Tag Archives: fireplaces

Holiday Fire Hazards: Are You at Risk? 

Holiday Fire Hazards: Are You at Risk? The holiday season is a time for colorful decorations and get-togethers with family and friends. Unfortunately, the holidays are also a risky period when an average of 47,000 house fires occur that cause 500 fatalities each year. For a safer home this season, use these tips to avoid holiday fire hazards.

Test Your Smoke Detectors

Have smoke detectors installed in strategic areas on each level of your home, such as in the kitchen and near sleeping areas. Press the test button on each device once a month to ensure that it’s fully functional, replace the batteries in early winter, and you can cut your risk of becoming a fire-related statistic in half.

Invest in Fire Extinguishers

Buy a fire extinguisher for each floor of your home, learn how to use it properly and place each one where it’s easily reached in the event of a fire. Choose A-B-C rated extinguishers that can put out fires caused by the three most common causes: combustibles like wood and paper, flammable liquids/gases and electrical sources. Opt for the largest-capacity extinguisher that you can easily lift and carry.

Take Precautions With Supplemental Heat Sources

If you plan to use a space heater for extra warmth this winter, make sure it’s one with an auto-shut off that kicks in if the unit tips over, and place it several feet away from combustible materials, like upholstered furniture, window coverings and the Christmas tree. If you use the fireplace, make sure the damper is open when you light it, and have a protective firescreen in place to prevent sparks from escaping.

Get Safety-Wise With Holiday Decorations

Switch to LED holiday lights that emit very little heat, replace any frayed/damaged extension cords and don’t overload your electrical outlets. Real trees can become a fire hazard as they dry out, so opt for an artificial, fire retardant-treated tree, and use a sturdy, stable tree stand. And, don’t forget to unplug all your holiday lights each night before you head to bed.

To learn more about preventing holiday fire hazards in your Portland-area home, contact us at Roth Heating & Cooling.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Metro Portland, Oregon area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). 

Fireplaces: Which Type is Right for Your Home?

Fireplaces: Which Type is Right for Your Home?The warmth of a roaring fire is one of the most enjoyable ways to keep the Portland area’s damp winter chill away. A gas fireplace can provide this kind of comfort, and there are several types available to fit your needs.

Inserts — These models are designed to be installed in an existing fireplace space to convert it from wood-burning to gas. Because gas fireplaces are typically more energy efficient than wood-burning models, inserts give you a way to improve your home efficiency without giving up your crackling winter fires. While the existing masonry chimney can be used if it’s in good repair, it must be re-lined first. On the downside, most of these models are natural-vent designs, which are less efficient than direct vent, but direct-vent models can be found.

Free standing — This type doesn’t require an existing fireplace space because it’s entirely self-contained. Freestanding fireplaces can be mounted on legs or pedestals, in a hearth or even on a wall. These models are easier to find in direct-vent designs. Either top or rear-vented, they can be vented through the wall, through a factory-built chimney or through an existing chimney.

Free-standing fireplaces are ideal for use in a room addition that isn’t sufficiently heated by the existing heating system. Because they can be placed nearly anywhere, they also allow you more freedom with your interior design.

Factory built — Also known as zero clearance, this design can be safely enclosed by combustible material, such as walls with wood studs, without risk of damage. This allows zero-clearance models to provide more heat than conventional masonry fireplaces. Instead of a masonry chimney, they use a stainless steel flue. Although these models are usually installed during a home’s construction, they can also be retrofit as part of a home renovation project.

Whatever type of gas fireplace you choose, it should be professionally installed to ensure that it performs safely and efficiently.

For help choosing or installing your new heating equipment, contact us at Roth Heating & Cooling in the Portland area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Metro Portland area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). 

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