Preparing Your Fireplace for the Spring

Fireplaces need to properly be taken care of when shutting them down for the warmer months. Whether you have a wood burning fireplace or gas, there are steps you need to take to keep yours last longer and staying in good condition!

Wood Burning Fireplace

Clean Up Ash

It is super important to clean out remaining ash and soot left inside the fireplace. It keeps the air quality nice and fresh, as well as restoring the beauty of your hearth. After cleaning out the ash, make sure to close the damper. By doing this, it stops air from entering your home and prevents any remnant ash and soot in the fireplace from blowing in when it’s windy.

Close the Damper

Most people do not need to use their fireplace after April or so, especially in Massachusetts. That being said, there is no need for the damper on staying open. Shutting the damper will help prevent drafts, water leakage during rainy days and will keep out backyard animals. This can also save on energy costs by avoiding any air-conditioning from leaking out.

Scheduling a Chimney Cleaning or Fireplace Inspection 

Many homeowners are not aware that the best time to schedule a chimney cleaning is during the Spring. It is usually more convenient because there are fewer appointments for the professionals during this season. Getting your chimney cleaned reduces the amount of soot buildup in the flue. When a professional visits your home for an inspection, they’ll check the chimney and flue to see if there are any cracks or leaks, as well as check that the damper and chimney cap is working correctly.

Gas Fireplace

Clean the Glass Panel

If you have a direct vent fireplace with a glass panel, the glass should be regularly cleaned. Remove the glass, then use the manufacturer’s suggested cleaner. For gas fireplace owners with glass doors, the same is recommended; use a soft cloth and the cleaner suggested by the manufacturer. Do not use any cleaning products that contain ammonia!

Brush off Soot 

Brushing off soot with a clean and dry paintbrush is an easy way to get rid of any remaining. Get as much as you can out!

Schedule a Gas Fireplace Inspection

One of our professionals will take a look at the burner and other components of the unit. Regular maintenance can increase the lifespan of your gas fireplace and reduce the amount of money spent on repairs.

Turn off Pilot Light

For gas fireplaces that have a standing pilot, you can turn it off for the Spring and Summer. Turning it off can save you money in utilities. If you don’t feel comfortable or know how to turn off your pilot light, have a professional do it for you.

Contact Us

Contact New England Hearth & Home about questions involving your fireplace. Give us a call or fill out our contact form!

7 Reasons to Have an Outdoor Kitchen

grilling chicken

In the Mediterranean, it is widespread for families to be cooking outdoors. This style of cooking has become a trendy thing to do in the United States. Homeowners are embracing the joys of using an outdoor kitchen in their backyards during the warmer summer months. Whether you’re building a new house, or adding to space you have, creating a place to cook outdoors could be an excellent investment to make.

Great for Entertaining

A benefit of having an outdoor kitchen is that they’re perfect for backyard entertaining. When food is grilled out on the patio, your guests can hangout around the grill and socialize as the meal is being prepared. It tends to get crowded in an indoor kitchen when everyone hangs out with whoever is cooking, but outside there’s much more open space and fresh air. You can add some comfort for your guests by adding patio heaters, outdoor seating, lighting, and more personal touches.

Increases Value of Your Home

Home buyers are always looking for unique and useful additions to homes. Having an outdoor kitchen can attract buyers when you are looking to sell – especially if they were looking to add one to whatever home they ended up purchasing. Having this already in place can drive up the selling price for convenience and looks.

Save on Utility Bills

When you’re grilling outside during the summer, your air conditioner doesn’t have to be blasting. When you cook any food in your inside-kitchen, the temperature in your home tends to go up several degrees. When you are cooking outside, you’ll save on energy consumption since you won’t have to turn up the AC as often.

Keeps Cooking Smells Outdoors

Some foods smell great while they’re cooking, while others couldn’t smell worse. When you cook, especially strong-smelling meals such as fish or deep-fried foods, those smells can linger around your house for days. When you cook those same foods outside, your house stays smelling fresh.

Expanding Your Living Space

Incorporating the space you already have on your back porch into a kitchen is a smart move. This can open up your living space to make it seem bigger and newer. In the outdoor cooking area, you and your family members can have celebrations or just enjoy the great outdoors.

Improves the Taste of Food

Not only does grilling enhance the taste of food, but this cooking technique is better for staying healthy. Fat drips off of meats when they’re grilled, so the result will be healthier and contain few calories from fat.

Save Money on Restaurant Meals

When you have your little patio cooking and dining area in your backyard, there are fewer reasons to want to go to a restaurant for meals. Eating out at restaurants can drain your wallet pretty quickly, especially if you go out to eat regularly. When you opt to dine at home rather than go out, you save some money.

Contact us

Contact New England Hearth & Home for all of your outdoor kitchen needs! Give us a call at 781-562-0071 or fill out our contact form.

Benefits of Having a Pellet Stove

pellet stove burning

Heating a stove with pellets has many advantages. The same with oil or gas heating, a pellet stove has automatic ignition. Pellet stoves are environmentally friendly because of the CO2-neutral fuel. New England Hearth & Home provides pellet stoves in our line of inventory.

Temperature

Depending on the model you get, you can adjust the temperature with a remote or a thermostat. Some models can also be programmed to turn on and off at certain times. Pellet stoves can start to burn and go out without having to touch it, depending on the program that is selected.

90% Efficiency

Pellet stoves have an efficiency of up to 90% or even more. Only 10% of energy from pellets are lost in the chimney. Pellet stoves are more efficient than wood-burning stoves, with only 40-50% efficiency. Open fires only have an efficiency of around 5-15%.

No Need for a Chimney

Pellets stoves have an active smoke extraction system – therefore, it’s unnecessary to have a chimney specifically for your stove. The combustion gases can be blown into an existing chimney. Smoke can also escape through a tube that runs through the outer wall of your home.

Autonomy

The pellet reserve in a stove has about 12 hours at full power. This being said, the stove would need to be filled around twice a day if you want it running all day long if you want it at full capacity. At a power output of 30%, the autonomy can be as high as 36 hours – more than a full day.

Cheap Fuel and Convenient

Pellets are cheap compared to other methods of fuel, and the price for them has been stable over the recent years. They come supplied in bags, and can also be delivered to your home in larger quantities than you may find in a store. A pellet stove can hold around 1.5 – 2.5 bags of pellets, but consumption depends on the size of the room being heated.

Neutral Carbon Balance

Pellets come from Canada and Europe, and are made of sawdust. If the forests where the wood comes from are sustainable, the carbon balance of the pellet combustion is zero. This happens because the amount of carbon emitted during combustion is equal to the amount of carbon absorbed by the tree.

Contact Us

New England Hearth & Home sells and installs an array of different types of stoves and fireplaces. If you are interested in a new pellet stove, contact us by phone at 781-562-0071 or fill out our contact form.

 

 

What to Do When You Haven’t Used Your Fireplace in a While

brick chimney

If you just moved into a new house or decide to try the fireplace that hasn’t been touched in years, it’s a good idea to have it inspected and cleaned. You may wonder, why? It’s because fireplaces and chimneys serve as a ventilation system for your home. Even furnaces rely on chimneys to circulate fresh air. It takes carbon monoxide and brings it through the chimney to outside. If you don’t get your chimney inspected every year to check for issues, your home’s ventilation may not be up to code.

Checking For Animals

Smaller outdoor animals like squirrels, birds, and raccoons love using chimneys as a form of shelter. They end up building nests in chimneys made out of leaves, dirt, twigs, and branches – which are all flammable materials. They also may leave behind droppings which can cause bad odor in your chimney and fireplace. Before starting up a fire, make sure your chimney is clear of animals and their homes.

Musty Smells

Musty smells coming from your fireplace can mean there is a moisture issue within your chimney. If you think something may have passed away in your chimney, you’re probably right. That happens often, especially when animals have made homes up there. Make sure to not start a fire in your fireplace until the animal has been removed. Burning it will not make the smell go away.

Fireplace That Has Never Been Used

Even if you have a fireplace that you know has never been used, the right way to go about starting your first fireplace fire is to have it inspected prior. Homeowners there before you, environmental wear and tear, and outdoor creatures are still factors that could have changed the way your fireplace will function. The freezing winter temperatures can also take a toll on your chimney and how it holds up.

What Happens During A Fireplace Inspection

A simple and common chimney inspection includes a chimney sweep looking for damage, obstructions, soot, and creosote buildup, using a flashlight. If it is in need of being swept, they’ll use brushes, a vacuum, and extension poles to do so. If you just bought the house, or experienced harsh weather conditions, the inspection will continue on the roof, in the attic, and crawl spaces. They can use video scanning and other tools to determine the damage of the chimney.

Contact Us

New England Hearth & Home wants to make sure you use your fireplace safely. Give us a call at 781-562-0071 or fill out our contact form. We look forward to taking care of your fireplace needs!