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The Lowdown on Heating with Propane

Propane Heat - Ann Arbor MI - Clean Sweeps of MIMany homeowners mistakenly believe they must have access to natural gas to be able to install a gas-fueled fireplace; however, there is an alternative method of heating gas-fueled appliances: propane. You can enjoy the convenience and efficiency of a gas fireplace without having to dig up your yard to install pipes to connect to an underground natural gas source by fueling the fireplace with propane. You may be familiar with using propane with your gas grill, but did you know that propane can be used to fuel a furnace, a water heater, and a clothes dryer? While propane has many benefits as an alternative heating fuel source, it has a few drawbacks as well. We at Clean Sweeps of Michigan would like to tell you more about propane gas and its advantages and disadvantages to give you more information about this fuel option.

What Exactly Is Propane Gas?

A byproduct of petroleum refining and natural gas processing, propane is used widely to fuel central heating systems, barbecue grills, engines, and portable stoves. Propane can be converted into a liquid form by adding butane, and it is then known as LPG, liquified propane gas. First discovered in 1910 and then patented as an extraction process in 1913, propane was in mass production by the 1920’s and was used in millions of homes in the United States.

Propane Is a Green Fuel.

According to eHow, one of the main advantages of using propane as a heating fuel source is it burns cleanly and is more environmentally-friendly than other fuel sources. Propane is listed as an approved alternative fuel by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the Clean Air Act of 1990. It also made the list in the National Energy Policy Act of 1992. Additionally, propane is non-toxic and water-soluble, and since it is a gas, you don’t have to worry about it spilling, forming pools, or leaving behind residues which are harmful to the environment.

Propane Is an Inexpensive Heating Fuel Source.

An efficient-burning fuel, propane produces many more units of energy than other fuel sources per dollar. Cheaper than electricity, the US Department of Energy has stated that heating your home with propane costs far less than heating with electricity.

Propane Is a Relatively Safe Fuel.

Thanks to the strict codes and regulations developed by the propane industry and the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA), propane has an impressive safety record. With built-in safety properties, propane will not ignite when combined with air unless the source of ignition reaches 940 degrees Fahrenheit. However, propane does have its risks. A propane leak can be very dangerous as it is heavier than air so it sinks and becomes concentrated at the floor level, where it can be difficult to detect. Also, propane is stored under high pressure, and any sudden decompression or rupture of its container can be a devastatingly violent and forceful event.

Interested in using propane to fuel your heating appliances? Contact Clean Sweeps of Michigan to talk to our expert staff about heating your home with this alternate fuel source.

How to Turn your Inefficient Fireplace into an Efficient Alternative Heat Source

efficient_fireplace_clean_sweeps_of_MI_ann_arbor_MIAccording to the National Association of Homebuilders fireplaces are one of the top three features new home buyers look for in a home. A warm, crackling fire is a welcoming and inviting addition to any living space during the cold months of winter. What many homeowners fair to realize, however, is that their fireplace may actually be losing more energy than it is creating.

As fireplaces and chimneys age, they may become more inefficient. As the warm air from a fire rises, cold air from outside can flow in, filling the room and negating the effects of the fire. Thankfully, there are several products available to homeowners to help improve the efficiency of their fireplaces, making them excellent sources of warmth all winter.

Fireplace inserts 

For many homeowners with traditional, wood burning fireplaces, a fireplace insert represents a low maintenance, high efficiency replacement option. Fireplace inserts are glass-fronted fireproof boxes that create a closed combustion system, trapping the hot air created by a fire before it can escape up a chimney. Inserts are able to efficiently heat a room, especially with the addition of a fireplace blower.

While fireplace inserts have traditionally been exclusively gas, they can now be powered by several different fuel sources including electricity, wood, pellets, or coal. This wider variety of choices gives homeowners the ability to choose an insert to better meet their needs. Although inserts are considered to be the most energy efficient choice for fireplaces, only inserts approved by the Environmental Protection Agency should be installed in residential homes. The EPA designation ensures that the fireplace insert has undergone rigorous testing regarding both its safety and efficiency.


Dampers, or the metal plate that separates a fireplace from the rest of the chimney, are designed to have a snug, airtight seal. Over time, dampers may lose their original seal, allowing cold air or moisture to enter a house through the chimney. Because they are exposed to both hot and cold air – as well as the elements – it is recommended that dampers should only be repaired or replaced by licensed professionals.

While closed dampers can prevent unwanted cold air from entering a room, dampers should always be left open when a fireplace is in use. Doing this prevents smoke and other harmful gasses from entering the home, allowing them to travel safely up the chimney instead.


Sometimes seen as only decorative, firebacks are large metal pieces placed at the back of a firebox. The primary purpose of a fireback is to reflect heat back into the room, preventing warm air from travelling up the chimney and out of the room. In addition, firebacks protect the fireplace masonry from damage from long-term exposure to fire and heat. Because of the ease of installation and the number of different styles they are available in, adding a fireback is a fast and easy way to improve the efficiency of an existing fireplace without undertaking a major remodel.

Fireplace doors 

Professionally fitted fireplace doors are an attractive, decorative way to seal their fireplace when not in use. Like firebacks, fireplace doors are available in a number of different styles and finishes, giving homeowners the ability to choose a style that fits their décor and budget.

Similar to the damper, fireplace doors should always remain open while the fireplace is in use. The primary way they improve efficiency is through a combination of preventing cold air from entering and warm air from leaving when the fireplace is not in use.

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