• How to Clean Your Gas Fireplace for the Holidays

    Since a warm and cozy fireplace is often the center of attention during December, lots of homeowners want to know how to clean theirs properly so that it looks its holiday best. The process is easy and will also help to ensure that your fireplace continues to function for optimum performance.

    Let the glass doors and fireplace area cool off if there has been a fire burning. Otherwise you can burn your fingers or cause an unwanted and unhealthy chemical reaction when cleaning products come in contact with heat and potentially create toxic fumes. Also start any natural gas fireplace maintenance by first turning off the gas valve for your own safety.

    • Take out the gas logs and grate, carefully noting the position of the logs so that you don't forget how to replace them - because proper placement aids in proper fireplace functioning.

    • Set those items aside on old newspapers and then use a vacuum and bristle brush to clean dust and debris off the logs and grate. Wipe down the grate with a damp rag, using a little liquid dish detergent and warm water. But make sure the rag is only slightly damp, not wet.

    • Let the grate and logs air-dry while you vacuum the floor, walls, and ceiling of the firebox to get rid of cobwebs and dust. Wipe those surfaces off as needed with a lightly damp rag.

    • Once they are cool to the touch you can vacuum them, wipe them off with a rag, and then clean the glass with a good household window cleaner. Avoid products that are abrasive, however, because they can scratch glass and leave it with an unsightly appearance.

    • To avoid pesky streaks when cleaning any kind of glass - including ordinary windowpanes as well as the heat resistant glass on the front of a fireplace - finish the process by drying the glass with ordinary newspaper instead of cloth or paper towels.

    If you have any questions about gas fireplace maintenance or if you detect a leak then call your gas company immediately and report the problem so they can take of it in a safe, professional manner.

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  • Natural Gas Guide to Holiday Entertaining
    It's time to plan for the parties, dinners, and get-togethers that make this time of year so festive. Of course it's obvious to consider the shiny details-do you have enough wine glasses? What about the decorations? What type of cookies this year?


    But don't go into party mode without making sure the underpinnings of your holiday merry-making are in place. Ask yourself: Do I have the best equipment to cook my food to perfection and keep my guests toasty warm on a cold night?

    Here's a handy guide some gas-powered appliances that will make sure you are ready to entertain with the best of them.

    Stoves
    Professional chefs by and large prefer gas stoves, and once you cook on one you'll see why. Using a flame for cooking allows immediately and specific heat adjustments, giving you far greater control than you can achieve on an electric range. Your only problem will be deciding which gas stove to get-basic? Self-cleaning convection oven? Deluxe? Double oven? The world is your oyster.

    Grills
    While charcoal might be the old standby for grilling, gas is a neater, more efficient, and just-as-delicious way of cooking up your barbeque. Your range of choices is eye-popping-freestanding, built in, portable, table-top-all of them sure to make you the hero of the evening and all of your guests ready to roll home happy.

    Fireplaces
    There's nothing quite like gathering around the fireplace during the holidays, and there's no easier way to do so than to fire up the coziness with a flip of a switch. The range of choices in gas-powered fireplaces means you can design yours however you'd like, from modernist to minimalist to ornate. Choose from various log set-ups, and even consider outdoor fireplaces.

    Patio heaters
    If you'd like to sit outside on the patio or do up a party under a tent in the dead of winter, you'll need something to keep everyone warm. Nothing serves the purpose better than a gas patio heater. Most versions are pole-mounted with the warming element at the top, well out of range of curious fingers. Hanging models are attractive and discreet, but require a proper set-up.

    What's more festive than having well fed and snuggly guests on a cold winter's night? With some quality appliances to take care of the heavy lifting, you'll be eating and relaxing right along with them, full of holiday cheer.

     

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  • Natural Gas Stoves and Fireplaces: What to Look For
    Natural gas stoves and fireplaces are always popular items, but now that cold weather and holiday entertaining are upon us, there's sure to be even more interest.


    Before you plunge into the shopping experience, you might want to brush up on what to look for. Here are some things to consider:

    Stoves

    Ignition options: Seek out a stove with an electronic or spark ignition instead of a pilot light, which burns continuously and squanders energy.

    Stove types: Gas stoves come in all manner of shapes and sizes. You must choose between freestanding and built-in, but you might also want to consider a commercial-style range with multiple burners and ovens.

    Cook top configuration: While four-burner cook tops are most popular, that isn't your only choice. You can get two-, five-, or six-burner varieties, and you can even buy a modular cook top that allows you to pop a grill, rotisserie, or wok into the appliance.

    Cleaning: Some stoves will be easier to clean than others. Look for features like removable control knobs, porcelain drip pans, glass or porcelain splash guards, and raised edges on the cook top. 

    Fireplaces

    Log sets: If you'd like to use the fireplace you have but ditch the messy wood, you're best bet is a log set. This most popular gas hearth product allows you to create an inviting aesthetic for little cost.

    Inserts: These self-contained units can be inserted into an existing fireplace opening, which allows them to give off more heat than a log set on its own. You can still use the chimney you already have as long as you install a flue liner. Alternately, go with vent-free inserts and don't bother with a chimney at all.

    Venting options: Vent-free (or unvented) natural gas fireplaces can provide charm and heat to indoor space, but should only be considered for occasional, attended, and supplemental use. An oxygen depletion sensor (ODS) must be included for safety.

    Heating: Not all gas fireplaces are good at heating. If you're more into aesthetics than heat, look for a "vented natural gas fireplace," but if you want to be cozy too, buy a "vented natural gas fireplace heater" or a "vent-free room heater."

    These tips will surely help you get started shopping, but it's best to find a knowledgeable sales person to help you find the product that's just right for you.

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