Tips for An Environmentally Friendly Fireplace

Tips for An Environmentally Friendly Fireplace

There are numerous areas in which we can make better efforts to be environmentally friendly, and the modern fireplace is one such area. At Comfort Solutions, we’re proud to offer numerous modern fireplace options that allow you to operate in a green way, and our experts are here to help you operate your fireplace in a way that doesn’t strain the earth.

Regardless of which kind of fireplace you have, there are a few things you can do to lower your general impact on the local environment. Here are a few basic tips.

Closed Fires

In many modern building codes, open fires will not be permitted. In many historic homes, however, it can be tough to say goodbye to this traditional kitchen hearth style.

It’s best for both your home and the planet, however, if you convert your open fire into a closed one using pellets, firewood or gas. An open fire burns more fuel, and also burns wood in an inefficient way – a double-negative. A closed fire, on the other hand, burns very efficiently and requires less fuel to keep ablaze.

Proper Sizing

A fireplace insert or stove that is too small will eat far too much fuel as you try to heat the home. On the flip side, a stove that’s too large will waste more fuel than you need for the home. Our specialists can recommend the proper sizing to you as necessary.

Fuel Type

The kind of fuel you use in your fireplace depends on your local economy and pollution levels. A few options include:

  • Wood in a wood stove provide great heat for a home, but also causes smoke production. In a rural area with low pollution, this might be okay – wood is also electricity-free. It’s also carbon neutral, which means it doesn’t help the environment but doesn’t hurt it either.
  • Pellets: In a more urban area where pollution is an issue, consider a fuel that produces fewer emissions to help local air quality. Pellet stoves have high BTU outputs but low emissions, a good middle ground for those who prefer a wood-style fire. Pellet stoves do require electricity and do release carbon dioxide into the air, but the energy consumption here is relatively low.
  • Gas inserts: If your main goal is ambiance and a great atmosphere, natural gas or propane inserts are the way to go. These both burn cleanly, and have incredibly low levels of fossil fuel emissions. However, they are also not renewably sourced – if you choose this option, do your best to support fuel companies that try to reduce their footprint.

For more on being environmentally friendly with your fireplace, or to find out about any of our fireplace services, speak to the experts at Comfort Solutions today.

Preparing Fireplaces for the New Season

Preparing Fireplaces for the New Season

Fall is here, and that means the weather is turning colder. For many people, this means the fireplace in the home will start to get a lot more usage in the next few weeks or months.

At Comfort Solutions, we’re here to help you with all preparation elements for the colder season for any of our fireplace products. Here are a few areas you should consider as you get things started.

Preparing for Use

Proper maintenance of the fireplace is always necessary. There are several things you can do, including keeping the chimneys clean and clear – this includes the flues, smoke chambers, dampers and vents. Ensuring this is done is the best way to make sure you’ll be ready to use the machine right away.

Professional chimney cleaners can help here, and the National Fire Protection Agency recommends that this is done annually and before you light the first fire of the season. It’s also recommended every 60 to 80 fires for people in a cold climate.

Wood Burning Tips

A wood-burning fireplace can be a very attractive feature, but it can carry risks if it’s not properly maintained. Before the first fire of the fall or winter season check for the following:

  • Creosote buildup: This is a toxic and highly flammable result of burning wood, and it should be cleared right out if discovered. Ignited creosote can become a fire that’s out of control in a hurry, and exposure to creosote smoke is dangerous to the lungs and other organs.
  • Cracks or loose bricks
  • Missing or damaged chimney cap: This piece prevents stray embers from igniting the home’s roof, and also deters birds from building nests while keeping other animals and debris out.
  • Trees: If there are tree branches blocking the chimney and sending smoke back into your home, you will need to trim these back.

Gas Burning Tips

A gas fireplace is generally easier to maintain than wood, but still does require annual maintenance. Ventilation is particularly important – carbon monoxide can enter the home if there are problems here. If you notice any of these signs, this could be an issue:

  • Dampness in the home, especially on the walls
  • Stains on the outside of the chimney, especially white stains
  • Erosion around mortar joints or crumbling bricks

Fireplace for Heating

Some homeowners rely on fireplaces for winter heating and comfort. If this is a priority, here are some tips:

  • Make sure the flue damper is in good shape to seal heat in the home.
  • Install a tempered glass door at the front of the firebox instead of a movable screen. This will seal the fireplace off more effectively.
  • For wood fireplaces, clean the inside of the firebox regularly to remove buildup and prime the area for future fires. This will allow for optimal space.

For more on prepping your fireplace for fall and winter, or for more on any of our custom fireplace options, speak to the pros at Comfort Solutions today.

Stages of Fireplace Installation

Stages of Fireplace Installation

When you’re considering a renovation or installation involving a custom modern fireplace, you’re preparing for a process just like any other home remodeling project. At Comfort Solutions, we have a wide selection of custom fireplaces for you to choose from, plus professional service and expertise as we walk you through this entire process.

While every renovation or installation is a bit different based on your needs, there will be a few common stages that every new fireplace owner will go through. Let’s go over each of these, plus some tips we can offer throughout.

Reasoning

Before you lift a finger or spend a dollar on a fireplace remodel, you should be asking yourself what the reason is for doing it. There are a number of good reasons why you might be looking for a fireplace upgrade, from improving your home’s heating capabilities to creating an ambiance or adding to the style of a room.

In some cases, general HVAC costs will leave you with a situation where installing a new fireplace will save you major heating costs in the winter. Down similar lines, a fireplace might help prevent chimney draft that raises your heating costs. Or on the flip side, you could want a fireplace upgrade to create a central area of the home for people to congregate in. There’s no bad answer here, but the rest of your project often takes cues from the basic purpose of the fireplace.

Design Inspiration

Once you’ve decided on a purpose for your project, it’s time to decide on a style and look. Consider online resources like Pinterest if you’re struggling to find inspiration here, or look at our large gallery to get an idea of the options we have available.

The Details

Getting a bit more specific, it’s time to find out a few details to complement your overall theme. Here are some areas to consider:

  • Are you getting a gas, wood or some other type of fireplace?

  • Are you replacing an existing fireplace or installing a new one? In either case, what are the measurements?

  • Which room will the fireplace be in?

  • What will be the primary function: Heat or ambiance?

  • What materials (floors, walls, ceilings, furniture) will surround your fireplace?

Purchase and Installation

Finally, it’s time to get with our pros and make your actual purchase. Our experts will spend time going over your needs and options, plus helping match you with the perfect installer for your new fireplace.

Enjoyment

The final stage of the process? Sit back, relax, and enjoy your wonderful new fireplace. Make sure you have all your warranty and care information organized first, but once that’s taken care of, you can sit back and admire this new addition to your home.

For more on the stages of a fireplace installation, or to learn about any of our modern fireplace services, speak to the pros at Comfort Solutions today.

What Makes Electric Models Efficient

What Makes Electric Models Efficient

If you’re looking for a modern fireplace option, a custom electric fireplace is often one of the first areas you’ll consider. Electric fireplaces come with a number of benefits, from cost and simplicity to ease of installation.

At Comfort Solutions, we have a wide range of electric fireplace options for you to consider. One of the benefits we take the most pride in when it comes to these options? Their energy efficiency, which is at the top of the list when it comes to various fireplace options. Let’s go over some basics as to what goes into making electric fireplaces so efficient.

Basic Numbers

When you use a wood or gas fireplace, you’re losing a huge percentage of the energy that’s created during the first – up to 60 percent in most cases. This means a huge amount of heat and other output being put into the atmosphere, plus the waste of natural resources to burn these fires in the first place.

Electric options, though, come with none of these concerns. They generate the same amount of renewable energy as they consume, meaning all the energy they generate is turned directly into heat using nothing but a basic outlet.

Zone Heating

The primary way this is done in an electric model is through what’s called zone heating. You spend most of your time in just a few areas of the home, meaning that heating isn’t always necessary for every area. Electric fireplaces help heat important rooms more efficiently and faster than other fireplaces, and often faster than even your home’s furnace. Zone heating is an eco-friendly option that comes on all our electric fireplace choices.

Scheduling

Another big benefit is the way electric fireplaces allow scheduling, something that isn’t possible with other fireplace types. Our electric options come with timers for up to six hours, plus a remote control and various heat settings you can use.

No Greenhouse Gasses

Wood and gas fireplaces produce carbon monoxide, which is both bad for the environment and dangerous to humans if not filtered properly. Remove both these concerns with an electric option, which produces no carbon monoxide whatsoever.

For more on why electric fireplace options are a great choice for efficiency, or to learn about any of our fireplace choices, speak to the pros at Comfort Solutions today.

Realistic Electric Fireplace Elements

Realistic Electric Fireplace Elements

For many people who have decided an electric fireplace is their best choice, a major factor in their final product decision is realism. Electric fireplaces come with a huge variety of authentic features, from realistic flames to many others, but without the work that a wood-burning fire brings.

At Comfort Solutions, we have a wide variety of modern electric fireplace options for you to choose from. Here are some of the factors you should be considering as you browse our wide selection if you prioritize the realistic feel of your fireplace.

Flame Intensity

If possible, look for a model that lets you control the intensity of the flame using a remote control. These generally offer the ability to control everything from ember bed lighting to backlighting, meaning you’re completely in charge of how your fire looks. Some models even include multi-colored flame presentations.

Flame Progress

In addition, look for an option hat allows flame and ember progress, an automated feature. You can hit a button that engages 3-D flames, with log sets that complement them.

Logs

Options that contain logs are the best for simulating a true fire. They bring realistic flames, a glowing ember feel, and even a “smoke” effect in many models. In plenty of cases, guests to your home may not even realize you have an electric fireplace, instead confusing it for a natural wood-burning option.

LED Lights

To help increase the real effect of the flames, LED lights are used. These can be set to flicker or refract in a way that you enjoy, and as we noted above, you can often alter the color of the flames if you wish. LED lights are also extremely durable and require very little maintenance, plus are energy efficient.

Effects

Many of our options even come with special effects, such as surround lighting to create a dramatic feel. Backlight surround colors might be part of this as well.

For more on the various factors you should prioritize if you want a realistic electric fireplace, or to learn about any of our other fireplace options, speak to the pros at Comfort Solutions today.

Chimney Chase Cover Importance

Chimney Chase Cover Importance

For the modern fireplace owner, the summer is often the best time of year for various inspections or maintenance. Most fireplaces see less use at this time of year, making it ideal for any tune-ups or upgrades it requires.

At Comfort Solutions, we can help with any such maintenance areas you come upon. One big one that some homeowners forget about? Checking the chimney chase cover, which plays a vital role for those who have chimney-involved fireplace systems. Let’s look at the basic role of this cover, signs of issues, and one good solution we can offer.

What is It?

The chimney chase cover is a flat metal cover you’ll find on top of your chimney. As the name suggests, its job is to cover the chimney and provide a water-tight seal for any moisture that may be present. If it’s faulty or not working properly, not only will water be able to potentially seep into your fireplace, but other elements or even debris might as well.

Signs of Issues

The most common sign of a chimney chase cover that’s having issues is rust. You’ll be able to see this on the top or sides of the metal, which can be viewed during a basic roof inspection.

As those who are familiar with it will know, rust is a sign that water has been interacting with the metal. Because the job of this metal piece is to actively prevent water, rust is a sign that it’s not accomplishing this efficiently enough.

Possible Fix

In many cases, the cause of this rust is chase covers made of a low grade of steel. This is often galvanized steel, which can both stain and deteriorate due to rust.

As a solution, if you’re dealing with chimney chase cover rust issues, we recommend a stainless steel cover as a replacement. Stainless steel resists this kind of deterioration from rust, and even resists rust itself. Furthermore, stainless steel covers can be custom-made, ensuring they’re the perfect fit for your chimney.

For more on chimney covers, or to learn about any of our custom or gas fireplace options, speak to the pros at Comfort Solutions today.

Benefits of a Smaller Electric Fireplace

Benefits of a Smaller Electric Fireplace

At Comfort Solutions, we’re proud to be a leading company in the modern fireplace world. Our custom fireplace options offer a perfect combination of traditional elements and modern aesthetics, making them perfect for people in a wide variety of living situations.

One such group? Apartment dwellers, who are on the rise in recent years. In some apartment locations, fireplaces or inserts are hard to have due to space limitations – but this is where a smaller electric fireplace can be beneficial. Let’s look at three great reasons to invest in one of these smaller options.

Flexibility

A recent poll found that over half of all homeowners and apartment dwellers redecorate their space at least once a year. No matter how much space you have, a smaller electric fireplace option gives you tons of flexibility when it comes to this kind of redesign. It can go against the wall like a traditional option, or it can take a more modern spot on a coffee table or bookshelf. You also get more flexibility in your lifestyle, as this kind of fireplace doesn’t require you to run to the store for new logs every time you want to have some friends over and light a fire.

Trends

In addition, these smaller electric options are very trendy today. They’re perfect accents for various rooms, with a huge variety of styles and color schemes available. They can serve as focal points in certain rooms or background items in others.

Environmentally Friendly

Perhaps best of all, the smaller electric fireplace allows you the warmth and ambiance of a great fire with minimal effects on the environment. Electric fireplaces do not emit harmful substances like carbon monoxide, meaning they don’t require a chimney for ash and smoke to escape the space.

For more on why a smaller electric fireplace might be great for you, or to learn more about any of our modern fireplace options, speak to the pros at Comfort Solutions today.

Cost Benefits and Considerations for Electric Fireplaces

Cost Benefits and Considerations for Electric Fireplaces

At Comfort Solutions, we’re proud to provide a variety of modern fireplace options for you and your family. One such option, and one of our most popular, is the electric fireplace.
An electric fireplace offers many benefits, potentially including cost benefit. To find out whether this is the case for you, we recommend laying out the different costs associated with an electric fireplace, then combining them into one larger number. Let’s go over some important areas.

Initial Costs

Depending on the style and size of your electronic fireplace, your initial costs can vary widely. A small basic unit might cost $200 or so, while a more complex built-in unit could run up into the thousands and require professional installation. If your unit will require installation, be sure to factor in these costs during your calculations.

Energy Costs

All the energy that an electric fireplace uses is converted into heat, which means that electric fireplaces are 100 percent energy efficient – no extra heat is escaping. In many cases, owners of these fireplaces find they require less use of central heat in their homes, and this can lead to significant cost savings without reducing your comfort.

Maintenance Costs

Electric fireplaces don’t urn combustible fuel, meaning they don’t deal with the kind of corrosion that can shorten the lifespan of other types of fireplaces. With this in mind, the overall cost of an electric fireplace can be fairly evenly spread over a period of up to 10 years, often even more.

Calculating Totals

When you’re considering the purchase of an electric fireplace, assess the overall costs combined. Add the initial price to energy and maintenance costs, estimating how often you plan to have the unit running on average. Ten years is a reasonable expectation for the life of your fireplace, so multiply your energy costs by 10 to get a rough estimate of the lifetime operating costs. From there, subtract a rough estimate of 10 percent reduction in central heat usage.
For more on the costs involved with an electric fireplace, or to find out about any of our new fireplace choices, speak to the pros at Comfort Solutions today.

Breaking Down Gas Vs. Electric Fireplaces

Breaking Down Gas Vs. Electric Fireplaces

When it comes to a modern fireplace in the home, present-day homeowners have a few different choices. In many situations, this boils down to a decision between two major options: Electric or gas fireplace?

At Comfort Solutions, we have a wide variety of numerous custom fireplace options for your browsing. Let’s look at a few factors that separate gas and electric fireplaces.

Installation

If your home has a gas line already, you can likely install a gas fireplace without making any other modifications to the home. If not, you’ll have to also purchase a propane tank as part of your installation – this will increase your cost and can take up some extra space. For this reason, homes without an existing gas line might be best served to look at electric options.

Gas fireplaces also require proper ventilation to make sure all occupants of the home are safe. Electric fireplaces simply plug into wall outlets, however.

Safety and Heat

Because electric fireplaces are wired in the factory, their primary safety elements do not depend at all on installation. Fires are more likely to occur with a gas fireplace, which uses actual flames, but the rate of accidents and fires with both styles is very low in today’s day and age.

One common concern for homeowners with children or pets is the way gas fireplaces become hot to the touch. Electric ones do not do so. However, on the flip side, for those looking for actual heat generation from their fireplace, the gas option is far more effective here.

Home Value

This is one area where both gas and electric fireplace options provide similar value: Both can help raise your home’s resale price down the line. The presence of any type of fireplace in the home can increase home value by up to 12 percent in some cases.

For more on gas versus electric fireplaces, or to learn about any of our options, speak to the pros at Comfort Solutions today.

Electric Fireplace Style Options

Electric Fireplace Style Options

If you’re looking to install a new modern fireplace in your home, you have a number of options at your disposal. Even if you’ve already chosen an electric fireplace option, you’re still only partway to finalizing all the relevant design areas.

At Comfort Solutions, we have a number of custom fireplace options depending on the aesthetic you’re looking for in your home. Here are a few of your placement options when it comes to an electric fireplace, and which might be best for your preferences.

Built In

For those who aren’t looking for a renovation process but still want the look of a built-in fireplace, there are options available. There are fireplace choices that look build in but can actually sit on the floor or be installed in a corner. For traditionally styled homes, some built-in looking options even have elaborate mantels or come with sets of bookcases for either side. Other styles are made to look like furniture, and some can even hold items on top – these are perfect if you think you might want to move the fireplace around every now and then.

Standalone

Perfect for the middle of a given room, a standalone electric fireplace can disperse heat throughout the room. These often come with a cast-iron style exterior, which gives them a notably antique feel. On the other hand, some standalone options can be found in modern cubes that go very well with a more updated look.

Wall Mounted

Another option is a wall-mounted electric fireplace, and these are generally for the more modern homeowner. They generally have a basic glass border, and can usually fit into smaller spaces where a traditional fireplace might be just a bit too large in a normal situation.

For more on selecting the right style of electric fireplace, or to learn about any of our custom fireplace options, speak to the pros at Comfort Solutions today.