Outdoor Kitchen Remodel

Outdoor Kitchen Remodel Before

Outdoor Kitchen Remodel Picture Before

If your first outdoor kitchen did not turn out as you expected or you simply want to update your Built-In Grill and components Fine’s Gas can make it happen. We took this outdated kitchen island that was built in 2012 and turned it into what the customer had expected when they built it the first time.

As you can see in the picture to the right you will notice that the built-in grill was not installed into the island as designed. The grill should have been recessed down into the island about another 6″. You will also notice that the propane tank will not even fit under the grill and has to be left as you see it in the image. Not real attractive.

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Outdoor Kitchen Remodel Demolition

This is where the fun starts. To stay within the customers budget we salvaged the existing brick island and gave the customer several built-in grill options that would fit within the islands measurements. The customer picked the 36″ American Outdoor Grill Built-In Grill for it’s well know name brand and quality in craftsmanship. To conceal the propane tank inside the island enclosure we cut the brick on the island to the right of the main island and added a Single Access Door With Tank Tray. The customer also wanted to add a Double Side Burner to right side of the grill and that also required some modification to the existing grill island. With the height of the existing grill island we had just enough room for a 36″ Wide Storage Door with Platter Storage & Double Drawer to fit under the built-in grill.

Outdoor Kitchen Remodel After

Outdoor Kitchen Remodel Picture After

The final steps was to rework the gas lines to supply the grill and side burner from the new propane tank location and add the required Vented Louver Panels to the island to allow for air flow. Once all this was done we brought on the new granite counter tops and then installed all the new outdoor kitchen appliances. If you would like to know more about how to remodel your outdoor kitchen Contact the Experts at Fine’s Gas.

 

by John Fine

5 Things Big Green Egg Owners Should Know

If you are interested in a Big Green Egg, or if you are a proud, new owner of one, there are a few things you need to know. First, the Big Green Egg is not a gas grill. The Big Green Egg is in a class all its own, and has been featured as one of the best ways to grill and smoke on Alton Brown’s Good Eats on the Food Network and on Smoking Meat by Jeff Phillips.

The Big Green Egg is a Kamado-style cooker made out of high-quality ceramic designed to keep heat and moisture in. When cooking with the Big Green Egg, it’s all about temperature. It’s incredibly diverse and can hold even temperatures for grilling, smoking and even baking food like wood-fired pizza or hearth breads.

Tip #1: Use natural lump charcoal and good amount of smoking chips.

Unlike other charcoal grills, the EGG can consistently hold both low and high temperatures and can come up to temperature very quickly. Here is a video that shows how to use the Big Green Egg and how to easily control heat:

Tip #2: Keep Your EGG in a Safe Place (Like a Table)

It’s important to remember that the Big Green Egg is ceramic. It’s built to last a lifetime (or longer) and can withstand weather and high temperatures for decades. However, it should never be stored in a place where it cannot be knocked over. If you have an outdoor kitchen area, it is best practice to keep your Big Green Egg in a special place, like mounted in a table or counter. Remember, the bottom of the EGG can get extremely hot, so do not place your Big Green Egg directly onto a wood surface.

Tip #3: Leave the Charcoal Alone

If you’ve used a charcoal grill on a camping trip before, it may have taken some lighter fluid and hard work to get the charcoal lit. One of the best things about the Big Green Egg is that it is incredibly efficient. You should NOT use lighter fluid or stoke the coals. Leave the charcoal alone, close the lid, and sit back. It will come up to grilling temperature very quickly.

Tip #4: Use the Vents, Not the Lid

The Big Green Egg is designed for maximum heat control and can maintain high temperatures for long periods of time. Whether you’re smoking meat or grilling, use the vents at the top and the bottom of the EGG to allow air flow. Want to check on your meat? THINK TWICE! Remember to “burp” your egg before opening the lid, and always open the lid slowly.

Tip #5: Use High-Heat Resistant Gloves

The EGG can get extremely hot and you will need high-heat resistant gloves in order to place the grate and handle food. The old oven mitts will not do! There are many types of heat resistant gloves made especially for grilling. Protect your hands and invest in high-quality grilling gloves to go with your new Big Green Egg!

For the last and most important tip, enjoy grilling great food! The Big Green Egg is a new and incredible grilling experience. Enjoy the best food you’ve ever made – smoky, juicy barbecue ribs, grilled summer vegetables, wood-fired pizza or perfectly grilled seafood.

Fine’s Gas sells the EGG locally in the Chattanooga area. Come visit our store to see the Big Green Egg in all sizes.

Installation Update: Outdoor Kitchen

We hope you’ve come to expect great tips and tricks from the Fine’s Gas blog! It’s our goal to provide information we think you’ll find relevant and valuable.

Today, we wanted to let you know we’re adding a new topic to the mix: installations. We’ll be sharing progress updates, as well as showing off completed projects. You’ll find outdoor kitchens, outdoor living spaces with fire pits and fireplaces, and more.

For our first installation post, we wanted to share photos of a great outdoor kitchen project that’s nearing completion. Take a look at these below, and let us know if you’re interested in starting a similar project!

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Enhancing Your Patio

Turn a drab outdoor patio into an exciting outdoor living space that everyone can enjoy. You marriot-firepitcan make the most of your outdoor living area by extending your indoor living elements to the great outdoors. There are many simple and inexpensive ways to convert your outdoor patio into a fun and inviting area.

Focus on Comfort

One simple way to improve your outdoor area is to buy new outdoor furniture. If your old furniture is uncomfortable, outdated or worn, that may be the reason you don’t like spending time on your patio. If you enjoy a good DIY project, you may consider simply refinishing your current outdoor furniture (with paint or wood stain depending on the material it’s made of) and simply rearranging it to create an entirely new space.

Outdoor rugs may also add some aesthetic interest, while making the space appear cozier and more inviting.

Let There Be Light

You can also add some inexpensive lighting to your outdoor patio to make your space fun and useful even when it’s dark outside. If you are looking for more permanent and ornate lighting, Fine’s Gas has many outdoor gas lighting solutions, ranging from tiki torches to wall lights.

Add Foliage

Some simple lawn and gardening work can transform your drab patio into a spectacular outdoor living space. Spend a weekend planting new flowers and plants around your patio, and show your lawn some TLC. Improving the vegetation around your patio will create a healthier and richer environment for everyone to enjoy. New flowers and trees may also draw in birds and other wildlife, which can enhance the natural ambience of your outdoor space.

Build a Fire Pit

Building a fire pit is a great feature for any outdoor space. Having a fire pit in your patio creates a warm and cozy atmosphere where friends and family can gather around and enjoy each other’s company. Fine’s gas has several fire pits to fit any outdoor living space.

Turn It Into a Kitchen

Green Egg Outdoor KitchenIf you are looking to go all out with your outdoor living space, you may consider constructing an outdoor kitchen. Whether you’d prefer to purchase three-in-one outdoor kitchen island or to build a fully-custom outdoor kitchen, the staff at Fine’s Gas can help. If you would like to learn more about our products and installation services, contact us!

Meat Cooking Temperatures

Have you fired up your grill yet this spring? If not, be sure to meat cooking temperatures check out one of our previous blogs, “How to Clean Your Gas Grill for Summer. (And if you notice any problems that need fixing, contact us for assistance.)

Once you’re sure your grill is in good shape, check out the following guide to safe meat cooking temperatures.

Food Safety

We know that some people like their steaks and burgers very rare, but according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, grill masters should be following internal cooking temperature guidelines to determine the safety of the foods they serve. Instead of relying on visuals—basing doneness on how “pink” your meats are—check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer. (A few of our grills even come with high-quality meat thermometers.) By following the suggestions below, you’ll be able to ensure the foods you grill this spring and summer will maintain their great flavor without the risk of illness due to undercooking.

Ground Meats

160 degrees Fahrenheit

Steaks & Chops

145 degrees Fahrenheit (rest 3 minutes)

Pork & Ham (Raw)

145 degrees Fahrenheit (rest 3 minutes)

Poultry

165 degrees Fahrenheit

Fish

145 degrees Fahrenheit

Other Helpful Tips

In addition to following the aforementioned meat cooking temperature recommendations, consider the following:

• Planning to use a marinade as a dressing for cooked meats? Make a little extra, and place that portion in a separate container. Using any of the mixture your meat has marinated in at the end of the cooking process could increase your risk for contamination.

• Preheating your grill isn’t only for cooking purposes—it also kills bacteria that may have accumulated on your grill since the last time it was fired up. Don’t skip this step!

• When preparing to transport uncooked meats to your grill, bring an extra, clean dish. Transfer cooked meats from the grill onto the clean dish to prevent contamination.

• If you’re planning a party where folks will come and go and would prefer to cook extra burgers or hotdogs in advance, turn the grill down to around 140 degrees Fahrenheit and leave cooked meats on a side or upper rack to stay warm.

If you’re in need of a new grill, replacement parts, or even an entire outdoor kitchen installation, Fine’s Gas can help. Shop our products online or contact us for more information.

Cooking on a Wood-Burning Stove

Avalon wood-burning cook stoveConsidering purchasing a wood-burning cook stove? Wood-burning stoves are a fantastic source of supplemental heat and offer a unique charm that harkens back to the rustic living of early homesteaders. And with recent shifts in nutrition recommendations in which experts are recommending that people “cook like their grandmothers,” wood-burning stoves with cooktops seem like a natural choice.

“Cook Like My Grandmother?”

If you’ve seen this phrase laced into headlines and articles about “eating more butter” or “fat being back,” you’re likely already aware that many experts are denouncing the low-fat fad that grew to popularity in the 1970s and 1980s. In an effort to encourage a new way of thinking about food, the phrase “cook like your grandmother” came into being. Its goal is to encourage people to eat more fresh vegetables and replace processed, “low-fat” or “fat-free” items for more natural options such as butter and healthy oils.

Why a Wood-Burning Cook Stove?

Although your family won’t likely use a wood-burning cook stove in the way your ancestors did (gathered around the stove, a home’s primary source of heat, for warmth day and night), you’ll certainly enjoy its convenient dual-purpose functionality. By installing a wood-burning cook stove in a living room or den, you’ll add a new level of cozy ambience and gain the opportunity to really cook like your grandmother!

What Can I Cook?

We can’t think of a much better way to stay warm and cozy on a winter day than throwing some wood in a stove and putting on a pot of soup or stew. All you’ll need is a cast iron Dutch oven. Add your favorite mix of chopped veggies (red potatoes, onions, carrots, and celery are our favorites), stew meat, beef broth to cover, and salt and pepper to taste, and you’ll have a hearty beef stew in just a few hours.

Essentially anything you would cook in a crock pot can be cooked on a wood-burning cook stove. Movie night with the family? Simmer hot chocolate or pop stove-top popcorn. The options are endless!

If you’re interested in learning more about our wood-burning cook stoves, contact us today! Our team will walk you through your options and help you make the best selection for your family. *Please note our Avalon cook stove is not available for purchase online. Stop by our store for more information.

Safety of Ventless Gas Appliances

As the name would imply, ventless gas appliances, such as fireplaces or gas logs, operate vanguard-ventfree-fireplace-mainwithout the necessity of any sort of vent. Requiring no chimney or flue, ventless appliances can be placed in essentially any room of your home, which makes them extremely convenient to install. And because no heat from a ventless appliance escapes to the outside, all the usable energy stays in the space, cutting down on heating bills during cold winter months.

Since these appliances require no ventilation, some customers have expressed concerns regarding safety and indoor air quality. Fortunately, we can confidently say that ventless gas appliances are not only highly efficient but also extremely safe to use.

How It Works

The vent-free system works relatively simply. The “fire” consists of natural gas, propane, alcohol-based gels, and electricity. It burns at optimum efficiency in order to reduce the production of moisture and carbon dioxide for a well-ventilated room.

Safety Features

In order to ensure reliable operation, federal agencies heavily regulate the use of vent-free appliances. Within vent-free appliances is an exclusive system that detects oxygen levels and adjusts the appliances accordingly—low oxygen levels cause the flame to extinguish. This system, referred to as the Oxygen Detection Pilot System, is tamper-resistant. Any attempt to modify or tamper with the system will immediately disarm any gas supply, as well as the ignition service. Other safety features every vent-free appliance comes equipped with include:

• An automatic shut-off valve (triggered if the flame is disturbed, altered or extinguished in any way)
• A regulator that prevents over-firing if gas pressure were to increase
• An ignition that eliminates the use of matches or lighters
• Safety grills for fireplaces, gas logs and heaters
• Temperature regulator

Indoor Air Quality

In regard to carbon monoxide and oxygen levels, a federally funded independent research study on vent-free products concluded that CO emissions from vent-free gas products are well within nationally recognized indoor air quality guidelines, even for sensitive populations. In recent years, there have been several questions as to whether ventless appliances contribute to extensive moisture that causes mold growth. Again, a federally funded independent research study showed ventless appliances do not generate enough water to raise humidity to a level high enough to cultivate mold-growth. (In fact, water vapor from ventless appliances may even improve air quality for individuals who experience sinus issues in cold weather. Read our water vapor blog to learn more!)

Consumer Safety

At Fine’s gas, our number one priority is customer safety and satisfaction. There are a few steps to consider when investing in any sort of appliance that emits heat, vented or not. First and foremost, all homes—whether they have ventless heating appliances or not—should have a carbon monoxide detector. If you are considering investing in heating appliance, be sure it fits the area you are planning to put it in, and take note of its relation to drapes, walls, furniture, etc. Finally, always seek the help of a professional. Installing a heat source is not a do-it-yourself project.

Fine’s Gas provides reliable experts to walk you through any purchase and answer any question you may have. For more information on our products and services or to find out about the installation process, contact us today!

Water Vapor Released by Vent-Free Gas Logs

Empire ventless gas fireplaceYou may be surprised to learn that vent-free gas appliances produce water vapors, a process that occurs naturally when burning a combination of gas and air. This is especially valuable since during colder months, the relative humidity—or the percentage of water vapor in the air—is low.

According to the Mayo Clinic, low humidity can lead to dry skin, throat, and sinuses, as well as cause eye irritation. If you or a loved one experiences these symptoms or respiratory illnesses in the winter, you may want to consider purchasing a ventless fireplace or vent-free gas logs.

An Ideal Level of Humidity

The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, the trade association for the humidifier industry, recommends a 60% indoor relative humidity. Water vapors in your home come from a variety of sources, such as dishwashers, ranges, and showers. To improve the level of comfort and reduce symptoms like sore throat and nasal dryness, many people add humidification with either a portable or whole-house system.

Keep in mind that a home is not airtight. Even one built to the tightest construction standards allowed by codes still has at least 0.35 air exchanges per hour. This means the higher-humidity indoor air is constantly being replaced by lower-humidity outdoor air. You’ve probably noticed cold air leaks around the windows and doors in your own home during winter. That’s indicative of air exchange taking place. While vent-free products increase the relative humidity, the air exchange decreases the relative humidity, which can help you achieve and optimum level of humidity in your home.

How Does a Vent-Free Appliance Work in a Tightly Constructed Home?

The answer is very well. It’s simple: A well-constructed home requires less heating, and as a result, the appliance will operate for a shorter period of time and produce less water vapor. Of course, in average homes, particularly those located in the most northern climates, you may notice some condensation on cold surfaces such as the inside of the windows. However, this condition is indicative of the weather and the construction, and would most likely exist whether or not a vent-free appliance is present.

If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of vent-free gas logs and fireplaces, view our FAQs or contact us today!

Debunking Myths: Straight Facts About Ventless Gas Appliances

empire-vent-free-gas-fireplaceAlthough millions of American homeowners commonly use vent-free gas logs, there is still some confusion in the marketplace about these products. Even worse, much of this confusion is based on the dissemination of inaccuracies and misconceptions about ventless products. Fine’s Gas would like to address some of these fallacies and provide you with the facts.

Myth: Vent-free gas appliances cause health problems.
Fact: While some people may have special sensitivity to various household environmental factors, there are no independent, documented studies that show vent-free products cause illness or negative health effects. On the other hand, a thorough, well-documented independent study has been conducted on the effects of vent-free gas product emissions. The study concluded that vent-free gas logs performed well within all nationally recognized guidelines for indoor air quality.

Myth: Carbon monoxide (CO) emissions from vent-free gas logs may be an issue, especially in households with children, pregnant women, and elderly people.
Fact: The effects of vent-free gas logs emissions on sensitive populations have been tested extensively. Researchers used the recommended maximum levels of CO as set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) with sensitive populations, such as children, pregnant women, and the elderly, as the benchmark. The results of the research proved that vent-free gas heating products performed well within the CPSC guidelines for carbon monoxide and all other indoor air quality guidelines by OSHA, NIOSH and ASHRAE.

Myth: There is no standard that regulates the safety of vent-free logs.
Fact: Vent-free gas logs conform to the national product safety standard, ANSI Z21.11.2. This standard mandates many construction and performance requirements that, among others, include tests for proper combustion under abnormal conditions. All vent-free gas products sold in the U.S. are certified by recognized listing agencies for compliance with this ANSI standard to assure their safety and performance.

Myth: There is nothing to prevent a thrifty homeowner from using ventless gas logs as a sole heat source.
Fact: All major building codes categorize vent-free gas logs for supplemental use and require that a primary source of heat (e.g., a furnace) be present in the home before a ventless product can be installed. It is clearly stated in the operating instructions of every vent-free appliance that they be used only for supplemental heating.

Myth: There are many places where vent-free gas logs are not accepted for use.
Fact: Currently, the vast majority of states in the U.S. allow for the sale and installation of vent-free supplemental gas heat appliances. International Mechanical Code (IMC), the National Fuel Gas Code, and most other codes in the U.S. allow for vent-free appliances. Unfortunately, the Uniform Mechanical Code (UMC) does not permit the use of ventless products; however, many localities are now adopting the IMC over the UMC, and therefore, allowing the use of vent-free products.

Myth: Vent-free gas logs produce too much heat in tightly constructed homes.
Fact: The heat output of properly sized vent-free products can be easily controlled by the homeowner and set to the desired comfort level. However, installers of vent-free gas logs in homes that have extremely tight construction should be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and building code requirements for supplying ventilation and combustion air. In some cases, additional mechanical ventilation may need to be added before installing a vent-free gas heating appliance.

Myth: Ceiling fans should not be installed in rooms with vent-free fireplaces.
Fact: Ceiling fans may be used to help distribute the heat. However, fans should not be allowed to blow directly into the fireplace to avoid any drafts that alter burner flame patterns, which can result in sooting.

Myth: All vent-free appliances have inputs of as much as 40,000 BTU of heat, but most rooms need only 5,000 to 15,000.
Fact: Nearly all ventless gas logs have manual or thermostatic controls that let the homeowner adjust the input rating to the preferred level of heating (e.g., low to high). Vent-free appliances come in a variety of sizes, ranging from inputs of 8,000 BTU to a maximum of 40,000 BTU. Smaller units are available for bathrooms (2,000 to 6,000 BTU) and bedrooms (10,000 BTU). Manufacturers provide clear sizing guidelines with their products.

Have additional questions about vent-free gas logs and fireplaces? View our FAQ pages, or contact our team today!

Preparing for Winter

Stay warm with a fireplace from Fine's Gas!Although fall and winter in the Southeast are known for fairly mild temperatures in the grand scheme of climates across the U.S., many Southerners will say they’re just not cut out for frigid temperatures. And if this year’s Farmer’s Almanac predictions come true as they did last year, we’re in for some more bad weather in the winter of 2014–2015.

If you were anywhere near the South last winter—and perhaps even if you weren’t—you remember the snowstorms of 2013–2014. The “snowpocalypse” in January actually shut down the entire city of Atlanta. And while many media outlets and bloggers nationwide poked fun at southerners for not being able to function in a snowstorm, the greater truth lies in the fact that we just weren’t prepared.

Although we can’t solve issues like the lack of access to snow plows and salt trucks, Fine’s Gas offers a wide range of options that can help you remain warm and comfortable while you carry out the number one recommendation for beating winter snowstorms in the South: staying home and off the roads.

Staying Ahead of the Curve

We’ve all seen the empty grocery store shelves that result from a weather forecast that includes snow. Rather than waiting for the threat of wintry weather, it’s best to prepare your home long in advance. Whether you’re interested in a more permanent solution such as installing a fireplace or simply looking for a backup propane or gas heater, the knowledgeable staff at Fine’s Gas can help you decide on the best products to meet your family’s needs.

Gas Space Heaters
Gas space heaters are a fantastic option for cold weather preparedness, as they can be used as a cost-effective supplement to your HVAC system for warming a perpetually chilly room, and they double as a backup source of heat in event of a power outage. Our natural gas and propane space heaters are efficient, yet powerful, and several models remain cool to the touch to ensure the highest level of safety. Even if your family is huddled together in a small space, you can rest assured that little ones will not be in danger of burns with models such as the RCE-391A Vent-Free Gas Heater from Rinnai.

Gas Logs
Because the majority of gas logs do not use any electricity, they offer a fantastic benefit during cold winter months. Like gas space heaters, gas logs are intended to serve as a highly efficient supplementary source of heat but provide a reliable backup if you lose power. Gas logs are safe and effective sources of heat and can be installed very quickly. Depending on your needs, you may choose:

• Vented gas logs
• Vent-free gas logs

If you’re still unsure about which type of gas logs you need after reading our additional resources, please contact us. We would be happy to answer any questions and help streamline your decision-making process.

Fireplaces
Fireplaces come in a wide range of sizes, styles and heat sources. Fine’s Gas offers:
• Electric fireplaces
• Direct vent fireplaces
• Vent-free gas fireplaces
• Wood-burning fireplaces
• Free-standing stoves

Timelines for fireplace installation vary depending on type and model. Some are even designed to drop right in to an existing hearth with a flue. Contact us to discuss which type of fireplace will best meet your needs.