The Cozy Flame's Blog

Firewood Storing and Burning Tips

It’s almost October, and that means it’s nearly time for a crackling fire in the fireplace. Ideally, you have a nice supply of firewood ready for the first fire of the season, but if you’re like manyFirewood homeowners, you put it off until the last minute. When it comes to chimney and fireplace maintenance and preparation, procrastination can be dangerous. You may be left out in the cold, and you may waste time and money trying to light improper firewood.

Seasoned Firewood

Your firewood should be properly seasoned before it’s burned in the fireplace (or anywhere else). When the tree is cut down, it’s filled with water that was keeping it alive. When it’s cut, it must be set aside for 3-6 months to dry–maybe longer for extremely hard woods. Selecting the correct firewood is the best way to have an efficient fireplace, a warm fire, and a safe burn all season long. Seasoned firewood produces less creosote, burns hotter with less fuel, and is easier to light. If you don’t take the time to cut and store firewood, you risk depending on green or “wet” wood to heat your home, and you’ll be sorely disappointed.

Green Wood

Burning green wood has too much water content. When it’s burned it takes more wood to reach the desired temperature, the wood burns incompletely, and it even produces more particulate pollution that affects the environment and more soot and creosote that affects your chimney. In order to get the most out of your firewood, especially if you’re cutting from your own property, is to select wood species that will work best for your needs and to cut and store it properly so that it burns better and lasts longer.

Storing Firewood

There are many ways to properly store firewood while it dries, and many of them can be cheap, and some can even be fun.

  1. Woodshed – You can build a woodshed for your firewood that keeps it out of the elements, while still allowing airflow. If you stack your firewood tightly inside a closed shed or building, it may take longer to dry because there won’t be any air flowing around and between the wood. A popular option is a lean-to because it allows sunlight and air to dry the wood, while keeping it covered from rain and snow.
  2. Woodpile – If you don’t have the time or materials to build a woodshed, you may choose to stack the wood in your yard. This is a fine way to allow it to dry, and it can still dry while exposed to the elements. Simply stack it bark-side-up so that water runs off. The bottom layer can be stacked bark-side-down to keep from absorbing standing water. However, you can prevent standing water by putting your stack of firewood on a bed of sand or gravel. Regardless, you can ensure the wood is ready by stacking loosely and by letting it sit for 3-6 months. Don’t rush it.

If you’re not sure what kind of firewood to use or what the big deal is, you can call and talk to a fire expert at The Cozy Flame. We’re always willing to answer your questions because our customers are first priority. We want you to be safe and warm this fall and winter, and your fire starts with your firewood. Call us at 203-283-4459.

By Steve Sobczak | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Fire Safety Tips For Your Outdoor Fireplace

An outdoor fireplace can bring warmth and ambiance to your patio or yard, giving you additional spaces to relax and entertain. And there is no better time to use your outdoor fireplace than the spring and summer; as temperatures cool down in the evenings, an outdoor fireplace can add warmth to your entertaining spaces. However, there are a number of safety considerations that should be taken into consideration when using your outdoor fireplace. Outdoor Fireplace Safety Tips - Milford CT- The Cozy Flame

Fire safety tips

Outdoor fireplaces create great spaces for entertaining family and friends. However, fire safety tips should be followed to ensure that all guests have a safe and enjoyable time. The following are five fire safety tips that will allow your friends and family to safely enjoy your outdoor fireplace this year.

1. Never leave a fireplace unattended. Just like your fireplace indoors, an outdoor fireplace should never be left unattended. Even if a fireplace is screened, embers can still escape; if left unattended, this can lead to accidental fires or injuries.
2. Keep emergency supplies nearby. In case of an emergency, make sure there is a way to douse a fire immediately accessible nearby. A working hose, fire extinguisher, or buckets of sand or water can all be used to extinguish a fire in case of an emergency.
3. Use a fire pad. If you have a portable fire pit, it is important to never set place it directly on a flammable surface such as a wood deck. If you do not have a stone, brick, or concrete slab to place it on, use a fire pad to protect the underlying patio from damage from heat or embers.
4. Only burn seasoned wood. Being outdoors doesn’t give you an excuse to burn whatever you want in your outdoor fireplace. Instead, it is important to only burn seasoned firewood as it burns at higher temperatures with minimal smoke. Attempting to burn trash, Styrofoam, or treated wood can release harmful chemicals into the air – and damage your fireplace.
5. Keep the chimney clear. To prevent chimney blockages or debris in the chimney, make sure that there are no hanging limbs, leaves, or building structures such as gazebos or pergolas that interfere with the chimney venting. Fireplaces should be built at least 100 feet away from buildings and other structures to minimize the risk of accidental fire.

Maintaining your outdoor fireplace

Being outdoors doesn’t excuse your outdoor fireplace from regular maintenance. Outdoor fireplaces should be swept and inspected at least once per year to remove creosote, ash, and soot and to check for signs of damage. Because outdoor fireplaces are constantly exposed to the elements, the masonry and other fireplace components may deteriorate faster.

Safely operating your outdoor fireplace and keeping it well maintained can allow your family and friends to enjoy enjoyable evenings in front of the fire all year long. For more information on how to safely operate your outdoor fireplace or about adding an outdoor fireplace to your home contact The Cozy Flame today.

By Steve Sobczak | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Installing Fireplace Doors Save on Energy Bills

Fireplace Doors Heating Efficiency  - Milford CT - The Cozy Flame

Thermo-Rite
Heritage style welded steel frame and glass doors

Nothing can create a feeling of warmth and welcome quite like an open hearth fireplace. A roaring wood burning fire is a great way to create a relaxing ambiance and make any room feel homier.

Unfortunately, open hearth fireplaces are known for their inefficiency. Because of their open design, large amounts of energy are often lost during the combustion process. However, there is one can to make your fireplace more efficient – installing fireplace doors!

There are a number of benefits to installing fireplace doors. In addition to saving money on energy bills, adding fireplace doors is also a great way to change the look of your fireplace without investing in a major remodel. Below are some reasons to consider installing fireplace doors.

1. Save on energy bills

Fireplace doors can help lower your heating and cooling costs. Although a damper can partially seal your chimney from the rest of your house, it does not keep heated or cooled air from escaping. Likewise, dampers often allow warm or cold air from outside your home in, causing your HVAC system to run more in order to compensate. By installing fireplace doors, you are creating an extra layer of protection between your climate controlled air and the outside temperature. This helps keep the temperature inside your home more constant which leads to savings on your energy bills.

2. Increased efficiency

In addition to helping you save money on your energy bills, fireplace doors can also help your fireplace operate more efficiently. Most open hearth fireplaces operate with about 10% efficiency, meaning much of the heat created by the fire is lost up the chimney. Fireplace doors are able to increase efficiency by allowing heat to be better absorbed and radiated throughout the room. Likewise, closing the doors helps mimic the effects of a closed combustion system, helping wood burn more completely.

3. Better fireplace safety

If you live in a home with small children or pets, you may have safety concerns when it comes to using your fireplace. Fireplace doors are an excellent way to create a barrier between the fire and the rest of your home, preventing inquiring hands – or paws – from getting too close to the flames. Likewise, fireplace doors can also keep stray sparks and embers out of the rest of your home, helping to reduce the risk of accidental fire.

4. Updated style

An out of date fireplace can be an eyesore, especially if it does not fit with the style of the rest of your home. Adding fireplace doors is a way to change the look of your fireplace without the costly expense of a complete rebuild. Fireplace doors are available in styles ranging from the contemporary to the traditional, allowing you to find the perfect fireplace doors for your home.

Installing fireplace doors is a great way to help you save money on your energy bills. If you’re interested in giving your fireplace an updated look while saving money and increase efficiency, stop by The Cozy Flame to shop and learn about what fireplace doors can do for you home!

Dispose of Your Wood Stove Embers Properly

Wood Stove Ember Removal - Milford CT - The Cozy FlameWhile most homeowners are confident in their ability to safely use their wood burning stoves and fireplaces, many are misinformed when it comes to dealing with the embers and ashes left behind after a fire. Correctly removing, storing, and disposing of ashes can help a fireplace burn more efficiently, help avoid ash or soot stains to interior furnishings, and help prevent accidental fire. Improper disposal of ashes can even lead to accidental house fire, as recently happened with a family in Hartford County.

Even if a fire looks like it has been completely extinguished, hot coals and embers can remain hidden in the ashes. When these embers are once again exposed to oxygen they can reignite, causing anything around them to ignite as well. Because of this, even cold ashes should be treated as a fire hazard and should never be stored near flammable materials. According to forestry officials , “Wood ashes retain enough heat to ignite other combustible materials for several days.”

How to dispose of ashes

The first step in the proper disposal of ashes is ensuring that a fire has completely burned itself out and that no remaining hot coals or embers remain. This can be done in most fireplaces by simply closing the glass doors or screens and letting the fire naturally extinguish overnight. However, the flue should be left open during this time to ensure that no gasses or smoke back up into the room. The next morning, stir the ashes and feel for any pockets of warmth. If the ashes are completely cold, they can be safely transferred.

While it may seem convenient, vacuums should not be used to remove ashes from the fireplace. The fine dust particles are more likely to become airborne than to be sucked up into the vacuum, causing soot to coat interior walls and furnishings. If a vacuum is going to be used, only those with HEPA filters are recommended.

How to store ashes

Ashes should be kept in a specially designated metal ash container that both sits off the ground and has a tight fitting lid. Ash containers should also have long handles for easy carrying and transporting. Ash bins should never be stored near any combustible materials, including being stored in garages or on porches. Instead, place the ash container a safe distance away from any buildings or woodpiles.

Ashes should never be kept in cardboard boxes, paper bags, or regular trashcans or dumpsters. Any trapped hot embers could ignite these containers or their contents, creating an accidental fire. Likewise, metal ash containers that are flimsy, rusted, or have holes should not be used.

Safe Ash Removal - Milford CT - The Cozy FlameAlternative uses for ashes

Many homeowners have found a variety of different and unique ways to use their fireplace ashes. One of the most popular and common uses for leftover ashes is to use them as garden fertilizer. Small amounts of ashes from quality hardwoods can be added once a year to flower beds, vegetable gardens, and compost piles. Likewise, ashes are a natural insecticide and can be sprinkled along the edges of garden plots to repel slugs and snails. Finally, during the winter ashes can be sprinkled on driveways or sidewalks to help prevent slipping on ice. However, this can lead to dirty shoes; leave them outside or in a mudroom to prevent tracking ash and soot into the house.

All About Chimney Liners

The job of your liner is to protect the chimney walls from overuse and excessive heat, as well as ushering smoke outside. If it’s not doing its job, perhaps it’s time to have it repaired or replaced. Have it inspected as soon as possible.

Don't wit until chimney troubles start due to a damaged liner. Call now and we'll see to it that you get functionality, efficiency and safety from your chimney.

Don’t wait until chimney troubles appear due to your damaged liner. Call now and we’ll see to it that you get functionality, efficiency and safety from your chimney.

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The Cozy Flame | 116 Research Dr. Suite Q, Milford, Connecticut 06460