Steps for Cleaning and Maintaining Gas Fireplaces, Part 2

Steps for Cleaning and Maintaining Gas Fireplaces, Part 2

In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some of the initial steps that go into cleaning and maintaining a gas fireplace. While these models are incredibly easy and convenient to use, they do require just a bit of regular attention and upkeep to ensure they last and work optimally for years.

At Comfort Solutions, we’re proud to offer a wide range of gas fireplace installations and other services for your home. We can also offer broad expertise on several upkeep and maintenance areas related to these fine fireplace options, whether we’re talking about cleaning or otherwise maintaining the fireplace. Here are several additional areas to strongly consider on a regular basis to keep your fireplace functioning well.

Inspect Outdoor Vent Area

The fireplace vent is a vital piece in the equation, allowing for proper ventilation and airflow that maintains both safety and limitation of odors. But for it to work properly, you have to ensure the vent itself is clear and clean.

Most fireplaces vents are either on the side of your home or on the roof – your first step here will be locating yours. Once you do, ensure it’s free of leaves, grass, animal nests or any other debris that might block the proper flow of air.

Confirm Burner Ignition

Gas fireplaces turn on through standard burner ignition, and modern models are made with burners that are meant to last just as long as the fireplace itself. But it’s always possible for wear-and-tear issues to arise – if you ever notice that the burner is not lighting smoothly and immediately when you press it, contact our team to troubleshoot the issue and determine the problem.

Check Carbon Monoxide Protection

While this technically isn’t a piece of the fireplace itself, it’s a vital related consideration for any gas fireplace owner. A gas fireplace that’s malfunctioning could risk the spread of harmful carbon monoxide, so it’s very important that you have a carbon monoxide detector on every floor and are checking them regularly. These should be at least four or five feet off the floor or near the ceiling – do not place them directly over the fireplace.

Reassemble the Fireplace

When you’ve finished with all the areas we’ve listed here and in part one, it’s time to reassemble the fireplace. Place the glass back on the outside, turn the gas valve back on and reinstall the fireplace front. As you do so, confirm furniture and other flammable materials are safely placed far enough away from the fireplace.

Professional Assistance

In addition to all of the above, we recommend considering at least a once-yearly professional inspection of your gas fireplace. Fireplace experts will pick up on areas you may not notice, plus will help you identify small concerns before they grow into larger and costlier ones.

For more on how to maintain your gas fireplace, or to learn about any of our contemporary fireplace products, speak to the staff at Comfort Solutions today.

Steps for Cleaning and Maintaining Gas Fireplaces, Part 1

Steps for Cleaning and Maintaining Gas Fireplaces, Part 1

When it comes to simplicity and convenience, gas fireplaces are some of the top options available today. In fact, gas fireplaces are so easy and convenient that it can be easy to forget that they do still need the occasional bit of upkeep and maintenance – though even these areas are about as simple as can be.

At Comfort Solutions, we offer a wide range of gas fireplace materials and installation services. Our expert technicians are also happy to provide you with some basic tips and expertise when it comes to caring for your gas fireplace – just a few very simple tasks performed every so often will bring you years of additional life and quality. This two-part blog will go over some of the basic steps that go into cleaning and otherwise maintaining a gas fireplace.

Safe Glass and Firebox Access

The number one priority during any and all gas fireplace maintenance: Safety, which begins with properly accessing the area to get started. To begin with, ensure the fireplace and gas valve have been turned off, and make sure there’s no active heat coming from the area whatsoever.

From here, remove the decorative front of the fireplace, including the safety barrier screen that’s present to stop you from making contact with any hot glass. Finally, carefully pull off the glass assembly following all instructions laid out in the owner’s manual. If latches are used to hold the glass in place, they should easily un-latch without any binding risks. Once glass is removed, lay it down on a soft, clean, level surface.

Cleaning Glass

Some basic tips when it comes to cleaning and assessing your fireplace glass:

  • Check the entire surface of the glass for any scratches, which can lead to losses in strength and even glass breaking during heating or cooling in the future. If you find any scratching or other significant damage, call our team for glass replacement and do not use the fireplace until this process is complete.
  • If glass is free of damage, wipe down both sides with a soft cloth and a dedicated fireplace glass cleaner. Never use non-approved products here, and avoid abrasive cloths or other materials that may scratch the glass.
  • Also check the gasketing on the glass assembly – if it’s worn down or damaged, it may require replacement to maintain a proper seal between the glass and the combustion chamber.

Cleaning and Inspecting Firebox

The simple steps involved with cleaning your firebox include:

  • Remove all dust and dirt from the inside of the firebox or logs. You can use either a vacuum or a soft paint brush.
  • Using these same items plus perhaps a soft cloth, clean the base and valve cavity area of the outside of the box to remove dust and limit odors.
  • While you’re performing these tasks, keep an eye out for rust, flaking or soot concerns, plus check the pilot assembly for any soot or flame blockages that may stop the burner from igniting.

For more on maintaining your gas fireplace, or to learn about any of our modern fireplace options, speak to the staff at Comfort Solutions today.

Important Fire Safety Tips on Home Smoke Alarms

Important Fire Safety Tips on Home Smoke Alarms

At Comfort Solutions, our top priority for all our custom fireplace models is safety. From our gas fireplaces to every contemporary fireplace option we have in stock, we build in specific safety components that are meant to be simple, self-explanatory and easily maintained by all our clients.

No matter how many safety precautions we or you take for your fireplace, however, we strongly recommend you maintain an appropriate number of smoke alarms within your home or building at all times. This is not just for fireplace usage alone, but for other fire risks as well – a majority of fire deaths of all types take place in homes with no working smoke alarms. With this in mind, let’s go over several important areas you should be considering when it comes to your smoke alarms.

Installation and System Connections

Some general tips and themes to consider when it comes to choosing your smoke alarm system and installing it:

  • Interconnected system: If you’re purchasing an all-new smoke alarm system for a home or building, look for interconnected alarm systems. These are systems where one a single smoke alarm sounds, all of the alarms in the building sound simultaneously, allowing occupants of any area to evacuate safely.
  • Location: We highly recommend installing smoke alarms in every bedroom of a home, plus outside each sleeping area. Every level of a given home should have multiple alarms, including the basement.
  • For larger homes, a greater number of alarms may be necessary.
  • Placement: Generally speaking, smoke alarms should be placed on ceilings or high up on your walls. Kitchen placement is important – keep alarms at least 10 feet from the stove so no false alarms are triggered, but be sure the kitchen still has alarms in case of a fire.

Smoke Alarm System Options

There are several different alarm system options out there today, from traditional choices to more modern styles with advanced technology. Some are meant to detect both smoke and carbon monoxide all in one item, for instance. Other systems have built-in false alarm detectors, while still other new items on the market can respond to multiple fire conditions with different patterns. Finally, for anyone who struggles with hearing or is deaf, there are special alarm systems available that utilize strobe lights, bed shakers and other indicators to help assist you.

Testing and Replacement

You should be testing your smoke alarms at least once a month, generally using the test button located on all alarm systems. If you begin to notice regular issues during these tests that aren’t simply related to failing batteries, or if your alarm system is reaching 10 years of age or greater, you might consider replacing either individual alarms or even the entire system.

For more on smoke alarms in your home or building, or to learn about any of our modern fireplace systems and how to stay safe at all times around them, speak to the staff at Comfort Solutions today.

Buyer’s Guide for First-Time Fireplace Owners

Buyer’s Guide for First-Time Fireplace Owners

Are you buying the first new fireplace of your entire life, or your first in many years? Are you worried about uncertainty with modern fireplace technology and choosing the wrong type to fit your home’s needs?

Never fear – the professionals at Comfort Solutions are here to help. We have a wide variety of modern fireplace options for you to choose from, plus experienced professionals who can walk you through every question you have while informing you of the benefits associated with our various choices. Let’s go over a general buyer’s guide with some tips and approaches for those looking to start their purchasing process from the ground up.

Choose Location

First and foremost, you want to choose the location of your fireplace. The first big decision here is inside or outside – we have a number of great outdoor fireplace options for you to browse, using both gas or wood options.

From here, select your specific location. Many indoor fireplaces are situated in central locations in the family room or communal areas, though some choose to install fireplaces in a master bedroom or another space. If you’re installing outdoors, be sure to consider any weather elements that might impact the operation of the fireplace.

Choose Fuel Type and Technology

Your next area of business will be looking into fuel type and the sort of technology used to power the fireplace. There are three broad options available here:

  • Gas fireplace: Perfect or those who want a mix of convenience and limited maintenance, gas fireplaces are turned on with a remote control or wall switch. They’re powered by propane or natural gas, meaning there’s no ash or soot to clean up after each use. These models, when placed indoors, draw air from the outdoors through combustion systems, sending all combustion byproducts back out so indoor air quality does not suffer.
  • Wood fireplace: If you enjoy the aroma and warmth from a traditional fire, and are willing to put in just a little more time for it, a wood fireplace is just the thing for you. While these options are not quite as efficient or low-maintenance as gas fireplaces, ash cleanup is very easy and this is the most authentic fire format out there.
  • Electric: For vent-free, highly safe options, the electric fireplace is a great way to go. They don’t require any venting, meaning installation is cheap and simple, and they can be placed in a variety of locations very easily.

Choose Fireplace Style

There are also a few distinct styles to choose between:

  • Traditional: Fireplaces meant to bring romance and traditional elements using realistic logs, flames and embers.
  • Modern: Contemporary options available in several minimalist styles, these options are highly varied.
  • Fireplace inserts: For older fireplace areas, you can transition the space into a heat creator with a gas fireplace insert. These inserts are meant to be installed directly into existing wood fireplaces, making them more efficient and aesthetically pleasing in one shot.

For more on a guide toward buying your first fireplace, or to learn about any of our modern or traditional fireplace options, speak to the staff at Comfort Solutions today.

Popular Spring 2019 Themes for Fireplace Design, Part 2

Popular Spring 2019 Themes for Fireplace Design, Part 2

In part one of this two-part blog, we went over a few of the spatial design concepts that are all the rage for many homeowners this spring. Fireplace design trends evolve just like many others in popular culture, and as the centerpiece of many homes, they’re important to track if you want to keep up with the times.
At Comfort Solutions, we have all the modern fireplace options you need to bring a chic, trendy space to your home. In today’s part two, we’ll go over a few light- and color-related themes that are also doing very well in recent months, plus show you how they might fit for your new fireplace remodel.

Natural Light Themes

Particularly if you’re considering a larger fireplace option, or one that’s particularly wide within any set of dimensions, utilizing natural light throughout the accompanying room is a fantastic option. Some of the most beautiful fireplace rooms are those featuring large or even floor-to-ceiling windows, allowing sunlight to filter in throughout the day and set the mood.
If you’re installing a brand new fireplace and get to choose the location, one great tip is locating it fairly close to the window area. This will help showcase the beauty of the piece even when it’s not on, providing light to reflect off its various components.

White Color Contrasts

Another color-related area that many people consider is the white contrast. In many fireplace rooms, dark tones tend to set the foundation – darker floors, upholstery, and even the outlines of the fireplace are all examples.
To contrast this, consider white feature sin certain areas. White accent pieces or paint colors for your primary hearth can help draw the eyes to a layered texture, while a white mantle or surround really helps the darker fireplace stand out against the light.

Accent or Framing Lights

Another light format that can increase the brightness in the room is the addition of accent or framing lights around the mantle area. There are many pot lights or spotlights that are perfect for these areas, generally coming in adjustable formats that allow you to slightly alter which direction they point in depending on the mood you want to set. Not only can you highlight the fireplace itself, you can accent things on the mantle or hearth – family pictures, commemoration plaques or any other important items you place in this valuable area.
In addition, these kinds of framing lights will supplement natural light when there isn’t much to go around – such as on cloudy days or during the evenings when you still want to set a light mood.
For more on spring trends you can consider when thinking about remodeling or purchasing a new fireplace, or to learn about any of our contemporary fireplace options, speak to the pros at Comfort Solutions today.

Popular Spring 2019 Themes for Fireplace Design

Popular Spring 2019 Themes for Fireplace Design

Spring is a time of year where many homeowners look to renovations or upgrades, and the fireplace is just one area that you may consider. Fireplaces aren’t just for cold weather, after all – they’re design and social centerpieces in many homes, and their aesthetics can be just as important as any warming qualities.

At Comfort Solutions, we boast a wide variety of modern fireplace options for you to choose from if you’re thinking of adding a new fireplace or renovating an older one. Like many other interior design and aesthetic areas, fireplace trends tend to change over the years – let’s spend this two-part blog detailing many of the current 2019 styles that are popular for fireplace renovations, from spatial themes to color selection, brightness and much more.

Floor-to-Ceiling Fireplaces

One major component of modern interior design style is the desire for uniform, direct vertical lines. Rooms with tall ceilings are all the rage these days, and these kinds of lines and patterns can help showcase the vertical size of a room.

When it comes to a fireplace design, you can customize things directly down these lines if you wish. Fireplaces are perfect as a room centerpiece, one that connects with tile, wood or wallpaper to form a full, floor-to-ceiling design element that grabs the eyes. This style is particularly popular in taller rooms, as we noted, but also works in standard-sized living rooms that need a focal point. We’ll help you find the perfect finishing material as well.

Wall-to-Wall Units

Take the same theme we just discussed above and flip it 90 degrees – voila, you have another popular fireplace design style. Wall-to-wall design themes are becoming more and more popular in several home areas, most notably wall-to-wall shelves, racks and similar materials.

Once again, you can build this theme into your fireplace design easily. Incorporating a fireplace area into the middle of a wall-to-wall space helps break up any minor monotony that may have begun to show up, plus avoids wasted space in the room. Between this and the practicality of a wall fireplace, you can transform a given room quickly with this format.

Drywall Customization

For those who are looking to replace an old finishing surface, such as brick, stone or another down these lines, using drywall is both economical and aesthetically pleasing. You can customize basic drywall in various colors around your new fireplace insert, or around an existing fireplace if needed. You can turn worn down, faded finish surfaces into modern, sleek-looking areas that draw eyes to your fireplace instead of pushing them away.

For more on some popular 2019 spring themes for renovating or installing a new fireplace in your home, or to learn about any of our custom fireplace products, speak to the staff at Comfort Solutions today.

Safety Precautions for Gas Fireplace Use

Safety Precautions for Gas Fireplace Use

No matter which of our beautiful modern fireplace options you choose from at Comfort Solutions, our first priority for you and your family is safety. All our fireplaces come with specific barriers and other safety elements as part of installation, and we’re happy to offer expertise or tips in terms of keeping both you and your home safe at all times while operating the fireplace.

With gas fireplaces in particular, there are a few specific safety areas you want to consider before and during use. Let’s go over some basic tips we can offer on safety surrounding the gas fireplace, both while you’re using it and during other important periods.

Clearance Zones

When we say “clearance zone,” what we are referring to is a distance around which it’s unsafe to place flammable or damageable materials. Clearance zones exist for all fireplace types, though they will obviously vary between types based on the flames and heat that’s produced.

When you purchase any new fireplace, one of the first pieces of information you should find out is the clearance zone. Many families, particularly those with young children (more on them below), will place markers or some other kind of warning about getting too close within the clearance zone. In addition, things like wood, paper, books, curtains, newspapers or other flammable materials should never be placed within this zone or against the gas fireplace’s glass barrier. This also goes for electronics or any other home appliances.

Heat Barriers

Gas fireplaces all come with a glass panel, one meant to create a barrier between the fire and the rest of the room. This barrier helps with both safety and efficiency areas within the home. An important note, however: The glass on this panel will get very hot during fireplace use, and will absolutely burn anyone who touches it. Children, pets and anyone unaware should be informed in advance.

In addition, those looking to maximize their safety and efficiency areas might consider a double glass heat barrier installation. This includes two panes of glass with a ventilation layer in between, plus small fans that release heat into the room. These options keep the outer glass cooler so it doesn’t risk burning anyone who touches it, plus provide better heat to the room itself.

Children and Fireplaces

As we’ve noted a couple times here, this information is often most important for children. They may not fully understand or grasp the dangers of heat and the fireplace, and you should take whatever steps necessary to keep them safe, even if it means physical barriers while the fireplace is in use.

Regular Maintenance

Finally, keeping the fireplace safe and efficient at all times is easier when you have the fireplace maintained regularly. Basic repairs and service can keep problems from cropping up that may impact heating capability or safety considerations.

For more on staying safe around gas fireplaces, or to learn about any of our custom and contemporary fireplace options, contact the pros at Comfort Solutions today.

Understanding Meaning and Importance of Fireplace BTUs

Understanding Meaning and Importance of Fireplace BTUs

There are numerous benefits that might be present in a modern fireplace you’re considering purchasing, and this versatility itself is in itself another big positive. Where fires and fireplaces in previous generations were often simply for warmth and survival purposes, modern fireplaces offer benefits ranging from aesthetics and beauty to home value and much more.

At Comfort Solutions, we have a huge selection of modern and contemporary fireplaces for you to choose from. If you’re among those who continue to prioritize heat as one of your primary desires in a fireplace, one of the most important factors in which option you choose to install will be a measurement called BTUs. What are BTUs, and how can you determine the proper range of BTUs for a given room in your home as you consider which fireplace to install?

Basics on BTUs

BTU is a short form for the measurement known as British Thermal Units. This is one of the oldest and most traditional measures of heat, with a single BTU describing the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. BTUs are part of the United States customary units.

If you’re looking for a comparison point, consider the calorie – this is the metric equivalent. A calorie describes the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius. When it comes to defining the amount of heat your fireplace will put out, BTUs will be the primary measurement used.

Calculating BTUs for a Room

When it comes to assessing the right fireplace for your home, the name of the game in terms of BTUs is assessing a given room’s capacity. A fireplace with too many BTUs for a room will waste money on your heating bill each month, while one with too few will not adequately heat the area.

To calculate the BTU capacity of a room without an existing fireplace already in it, follow these simple steps:

  • Using measuring tape, measure the length of the room. Then, measure the width of the room.
  • Measure the height from the floor to the ceiling, using a ladder if needed.
  • Multiply these three numbers together. So for instance, if your room comes in at 11 feet long, 13 feet wide and 10 feet high, your makes up 1,430 cubic feet.
  • The maximum quantity of BTUs per 50 cubic feet of room space is 1,000, meaning that the maximum BTU rating allowable for the example room we just gave would be 28,600.

Calculating BTUs for an Existing Fireplace

In other cases, if there’s already an existing gas fireplace in a given room, you can use it to determine that room’s BTU capacity with the following steps:

  • Go over your monthly gas bill, looking for gas usage in cubic feet per hour.
  • Divide total cubic feet of gas by the number of hours of fireplace operation during that month – some find that tracking fireplace usage helps here.
  • Multiply the figure you get by 1,000, and you have your BTU rating.
  • For more on BTUs and finding the right heat output level for your fireplace, or to learn about any of our fireplace services, speak to the staff at Comfort Solutions today.

Outdoor Fireplace Decision Factors

Outdoor Fireplace Decision Factors

If you’re looking for a custom outdoor fireplace for your home or building, Comfort Solutions is the place to be. We have numerous outdoor fireplace options for you to choose from, with varying sizes and styles to consider.

What elements should you be looking for as you browse our various options? Let’s look at some of the top modern outdoor fireplace features you should be considering, both in terms of your own preferences and how they’ll affect the price of your choice.

Heat Range

Particularly if you’re planning to have your outdoor fireplace function as more than just an aesthetic piece, one of the most important bits of research you can do pertains to heat range. You’re looking for BTUs here, short for British Thermal Unit – it’s a well-used measurement of heat based on the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of a single pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.

In many cases, modern outdoor fireplace options come with a range of BTU outputs. Many great options may fluctuate between roughly 40,000 and 60,000 BTUs, depending on your preference and the weather.

Steel Type

Most outdoor fireplaces will come with significant steel elements, and whenever possible, you want to prioritize stainless steel here. Stainless steel is known for its corrosion resistance, meaning it wards off rust and other deterioration that can often begin to show up on other metals. Particularly if you’re in a rainy or moist area, make sure your burner and other steel elements are stainless.

Customization

A fireplace becomes more your own when you have a say over some of the custom features included. There are many outdoor fireplaces available today that have plenty of customization allowed, from finishing to burner strength and much more.

Newer Technologies

It’s 2018, and that means that when you buy a new piece of machinery like a fireplace, you want it to come with modern technology. Today’s choices feature all sorts of these kinds of things in numerous areas, from efficiency and customization to all-important safety concerns. Whatever your desires for the fireplace, whether it’s as a true warming device or just as a central location for guests to congregate around, get a beautiful and well-designed modern fireplace that meets your specific needs. Don’t settle for anything less.

For more on the factors you should be considering in a new outdoor fireplace, or to learn about any of our fantastic fireplace options, speak to the pros at Comfort Solutions today.

Essential Fireplace Buying Guide, Part 2

Essential Fireplace Buying Guide, Part 2

In part one of this two-part blog, we went over some of the initial tasks and themes you should be considering when considering buying a new fireplace. While the process doesn’t have to be complex or stressful whatsoever, understanding a few important basics can help you make the best purchase for you and your family.

At Comfort Solutions, we can help you follow all the proper steps when considering the purchase of any of our custom fireplace options. Today, we’ll look at the back half of this process – a few spatial details to consider, plus how to proceed when you’ve finalized your desired style and size and are simply looking for the best place to purchase it.

Measuring Time

Once you’ve chosen the style and fuel type you’re planning to utilize for your new fireplace, it’s time to consider the size and space available to you in the room or area where it will be placed. This is the case whether you’ve decided to install a fireplace or a fireplace insert.

The errors made here on either end of the spectrum can range from uncomfortable to costly. Fireplaces that are too large for a smaller room space can make the room very hot during use, while the inverse – a fireplace that’s too small for a large room – can lead to people being cold. And that’s without considering the aesthetics, which are damaged by going with a unit that’s too large or too small. Take the time to fully assess the space available to you in your desired area, and speak to our experts about what the proper size options are for your based on this and other factors.

Visualize the Space

Beyond simply measuring the space, however, you should also take the time to visualize how the area will look when the fireplace is actually installed. Will you be making additional changes to the room, such as wallpaper on the edge of the fireplace area or a television on the mantle? These and many other popular design formats should be considered well in advance, as they might dictate several of the details you choose in terms of style and size.

Where to Buy

Finally, you’ve gone through your full selection process and are ready to make your purchase. Where and how do you do it?

The name of the game here is speaking with authorized fireplace dealers like ours. We can give you specific information on everything from the installation to the maintenance and safety of your fireplace, plus can fully handle all installation needs for you rather than you risking self-installation. Instead of going to an impersonal big-box store that mostly leaves you to fend for yourself, trust experienced fireplace professionals.

For more on the process of choosing a fireplace, or to learn about any of our new fireplace options, speak to the staff at Comfort Solutions today.