Category Archives: Fireplaces

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!

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 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.