Fireplaces at Home
The fireplace has long been the favorite spot to gather in the American home. A place for warmth, the fireplace adds ambience, sparking memories that are to be treasured. With all the benefits that a fireplace can bring, there are some major downsides that if not addressed can cause a love for the fireplace to wane.
With soaring energy costs, the chief negative of having a fireplace has to be its inefficiency. When there is a fire burning, the fireplace does indeed radiate warmth in its general vicinity, but it also creates a convection current that can actually pull conditioned air out of the room and up the chimney causing your furnace to work overtime. When the fire is not burning, the fireplace has a damper which is supposed to block inside air from escaping and outside air from invading. The problem is that the damper is usually made of metal (this type of damper technology hasn’t changed in over 100 years!) and has no seal, which means that the damper is incredibly inefficient.
Does my fireplace REALLY save money?
Your home has a dirty little secret – the fireplace that is designed to warm your house is actually doing the opposite and costing you hundreds of dollars in energy costs. Don’t fret – with a little investment of time and money, you can turn that inefficient fireplace into a powerhouse heater that will reduce your energy bills and add even more charm to your existing fireplace.
The following is a list of 5 things that you can do yourself to drastically reduce the heating costs associated with the inefficiency of your fireplace.
1. Top Sealing Dampers replace the fireplace throat damper and are installed at the top of the chimney. The top sealing damper has a seal that acts like a storm door keeping the expensive conditioned air inside the house and the outside air – outside. This principle works year round, whether you’re heating or cooling your house. This product can be purchased online and is easily installed by either a homeowner or a handyman.
2. A fireback is a cast iron plate that is placed at the back of your fireplace. Its purpose is to protect the back wall from fire damage and it usually features a design that adds to the homes decor. The fireback improves the fireplaces efficiency by absorbing the heat from the fire and radiating the heat back into the room.
3. A Fireplace Heater pulls fresh air from the room, circulates it through a chamber that is heated by the fire and then blows the heated air back into the room. These heaters are closed systems so no smoke from the fireplace is invading the home. Depending on which kind you purchase, these heaters can make a significant difference in your homes temperature, even heating a full room on its own. Specific fireplace heaters can be installed with fireplace glass doors which will kick your cost savings up another notch.
4. Fireplace Glass Doors will likely carry the largest investment, but you can reduce some of that cost by doing some of the work yourself. There are a number of fireplace doors that can be purchased online and come with easy to install instructions. The fireplace glass door creates a barrier between the living space and the chimney, thus reducing the area that your furnace will have to heat. This alone is a good reason to install these doors, but it’s not the only reason. Fireplace glass doors offer another level of safety for the home by protecting children and pets from the fire. If you have a wood burning fireplace you will want to purchase the screen mesh that is designed to go with the fireplace glass doors. This will allow you to have the doors open while the fire is burning and still have your home protected from sparks and embers. Fireplace glass doors are now being manufactured with modern designs and really add beauty and charm to the fireplace.
5. Remove any trees or limbs that are blocking the escape of hot air and smoke from your chimney. You may need to hire a tree removal expert like the one here to get those limbs cut back or the entire tree removed. Not only will this increase the efficiency of your fireplace, but it will reduce the chance of a fire as well.
If you’re handy, all of these suggestions are easy to accomplish. In addition, all of the products, while difficult to find locally, can easily be purchased online. If you’re concerned about high energy costs but you want to keep your fireplace, then it’s time to plug up the holes in your monthly energy budget by plugging up the holes in your fireplace.
Thinking about replacing those old windows on your log home?
Few things can improve the look and value of a log home than new windows. There should be a considerable amount of funds that will not go out the window once you have made the replacements. When making your preference on windows, make a wise choice on not just the windows but your contractor also. You will get information that will facilitate a smooth window replacement.
Should you replace the glass or the frame as well?
Sometimes when you need to replace windows, only the glass needs replacing, and not the entire frame. The amount of work, in addition to the overall cost of the job, will be drastically reduced if the glass is all that needs to be replaced. To replace only the glass is quite simple when compared to changing the whole window.
According to a Raleigh NC window replacement and home improvement company that specializes in log home window replacement, upgrading your windows can become more costly when you choose argon filled glass, or energy-efficient glass with triple pane. Your log house won’t look very good, when only replacing the glass if the frames are bad, so in that case you will need to change out the entire window. Remember that you’ll be looking at, or through your windows for years to come, so pick ones you like. While windows serve the practical function of keeping your home insulated, they’re also part of the decor of your home, so make sure they fit well with your furniture and overall look of your house. If you have an older home, you’ll probably want to go with a traditional or antique style with windows. Those same antique windows, however, would look silly rather than quaint if the rest of your log home is ultra-modern in design. Remember that you’ll not only feel better about windows that look great, but this will add to your log home’s value if you ever decide to sell it.
Consider security when choosing your replacement windows
Another important aspect to consider is the security factor of the new windows that you are about to install. Crime, especially if you live in a an isolated rural area, will always be a factor to consider when purchasing your windows. How a window looks is not as important as how safe it will make you feel knowing that the locks that come with them will provide you with safety. Take a few minutes to look at the different lock options on the windows that you are going to purchase prior to installation. The reason you want to focus upon the quality of the locks is that most burglars hate to break glass because it draws attention to them.
One way to appease the many that want to ease the heavy use of energy; a good start would be to upscale the replacement of the old ineffective windows. This will certainly add ambiance to your log house and at the same time you will be augmenting your property value. Regardless of who will accomplish the job, it will be a rewarding experience.
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We get energy from so many sources today. Some are underground, like oil and natural gas. Others are at ground level, like water. Some are in the air, such as the wind. And then there is one final source, high above – the sun. This article will tell you how to harness solar power. This is very important for log cabin owners and a lot of times we choose to buy or build or homes in rural or isolated areas that have limited infrastructure.
If you’re thinking about installing solar panels to generate your own electricity, make sure that the roof you’ll be installing them on gets plenty of good sunlight. Good sunlight occurs between 9am and 3pm. You’ll generate the most electricity if your roof receives full, exposed sunlight between those hours every day.
If you decide to put solar energy panels on your log home, remember to keep them clean. Your solar panels must reflect the sun’s rays in order to store the sun’s energy for use in your home or business. If they are dirty, they can not effectively do this. By keeping them clean, you will get the most bang for your buck!
If you are just starting with solar energy, you should start small. Start by purchasing a few solar powered energy landscape lights. Solar powered outdoor lighting is popular and you can find them at most home improvement shops. The installation of the lights is not complicated, and most are ready to go from the box right into the ground. Other recent trends are seeing log cabin home owners purchasing storage containers and providing them power with solar panels. The shipping containers are being used as everything from additional storage to workshops, and root cellars to bunkers.
The solar panels’ density can determine their efficiency rates. Higher density panels tend to cost more, but they are able to produce more power. Look at the density of various panels before deciding on one.
If you want solar panels that are efficient, you should try to get ones that don’t always have to rely on when the sun is out. More recent solar panels can gather energy from the sun and allow you to use it whenever you would like. This means that your home can still be powered by the sun even when it is dark out. This should be considered in your cabin is located in a heavily wooded area and you do not want to remove any trees.
Find out if your local energy provider offers meter rollback programs. Once you have a solar energy system, you should consider joining one of these programs so you can sell the energy you produce to the main grid and draw the same amount of energy instead of purchasing an expensive battery system to store your power.
Be careful when positioning solar panels on your home. These panels need direct sunlight, at least during the main portion of the day. If there are a lot of trees that shade the panel, you’ll reduce your overall output by a lot. Plan ahead and look at all of your placement options. Maybe there is a meadow or pasture on your property that sits away from your log home. Panels can be placed there for maximum exposure.
One of the biggest and best advantages of solar energy is that it does not release any harmful substances in the environment. Fossil fuels, which are used for regular energy, give off harmful substances, like carbon dioxide. In the end, these gasses can ruin the environment and harm animals and plants.
If changing your house to solar energy power is something you are considering, start with the areas that will be easiest to convert. Gradually replace your smaller appliances to avoid significant upheaval in your daily life. Converting your log home to solar energy little by little will help to take some of the financial burden of purchasing an entire system all at once away.
When you want to go right to the source of power in our galaxy, the sun is the place to find it. The helpful hints you’ve read here are a great start. Keep checking out articles and blogs and learning all you can to master the art of using solar energy for your own benefit. This is important to many log home owners are our interest in log home living often also incorporates a desire to respect and preserve the environment.
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