Preparing Your Fireplace For Fall

feet next to a fireplace

It’s about to be Fall in a month! Heaters across Massachusetts will be kicking on for the season, and fireplaces will be sparking to life. Along with the rest of your cold-weather essentials, fireplaces should be prepped and ready for the season. Here are four easy steps to prepare your fireplace for Fall weather:

Remove Ashes & Debris

The first step is to clean out any old ash and take any other debris out of the fireplace. Remove the log grate and completely clean it as well. This isn’t something you’re going to want to do, but it will help you to start the season with a beautiful, clean space.

Check Firebrick

Search the fireplace for any loose or cracked firebrick and repairs it as needed. To fix them, scrape out the loose mortar with a scoring tool and clean it with a brush or vacuum. After that, brush water into the joints and onto the surrounding brick faces (mortar doesn’t adhere well to dry brick).

Check Flue & Chimney

Check your flue and chimney and remove any obstructions – fallen sticks, leaves, etc. It is recommended that you have a chimney inspection every year by a certified chimney sweep to determine if there is a large amount of creosote buildup (a flammable residue made up of smoke, wood particles, and other organic bi-product). If a significant layer has accumulated (1/8 inch or more), it should be removed to reduce the risk of a chimney fire. 

Remove Excess Moisture

Set a small fire (i.e., one Duraflame log) to help dry out and remove any excess moisture, which can make firebrick crack, creosote to form, and other damaging side effects. If you think that your fireplace has a high moisture level or burning a fire in a brand new fireplace, follow these steps to dry it out more thoroughly:

  • Get two logs and burn 1/3 of the first log
  • Wait 2-4 days and then burn the rest of the first log
  • Wait another 2-4 days and burn the whole second log
  • Wait another few days, and the fireplace will be ready for regular wood-burning use 

After all of these steps, you’ll be all set to enjoy your fireplace the season long. Make sure you use seasoned, dry wood (wood that has been cut and dry for around 6-12 months) for burning and continue to clear out the ash regularly. The smart idea is to clean when the ash reaches the bottom of the grate.

Contact New England Hearth & Home

New England Hearth & Home can help you get ready for Fall. Whether you are looking to get a new fireplace installed, or need help getting your existing one ready for the season, we can be here for you! Give us a call at 781-562-0771 for more information.

Choosing Between a Charcoal or Gas Grill

grill with flames

While there’s no right or wrong way to cook your food, there are certain reasons to choose either a gas or a charcoal grill depending on your preference. So, before you visit your local hearth and home store, you should consider a few things about each type of grill when purchasing your next one.

Benefits to Using a Gas Grill

One of the most significant benefits of a gas grill is that you don’t have to wait for the charcoal to ignite. Many people who use gas grills enjoy it for convenience reasons. They can come home, turn it on, and it’s ready to go for some grilling. Along with the efficiency of using a gas grill, here are some other benefits you can expect from your purchase:

  • Gas usually tends to be cheaper than charcoal.
  • It can be easier to clean than charcoal.
  • You can hook your gas grill up to the gas line in your home for endless cooking fuel.
  • Some gas grills come with accessories such as side burners or smoke boxes. Using a smoke box can help you get a charcoal flavor from using a gas grill.
  • When cooking, gas grills give off steam, which some cooks say adds moisture to any meat you’re preparing.

Gas grills are simple and easy to use. As long as you make sure to turn off the gas after use, cooking on them can be a breeze. Some gas grills are produced to use gas fuel and charcoal so that you can switch between the two depending on what you’re feeling that day. Keep in mind these grills tend to be more expensive. 

Benefits of Using Charcoal Grills

One of the most notable benefits of using a charcoal grill is that they’re significantly less costly than gas grills. Most of the time, you can pick up a small charcoal grill for under $100. Aside from the cost, here are a few more advantages to buying a charcoal grill:

  • When heated, the coals provide the heat for cooking and generally don’t flare up like open flame gas grills. (This doesn’t mean they’re safer, though.) If you want to be safe while grilling, check out these safety tips.
  • Charcoal grills are usually more portable than gas grills. This makes them great for camping trips or weekend getaways.
  • Charcoal burns hotter than gas does.
  • Since you can’t turn down the heat, you can leave areas without briquettes to control the temperature. 
  • Many people prefer the smoke flavor a charcoal grill provides on their food.

Contact Us

New England Hearth & Home can help you choose a grill that is the right fit for you! Contact us to learn more about our grill options. Give us a call or fill out our contact form for more information.

Benefits of Adding Awnings to Your Home

awning

Awnings are coverings you can add to your home to go over windows or doors. Are they worth it for your home? Check out some reasons why you should consider this investment:

Protect against water damage

Awnings can protect your home’s doors, door casings, and window frames from rain damage. An awning can be used over an open window, which prevents rain from leaking inside and damaging the windowsill.

Reduce home cooling costs

Installing awnings over windows can significantly decrease your home’s energy costs during the cooler season. Your air conditioner doesn’t need to work as hard or stay on as long to sustain a cold climate in your home. Window awnings produce enough shade to stop a great deal of unwanted solar heat gain through the window panes. Ventilated awnings are ideal because they block heat from becoming trapped around the exterior of your windows.

Preserve interior furnishings

Awnings installed over windows provide sufficient shade to shield your home’s decor and interior furnishings from becoming damaged by exposure to harsh, nonstop sunlight. This can help with fading by keeping colors bright. 

Protect the environment

Less energy consumption in your home lessens the impact of global warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions. Since awnings allow you to use less energy to cool your home, you’re helping the environment while saving money.

Increase the value of your home

Exterior awnings can increase your home’s value in three ways. This includes higher curb appeal. Having attractive awnings make your home more visually appealing to prospective buyers. Another is more living space. An awning installed over a patio or deck provides more outdoor livings space covered and protected from nature’s elements. The last is energy efficiency. Prospective homebuyers typically place a higher value on homes with superior energy efficiency. Since window and door awnings enable you to use less energy, buyers will notice your house as being more marketable than one that doesn’t provide the same kind of energy efficiency.

Talk to an expert

Before choosing a suitable awning for your home, consider your professional choices because the array of available styles and features is vast and diverse. An awning supply professional can help you in choosing the right awning that accommodates your budget and demands. With so many varying styles out there, it’s good to get a professional opinion when choosing the one that best suits your house’s architectural style.

Contact New England Hearth & Home

Along with fireplaces and other hearth options,  we are proud to offer awnings. Contact New England Hearth & Home so we can help you choose the right awnings for you and your needs! Give us a call at 781-562-0071 or fill out our contact form for more information.

 

Planning for an Outdoor Fireplace

outdoor fireplace

Looking for a way to add some flair to your backyard? Outdoor fireplaces can provide warmth and can be an inviting area where guests can gather and relax! It can also be a focal point of your yard and make a statement. Spring or winter, a fireplace is great for all season. Lighting a fire in the summer is great for cooler nights. If you are considering an outdoor fireplace or fire pit, it’s essential to know the facts to figure out the one you’d want.

Outdoor Fireplace vs. Fire Pit

There are many opportunities to enjoy and use a fire pit or outdoor fireplace. Outdoor fireplaces can take up a lot of space, which is excellent for a big area to work with. They can be custom-built, portable, and prefabricated. Custom-built ones are a more expensive option and designed from the ground up. A portable fireplace is ideal for people who like to change around the setup of their yard or move around a lot. Prefabricated fireplace kits are an option for people who like certain designs and want to build around that design at a cheaper cost. An outdoor fire pit is a more casual option, and are fairly less of a price to construct. However, since it’s open, smoke with have more areas to drift around, and using it for cooking may be harder to do.

What is the purpose of building an outdoor fireplace?

Outdoor fireplaces are a great gathering spot for backyard barbecues, cookouts, and more. You can add comfortable seating around it, including outdoor couches and lounging chairs. You can also enhance the landscaping around the fireplace area by adding potted plants or new flowers. This is an excellent opportunity to make your yard visually appealing and create a new space.

Are there safety concerns when planning for an outdoor fireplace?

Just like having a fireplace indoors, thinking about fireplace safety is normal. Try to keep water nearby, whether it’s a hose or even from a pool. Never install an outdoor fireplace on bare wood. That’s asking for trouble! Don’t burn plastics, trash, or treated in your outdoor fireplace. Even though you are outside, they still release toxic gases that are dangerous to breathe in. Have the fireplace installed at least 100 feet away from the home and any other surrounding structures. Be sure there no bushes, hanging tree limbs, or branches nearby. 

Contact Us for Outdoor Fireplace Services

New England Hearth & Home can install a fireplace for you anywhere in your home – or outside! Whether you want to make your pool area more inviting or set one up around your outdoor kitchen, we can make it happen! Give us a call or fill out our contact form to get in touch.