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Fireplaces

Have you ever noticed that your house is extra chilly in certain areas? While this phenomenon may be associated with ghostly activities, if the cold is close to an area with windows or doors you can breathe a big sigh of relief. Thresholds are one of the toughest areas of the house to insulate and could be where a lot of your heat is escaping. But using the right materials will help keep the cold from knocking at your door this winter.

Some of the typical steps that can be taken to insulate a house include weatherstripping windows and doors, insulating the attic and box sills and caulking. The primary end of these methods is to stop excess cold air from infiltrating the house. But the materials you choose can play a major part in temperature control as well. This is because heat transfer is a form of conduction. Keeping your home better insulated with less conductive materials can help that wood stove go further to keeping you warm and prevents as much heat from going to waste.

Quantifying Heat Transfer with R-Value

To understand how insulation is measured, we have to take a look what engineers and builders call the “R-value.”

The R-value is a metric that is used to quantify a barrier’s effectiveness at block the conductive flow of heat. The higher this number is, the more effective it is at stopping heat from leaching through.

The transfer of heat through an object is determined by the difference in temperature between each side and the material’s resistance to conduction. This difference can be divided by the R-value and multiplied by the total surface area of the barrier to give the total amount of heat transference through the barrier in terms of BTUs per hour.

For a variety of reasons, including security, weather resistance and superior R-value, hollow metal doors are going to be the best choice for almost any exterior application. Beyond the door’s frame, the next most influential property to R-value is going to be the composition of the door’s inner core..

A Comparison of Cores

You may not think about it much, but with the exception of antique doors, the interior is normally hollow. If this weren’t the case, doors would be extremely heavy and material-intensive to produce. While modern solid core doors do exist, they are typically retained for specialized purposes where the additional expense is deemed necessary.

So what’s inside a hollow door? To add additional stiffness, weather resistance and insulation, door manufacturers fill the inside of the door with some type relatively lightweight material. This core can be made out of a variety of materials which affect the door’s cost and structural properties. For the purposes of this article, we’ll be focusing particularly on insulation.

Honeycomb

The first common type of core found in doors is called a “honeycomb core,” named after the hexagonal lattice it is made up of. You may be surprised to hear that this material is actually a type of cardboard. However, in this case it is hardened with a special resin to increase structural rigidity. The honeycomb pattern allows manufacturers to maximize the stiffening property of the material without adding excessive weight to the door. This provides significant durability and is cost-effective to manufacture but doesn’t provide much in the way of insulation. It is also effective at disrupting soundwaves to provide a reasonable level of sound dampening. With a low R-value, the doors have good stability but aren’t the best for exteriors. If you’re looking to save on energy costs and minimize the amount of temperature transfer through thresholds then honeycomb core doors aren’t going to be the best choice.

Polystyrene

The next, more insulating material is polystyrene, which is sometimes abbreviated as EPS (for expanded polystyrene). EPS cores are both cost effective and provide fairly good insulation. It is the same type of foam you might find as packing material in boxes or in the shape of disposable coffee cups. The material provides stiffness and helps serve to prevent moisture from getting inside the hollow of the door. With a thermal resistance ranging from R-3 to R-5, EPS is a better insulator than honeycomb but still doesn’t offer the most insulation against cold temperatures.

Polyurethane

Polyurethane is more dense than polystyrene and therefore provides more resistance to temperature change. During the manufacturing process, it can start out as a liquid spray that expands and dries, filling the inside of the door thoroughly and bonding to the frame which adds additional strength to the door. Alternatively, there are versions that are installed as rigid boards more like polystyrene, but with the added density of polyurethane. The material is ideal for exterior openings in cold climates as it provides some of the best insulation available. The lowest level of polyurethane insulation is going to be as good or better than the best level of polystyrene insulation. It’s R-value is normally somewhere between R-6 and R-8.

Part of polyurethane’s propensity for insulating is due to pockets of low-conductivity gas contained in the material known as hydrochlorofluorocarbon. During the first two years after manufacturing, some of this gas escapes the pockets and the door’s insulative properties are slightly reduced. However, this is a fairly minimal reduction and after the first two years the hydrocholorofluorocarbon content of the polyurethane will remain relatively unchanged.

The Bottom Line

For those looking for a reasonable amount of insulation, both EPS and polyurethane core doors will be sufficient. But if you live in a colder climate, going polyurethane is most likely worth the slight additional cost of the material.

Hopefully this guide helps to give a good basic overview of common door materials and their insulative properties. While nothing replaces the warmth of a good fire, adding a little more insulation can help those logs go just a bit further to warm the inside of your house and keep cold from barging in. Unless, of course, it turns out the cold spots are from a ghost after all.

One recent study found that fall is America’s favorite season (among 29% of respondents). Additionally, Christmas is consistently named as the nation’s favorite holiday, with Thanksgiving close by in almost every poll. It’s no surprise, then, that fall and winter are often associated with cozy memories, warmth, quality time with family, and times of joy. If you are planning a seasonal getaway to your cabin this fall or winter, you may already be dreaming about making memories like the ones listed above.

An excellent way to prepare for your cozy getaway is to enhance the rooms in your cabin. If you are looking for ways to create a warm and welcoming feel to your space, explore these top design strategies.

Find the right fireplace for your space

Optimizing your cabin space for a cozy getaway starts with choosing the right fireplace. Fireplaces are not only a design element that enhances overall ambiance, but they also provide a practical way to heat a room. Rather than picking a fireplace that appeals to you online, it’s essential to ensure that your chosen fireplace fits the size of your space, the colors in your cabin, and that it meets your needs. Start by measuring the desired area you’d like the fireplace to cover, and contact a professional for recommendations. Next, choose a fireplace that works well with your future or existing decor (depending on your plans for the space). Finally, decide whether you are looking for a gas fireplace or a wood burning option. Carefully assessing each of these elements will ensure that you get the coziest feel from your new fireplace.

Add “warm” decor elements

Your cabin decor is another crucial component of how “warm” each room feels. When painting and adding decorative elements, choose colors that reflect natural elements from the season of your choice. A color palette that includes brown, red, and dark orange shades is an excellent way to capture the feel of falling leaves, pumpkins, and maple syrup. For a warm winter feel, dark green, brown, and red make the perfect starting color palette. To add physical warmth, make blankets, pillows, and throws part of your decor.

Create a DIY beverage station

Whether your getaway is planned for fall or winter, a DIY beverage station is a fun way to add even more coziness to the experience. Your guests can enjoy a delicious, warm cup of cider or hot cocoa at their convenience on chilly days. In addition to the actual beverage being served, provide enhancements such as caramel, marshmallows, whipped cream, and sprinkles.

If you’re ready for your coziest-ever cabin getaway this fall or winter, following the above tips is a great way to get started. Make memories that will last a lifetime for both you and those who will be traveling with you!

Cassandra Pearson

When checking inlet and manifold pressure, there are many different tools that will do the job. The manometer is one of the least expensive and also one of the best because it allows you to calibrate it every time you use it, ensuring an accurate reading. The manometer is a U shaped tube filled with liquid which has a valve or stopper at the top of each riser. In between these risers is an adjustable scale that is measured in inches which allows calibration of the manometer.

Another quick check you can carry out is the system resistance check. This will verify whether your control circuit has too much resistance in it. 

There are two instances where you will measure resistance when checking a valve for faulty main burner operation.

On natural vent appliances incorporating a vent safety switch (VSS) as part of the thermocouple circuit, you can use the ECO (energy cut off) or terminal block on the thermocouple as a test point for gathering information. By removing the VSS wire on the pilot assembly side of the terminal block and then touching your meter probe to this point, and with your other on the thermocouple casing, you can obtain the open circuit reading.

The open circuit test will tell you the amount of voltage that the thermocouple is capable of producing without any load, or when it is disconnected.

When it comes to fireplaces, the options truly are endless - both for existing fireplaces or those being installed from scratch. Choices range from Gas and wood freestanding stoves and zero-clearance pre-fabricated fireplace. Most are manufactured from steel components and can be placed just about anywhere in the home.

Fireplace blower can make a difference, however it will not be a huge difference. Blowers do not make heat, if they did, all you would need is the blower and forget about any device burning fuel. That being said, the blower can move the heat away from the appliance into the space where the heat can be felt.

Q. Our fireplace surround is outdated brick. Should we replace it before selling?

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