3 Types of Fireplaces

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When choosing a fireplace for your home, there are many different options available to pick from. In this article I will primarily discuss the different types of indoor fireplaces. Before going over the types of materials each fireplace uses, I'll start with the various styles of indoor fireplaces available today.

The first and most common style of indoor fireplace is the wall-mounted fireplace. These fireplaces are built into the wall, typically in a living room or bedroom. They usually sit flush with the wall but sometimes have an upper or lower mantle for display. Wall-mounted fireplaces are connected to a chimney which funnels the smoke out of the fireplace, above the house. This variety of fireplace can run on real wood, gas, or even electricity in some newer models. We believe it is best to go with a trusted brand such as Heat N Glo for any wall mounted fireplace.

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Another common type of fireplace is the free-standing variety. An advantage to the free-standing fireplace is that it requires minimal modification to your home compared to a wall-mounted fireplace. To get a better idea of the types of freestanding fireplaces available, we recommend visiting a local fireplace store like Haley Comfort Systems. Free-standing fireplaces work in the same way as their wall-mounted counterparts, the fire burns in the lower chamber while smoke escapes through a chimney above. These fireplaces can run off wood, gas, or electricity and are a great option for homeowners who don't want to undertake a large remodeling job for installation.

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Portable fireplaces are similar to free-standing fireplaces but are typically smaller and not attached to a chimney. Most portable indoor fireplaces are electric but there are outdoor models that can run off of wood or gas. If you are simply looking to warm up a room during the winter and don't want to commit to installing a permanent fixture, a portable fireplace is a great option. Portable fireplaces are perfect for apartments too as they do not require any modification to the home.

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Most of the fireplace types I have mentioned are capable of running off any material, depending on the specific model of fireplace. Wood-burning fireplaces are the oldest of any type of fireplace. Some homeowners prefer wood-burning fireplaces because of the smell and sounds that they put out. A disadvantage of wood-burning fireplaces is that they need to be cleaned fairly often and can release a lot of smoke indoors if there is an issue with the chimney.

Today, gas burning fireplaces are some of the most common types found in homes. Gas fireplaces are simple to operate and require minimal maintenance for upkeep. Vented gas fireplaces require a chimney to release the fumes from the chamber. Vent-free gas fireplaces do not require a chimney and burn at a much higher temperature.

Electric fireplaces are the safest of the different materials to burn. They do not have an actual flame and create heat with heating coils instead. Most electric fireplaces produce virtual flames that look just like a real fire. Since there isn't anything actually burning, electric fireplaces do not require any venting.

Hopefully this article gives you a better understanding of the different types and styles of fireplaces. Keep in mind the pros and cons of each kind when making your next fireplace purchase. If you would like to learn more about the types of fireplaces available check out this resource from wikipedia!

5 Tips for Grilling Out in Minnesota

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One of the most popular summertime activities is having a nice outdoor barbecue. Grilling outdoors can be a great way to prepare delicious food and spend some time with friends and family. Before you start your gas or charcoal grill, consider some of these simple tips for grilling outdoors.

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1. Keep a clean grill
Having a well-cleaned grill will not only help you to prepare better food, but it is also an important safety precaution. Built-up fat and grease on the grill and the base can be a potential fire hazard. Before and after every time you use the grill, you should clean it thoroughly. Using the wire grill brush is the best way to go, but you can use a scouring pad if the grill is not to hot. A clean grill will help to ensure safety and it will make sure that the food you are cooking does not end up with leftover grime from the previous session.

2. Oil the grill
Certain foods can have a tendency to stick to the grill. For these foods, you might want to consider using some cooking spray or cooking oil on the grates. This will help to prevent the food from sticking to the grill. Just apply a little oil or cooking spray to the grill before you start it up and it will make the job a whole lot easier.

3. Don't turn the meats too much
Foods will need to be turned to ensure that they are cooked evenly and properly but you don't want to over do it. Turing the food too often can result in meats that are dry and tough. Ideally, you only want to turn the food over one time during the cooking process.

4. Pay attention
Cooking over fire is not like cooking on a stove where you have a fine degree of control over the level of heat applied to the food. And this is especially true in regard to charcoal grilling. Unlike indoor cooking, you can't just place the food on the grill and come back a set amount of time later to see how it is doing. The level of heat on a grill can vary significantly in a short amount of time. Stay nearby and check the progress regularly. This will not only ensure that you don't ruin your food, but it can also be an important safety precaution.

5. Estimating grilling temperatures
Most grilling recipes recommend that you heat the grill to certain temperature before placing the food on the grill. Since some grills do not have a built-in thermometer, you have to resort to less sophisticated methods. A handy way to gauge the temperature on your barbecue is to hold your hand about 3-4 inches above the grill and count off how long it takes before instinct tells you to pull it away. 300-350 degrees is estimated to be at around 4 seconds, 350-375 is estimated at around 3 seconds and 375 and above is at about 2 seconds.

That said a variety of the best outdoor grills do have thermometers built in, if so we would recommend using those instead of our little trick.

Remember, this is not a tough guy contest to see how long you can hold your hand over the fire, when it starts to hurt pull it away.

Enjoying outdoor grilling does not mean that you have to be an expert chef. Start off simple and try to grill something that you and your family will enjoy. Other than preparing and properly minding the food, the other key to successful outdoor grilling is to exercise proper safety. With a good recipe and a few simple tips for grilling outdoors, anybody can have a successful barbecue season.

For a list of recommended recipes to try out this summer check out these barbecue recipes from all recipes!

3 Common Air Conditioner Problems

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Being able to maintain and troubleshoot your home air conditioner can save a homeowner a significant amount of money. Being able to identify and possibly treat a few of the more common problems can help keep the air conditioner running well and it can save you some money on repair costs. If your Rochester air conditioning system seems to be operating at a reduce function, you will want to know how to identify some of he common air conditioner problems.

1. Drainage problems
One problem that can cause air conditioner problems is an inability to drain water from the system. This problem can cause the air conditioner to function at a reduced capacity and it can also make for a less efficient cooling system. If there is a problem with the drainage, it is most likely due to a clogged condensate drain. A clogged condensate drain will not only cause reduced function for the air conditioner, but it can also cause the drainage pan to overflow. A clog can be removed from the condensate drain by removing the line from the furnace and flushing it out with compressed air.

2. Refrigerant problems
Every air conditioner is designed to have a specific amount of refrigerant in the system. Having too much refrigerant in the system can cause reduced function in an air conditioner, just as a lack of refrigerant can cause poor function. Having an air conditioner that is overcharged would likely be due to an error made by a technician or installer when the air conditioner was being worked on. When it comes to a lack of refrigerant, that could be due to human error, but that could also be the result of a leak. If there is a refrigerant leak it is important to get a certified technician to service the unit and fix all of the leaks. Once the leaks are fixed the technician can recharge the system to the manufacturer's specification.

3. Electrical problems
It is not uncommon for an air conditioner to experience electrical problems. The compressor for an air conditioner is outside and that includes some of the electrical connections. Over time the connections and terminals that connect your air conditioner to your electrical service can become worn or faulty. If your air conditioner won't start, it could be due to a problem with the wiring, breaker or possibly the disconnect. You can check the service panel for your electricity to see if the breaker needs to be reset. You can also look at the outdoor disconnect for the air conditioner to make sure that it is engaged. Before you check the outdoor disconnect you will want to turn the breaker for the air conditioner off.

For the most part an air conditioner is a well constructed and durable piece of your home climate control system. However, there can still be an occasion where it is not functioning properly. The best way to avoid air conditioner problems is to perform the regular maintenance such as changing the filters and cleaning some of the parts. To get the most out of your air conditioner, keep up on the routine maintenance and schedule a thorough inspection at the beginning of every usage season.

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