Category Archives: Living Space

Fireplace Safety and Care

Fireplaces, whether wood burning or gas, offer homeowners a warm haven during cooler seasons.  Understanding proper safety and operating procedures is important for any homeowner with a fireplace.  Families with children are often concerned about the possibility of accidental burns and increased fire hazard.  No need to fear.  In this article, we will share safety and care tips for wood burning and gas fireplaces to help you enjoy this feature of your home comfortably and safely.  We’ll also point out when it’s important to hire a qualified technician.

Gas Fireplace Safety

Gas appliances have some automatic safety features, but they still require good safety habits from you, the homeowner.  Here are a few helpful safety tips for gas fireplace use.

  • Always obtain and review your fireplace’s model information and manual so that you fully understand how to operate and maintain the appliance.
  • Know exactly where the gas shutoff and control key are located, before operating the fireplace.
  • For direct vent and B-vent fireplaces, practice operating the valve before the fireplace is used for the first time.

What to Inspect

Damper inspection is similar to that of a traditional wood burning fireplace.  Direct vent and B-vent appliances do not have dampers, but still check the flue termination to look for bird or rodent nests or the buildup of spider webs.  Debris from your lawn can also contribute to clogging the horizontal direct vent.

You can contact a local National Fireplace Institute (NFI) professional technician to inspect for leaking seals, loose gas fittings, dirty burners, or anything else that might affect the safety of your gas fireplace.

Wood Burning Fireplace Safety

The National Fire Protection Association recommends chimneys be swept at least once a year, at the beginning of winter, to remove soot and debris by a professional. Here are several safety items you can check yourself.

  • Store wood away from your home’s foundation and bring in what you need to use in small batches.
  • Choose the right woods: dense, hard woods such as oak should be split and stored in a high dry place for about six months.  A mix of seasoned and more green wood is helpful to control how long your fire burns, but avoid soft woods such as pine.  Pine can produce more creosote and eventually create a hazard.
  • Clean ashes out regularly, ensure they are completely cool before dumping them or spreading outdoors.
  • Use a metal-mesh screen or glass fireplace door to prevent hot embers from popping out of the fireplace onto flooring.
  • Ensure young children are unable to reach hot surfaces or fireplace tools.

What to Inspect

Inspect your damper to ensure it is opening and closing properly.  Check the flue for creosote buildup.  Creosote is a chemical mass of carbon formed when wood, tar, or fossil fuels are burned.  Creosote buildup is one of the many causes for chimney fires. Make sure a wire-mesh cap covers the top of the chimney to keep birds, squirrels, rain and other debris from entering and blocking the flue.  Finally, as always, test your smoke alarms to be sure they are functioning properly.

Once a year, before you start using the fireplace, contact a professional to clean and inspect your flue, damper and fireplace.

When you understand how your fireplace works and use basic safety measures, you can enjoy a warm fireside with your family all winter.

Laminate vs. Luxury Vinyl Floor Comparison

 

If you’re looking for the right flooring for your home, you may be wondering what the difference between laminate and luxury vinyl is. Laminate and luxury vinyl can both look like hardwood, ceramic tile, or even stone at a more affordable price point. So, what’s the difference? We’ll lay it out for you here:

Laminate

Laminate comes in planks and uses the floating method of installation. Laminate can be installed over wood subfloors or concrete floors. This means it can be installed on any level of the home, including the basement. Laminate can be cleaned with a broom, dry mop, or steam mop. Wet mops are not recommended because laminate is susceptible to water damage. For this reason, it is not suitable for areas with high levels of moisture, which could warp or permanently damage the flooring. Laminate is fade-resistant and comes in a variety of styles, textures, and colors.

Luxury Vinyl

Because luxury vinyl is made of vinyl, it has a firm and elastic construction. Luxury vinyl comes in tiles and planks, so it’s sometimes called LVT or LVP. Either one can be installed using floating or glue methods. Like Laminate, luxury vinyl can be installed over wood subfloors or concrete floors. This means it can be installed on any level of the home, including the basement. Unlike laminate, wet mops are okay to use on vinyl because it is water-resistant.

Luxury vinyl is quieter and softer underfoot. To help these floors last, close blinds and curtains during peak sunlight hours. Luxury vinyl is susceptible to heat from the sun’s rays so keeping the blinds closed protects the structural integrity of the vinyl. Luxury vinyl is resistant to stains, water, mold, and mildew, making it a great option for bathrooms and basements. Some Luxury vinyl options are even completely waterproof. It also comes in a wide variety of styles, textures, and colors.

At Horizons East, we recommend luxury vinyl plank for your home because it’s more durable, more family and pet friendly, and comes in a wider variety of styles.

Thank you for visiting Horizons East Building Co

Horizons East is a residential and commercial building company located in Jacksonville, NC. Horizons is your go-to builder for all things construction related. Whether you are looking to build the brand new custom home of your dreams, purchase a new home already under construction, remodel your current home, or build your new office, Horizons is the company for you. Continue reading