Buying a Fireplace or Fire Pit Online? – Here Are Some Tips

Cozy Oil Rubbed Bronzed Fire Pit

Cozy Oil Rubbed Bronzed Fire Pit

Fireplaces and fire pits for your outdoor living space are designed to give you everything that you need to increase your cool fall evening experiences. You can have so much fun with this type of investment, no matter what you might be looking for. When you’re buying a fire pit online, you have a lot of things to think about. From the fire pit to the online shopping process, there are a lot of things that you have to learn. By taking the time to get the facts and learn all about buying fireplaces and fire pits, it will be easy for you to get everything that you need.

The first thing to keep in mind is that you have a lot more options than ever before. You can find all kinds of styles and designs to choose from, including customized options that will give you everything that you’ve wanted to add to your backyard living space. Keep reading to learn more about what you can get from your investment in fire pits.

Fire Pit and Fireplace Styles and Designs

When you’re shopping for fire pits and fireplaces, you will be able to find all types of designs and styles. You can find fire pits and bowls that stand alone, fireplaces that are all enclosed and look like fireplaces inside your home, chimineas that are designed from Mexican tribal culture, and so much more. There is going to be a lot that you can look at and it’s going to be up to you to find what you need, no matter what you have in mind. Be sure to consider clay pits, aluminum fireplaces, and cast iron fire pits, as well as other materials that these pits might be made of.

Since the popularity of fireplaces and fire pits have increased over time, you will have dozens of different models to choose from. It might take you some time to narrow down your options and find the best style, but you have to think about the things that matter. Look at issues like:

  • Style    Wow…there are tons of them.    College Teams,  Sheek,  Duck Commander, NFL,  NBA, etc.  there are a ton of them.
  • Size    To me, this is paramount.   My first pit, I gave to a friend after 2 months.    The dish was shallow…..and with 2 standard sized logs, I couldn’t even put the screen on it.     I now have a wide and deep pit, with grill so I can use it for cooking.  M kids favorite thing….roasting marshmallows…..making smores….and safer by putting a screen over it while its burning.
  • Color/Finish    Definitely a subjective decision.
  • Price     Cheap is good to strive for, but having run through 3 “cheap” pits bought at local hardware stores in as many years, I’m on my 4th year with current pit and paid just a bit more.

If you have a budget, that’s going to be a big part of the purchase that you’re making. You really have to keep things in check before you end up falling in love with that beautiful $400 fire-pit or even $2,000 fireplace that you can’t afford, for example.

Tips for Shopping Online

When you’re shopping online for fire pits, there are a lot of different things that you have to think about. You have to look at reputable brands and suppliers, as well as the various styles and designs that you can find. There is so much more selection when you are shopping online, but when you aren’t able to see the fireplaces in person, it can be hard to make the best decision. Make sure that you take measurements of the outdoor space that you have to work with so that you can check the measurements of fireplaces and pits that you find so that you can buy the perfect one in the perfect size.

You also have to make sure that you know the companies that you are buying from and the manufacturers that are designing the pits that you are looking at. You want to make sure that you’re investing your money in something that is worth the money. It’s all about getting a quality fire pit so that you can enjoy outdoor entertaining, no matter what you have in mind. It will be easy to find plenty of great products online so that you can get the fire pit that you’ve been looking for.

The internet has so much to offer and you can easily get more than you might find locally. It’s going to be up to you to do the shopping around and looking at different styles to find what you want. As long as you take the time to figure out what you’re looking at and what your options are, it will be easy for you to get everything that you deserve.

Safety is Always Paramount

Deck Protect Fire Pit / Grill Matt

Deck Protect Fire Pit / Grill Matt

Whenever you are buying a fire pit, you will want to make sure that you’re thinking about safety. This is the most important part of getting what you need out of your investment. You have to choose the right style and size of fire pit for your home so that it looks good, fits your yard, and gives you a safe fireplace that isn’t too close to your house or other buildings on the property. You also have to learn proper safety techniques so that you can manage your fire pit or outdoor fireplace properly, including how to light it and maintain it, as well as how to put out fires and dispose of the ashes.

Buying a fire pit means learning the rules of safety and it’s going to be up to you to get the facts so that you can make the most of your outdoor living space and your enjoyment of it. Families and friends will love coming over to see your new fire pit, but you will have to protect it from children, pets, and keep it away from your home so that it doesn’t melt your siding or flame up your wooden decking.    For the latter there is only one awesome product that is unmatched for deck protection.  Deck Protect Grill Mats are the best for protecting your deck, dock, or whatever from the hazards of a fire-pit (or grill), bar none. As long as you’re careful, adding an outdoor fireplace or fire pit to your yard is going to make your home a great place to be on these cool fall nights.

Bottom-line, the Choice is Yours

There are so many styles to choose from and it’s really going to be up to you to get what you want. Remember to plan accordingly for space and size and to make sure that you learn how to properly use and install your fire pit or outdoor fireplace so that you can have the most fun without the worries or risks. As long as you take the time to do a little research, it will be easy for you to find a great fire pit online for less.

PS:   Call us, we can chit chat LIVE for hours about it if you want.

 

ACQ Preserve Pressure Treated Wood For Swing Sets & Playsets

For more than a decade, arsenic and chromium-free ACQ Preserve pressure treated wood has been used in some of the world’s most environmentally sensitive locations. From the pristine environments of national parks in Australia, North America, Europe and Japan, to neighborhood playgrounds and backyards like yours, Preserve treated wood has been used around the globe to provide a durable building product for outdoor projects where environmental values and product safety are priorities.

Environmentally Advanced

Preserve® treated wood products are available in response to concerns raised by public and government sectors of the treated wood market regarding the use of arsenic and chromium in pressure-treated wood. Preserve is treated with ACQ®, an environmentally advanced formulation that is arsenic and chromium free. The ACQ preservative system provides long-term protection from rot, decay and termites without the use of any EPA listed hazardous chemicals.

ACQ Preservative Protection

The ACQ preservative in Preserve treated wood is a copper plus quat system that provides the same level of protection to wood as CCA preservatives against decay, rot and termite attack (without the use of arsenic and chromium).

The main active ingredient in ACQ is Copper, which has long been established as the most cost-effective preservative component used in timber preservation. Quat acts as the co-biocide in the ACQ preservative, providing additional protection from fungi and insect attack that copper alone would not control. Quats are commonly used in household and industrial disinfectants and cleaners and are biodegradable in soil. Copper and quat solutions similar to ACQ are used for the control of fungi and bacteria in swimming pools and spas.

ACQ Preserve Plus Offers Improved Weathering Performance

Wood which is exposed outside to the weather is subject to repeated wetting and drying cycles that cause wood to swell and shrink, resulting in splitting, cracking and warping. Preserve Plus is protected with the combination of ACQ preservative treatment and a built-in water-repellent, to provide long-term protection against decay, rot, termite attack and the effects of weathering.

ACQ Preserve Plus should be specified for outdoor building projects where appearance is important and protection from the effects of weathering is a priority.

Painting and Staining or Natural Weathering

ACQ Preserve and Preserve Plus can be painted or stained to match any outdoor color scheme. High quality oil and latex based paints and stains are recommended. Water repellent coatings can be applied to enhance the long-term weathering performance. It is important that the wood is dry and free from surface deposits prior to applying any coating. Left uncoated ,or with clear water-repellent coatings, Preserve and Preserve Plus will initially weather to a natural brown color, eventually turning gray following long-term exposure to the sun.

Nails, Fasteners and Fittings

For the best results, stainless steel or hot dipped galvanized fasteners and fittings are recommended. A list of acceptable fastener systems is available from your Preserve supplier. Anti-corrosion coatings applied to fasteners and fittings in contact with treated wood will enhance long-term performance. Direct contact of Preserve treated wood with aluminum fasteners and fittings is not recommended.

ACQ Preserve’s Performance Guaranteed

ACQ Preserve and Preserve Plus are the only arsenic and chromium-free pressure-treated wood products backed by a Lifetime Limited Warranty! Ask your retailer for details.

Product Features

  • Does not contain arsenic, chromium or other EPA classified hazardous chemicals.
  • Provides long-term protection from rot, decay and termite attack.
  • Can be used in environmentally sensitive settings.
  • Enhances worker safety.
  • Wood scraps can be disposed of by ordinary trash collection.
  • Offers a wider selection of treatable timber species.
  • Easily painted or stained.
  • Quality control ensured by independent third-party inspection.
  • Features a Limited Lifetime Warranty.
  • Preserve Plus is available with built-in water-repellent.

Treated Lumber and Plywood Specifications, Approvals, Registrations, and Awards

  • Approved by the ICBO Evaluation Services (ER#4981) (Uniform Building Code)
  • AASHTO
  • Standardized by the American Wood Preservers’ Association (AWPA) C1, C2, C22, C4-95, C5, C9, C15, C17, P5
  • Preservative components registered with the United States Environmental Protection Agency
  • Australian Standard AS-1604 1997
  • AQIS – Australian Quarantine Service
  • JIS Japanese Standards
  • CSA Canadian Standard Association
  • NWPC – Nordic Wood Preservation Council
  • Approved in Germany, Holland, Denmark, Sweden and Spain.
  • Awarded Wisconsin Dept of Industry, Labor, and Human Relations Approval
  • Awarded Wisconsin’s Governor’s Commendation
  • Awarded Wisconsin’s Dept. of Natural Resources Commendation.

Applications

Preserve and Preserve Plus can be used for any building application where protection from decay and termite attack is required. Applications include:

  • Decking
  • Landscaping
  • Gazebos
  • Fencing
  • Steps
  • Walkways
  • Wood Siding
  • Storage Sheds
  • Outdoor furniture
  • Wooden Swing Sets
  • Piers and docks
  • Trellis and lattice
  • Permanent Wood Foundations
  • Sign and Mailbox Posts
  • Planter Boxes
  • Wood Bridges

 

 

 

 

How to Find Reputable Contractors!

Guide to help find local reputable contractors!

Working Relationships

  • During your meetings, which should be a fair exchange between the party contracting and the prospective contractor, gauge your feelings and impressions you have about the person/organization you would be dealing with.
  • Do they seem reputable and reliable?
  • Is this a representative or salesperson of the company and if so, who will be onsite handling the project?
  • Know before signing. And be wary of attempts that get you to sign right now. Higher involvement decisions by nature require more time.
  • Does the person strike you as being knowledgeable and not just versed on the subject?
  • Given the setting and your own set of circumstances/nature of the work, were appropriate product samples available or at least made reference to?
Experience

  • How many years have they been in the business? [Which also raises the question of financial stability and ability to stand behind a warranty].
  • How closely does their experience and track record related to your own project?
  • Have they been diverse in the sense that they’ll be able to cope with an hidden unforeseeable that may rear, and fairly at that?
References

  • Look at your initial mode of contact. If they do or don’t come by way of reference from associates, friends, or from those already in the business.
  • Still do your part. Become clear on the issues of cleanliness, professionalism and regard for the project overall from inception to beyond completion?
  • Do their projects come in on budget and on time. Or within the timetable relied on for larger scale projects?
  • Does the company utilize subcontractors versus employees. [for the project receiver, the subcontractor arrangement can have disadvantages such as delays in completion, quality of work issues, and not as much influence over the finished product while employee-roles offer greater consistency as a whole. But this is no universal rule by any wild stretch.]
  • Obtain at total of at least three references in any case.
  • Check with your local Better Business Bureau for registered complaints and current status of these, company history, and whether any outstanding issues have been resolved.
Cost

  • While the low bidder is favorable to many, and is usually most often chosen, consider what you may be paying for in trade for the lesser price; if at all. Are quality of materials possibly being sacrificed?
  • Also along with costs, you’ll want to consider the payment arrangements. Specifically the percentage of retention or holdback – the amount withheld until completion, which is factored as an allocation to finish your project in the event the chosen contractor does not complete satisfactorily.
Licensing

  • Requirements vary from state to state. Check with your state department of regulation or licensing board or, county building department to get a grasp on.
  • Also don’t take on good faith that the license won’t expire during your said project so confirm expiration dates too.
Guarantee

  • Have specified any product/labor offered and for what duration.
  • What exactly does the guarantee cover? All labor and material ? Or will labor be separated out at that future date, only be stood behind by itself, as is so common.
  • What circumstances and exceptions might apply to the proposed guarantee and is this guarantee in writing or only by word-of-mouth? Always this is an area that deserves extra attention and clarification.
  • Lastly, make sure any applicable code requirements are adhered to and which one of you will handle the needed permits, such as filing for and later sign-off with the inspector.

Propane Tank Safety

Propane Tank Safety

Propane Tank Regulations, Safety and Cooking Times

If you have a propane tank that was made before September 30, 1998 you might be in for a bit of a surprise the next time you go to have it refilled. As of April 1st, 2002 all new cylinders must be equipped with an Overfill Prevention Device (OPD). Also you can’t get your old tank filled if it doesn’t have this new valve. Don’t worry, though, there are about 40 million obsolete cylinders out there now.

Every year it is estimated that there are 600 fires or explosions caused by overfilled propane cylinders. To eliminate this problem the National Fire Prevention Agency recommended to the Consumer Product Safety Commission that they require the OPD be installed on all propane tanks. So after years, here we are, scrambling to replace obsolete propane cylinders. This ruling applies to all propane cylinders from 4 to 40 pounds.

The OPD is a special valve that has a float inside the tank that will close the valve when the tank is 80% full. It won’t measure how much propane is in the tank, but it is supposed to keep it from being overfilled. An overfilled propane tank can explode violently because of physical damage or exposure to moderate heat. Now, while the risk is relatively low, it is real.

So, how do you know if you tank needs to be replaced? The new propane cylinders have a triangle shaped valve knob. Older models had a five-prong, circular knob. If you have the triangle knob, then you’re fine. Otherwise you need to get a new tank. Of course, you’ll ask, why can’t you just replace the valve? Any tank older then 12 years is considered too old to be used. And for those in the between years, the cost of replacing the valve is going to be about the same as exchanging the whole cylinder.

The cheapest way to exchange your tank is through a service like Blue Rhino or AmeriGas. These services will exchange your empty, obsolete tank with a new, filled tank for about $20. A new tank can cost about $25 to $30. Old cylinders should be taken to a dealer or recycling center. Your local government can probably tell you where to take it. Some dealers might charge you a fee to take your old cylinder. Find someone who will take it for nothing. Or better yet, try on of the exchange services. You might also want to check with local hardware stores. Some stores are offering to replace you tank for you (at a fee of course).

So, if you have one of the affected cylinders, make some calls and get it replaced before your next cookout. You don’t want to be in the middle of a roast or turkey and run out of gas.

Safety tips to reduce the risk of fire or explosion with gas grills:

  • Check grill hoses for cracking, brittleness, holes, and leaks. Make sure there are no sharp bends in the hose or tubing.
  • Move gas hoses as far away as possible from hot surfaces and dripping hot grease.
  • Always keep propane gas containers upright.
  • Never store a spare gas container under or near the grill or indoors.
  • Never store or use flammable liquids, like gasoline, near the grill.
  • Never keep a filled container in a hot car or car trunk. Heat will cause the gas pressure to increase, which may open the relief valve and allow gas to escape.
  • Make sure your spark igniter is consistently generating a spark to create a flame and burn the propane gas. If the flame is not visible, the heavier-than-air propane gas may be escaping and could explode.
  • Never bring the propane tank into the house.

 

Approximate Cooking Times for different size propane tanks

  • 1 lb. Disposable bottle = Cooking time = approx 2 hours
  • 5 lb. Refillable tank = Cooking time = approx 10 hours
  • 11 lb. Refillable tank = Cooking time = approx 22 hours
  • 20 lb. Refillable tank = Cooking time = approx 40 hours

Home Wall Fountains & Waterfalls

Slate Wall Fountain

A Multi-Sensory Approach to Reducing Stress & the Negative Effects of Everyday Noises Using Fountains

Try this experiment. Be as fully aware as possible of your stress and energy levels following a day when you are occupied with your standard activities, and then compare that to the stress and energy levels you experience following a day in nature. It is very likely that you end your day in nature with less stress and more energy than you feel at the end of a typical day of work, school, errands, and other miscellaneous tasks. Even if the results of this comparison are obvious, you may be astonished to find out that much of our stress and lack of energy as a society comes from the very fact that we are constantly surrounded by noise.

Throughout the entire day, our ears and brains are required to deal with a multitude of low frequency sounds that drain the brain of energy and cause stress. Low frequency noises include the ever-present hum of household appliances, the drone of the computer and fluorescent lights, and the din of traffic, large machinery, aircraft, and other everyday technologies. According to a January 2007 Consumer Reports: On Health article titled “Shhh! Everyday noise can be harmful,” stress and lack of energy are only two of the negative effects that everyday noises can have on our bodies. In addition, it has been determined that daily noises are a factor in sleep problems, lack of motivation, lower efficiency levels, decreased creativity, poor mood, and increased heart attack risk.

Counteracting the Negative Effects of Everyday Noises

Noise may not be the sole cause of the stress and other health issues we experience, but it is undeniably a contributing factor. Fortunately, we can reduce, and even reverse, the negative effects that noise has on our brains and bodies through regular exposure to the higher frequency sounds found in nature.

Spending a day, or even part of a day, in nature provides our bodies and brains with a much needed relief from stress. Regrettably, going out to nature on a daily basis does not always fit into the daily schedule, so bringing nature sounds into your home is the practical solution. Listening to sound machines and audio recordings that feature babbling brooks, ocean waves, rain showers, bird songs, and other natural sounds is one option. An abundance of these products can be found at many shops or internet sites. However, home wall fountains and waterfalls are many times a favorite choice for nature sounds because they offer a multi-sensory stress-relieving experience that sound machines and audio recordings are incapable of providing.

The Benefits of Wall Fountains and Waterfalls

Wall fountains and waterfalls — which come in tabletop, wall mounted, and free standing varieties — bring the soothing sounds of flowing water into the home, but they also bring a visual element. Not only are waterfalls and wall fountains beautifully conceived and able to fit into any home’s decor, the water itself lends another dimension of stress relief to the equation. Watching the dance and trickle of water as it flows across rocks, down textured surfaces, and into a basin at the bottom enhances our auditory experience. When we listen to sound machines or audio recordings of nature sounds, we may feel the need to close our eyes to block out visual distractions around us that take our minds away from the goal of relaxation. In contrast, the visual attributes of wall fountains and waterfalls transport us toward that end by giving us something beautiful and elemental to focus on with our eyes as we listen with our ears.

Furthermore, the water that flows in a wall fountain or waterfall changes its sounds subtly at every moment. This dynamic quality keeps our listening experience from becoming tedious or repetitive, which can easily happen if we listen to sound machines or audio recordings regularly. We can also choose to dramatically change the “song” of the water in our wall fountain or waterfall simply by rearranging rocks or other features in the basin or by adding a new element — such as a seashell, leaf, or small piece of wood — along the water’s path. We can even place our own fingers in the water’s flow to change the sound of the water as it moves; feeling the water stream across our skin would bring yet another sensory element to our experience.

The Gentle Quality of Water

Because water is an integral part of our world and our bodies, it has an innate ability to soothe. We are instinctively drawn to the sound of water, and we feel spellbound by its gentle movement. Spending time near water — listening, watching, touching — allows us to breathe more slowly and to break the cycle of stress we experience each day. Making a space in our home for a wall fountain or waterfall, whether it is a small tabletop version or a larger wall mounted or free standing version, gives us the luxury of regular access to real water, as opposed to pre-recorded water sounds. Wall fountains and waterfalls provide us with a multi-sensory relaxation experience that may not only lower our stress levels, but improve our sleep and our moods, increase our motivation and efficiency, and even lower our risk for heart attack.