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Alternatives To Propane Heating

For years propane has been one of the most popular choices for heating homes, powering grills, and more. It’s cheap, clean burning, and easy to access. Additionally, propane is considered by many one of the best fuel sources on the market. However, steadily increasing prices and recent shortages have caused a dip in propane’s popularity.

Do you use propane as the primary heating source for your home? If so, it may be time to consider an alternative other than lowering the thermostat. The fireplace store at Clean Sweeps of Michigan carries a wide variety of inserts, fireplaces, and stoves to meet your family’s heating needs. Trust our expert staff to help you find the perfect heating appliance. Get rid of propane today!

Wood burning heating appliances.

There is nothing quite like the feeling of warmth and comfort that comes with sitting around a crackling, wood burning fire. After all, modern wood burning stoves, fireplaces, and inserts can be used either as a supplemental or primary heat source for your home.

Wood is considered to be one of the most environmentally friendly fuel sources. Burning wood is considered “carbon neutral” as wood gives off the same amount of carbon dioxide, whether it is burned or decays naturally. Wood is also a renewable resource, helping keep supply steady and prices low. Many homeowners are able to further reduce costs. How? By cutting, chopping, stacking, and seasoning some – if not all – of their own firewood!

Pellet stoves and inserts.

Do you like the look and feel of a wood fireplace, but dislike the stacking, storage, and stoking it requires? If so, pellets may be the ideal fuel source for your home. Pellets are made from recycled and compressed wood parts and pieces that are too small to be used in other ways. This makes them an environmentally friendly wood alternative. Why? Since they are made from real wood, their burn closely resembles that of wood logs. Their small size allows pellets to burn more completely, reducing waste and leaving behind less ash and soot.

Pellet inserts and stoves are fed using a hopper; the frequency with which pellets need to be reloaded depends on the size of the hopper. Pellets can be purchased at most home improvement or home supply stores. While the price of pellets is often comparable to firewood, pellets come in large bags that are easier to stack, store, and require less space.

Gas fireplaces and inserts.

If your home already uses propane, switching to natural gas is, for lack of a better word, a natural choice. With low prices, clean burning, and the same ease of use as propane, natural gas is an excellent and cost-effective alternative. With a wide variety of fireplaces and inserts to match your home’s heating needs as well as décor, Clean Sweeps of Michigan carries the perfect gas heating appliance for you and your family!

If you heat your home with propane, don’t get left in the cold by high prices or gas shortages this winter. Instead, stay warm by switching to an alternative fuel source. For more information about new heating appliances and alternative fuel sources, contact Clean Sweeps of Michigan today.

Extra Protection with a Top Sealing Damper

Extra Protection with a Top Sealing Damper - Ann Arbor MI - Clean Sweeps of MIKeeping moisture, debris, and animals out of your chimney is the most important thing you can do to extend the life of your fireplace system. Many homeowners, however, worry that their chimney caps are not doing enough to protect their fireplace systems.

One of the most recent innovations in the fireplace industry – the top sealing damper – was designed as a way to provide extra protection to your chimney system. Not only can top sealing dampers protect your chimney as well as if not better than a chimney cap, but they can also help save money by improving the efficiency of your fireplace system.

What makes top sealing dampers different?

Most homes have fireplaces with throat dampers. Throat dampers are located at the top of the firebox and separate the firebox from the rest of the flue. While the throat damper seals off the firebox, the rest of the chimney is left exposed. Because of this, chimney caps are needed to protect the top of the flue from animals, water, and debris.

Top sealing dampers, however, are able to seal off the entire chimney structure from the outside, not just the firebox. Located at the top of the flue, when closed top sealing dampers prevent animals, debris, and moisture from getting into the fireplace system. Unlike chimney caps, whose mesh sides can be damaged or pulled away by animals seeking entrance, the seal created by top sealing dampers is nearly impossible to break.

Top sealing dampers and efficiency

In addition to protecting your fireplace, top sealing dampers are also popular because of the energy savings they can provide. Because traditional throat dampers leave the chimney structure open to the outside, the air temperature in the chimney can fluctuate based on outside temperature. This can affect the air temperature is surrounding rooms, causing your HVAC system to have to work harder to keep a consistent indoor air temperature.

Because top sealing dampers close off the entire chimney system, the air temperature in the chimney remains more consistent. This, in turn, keeps your thermostat from running due to reaction to air temperature changes, saving you money on utilities.

How to use a top sealing damper


This clip is courtesy of Richie Baxley at Environmental Chimney Service in Asheville NC.

Just like a traditional throat damper, top sealing dampers must be opened when the fireplace is in use to prevent smoke and gasses like carbon monoxide from building up in your home. To use a top sealing damper, a lever or pulley in the firebox is used to open the damper before fireplace use. Once the fire is completely extinguished, the damper can be safely closed.

Some homeowners worry that top sealing dampers leave their chimney exposed when they are open. However, because top sealing dampers should only be opened when the fireplace is in use, the rising smoke and hot air act as a natural deterrent to animals such as birds and small mammals. Likewise, many top sealing dampers are designed to keep large animals such as raccoons out even when open.

Even if your home as a well-sealed throat damper, a top sealing damper can provide an additional layer of protection. Contact Clean Sweeps of Michigan today to learn how a top sealing damper can protect your chimney and help save you money!

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