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Archive for November 2010

Regular inspection and servicing of fireplaces and furnaces adds to comfort, makes them more economical, and most important, keeps them safe. Regular inspections can prevent a deadly house fire or the introduction of a silent killer, carbon monoxide. Here's our checklist to keep you cozy and safe during the winter months. More

Homeowners looking to slash their winter heating bills can save hundreds of dollars for a $20 permit fee and hours of sweat equity. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) administers a firewood cutting program on state lands that allows residents to meet their home heating demands, while helping to maintain the state forests. Belleplain State Forest has designated 50 acres for thinning under the program, with a maximum of 20 cords to be harvested. Only eight cords remain and DEP officials estimate the open cutting could close here soon. More

Smoked turkey is all the rage these days. Chris Hart is one of the masters of smoked turkey. He's the head of IQue, a Boston area barbecue team that captured first place last year at the Jack Daniel's barbecue championship. It was the first time in history that a New England team won the "Super Bowl of barbecue" in Tennessee. Bottom line: Hart knows his stuff. He's among those smoking 500 pounds of turkey at Harpoon Helps Grateful Harvest Beer-B-Q. It's a fundraiser for the Greater Boston Food Bank. If you want to smoke a turkey this year for Thanksgiving or otherwise, here are some tips from Hart. More

Chill winds mean it's flue season again and that's flue, not flu. Homeowners are cranking up their furnaces, boilers, wood stoves and hot water heaters as the temperature outside plummets. But chimney professionals and public safety officials say homeowners are sometimes more concerned about their heat producing appliances than their flues or chimneys. So, they've issued a word of warning: Don't ignore the chimney or its lining and don't cut corners if a repair or a new one is needed. More

Irv Dean, The Daily Gazette's city editor wrote, "Despite the colder temperatures, I've managed to eschew my winter outerwear so far, but there has been wood burning in the fireplace of my hostess most evenings of late. Beyond the warmth it generates, there is something welcoming and comforting about a fire crackling on the hearth on a crisp fall night. We don't cook over the wood fire, but we do bask in its mellow glow, watching with pleasure as the flames dance over the dry wood, sending clusters of white smoke up the flue. It can be a consuming pastime if you give in to it." More

They used to be an afterthought, their purpose purely functional and their decor barely even considered. But now fireplaces and their surrounds are getting our full attention. And the resulting designs are becoming showcases for innovative materials and finishes. "In the past, the older designs were just kind of squeezed in as an afterthought," says contractor and interior designer Carol Vetrano of The Vetrano Group. Now the tiles, stones and finishes that decorate fireplace surrounds are "pretty amazing and outstanding," says Vetrano. The most popular fireplace facings right now are natural stone, says Elizabeth Miller, owner of Fractured Earth Tile & Stone in Tucson, Ariz. She reports a lot of interest in honed sandstone, river rocks set on edge, lava stone and slate. More

This two-sided fireplace creates a modern statement between the kitchen and family room. We had created a similar situation while designing the clients' corporate office and decided to update their home in a similar manner. The images are of the same fireplace. The task was to update the main living areas in cost-effective ways. A few changes were quite effective. The kitchen received new stone countertops, backsplash tile and window treatments. A florescent box light fixture was removed above the island and replaced by three low-hung pendants. A drum fixture over the breakfast table fills the breakfast nook and is a nice visual from the connected family room. More

Much colder air will continue to move into western Colorado and that means it's time to turn up the heat. Homeowners have plenty of ways for warming things up. "We've got a lot of people coming in looking at our different fireplaces. There's been a big trend moving towards the EPA-approved wood-burning units," explained Justin Krauss with Harbert Lumber. Krauss says there's a good reason EPA stoves are in demand. "Right now in Mesa County you can't install a new fireplace at all unless it meets the Clean Burning Act," he explained. If you're thinking about buying a new one, there are some things to keep in mind. When homeowners decide on a new method of heating their homes, there could be more incentive than just staying warm this year. More

While everyone is enjoying the warmness of the swimming pool because of the pool heater, everyone in the pool deck also deserve a warm ambiance while they are comfortably lying in the lounge chairs or sitting in the Adirondack chairs. An outdoor heater can help the pool owner to give the guests a warmer feeling. For such events outside and requires warm atmosphere, outdoor heater comes in handy. With the options available ranging from propane, natural gas and electricity outdoor heaters, you can find the best one for your heating system. More

Since the time of cavemen, humans have long gathered around the warmth and glow of campfires. Flash forward to 2010 and a quick stroll through Ohio State University's off-campus housing will show to even the casual observer that, for many students, the glow of burning logs is still a draw. Justin Rose, a junior majoring in history, uses a store-bought fire pit that belongs to a backyard neighbor. They both build fires when they have parties in the fall or are hanging out at their apartment on the weekend. More

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