small apartments like vent less fireplaces because they will heat the entire space. If you have a large house that you are trying to heat solely with the fireplace, you may want to consider a different option.

The type of fireplace that you choose depends entirely on your own needs. Everyone is different, and therefore requires a unique set up for their home. If you find yourself confused about what exactly you are looking for, stop and review your criteria. Evaluating your different options according to the criteria that you are looking for will help you immensely. It will narrow down your focus, and show you the pros and cons of each option. Eventually, you should find yourself with a final contender from the list of options.

Creating an Outdoor Living Room

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Far too often, we are cooped up inside our homes and do not get to enjoy the beautiful outdoors. If you love nature, or even just aspects of it, being outside gives you pleasure. In reality, we all should be given the chance to enjoy fresh air more often. This is why it is a good idea to create an outdoor living space for the whole family to utilize.

 

Outdoor furniture

If you choose furniture made out of natural wood, this could be practical and comfortable. For example, a cedar sofa with upholstered seats might be just what you need to relax on. Cushions and throw pillows can be added to create more comfort. If you go with an option like this, you will need to treat it with sealer every few years.

When you are choosing furniture that will be outside for a great deal of time, it has be able to withstand the elements. Damage could happen due to sunlight exposure, rain, wind, or snow. This is why it is important to inspect everything for flaws before you buy it. When the harsh weather comes, you can protect your furniture by moving it into a garage or shed.

 

Ventless fireplaces

This type of fireplace is a good option for placing in your yard. This is because ventless fireplaces do not need to be connected to chimneys for ventilation. There is no restriction about where you can place them. As well, there is no need to worry about toxic by-products being cycled into the atmosphere. Ventless fireplaces do not emit any fumes, so they are safe when they are burning. If you want to add this fireplace to your outdoor living room, you will need to add an electrical component to it. A standard 120V outlet with suffice for powering the fireplace. 

 

Lighting

Having the proper lighting is essential when determining the atmosphere of a space. If your outdoor living room is lit up, it creates the feeling of comfort and tranquility. If you want something small and intimate, candles or lanterns can be placed on the tables or other surfaces. Something that casts more light around could be string lights hung from the trees.

 

Consider the need for shade

Sunlight exposure is something that you will have to consider when you have an outdoor living room. A large awning or umbrella may be needed to protect you and your furniture from sun damage. A standalone umbrella may be a good option because you are able to change its position as the sun moves. If you want something that is larger and more permanent, you could consider covering your patio and creating a roof.

Ventless Gel Fireplaces

 

If you have heard of bio ethanol fireplaces, then you already be familiar with the idea of ventless fireplaces. A synthetic flame is burned inside or outside the house. There is no need for ventilation, as no smoke or by-products are being produced. The difference with gel fireplaces is that the fuel that is used is gel instead of ethanol. Let’s go over some of the things to consider when thinking about gel fireplaces.

Basic information

Gel fireplaces operate by using a special type of gel as their fuel source. The fire that is produced is not real, so it is considered a ‘faux fireplace’. This means that the fireplace does not require any ventilation, and does not need to be hooked up to a chimney. There are ceramic logs in the fireplace so that it gives the appearance of the traditional stove model. The gel comes in cans, and three of them can be burned at once.

Are gel fireplaces easy to work with?

If you have just purchased a gel fireplace, you will, of course, need to know how to install it. Luckily, these fireplaces can be installed fairly easily. If you are having trouble following the directions, consult a professional before proceeding. The same goes for if you are trying to convert your existing fireplace to a gel model. It can be done, but should not be attempted by yourself if you are unsure.

How much heat is produced?

A gel fireplace will not be producing as much heat as a traditional stove would have. However, gel fuel will produce approximately the same amount of heat as bio ethanol. The amount of space that it heats is ideal for small to mid-sized homes. Every can of fuel that you add to the fireplace will last for 2 – 3 hours. If the fire starts to go out, you simply add another can.

How does gel differ from bioethanol?

Ethanol fireplaces are fueled by bioethanol, while gel models use a gel fuel source. These fuel sources are different materials, which makes a big difference. A bioethanol fireplace has only one burner, which makes it more flexible to work with. Another difference is that gel tends to burn for only 3 hours, while ethanol burns for 5-8 hours. This means that you will need to use more gel to produce the same effect as if you were using ethanol.  

Overall, bio ethanol tends to be a safer option. If you have children or are simply safety conscious, this might be the better choice for you. However, you might simply enjoy the look of fireplaces that use gel fuel. If you have a bio ethanol fireplace, under no circumstances can you use gel fuel to operate it. The two cannot be mixed, as this is a safety issue.

Safety

Gel fuel will typically burn for about 3 hours and is considered to be very safe. Seeing as these fireplaces are not producing real flames, there is a reduced chance of being burned. The outside of the fireplace will not be hot to the touch unless you get too close to the heat vent. As well, this fireplace will not be giving off any toxic fumes, or ashes. You do not need to worry about your house filling with smoke or gasses that will make you ill.

This type of flame cannot be regulated, so it is more dangerous than using bio ethanol. Some people choose to use gel fuel outside, so it is safer than being in an indoor enclosed area. You should always be careful.   

Even though gel fireplaces are a fairly new invention, they seem to be holding up quite well in the market. People are attracted to the clean and environmentally-friendly way that they operate. You do not need to worry about venting away the smoke and by-products. Their easy installation is an added bonus. People do not have to deal with ventilation and chimneys when they purchase their gel fireplace. Overall, it is a cheap alternative for heat, but it is highly flammable, and should be handled with caution.