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.
The state of your chimney determines the health and safety of your home because chimneys vent the harmful air outside. If your chimney needs to be cleaned or repaired, you need to take steps to fix it. This is not the place for do-it-yourself projects. You should always hire a professional company like ours to do it for you to comply with your local building codes, your home owner’s insurance policy and more importantly, avoiding any kind of unwanted injuries to you or your loved ones. In any case, you need to be confident your home is safe for your loved ones, so you need to be able to choose the right chimney repair company that better suits your need. This can look like a daunting task but worry not. This article will help show you how to choose the right chimney repair company in the Howard County and Washington DC Metropolitan areas.
To choose the right chimney repair company, you need to do some homework.
- Edcuate yourself
Educate yourself about chimneys before your appointment. Having a basic understanding of chimney technology. This allows you to tell if the chimney expert is telling you the truth or just trying to sell you something. The more you understand the way your chimney works, the easier it is to see what needs to be done to keep it working.
- Do your research
Look for local companies that have about us pages like ours that give you a clear understanding of the what the company is all about.
- Find out what they have to offer
See what they offer and how they present their services. Do they provide information that helps you understand what they do, like blog posts or articles? Do they have the expertise you need?
- Read online reviews
Look at independent reviews of the company online. Ask your neighbors who they use and why they would use that company again.
- Ask questions
Contact the company and ask questions. What makes them different from other companies? How familiar are they with your local codes? Do they offer a free consultation and estimate?
- Make sure they meet industry standards
The best companies have high safety and quality standards. They also should be members of the leading chimney organization like the CSIA. This should be on their website along with any other certifications and associations.
- Ask about their training
Are the technicians regularly updating their training to keep up with industry changes? Do their technicians have certifications for fireplace repair in your jurisdiction? For example, let’s say that you live in Howard County, MD and you choose a company that also service Washington DC. Do they have technicians that are licensed in both states?
- Read their online reviews
Don’t make your decision for or against based on one negative review. Read all of the reviews and look for trends. If you see several reviews complaining about the same thing, then maybe that is their weakness. The same applies to strengths.
- Choose a company that focuses on long term solutions
Choose a company that recommends long term repairs over cheap temporary fixes. If you really should have a new chimney cap or liner, slapping some sealant on a crack is not going to fix the problem. A good chimney service will identify what needs to be done and tell you what it should cost. If you can’t afford the best option, they should be able to tell you the best options for your budget.
- Look for signs of personalized service
A chimney repair service should offer personalized service. This means that the team that comes to your home is backed up by management that supports their decisions in the field. You can trust what they say they will do because they are accountable to their home office. You should be able to contact that office with questions.
- Never choose a company that is overly focused on low prices
Look for companies that spend more time discussing the quality of their service than how their low prices. Companies that focus on offering the lowest prices tend to sacrifice quality.
A good chimney repair company will offer more than repairs. They should offer preventive maintenance as well as repairs. Since most chimney problems show up during the recommended yearly cleaning, it makes sense to look for a full-range chimney service company that can be trusted to partner with you in keeping your home maintained properly. That trusted partnership is the reason that choosing the right chimney services company is so important.
After reading our previous article, many homeowners find themselves choosing to install pellet stoves. There are many kinds of fireplace installations that you can choose for your home. A pellet stove is one of the most popular types in Howard County. People see pellet stoves as an economical and environmentally friendly way to heat their home. Now that you have decided to make this upgrade choosing the best pellet stove requires some thought. Here are some options that will help you know how to pick the right pellet stove.
Top Feed or Bottom Feed?
One of the first considerations is the way the pellet stove loads its fuel for burning. The two main types of loading are top feed and bottom feed. Both have lots of moving parts, and you need to keep an eye on maintenance. Many pellet stove owners appreciate a service contract that alleviates the hassle.
- Top Feed stoves are loaded by pouring the pellets into a hopper that uses a chute to drop the pellets into the stove. This keeps debris in the combustion chamber. Utilizing a premium grade of pellet with low ash content will lower the amount of ash and clinkers that will need to be cleaned.
- Bottom Feed stoves are slightly less efficient than top feed models, but they can use a standard grade of pellet made from a wider variety of materials producing more debris. The design pushes the ash and clinkers into the ash pan for cleaning.
When choosing a pellet stove, it is important to consider the purchase price and the cost of ongoing use. For example, A multi-fuel pellet stove tends to have a higher purchase price. However, they are less expensive to operate because you are not limited to a single type or grade of fuel. Since the various pellet types burn differently, a stove that can handle the variations gives you flexibility in the future.
Freestanding or Insert?
The location of your pellet stove and the way you plan to use it affect your choice of model. Keep the requirements for venting in mind when looking at options.
- Freestanding units will radiate heat from all sides. This makes the room they are in warm quickly. They are an excellent choice for large, open areas. You might be able to move the warm air into other parts of the house with a fan.
- Fireplace inserts can use the existing chimney as the venting system for the stove if it is allowed by local code. This usually means an approved chimney liner or vent is installed in the fireplace according to professional standards. An insert can also be placed into a wall or corner. Vents and fans can blow warm air into the room.
- Pellet-fueled furnaces and boilers can supplement or take the place of your conventional heating system.
Other Factors To Consider
Since different models of pellet stove put out different levels of heat, your specific requirements need to be discussed with the dealer/installer to make sure your expectations will be met.
- A general rule of thumb is to figure that every 100 square feet will take 2,500 BTU from your stove to heat, but your space could be different, and a professional will know the right option. A robust model that has to run on its lowest setting all the time will not be as efficient as a less-powerful model that can heat the same space.
- Lots of windows, cathedral ceilings, and poor insulation can make it hard to retain heat so a higher BTU-range stove can compensate.
- Try to see the model in use so you can assess the noise level from a fan, for instance, or the way it must be loaded and cleaned. Think through what using this stove will be like in your home.
- If seeing the flames is essential to you, choose a model that displays the fire inside with an attractive window. Ceramic logs add to the ambiance of this feature.
- Look for the EPA Certified stamp on your insert. This isn’t required, but it shows that the stove will burn more efficiently, have higher heat output, and less creosote buildup.
Upgrading your home with a pellet stove will increase your home’s value. If you have chosen the right stove, you will enjoy the warmth and coziness of a pellet stove in your home for years.
Want to know the basics of pellet stoves? Read this article.
A gas fireplace is a great appliance to have in your home, but it’s important to exercise caution when using gas appliances. As important as staying warm is, the last thing you want is to cause damage to your home by starting a fire improperly. To prevent this, keep reading to learn how to safely light a gas fireplace.
The first step to safely light a gas fireplace is removing the decorative cover on the front for easy access. After you’ve done this, you can turn the gas on using the shut-off valve. Once your gas is on, you’ll want to remove the fixed glass assembly as this can cause gas to build up in your fireplace and create a safety hazard. This is primarily a problem when you’re having a hard time lighting your pilot light.
The ignition process depends on what type of gas fireplace you have in your home. Most homeowners will have a red or black push button which simply allows them to ignite the pilot light once the gas is turned on. This is called a piezoelectric spark mechanism. If you don’t have one of these buttons on your gas fireplace, you’ll have to light the pilot light manually.
If you’re going to light your pilot light manually, you’ll want to consult the instructions included on the label on your furnace. These instructions will explain how to safely light your pilot light if you don’t have the means to automatically light it. In any case, you’ll want to turn the “Pilot,” “On” and “Off” switch to off and let your fireplace sit for a few minutes so the gas can dissipate into the air. You can then safely light your pilot light using a lighter designed for this purpose.
Here are some things to note when lighting a gas fireplace:
- If you can’t get it to light manually after multiple tries, chances are there’s a problem that requires some furniture services from a technician.
- Don’t manually light your furnace until you’ve turned the gas off
- Make sure you use a long lighter to keep your hands away from the pilot light
Cleaning and inspection
t’s common knowledge to homeowners that wood-burning fireplaces require regular cleaning and inspections. After all, leftover residue dramatically increases the potential for fire hazards. Many think that having a gas fireplace installed eliminates the need for having their chimneys cleaned every year. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends that chimneys of all kinds should be cleaned every year. The truth is that getting your chimney sweep is every bit as important for gas fireplaces. Here you can learn why you should always keep your gas fireplace clean.
Areas like Vienna tends to get really cold during this time of the year, that is why it’s so important to understand how to safely light a gas fireplace. As long as you follow these tips and double check everything before you take any major steps, you’ll have no problem keeping your family safe and cozy all winter long.
if you are thinking about getting a gas fireplace for your home, click here to learn everything you need to know about gas fireplaces.