A chimney mantel is a shelf-like structure above a fireplace. Its main function is to catch the smoke of your fireplace in order to keep it out of the room. Homeowners hire companies like ours to make keep their fireplaces working properly. However, homeowners take it upon themselves to decorate their mantels. Decorating your mantel is a good way to set the look and feel of your living room. The structure of the mantel may not change much but the way you decorate it can reflect the seasons, an event, or even one of your passions. The change of seasons is a great motivation to change the decoration on your mantel but it does not have to be an expensive activity. We have seen many homes in Montgomery County, MD add a touch of autumn to their home by decorating their mantel. This is also an opportunity to express your personality through your fireplace. There are many DIY ways to add a touch of autumn to your fireplace decor.
Make Sure Your Fireplace Is Ready To Go
There is no point in decorating a mantel that is dirty or will need work before winter. Do this prep work first:
- Get in touch with your local fireplace service company and have your chimney inspected.
- Clean and declutter the mantel and hearth so you can start the season fresh.
Plan The Feeling You Want Your Room To Have
Planning for the feeling you want your room to have, that gives you a guideline for selecting the things that will express your goal. For example, do you want a serene feeling in your room or do you like to be in energetic spaces?
- A serene feeling is usually expressed with some empty spaces, repetitive objects, and few focus points.
- An energetic feeling is usually expressed with filled spaces, a variety of different objects, and many focus points on your mantle decor.
- The same items can express different feelings depending on how they are arranged, so experiment and have fun.
Shop Your Home First
You have many potential decorations in your home already. Adding a fall touch is a matter of adding fall colors with a few details like purchased autumn leaves, branches, and things found on nature walks. Gourds, fruit, and nuts are popular autumn decorations but if you use the real ones, check them regularly to make sure they remain intact. Here are some ideas:
- Canning jars with tealights are safe ways to enjoy the flame of a candle. Group various sizes or make a row in front of a favorite picture.
- The same idea with wine glasses or fancy crystal turns a rustic look into an elegant statement.
- Do you collect anything? Curate your collection and display the best items that have autumn colors for a unique decoration.
- Are you fond of family photos? Create a family “tree” with branches, names on cut-out leaves, and faces you love grouped across the mantel.
- The same idea with wine glasses or fancy crystal turns a rustic look into an elegant statement.
- Use a florist frog to secure some pretty branches inside a pumpkin, teapot or favorite coffee mug.
- Fabric or scarves artfully rumpled across the mantle will make colorful backdrops for treasured items. Try propping a book open to a pretty picture so all can enjoy a favorite illustration.
- Buy leaves from a dollar store and string them together to create fall garland. You can then drape it above or on your mantle. Drape it high so there is no danger of combustion.
- If you have some hurricane vases, use them to make vertical piles of leaves. This same idea can be done with inexpensive fall leaves from a dollar store.
Need more ideas for taking your mantel decor to the next level? Read this previous article.
Enjoy Your Masterpiece
Decorating your mantel is a never-ending process. As you enjoy your fireplace, you may decide you want to change something. Your home is your place to express your passion and your hearth is the perfect place to create many looks. A mantel that shows what you love will be a mantel you enjoy. If you wish to know more about how to get your fireplace fully ready for the fall season, here is an article that will help you.
At this time of the year, it has probably been more than a few months since you last used your chimney. Under those circumstances, it’s best to prepare your fireplace for the upcoming cold season. You might be wondering about how to get your fireplace ready for the fall. Should you get your chimney cleaned? How is your chimney cap? Are there any other concerns? With that in mind, here are some tips for you to get your fireplace ready for the fall.
Focus on a Cleaning and Inspection
Annual cleanings and inspections are an important part of getting your fireplace ready for the fall. Every chimney and fireplace must be inspected every year regardless of whether the fuel type. Contrary to popular belief, even gas fireplaces should be inspected and may need cleaning. It is important to make sure that there are no gas leaks or other areas in need of repair. In the case of wood burning units, it is important to make sure that there is no creosote build-up or other chimney problems. Yes, you can do some cleaning on your own, but it’s important to hire a professional chimney service company to do make sure that you can safely enjoy your fireplace.
Make any Necessary Chimney Repairs
- Masonry repairs
- Installing new chimney caps
- Replacing gaskets, dampers and ash dumps
- Chimney relining
- Replacing the blower
- Installing brick or stone veneers
- Chimney repairs
Replace carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarm batteries
Every homeowner should replace the batteries in carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms every year. This is especially important for homes with gas fireplaces. You want to make sure that you will be alerted if you have a gas leak. There are many things that can cause house fires. Many of them have are not related to fireplaces. Replacing your batteries is an important task that should be done every year even if you do not have a fireplace. Use your annual chimney inspection as a reminder.
The best way to enjoy your fireplace is to know that it is fully prepped and ready to use. Scheduling a fireplace inspection only takes a few minutes. It is time well spent. Call us at All Pro Chimney today to help you get your fireplace ready for the fall.
Regency is one of the most popular gas fireplace manufacturers. Their embrace of the use of cutting-edge manufacturing technologies and their commitment to quality and customer service, their hearth products are in high demand throughout the world. We find that our fireplace installation customers in the Washington DC Metropolitan Area are very happy with their Regency gas fireplaces. This article is a guide that homeowners can use to help in the process of selecting the Regency gas fireplace that is the best fit for their home and energy needs.
Regency Gas Fireplace Products
Regency offers direct vent gas fireplaces in a variety of styles that will fit into and complement your home regardless of your decor, including modern, contemporary, traditional, and classic styles. Their optional accessories allow you to customize them to your requirements further. There is something for everyone’s tastes and needs. They can be installed in any room in the house without significant renovations. Some models can be installed in homes that do not currently have chimneys. Here’s a quick overview of what Regency gas product lines.
City Series Modern Gas Fireplaces – This unique lineup of styles feature the state-of-the-art in contemporary design and quality. Regency’s exclusive Cool Wall System technology allows you the freedom to use any type of finishing materials right up to the edge of the fireplace. Finishing the fireplace in this manner creates a clean and elegant finished appearance. Cool Wall System technology opens up a whole new world of fireplace design and decorating possibilities. Heat is transferred from the fire away from the surrounding walls. Transferring the heat away enables homeowners to even use flammable decorating finishes such as wood and wallpaper flush with the fireplace, creating a seamless and blended look. It also allows for other items such as pictures and artwork, televisions, and other electronics and accents to be displayed directly above or beside the fire viewing area without the use of a mantelpiece or a heat barrier. City Series Fireplaces are available in single-sided, two-sided, and three-sided viewing perspectives to integrate into any space and to disseminate the warming and comforting atmosphere throughout more than one room.
Regency offers an online Fireplace Idea Gallery and a Fireplace Design Center that will help you to choose your preferred style of gas fireplace. You can also try out different custom designs until you get exactly the look that you want. You can also view galleries of the fireplaces that other satisfied customers have chosen for their homes. Then you can download and print your designs to bring it to us, your local licensed Regency dealer so we will know exactly what you want. The only step left for you to do is to book a Fireplace installation service with our team of professionals, call us now.
Regency Fireplace Products Accessories
Fireplaces add value to your home. If you wish to increase the value of your house further, installing some Regency Fireplace accessories will help you. The reason behind this is that Regency Fireplace accessories provide enhanced convenience and safety. With that in mind, here are some of the preferred accessories that are available with all of their direct vent gas fireplaces and inserts. Fireplace accessories increase the performance of your chimney and add to the value of your home.
Variable Speed Blowers – Fireplace blowers help to distribute heat throughout the room and to the far corners of your home. Having multiple speeds to choose from provides the best in comfort because the blower can be set to move the warm air faster or slower, depending on your need. These blowers are designed for quiet operation and to provide an immediate heat boost.
Safety Screens – Regency makes the safety of their products a number one priority. Their high-quality safety screens are made to keep the flames inside the fireplace, away from kids and pets. Safety screens are included with every fireplace model.
Conversion Kits – Functional accessories such as heat distribution kits and propane gas conversion kits are available to customize your fireplace further.
Remote Control Heating – You can optimize your climate to your own unique needs with a highly versatile and user-friendly remote control. The remote control can program your fireplace to come on or turn off at the time you want and at the temperature you need. Your rooms will be warm and comfy whenever you’re ready to use them.
Full Manufacturer’s Warranty – Regency builds all of its products from the ground up using the best premium raw grade materials. They know their fireplaces and accessories meet the highest standards of quality, and they stand behind every unit that they sell. As a result, Regency Gas Fireplaces are protected by a lifetime limited warranty widely recognized as one of the most comprehensive warranties in the industry. Regency stands behind their products.
Benefits Of Gas Fireplaces
Many people enjoy the traditional feel and the rituals involved in using a wood-burning fireplace. From cutting and stacking the logs on a chilly Autumn day, to building and lighting the fire and enjoying the aura and aroma of a crackling hardwood blaze, an old-fashioned fireplace can be a great source of pleasure and comfort. However, they have a downside. They can be messy, they take a while to get going and start putting out heat, require supervision, and can even be a hazard if they are not kept clean and maintained.
Gas fireplaces can provide the same atmosphere and heat without the mess and the fuss, and they have many other benefits besides. Direct vent gas fireplaces can be used in homes without chimneys because they don’t produce the particulates and smoke that a wood fireplace does, and they can also be installed as inserts in traditional fireplaces. In some states, a homeowner who wants a fireplace has no other option but gas due to local and state ordinances against air pollution.
Here are just a few of the great benefits provided by gas fireplaces.
- Simplicity of operation. No need to cut or haul logs into the house or use kindling and paper to light a gas fireplace, simply push a button or use the remote control that many models are equipped with. Many also have timers that can be set to turn off or on at a certain time, and most have blower fans to efficiently distribute the air throughout the room and home.
- Constant heat source. Wood fires need to be tended and stoked and as they burn down they put out less heat. Gas fireplaces begin heating the room as soon as they’re turned on and maintain a constant source of heat throughout their operation. Many also have thermostats to regulate the heat output and keep the room at the desired temperature.
- Very low maintenance. Gas fireplaces require no cleaning as they produce no ash or smoke to cause a dangerous creosote buildup. They serve as another element of your home’s heating system. All that’s required is a yearly inspection to ensure everything is hooked up correctly and that the gas valves are clean.
- Safe operation. Gas fires don’t emit sparks or cause hot embers to pop out on the floor, and they create no emissions that can pollute the atmosphere within your home or outdoors, making them the most environmentally-friendly option. You don’t have to worry about children or pets playing in or accidentally falling into a hot fire.
- Heat when the power’s out. Regency gas fireplaces can be easily started and safely used even when there’s no electricity to power the igniter, so you and your family will always be warm and secure no matter what.
Traditional wood fireplaces have their place and will always be with us, but the advantages of gas fireplaces make them the best choice for many homeowners.
Designer and entrepreneur Robert Little started out by designing and building his own woodstoves inside his garage, producing well-made products that quickly rose in demand. He launched Regency Fireplace Products in 1979 in an outlying area of the city of Vancouver, Canada.
From the beginning, Robert Little believed in utilizing the latest in manufacturing and design technologies and techniques. Borrowing ideas from the popular and effective Lean Manufacturing philosophy, he and his team developed their own in-house program called EXCITE – Exercising Continuous Improvement Towards Excellence. This allows them to streamline the manufacturing and marketing processes throughout every facet of the company from the drawing board to the finished piece to maintain the strictest standards of quality in their products as well as their affordable prices.
Their design teams are continually striving for innovation in a competitive industry through extensive research and development, and their engineers utilize the latest 3D CAD technology and certified in-house testing laboratories to ensure they meet regulatory changes and consumer demands, producing some of the most efficient and aesthetically pleasing fireplaces on the market. The company’s manufacturing facilities use state-of-the-art robotic technologies to ensure build quality and to lower final costs to the consumer.
One more reason why Regency is the best brand for fireplace products is that they practice environmental responsibility. They do it by ensuring that all of their woodstove and insert designs are fully compliant with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards. They achieve this by designing fireboxes that more efficiently distribute airflow around the wood so that it burns completely with very little ash or air-polluting smoke.
Regency Fireplace Products has a major presence in the industry through their dedication to quality, innovation, and excellent customer service. If you choose to have one of their products installed in your home, you’ll be glad you did, guaranteed.
Ready To Buy A Regency Gas Fireplace?
Contact a local fireplace installer like our company. A professional installer will help you through the final stages of selecting the right Regency gas fireplace model for your home. They will discuss the best BTU output for the size of your rooms and how important it will be to use the fireplace for a supplemental heat source. They can help you to ensure that you’ll have the maximum radiant heat and controllable turndown for your particular needs. A professional will also schedule the best time for delivery and installation of your unit. The installation should be completed quickly and smoothly with a minimum of disruption and inconvenience to you.
All Pro Chimney Services has been installing and repairing fireplaces and chimneys in the Virginia, Maryland, and Washington D.C. region for many years. We’ve earned a reputation for quality work and excellent customer service that has gained the trust of our many customers. When you’re ready to purchase a Regency fireplace or a product from one of our other top manufacturers, just give us a call at 1-844-257-9848 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.
Not so long ago we received a call from a new customer who lives in Howard County. She was asking what is creosote and how to deal with it. We will tell you the same as we told her. Creosote is a highly flammable residue that can build up in chimneys and cause serious problems. These problems can especially serious if they go unnoticed for years. This article has been written to educate homeowners about how creosote is created and why it is dangerous.
What is creosote?
Creosote is a sticky, highly flammable substance that is a natural byproduct of chimney smoke. Creosote builds up inside of chimneys over time.
How Does Creosote Form?
You now know what creosote, but before starting on how to deal with it we first need to understand how it forms. Smoke from burning wood cools as it exits the chimney. In some cases, the smoke cools to the point that it does not exit the chimney. The cooled down smoke sticks to the internal parts of the chimney forming into creosote. Creosote is sticky and highly flammable. Creosote can form from burning any kind of fossil fuels, but it tends to form most quickly in wood-burning fireplaces. Here’s what happens, phase by phase.
Phase 1: Wood or similar materials burn, and the smoke is carried away via the flue outdoors – everything is working as it should. However, that smoke is both very hot, and filled with a lot of particles, including particles of carbon and oils that were vaporized by the fire. As the smoke travels, these particles combine and hit the sides of the flue, getting attached. At first, this forms only a light layer of slightly sticky, burnt materials that can be scrubbed away with little difficulty.
Phase 2: Over time, creosote builds up to a thicker layer. If you’ve ever seen fresh asphalt on a road, you have some idea of what this substance looks like. The combination of heat and resin from wood creates a tarry substance that’s thick, sticky and quite difficult to remove. At this point, it takes a lot of scraping to get rid of the creosote, and the job is best left to professionals.
Phase 3: In time, the creosote layer becomes literally baked onto the inside of the chimney, a thick, hardened substance that may ooze or drip when exposed to high temperatures. Because this version of creosote is so thick and durable, it can be extremely difficult to remove. At this stage, it may also be causing problems with your chimney airflow.
You can probably see that creosote can become pretty annoying. But what makes it dangerous? Well, that baked and blackened substance can burn and exude fumes over time. Particularly in fireplaces used for heating, those fumes can enter your house and circulate around, where they cause all kinds of health problems. Notable issues include:
There is a second set of dangers associated with creosote pertain to situations that could result in chimney fires.
Chimney flues are designed to encourage airflow as much as possible. After a lot of creosote build-up, airflow decreases. This means that more heat stays in the chimney, exposing both chimney materials and the creosote to more heat than they would otherwise endure. This also occurs with clogged or mismanaged chimneys!
Creosote itself is flammable. Due to its composition, it can be very hot and can be very difficult to put out. Unfortunately, the chimney is one of the worst places in a house for this kind of fire to start: Chimney fires can quickly spread to the roof and throughout a house, and many devastating house fires start in the chimney, often caused by unknown creosote deposits.
Tips on Preventing Creosote from Building Up
Since creosote can be difficult and expensive to remove, the best solution is to prevent it from building up at all. But what can the average homeowner with a fossil fuel fireplace do about this? Here are several chimney maintenance tips to keep in mind:
Choose the Best Fireplace & Stove Fuels
You can reduce the amount of creosote buildup by burning fuels that will have the least impact on your chimney. For wood-burning fireplaces, that means only using fully dried, “seasoned” wood with no moisture, which will create very little residue when it burns.
Stay Away from Chemical Cleaners
Chemical cleaners are special logs or sticks you can buy and burn in your fireplace to help reduce the amount of creosote that forms. You have to burn chemical cleaners every time you use the fireplace for them to be effective, but if all you have is green wood, then chemical cleaners can help decrease creosote buildup in your chimney.
Schedule a Professional Chimney Inspection Every Year
Without a doubt, regularly chimney inspections and sweeps are the best way to prevent creosote buildup. It is also very important for the health of your fireplace! And family. If you don’t know the history of your fireplace or how well it was maintained in the past, then you don’t know how much creosote was built up before you started using the fireplace. On the other hand, if you’ve been using the fireplace for years without an inspection, even more creosote could have built up during this time. Either way, a professional inspection is a good idea: Fireplace and chimney experts can take a look at the health of your chimney, see what the creosote levels are, and recommend the best cleaning options.
You can find out more by contacting us at All Pro Chimney to arrange an inspection or ask more specific questions about your fireplace and chimney!
Every town has myths of their own. In many cases, those myths are born as a way to explain a particular situation. When it comes to fireplaces, people tend to have some interesting but wrong ideas about them. Maybe they’ve been told a myth by a trusted relative or well-meaning friend. Maybe they’ve heard these myths and believed them because it’s “common knowledge.” Let’s look at some of the most common myths about fireplaces and separate the fact from fiction.
You Don’t Need to Have Your Chimney Cleaned or Inspected if You Don’t Use it a Lot
Many people believe that just because you only have a fire in your fireplace a few times a year, you can skip having your chimney cleaned and inspected. That is a dangerous assumption to make. A lot happens over the course of the year. Just because you’ve only burned wood once or twice during the winter doesn’t mean you can skip cleaning and inspection. This also applies to situations where you never use your fireplace at all. The weather can take its toll on your chimney and fireplace, animals may build nests in your chimney, and your chimney may have cracks in the masonry or stovepipe due to overheating and extreme temperature changes over time. This is why chimney inspections are not only necessary but also mandatory in Howard County, MD and surrounding areas.
You Can Clean Your Chimney Easily and Do Just as Good of a Job as a Professional
If you’re a do-it-yourself (DIY) type of person, you may have read on the Internet that you can clean your chimney easily and skip the yearly chimney sweep cost. The reality is that unless you have the proper tools and experience to clean chimneys, you could still be leaving dangerous creosote in your chimney which requires a fair amount of scrubbing to get rid of and without the right equipment, you won’t get your chimney clean. You also may miss some problems with your chimney that a trained sweep will recognize. A trained professional will see small problems that need to be fixed before they become big problems by performing a chimney inspection. Finding problems early saves homeowners the headache of costly repairs. Trying to inspect and clean your own chimney is generally a bad idea.
Home Remedies Work Well to Clean Chimneys
This one is a particularly popula myth in Howard County. Some homeowners will search the internet a read about a “cool home remedy” for keeping your chimney clean. Maybe it’s burning a particular substance along with your logs to clean your chimney, or maybe it’s a new way to clean your chimney like tossing a burlap bag filled with rocks down your chimney instead of using the proper tools. These home remedies may sound attractive, but they don’t get your chimney clean and put you in danger. They also do nothing towards ensuring your fireplace and chimney are safe to operate.
Pine and Soft Woods Cause Creosote Buildup
You’ve probably heard the myth that creosote is caused by burning soft woods such as pine. While pine has a fair amount of resin, creosote is created regardless of what type of wood you use. There is no such thing as wood that does not cause creosote over time.
I had a Metal Liner Installed and Therefore Don’t Need Chimney Cleaning
People have metal liners installed to protect masonry chimneys and fireplaces from the heat and the weather. Although metal liners do help your chimney remain in good condition, they still need cleaning. Creosote will build up on metal liners just like it will on any other material.
Chimneys and Fireplaces Aren’t Safe
Chimneys and fireplaces are very safe as long as they are maintained and inspected annually. The danger comes when they aren’t serviced properly.
Burning Wood is Bad for Air Quality
With clean burn technology, fireplaces are cleaner than ever. The air both in the home and out the chimney is cleaner than ever due to new technology in fireplaces and woodstoves. Regardless of wether, you are using central heat or a wood fireplace, toxins are being emitted in the air. Fireplaces provide the benefit of using less energy to heat smaller spaces. Central heat uses significant amounts of fuel to heat your entire home. Fireplaces and stoves focus on heating specific rooms. They don’t waste energy heating unoccupied space. As a result, fireplaces have a much lower impact on the environment than central heating systems.
When it comes to your household safety and also if you try to keep your budget tight, trusting common myths about fireplaces can become more of a problem than a solution.