Barbecue Freedom

Can you enjoy the same smoky flavor without the hassle and mess of charcoal or propane?

Yes! There is no propane tank to fill up or charcoal mess! Natural gas controls are right at your fingertips, which gives you easy access to clean and abundant energy for cooking outdoors. Safe, convenient, and reliable – natural gas barbecues will keep your food hot and your kitchen cool. Natural gas flames provide an adjustable source of heat that can be fine-tuned with precision. Available in a variety of sizes and price ranges, gas grills are easy to use, easy to clean, and are virtually maintenance free. So what are you waiting for? Get grilling with gas!

So you want a fireplace …

There’s nothing like cozying up to a warm fireplace on a cold winter’s night. But if you’re in the market for a new fireplace, the options can be overwhelming: Should you get an insert or a freestanding model? How will the venting work? Should you choose natural gas, electricity or wood fuel?

The best place to start your search is at home. First, determine why you want a fireplace. Will it heat your home, or is it primarily a decorative appliance? Also take into account how much work you’d like to invest in your fireplace. You may love the crackle of a wood fire but do you want to split, or purchase split firewood and build fires regularly? Perhaps you would prefer flicking a switch – or even using a remote control – to start your fire.

You should also keep energy efficiency in mind. Some existing wood-burning fireplaces may actually increase heating costs since they draw air from an already heated room to keep the fire going. But that’s not necessarily the case with today’s wood, electric and gas-fueled fireplaces. Many are stocked with efficiency options: heat circulators; forced air systems to spread the heat; triple-walled vents to help guard against the cold air that sneaks in when the fireplace is not being used.

Finally, cost is naturally a consideration. New fireplaces range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. Fuel prices are another factor to think about. Gas and electric fireplaces cost about 15 to 25 cents per hour to operate. Firewood is measured in cords. One cord is 1.2 by 1.2 by 2.4 metres (4 by 4 by 8 feet), and may cost several hundred dollars, depending on the type of wood. However, many firewood dealers sell partial cords, called face cords, stove cords or furnace cords.

And don’t forget that if your fireplace is used for heating, you should be able to turn down your home’s thermostat, cutting your furnace fuel costs.

Fireplaces – The Magic and the Mystery

Fireplaces are no longer used as the primary source for heating homes, but the magic of a fire stills makes a fireplace a valued part of any home. There are few things nicer than a cheery fire, especially on a cold winter night. By the same token, there are few things more distressing than a fireplace which doesn’t draw – belching smoke into the home, chasing people out, setting off smoke detectors, and dirtying everything in sight. Why do some draw perfectly, and others so poorly?

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Wood-burning fireplace selection tips

For some of us, nothing can replace the popping sounds and smoky aroma of a real wood fire. While wood fireplaces or stoves require no electricity or natural gas, they can be labour-intensive since wood needs to be supplied. They can be put almost anywhere in a room, provided there’s a chimney available.

Here are some considerations when shopping for a wood fireplace:

Look for Canadian Standards Association (CSA) or Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certification. Since these units must meet strict environmental guidelines, they usually have advanced combustion technology that helps reduce pollution, providing more heat and less smoke. Clean-burning fireplaces can sometimes lower smoke emissions by as much as 90% compared with conventional models.
Consider a high-efficiency model. These are environmentally friendly, since they re-burn the gases and smoke a second time for more heat, and lessen how much wood you need.

Consider an insert if you already have a traditional masonry fireplace. Older fireplaces may increase heating costs, since they take in air from the already heated house. Wood inserts have efficiencies of anywhere from 50% to 70%. But an insert is a permanent installation – once it’s in, you can’t return to your masonry fireplace.
If you don’t have the luxury of a built-in fireplace, but still like the option of a wood-burning appliance, consider a wood-burning stove. Here are two choices:

Radiant stoves: these units, such as cast iron stoves or models with heavy steel plate surfaces, push the heat out in all directions. Therefore, it’s more difficult to distribute the heat throughout the house. But everything, such as walls and ceilings, as well as everyone facing the stove, will feel its comforting heat directly.

Convection stoves: these heat up the air moving through the stove’s body – air enters at the bottom of the appliance and flows through the room via a grill on the top of the stove. The air can be more easily distributed, and it’s a good choice if you need to put the stove in a room that’s not necessarily a main part of the house.

Natural gas fireplace buying tips

Convenience is the big seller for natural gas: no ashes or wood to clean up, and you can light your fire with the flick of a switch. Gas models are also compact, requiring little space to install. And they can go virtually anywhere thanks to numerous venting options:

Direct vent: this type of natural gas fireplace is designed to vent directly out of the exterior house walls or through the roof, rather than a chimney. It has a sealed, double-pipe venting system which makes it an efficient heating appliance using the outside air. A direct vent fireplace is a good choice for homes without a chimney or that are well-insulated.

B vent (also know as natural draft): this is a more economical option than a direct vent. This system uses the room air for combustion, and is fairly easy to install. It’s a space saver too, but generally needs something to finish it off, such as a mantel.

Freestanding fireplaces are another option. These range from small hearth mounts that sit snugly in front of existing fireplaces to freestanding stoves. Again, venting comes into consideration because these fireplaces may be vented into chimneys, or through the roof with new venting, or out the wall in direct venting. Freestanding units are suitable for hard-to-heat locations such as the basement.

Inserts are something to consider if you have a traditional masonry fireplace and are looking for a more efficient heat source. Due to sizing, there may be a gap between the insert and the inside of a fireplace, but a faceplate can cover up the gap.

Energy-efficiency ratings: When shopping for a natural gas fireplace, the Office of Energy Efficiency (part of Natural Resources Canada) recommends that you ask for the CGA-P.4 Annual Fireplace Efficiency rating of the models you are interested in. This is the Canadian Gas Association standard for measuring fireplace energy efficiency. The most efficient units will operate in the 50% to 70% range. For more information »

Wood Burning Fireplaces and Stoves

While wood-burning fireplaces may be wonderful for setting a romantic mood, they are relatively inefficient devices for heating the home. On the average, an operating open-masonry fireplace can have efficiencies ranging up to 15 percent, depending upon its type and operation. However, the efficiency story gets worse — if there is no fire and the damper is left open, a fireplace can actually have a “negative efficiency” as warm air from the house escapes through the chimney.

Fortunately, there are ways to improve wood-burning fireplace efficiency:

Dampers

When a fireplace is not is use, the damper should be in the closed position. Since hot air rises, it naturally wants to escape through the chimney. Closing the damper seals off this avenue of escape.

Glass or Metal Doors or Heat Shields

Placed in front of the fireplace, these sorts of devices will limit the amount of warm room air that escapes the house when the fireplace is not is use.

Doors work particularly well when a fire is burning down for the night, but the damper has to remain open to allow the smoke to vent.

While the fireplace is in operation, glass doors should remain open, since most of the warmth produced by a fireplace is in the form of radiant heat. If closed, the glass will deflect radiant heat back into the fireplace and reduce the heat output to the room. In California, masonry or factory-built fireplaces require closeable metal or glass doors covering the entire opening of the firebox.

New Fireplace Designs

Circulating fireplaces have heat circulation ducts built into the masonry fireplace. These pull air from the room, circulate it around a metal firebox and send it back, warmed, into the room.

Some of these units have built-in fans to increase the flow of air and heat. Made of metal, circulating fireplaces warm quickly and cool rapidly once the fire is extinguished.

Fireplace Inserts

An insert is basically a metal wood stove that slides neatly into the fireplace cavity. They are relatively easy to install, and can improve a fireplace’s efficiency. Before adding one, however, make sure to have your fireplace and chimney inspected and cleaned.

As a matter of fact, that’s a valuable tip in any case — for the most energy efficiency from your fireplace and to insure your family’s safety, have your fireplace and chimney cleaned and inspected at least once a year.

Wood Stoves

You can also increase your fireplace’s efficiency — if not its beauty — by installing a wood stove in front of it. The existing fireplace chimney becomes the exhaust for the stove. Inspect, clean and repair your chimney first, and check with your local building department or air pollution control to see if either a wood stove or insert is allowed.

Wood stoves can be added without a fireplace, of course. There are many types of wood stoves on the market today; if you’re to buy one, choosing from the many styles, models and options can be a difficult task. Remember that stoves can be expensive to buy initially and costly to operate if you’re going to buy wood. And they can also be dangerous — make sure you educate the occupants of your home about the potential safety hazards.

Before you buy, make sure a wood stove meets local air quality regulations. As a rule of thumb, the more efficient the stove, the less pollution it produces. Check with your local air pollution control to see if there are regulations covering how efficient your stove must be.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency in the U.S., the use of wood for residential heating contributes up to 50 percent of the polynuclear organic air pollutants, some of which may be carcinogenic. During winter months, in areas where wood is the principal heating fuel, Wood stoves produce as much as 80 percent of these type pollutants.

Once you’ve bought and installed a wood stove, notify your local building department to conduct a final inspection to ensure that all safety requirements are met before you use the stove.

Warmth And Convenience At Its Best

A corner gas fireplace can be a great solution to those brutally cold days of winter. When the months of November to February come around, staying warm can sometimes be difficult. Think of having a fireplace is more of a necessity than a luxury. Here is a look at how a corner gas fireplace may be the solution you’re looking for in staying warm this year.

While most people are very familiar with a standard wood burning fireplace or wood stove, a lot of people don’t realize the benefits a corner gas fireplace can provide. Not only will it keep you and your family warm from those freezing temperatures outside, but the convenience is hard to beat as well.

Gas fireplaces really don’t require a lot of upkeep in the sense that they do not burn wood, so there is no mess with ashes in the firebox all the time. You will not be chopping your own wood or having it delivered. There is no stacking and carrying it inside all the time. You simply turn up the gas and you have an instant fire providing a warm relaxing glow.

If you live in an area where there are no gas lines or it would be extremely difficult to set up, you can always use propane as an alternate fuel. Propane fireplaces are becoming quite common for people in these types of circumstances.

There is no substitute for the warmth and ambience that only a fireplace can provide. Whether it be alone reading a book or sitting around the fire with family or friends, a fireplace is one of life’s great pleasures.

If you are considering adding a new fireplace in your home you may want to take a closer look at this type of gas fireplace. You can find many websites online that specialize in this type of fireplace that have catalogs and pictures that show you all of the different styles.

By choosing gas instead of wood will give you all the benefits of a wood burning fireplace without all of the mess. It’s convenience at its best. So stay warm this winter season with a corner gas fireplace.

The comfort of a natural gas furnace

Why is natural gas the homeowner’s best choice in home heating?

Because homes heated with natural gas all feel alike – warm and draft-free. Even in the coldest weather, while electric heat pumps may fail to adequately deliver heat, you can rely on a natural gas furnace. A gas furnace delivers air from the vent at about 130 degrees F, which can be as much as 40 degrees warmer than an electric heat pump. Of all new homes built, over 80% use natural gas as the main central heating system. Gas furnaces not only provide comfort by bringing a steady flow of warm air, they also heat your home faster while using less energy. And the life of a gas furnace is two times that of an electric heat pump. Additional features such as pilot-less ignition and zone heating make natural gas the right choice for heating your home.

So stay warm and comfortable with a natural gas furnace. It is the economical way to heat your home!

Gas fireplaces give you instant warmth

Are natural gas fireplaces a better alternative to wood-burning fireplaces?

Yes! You’ll never have to worry about chimney fires or ashes and sparks, which can harm children, pets, or furnishings. Today’s gas logs and fireplace inserts are engineered to provide fuel-efficient, fuss-free flames at the flick of a switch. You can enjoy a cozy fire instantly, when you want it, and with a natural gas fireplace, there’s no wood to buy, haul, or store, which means less hassle for you, without the mess.

In addition to instant gratification, today’s natural gas fireplaces have no negative impact to air quality – both inside and out. With the increasing problems of wood-burning fireplaces, most people ask “What do I do with my fireplace now?” The answer is simple…convert it to natural gas. Natural gas fireplaces are the perfect solution during poor air quality restricted “no burn” days.

Many gas fireplaces are tested and certified to room heater or wall furnace standards, which ensure a higher level of efficiency and Btu output. In fact many are over 80 percent efficient, and can heat a sizable portion of your floor plan. Gas fireplaces also offer the benefits of both radiant and convective heat. Natural convection, often aided by blower systems, draws in, warms and returns room air, which circulates freely around corners and up stairwells. At the same time, radiant heat emanates from the fireplace’s surfaces and gently warms objects in its path. Many gas fireplaces feature heat exchangers that boost heat output considerably. You can get all the warmth and charm of a glowing fire, even if the electricity goes out!

Gas fireplaces give you instant warmth, at your fingertips! Guilt-free!

Ranges and Ovens

Why do the finest chefs prefer cooking with gas?

Because natural gas ranges respond to your touch instantly, giving you total control. With a gas flame there’s no waiting for the burner to warm up or cool down. Contrary to an electric range, the cooking stops as soon as you turn off the burner. Foods can cook faster and more evenly with natural gas. The pilot-less ignition of newer models eliminates the need for a standing pilot light. This means that the flame burns only when the gas is turned on, cutting your gas usage by about one third. So cook with the natural gas advantage – you can enjoy great food in less time.

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