Monday 31 January 2011

Wood Veneer for Fire Surrounds

Wood veneers or “real” wood veneers are creating a resurgence in the fireplace mantle industry with many manufacturers keen to move toward a more economical and ecological real wood alternative.

When an object is veneered a thin covering is applied to the surface to cover the true appearance of the object, mainly to make the veneered object more aesthetically pleasing. This process has mostly been used in woodwork, but now commonly used in masonry, stonework and dentistry, and lends itself perfectly to the fireplace surrounds industry. Pictured here is the Europa Beaufort in a natural oak real wood veneer finish.

Fire surrounds or mantles are now using an array or desirable woods in the veneering process, creating appealing lightweight surrounds from renewable sources. Generally a wood veneer is no more than three millimeters in thickness and is obtained by peeling or slicing a tree trunk to the desired thickness. A process widely believed to derive from the Egyptians as they veneered many items, usually furniture.

The veneer process has been used widely within the fireplace sector and some manufacturers have now moved on from wooden veneers whereby the veneer is fixed usually with glue to a less alluring wood, i.e. particle board or medium density board, and use a stone or marble effect material known as micro-marble as the veneer, and in some cases veneer onto metal apposed to the more common place MDF. Shown is the Europa Lancaster surround in the veneered off white stone effect.

Unfortunately veneer is often seen as tacky, cheep, and undesirable from previous generations of manufacturing, but be assured, veneering is now a well honed process, often appearing exactly the same as more expensive solid wood surrounds and thus will be around for generations to come.

Friday 28 January 2011

Be Modern Fire Surround Sets

Be modern have a range of fire surround sets, these sets include the mantle surround, back panel and hearth. Each product within the range come with set dimensions, however many have alternative finishes.

The be modern fire surround set include new products and existing products now available in a new material and a new finish. The materials used are either a micro-marble material, natural marble or natural black granite.

Using micro-marble will give you a stone or marble finish at a cheaper cost. This is due to the raw materials being easier to transport, less flaws in the finished product, more consistency in the colouring while keeping a marble feel and look.

Natural marble or granite are slightly more expensive, but can be used with solid or multi fuel products, micro-marble surrounds are not suitable for these fuel types as the heat emitted from them is much greater. The weight of the natural products is much more and the possible flaws or colour variations within the surrounds are viewed as part of the products aesthetic appeal. Natural Surround sets can be difficult to get replacement pieces for, if you manage to break a piece of back panel be warned, it may be very hard to match a new section of stone or marble to the existing piece. However this is not a problem that occurs very often once the product is installed and the fact that you have a unique surround set can be most appealing.

All of the surrounds shown are part of the newly released range and are all made to the highest of standard that is expected from this well known manufacturer be modern. All of the back panels are designed with a standard cut out that allows most gas and electric fires to easily be fitted. New and updated surround sets include the Carmelo, Roberto, Beatrice, Lucien and the Paloma. These surrounds sets are available from all respectable retailers and are usually delivered directly from the manufacturer to the delivery address or direct from the stockist or supplier.

Thursday 27 January 2011

Electric Fireplace Suites

If you live in an abode with smaller proportions, be it an apartment or flat, or maybe you don’t have a chimney or live in rented accommodation and yearn for the homely fireplace feature in the living or dining room, then yearn no more, for electric fireplace suites may hold the solution.

Electric Fireplace Suites are as a rule are a complete unit, which comprise of the mantle, aka surround, the hearth and back panel, and of course the fire. These suites are almost always advertised assembled and thus make it easier to picture in homely surroundings. Electric fire suites are generally very easy to install, simply unwrap, place next to a flat wall, plug into a socket, and you’re in business.

Manufacturers and suppliers of these electric suites take care to ensure the most popular mantles and fire designs are paired together to ensure consumer interest, thus meaning bulk manufacturing can take place reducing the cost of the component parts of the suite. Electric suites tend to be light weight in construction; this lowers distribution and delivery costs and makes them easier to handle upon customer receivership.

The variation in the electric suites available is immense, from the latest contemporary fire suite with remote controls and LED technology, to traditional wooden fire suites with shelving and brass embellishments on the fire. It doesn’t take long to find the ideal look to suit any individual taste, so why be hassled buying the individual pieces of a fireplace at a higher cost? Unless designing a room with a particular bespoke finish.

Before purchasing an electric suite please be aware that not all suites arrive assembled, and they may not simply plug into an existing socket. Some electric suites have spot lights or down lights which generally use halogen lights or LED lights, be sure before purchase whether these need an alternative power supply or not to ensure complete satisfaction from the suite.

Electric fireplace suites are highly efficient, electric fires are more economical than other types of fire and are cleaner for the environment, (and usually require less cleaning, which is always a bonus).

Wednesday 26 January 2011

Hillandale Stoves

Hillandale stoves have recently released two ranges of stoves into the industry that are proving to be very popular sellers, these ranges are the Monroe and Monterrey.
Hillandale have given the stoves a number in their title that corresponds to the heat output that they can achieve, for example the Monroe 3 emits up to 3kW of heat and the Monterrey 7 can emit up to 7kW of heat.
All of the stoves in these two ranges are constructed from solid cast iron and have viewing windows that allow you to watch the fire and flames in action. they all have fantastic but differing efficiency ratings too. The 7 models of the Monterrey and the Monroe have 76.3% efficiency, the 5 models have 76.6% efficiency and the smallest 3 models have the largest 81% efficiency. However the Monterrey and the Monroe 3's are not DEFRA approved. Defra approved means that a stove may be used in a smoke controlled area when using smokeless fuels, one of the most readily available and environmentally favorable smokeless fuels is wood, and many manufacturers achieve their output figures from using wood.
As all stoves in the Monterrey and Monroe ranges are multi fuel it means they can all burn solid fuels including coal and peat etc, however the 5 and 7 models are classed as defra approved and can be used in a smoke controlled area when only burning wood and other smokeless fuels.
As standard the Monterrey and Monroe stoves all come ash pans and complementary safety gloves and the stoves are sure to continue making a great impact on the fire industry for the foreseeable future.

Tuesday 25 January 2011

What Is A Decorative Fire?

A question that i've frequently come across in the industry from consumers is:
What Does It Mean By A Decorative Fire? Aren't All Fires Decorative?

What Does It Mean By A Decorative Fire?

The term decorative fire is used to describe larger open fires such as baskets or the Verine Atina. These fires all have 1 thing in common, a large opening and a large area around the flames in the centre, although this finish does create stunning finish that really showcases the living flame effect inside, this large empty space is unfortunately the reason that these fires are decorative only.

Everyone knows that hot air rises, and as the hot air from the large open flames rises, it rises up the chimney, this natural convection draws air from the room into the fire to be heated and rise up the chimney, this natural air current draws all the warm air up and out the chimney, a norm
al chimney will draw all the air out of the room every 2 hours.

This natural draw means that all the hot air will rise up the chimney with only radiant heat warming the room, meaning that these fires are incredibly inefficient and shouldn't be relied upon as a source of heat, as it all goes up the chimney!

Aren't All Fires Decorative?

Strictly speaking...Yes! All fires are decorative, they are all part of the decor of the living space so are decorative. But when lit they aren't just decorative, they provide heat as well, which is the main difference between a decorative fire and other gas fires, when lit a decorative fire is just that...decorative! Where as another fire would give out heat as well as showcasing the living flame effect.

Manufacturer Focus: Drugasar

In May 1754, a sales contract was signed for the building of a new blast furnace between Johan Baptist van den Dergh and a few local entrepreneurs in Ulft, the Netherlands. The project was the beginning of the company that is the modern day Drugasar, some 250 years later!
The company is called De Koninklijke Diepenbrock en Reugers if Ulft, or in short Drugasar or DRU.
Drugasar started out as a blast furnace, producing a large range of products from cast iron, DRU pots and pans are still particularly well known. At the beginning of the 1960's when natural gas was discovered in the Netherlands DRU switched to producing gas fireplaces. DRU is now one of the oldest industrial companies in the Netherlands.

Now, Drugasar is a modern company that continues to specialise in producing high-quality and unique fireplaces. It is the largest producer of closed combustion fireplaces in Europe, and has operations in three countries and a dealership that spans most of Europe. This independent company with a well-established foundation is proud of its industrial heritage and has even been awarded the prestigious designation of Supplier to the Royal Dutch Court.

Drugasar Gas and Electric Fires have been designed to bring out the best in your living room – contemporary or traditional.
You will have no shortage of choice, with a large variety of gas and electric fires available, each with its own selection of trim, colour and fuel effect. So you are sure to find a combination that will harmonise with your lifestyle.

"DRU gas fires are not simply pleasing to the eye, they are among the most advanced heating appliances on the planet."

Combining contemporary styling with modern gas technology, DRU gas fires provide all-round warmth and comfort as well as aesthetic appeal.

From simple but stunning frameless fires such as the Metro range, to more traditional designs such as the Passeo (shown right), DRU gas fires provide a wealth of choice.

And with the incredible efficiency of gas fires, especially using the DRU balanced flue system, with up to 85% efficiency, heating your home need not cost a fortune.

Unfortunately even the most beautiful Drugasar gas fire would be worthless if the house did not have a gas connection, or if your preference is for an electric fire, DRU do also do a stunning range of electric fires.

DRU electric fires combine the beauty of contemporary fireplace design with a unique operating system that creates the best realistic fire available anywhere.

The flame pattern is the closest to a gas fire you will ever see. And yet, because of its unique LED technology, it combines a generous 2 kw heat output with remarkably low energy consumption.

Monday 24 January 2011

Celsi Electric Fires Are Hot For 2011

Celsi fires are British designed fire range that launched in the states in January 2010 and believed by many in the industry to have brought the most advance in technology for decades. With stunning design, state of the art technology and the highest level of manufacturing quality whilst still maintaining a safe, effective, high efficiency, environmentally respectful fire.

The first noticeable feature of the Celsi fire range is the design, whether as a more traditional hearth based (three sided) fire, or as a more contemporary wall mounted fire (Celsi curved or panoramic) the Celsi range deliver a crisp, clean, elegant style. The complete range of Celsi electric fires display a stunning visual fire effect and Celsi have used video in many of their marketing campaigns to show the realism of the fuel bed and flame effect (believing still pictures just don’t portray the overall quality of the LED fire).

Celsi fires realistic fuel bed and flame effect are digitally displayed with superb definition and offer the option to alternate the view between a blazing log, smouldering log or even a coal fuel effect. The speed of the flame flicker is adjustable too, and Celsi have incorporated appropriate sound effects to accompany the chosen fuel effect (which can be muted if and when required). Certain models boast mood lighting to highlight the fire and create the perfect ambiance.

Other innovative and practical features of the Celsi fires range include a sleep timer; this turns off the fire when set, and the digitally controlled thermostat; this allows an individuals preferred temperature to be regulated throughout the room, providing a constant temperature. This function when selected will alter the fires intensity of heat and air flow to achieve the required overall room temperature. The visual display uses LED technology and has adjustable picture brightness, so whatever the room lighting, optimum fire display is visible.

All features of the Celsi fire range are easily recognisable via the display icons, and the intuitive controls are operated by the stylish ergonomically designed remote control.

Build quality and safety are primary features of the Celsi fire range and they do not fail to deliver. Celsi have such confidence in their ranges manufacturing build quality that they offer a five year manufacturers warranty on their products. Safety is undertaken with vigorous product testing; features include stay cool glass, and no hot or incandescent parts. The Celsi electric fires are environmentally safe, with 100% heat efficiency and with a maximum heat output of 1.5kW (impressive for fires of this type).

There are other general benefits to using electric fires; they are usually extremely efficient, and better for the environment. Electric fires, including the Celsi range, are suitable to be used in most homes, they don’t need additional ventilation or flue requirements and most electric fires will simply plug into an existing electricity supply.

If you are considering purchasing an electric fire and want efficiency, technology, effectiveness and style then consider one of the innovative Celsi fires from the electric fire range which is available only at reputable retailers.

Friday 21 January 2011

New Range Of Apex Stoves

Apex have recently released a new range of stoves to supply the increasing demand for that traditional stove look and feel. With energy prices shooting up and up (again!) and modern gas fires or stoves simply not offering the feel and look of a traditional wood burner.

This new range of Apex stoves all feature a full heavy guage cast iron body, incorporating a dual wall. This eliminates the need fpr traditional firebricks to line the interior of the stove, offering larger internal space so producing more heat for less space!

As with most stoves on the market they also feature an airwash system the keep the window clean and allow the glow from the fire to radiate out into the room, further adding to the experience of a wood burning stove!
These brand new Apex stoves also come with supremely high quality heat resistant glass to ensure that your view of the burning logs inside is never compromised.

The smallest of the new range is the Apex Newbury wood burning stove, this smaller sized stove offers a maximum heat output of 5kW making it ideal for smaller living spaces! This traditionally styled stove combines traditional styling with modern technology to offer a high heat output, highlighted with brass handles and hinges that help break up the traditional matt black cast iron finish as well as traditional detailing on both the air control spinners and around the top of the stove and door, creating a stove that rivals the Aga Little Wenlock is size, but offers a higher heat output and at a lower price, meaning The Apex Newbury is great value for money!

A stove offering slightly more heat output over the Newbury is the Apex Keighley, this stove offers up to 9kW of heat output and offers the same high-quality finish that all the other Apex stoves boast. Unlike the Newbury the Keighley features chrome controls to contrast the matt black finish. The Keighley offers a larger viewing window with a traditional and stylish arch detailing that offers style without compromising views on the fire inside. The Keighley also boasts traditional engraved detailing around the door and relief detailing down each side of the stove. As with all the Apex Stoves the Keighley also comes with adjustable air controls, these mean the fire can be "adjusted" to burn slower and provide background heat or give out the maximum 9kW of heat for those cold wintry nights.

The largest in terms of size of the new Apex fires range is the Henley, this stove offers a maximum heat output of 9.5kW, more than enough to heat even some of the more spacious living spaces.
The Henley again features the same traditional styling with textured areas on the stove and the traditional column-esque detailing supporting the top of the stove.

All of the above Apex stoves are now available from Fireplace Supermarket and come complete with removable ashpan, log grate and heat resistant glove.

Thursday 13 January 2011

Verine Carmelo HE Gas Fire

The Verine Carmelo HE is a brand new balanced flue gas fire that has a beautiful contemporary design. The Carmelo HE is the latest product from the British manufacturers Verine so you know it is going to be a good quality fire, which is verified by the 7 year guarantee!!

This extravagant fire will provide your room with a high maximum heat output of 6.5kW with an efficiency of 75%!! That is more than enough to keep your room very warm whilst also saving on running costs.

Verine have supplied this fire with a fully thermostatic remote control which can be used to light the fire as well as adjust the fame height and heat output. The remote control also allows you to regulate the temperature of the room on a timer so your room can warm whenever you wish, all from the comfort of your chair!!

Don't have a chimney or flue? then the Verine Carmelo is the perfect option for you with the added bonus of having a balanced flue option which allows you to vent gases straight out of the building but it must be mounted on an external wall. This Balanced Flue option draws air in from the outside whilst expelling combustion gases from the inner pipe.

The Verine Carmelo HE is sure to be a major talking point for any home with its unique contemporary design as well as being highly efficient. This High Efficiency fire is only available from quality showrooms and will definitely be in high demand!!

Tuesday 11 January 2011

How To Burn Wood Efficiently

Understanding the way in which wood is burnt will allow you to burn wood in a more environmentally friendly way, reduce the costly maintenance required for your chimney and get more heat out of the wood. There are 3 stages in the wood-burning process:

Evaporation - When you light a stove a lot
of energy will be needed at first to boil away any moisture trapped inside the wood. This takes a lot of energy to drive the water out of the wood and convert it into steam, producing an inefficient fire that is not burning cleanly. Also, much of the energy wasted in evaporating water is energy that could have heated the stove and started heating the room. This is a waste of all three elements; wood, money and effort. This water trapped in the wood has a nasty habit of putting out the fire, the best way to avoid this is to use seasoned wood, Properly stored and seasoned wood will help to minimise these problems.

So what is seasoning?
Essentially it is m
aking wood fit for burning – by reducing its water content – usually by leaving it for a period of time in the right conditions. All wood contains water. Freshly-cut "green" wood can be up to 45% water, while well-seasoned firewood generally has a 20–25% moisture content. Well seasoned firewood is easier to light, produces more heat, and burns cleaner.
Emissions - As the heat of the fire intensifies, waste-gases (smoke) are released from the wood. Unburned smoke is emitted into the air either as pollution, or condensed in the chimney causing creosote build-up. It takes time for the air in your chimney to heat up. When it is still cold you get an effect similar to the condensation of hot breath on a colder window or mirror. So when the by-products of combustion (smoke in the form of gases) exit the stove, and flow up into the relatively cooler chimney, condensation occurs.

The resulting residue that sticks to the inner walls of the chimney is called creosote. Creosote is formed by unburned, flammable particulates present in the smoke. It is black or brown in appearance. It can be crusty and flaky, tar-like, drippy and sticky or shiny and hardened. Quite often, all forms will occur in one chimney system.

If the wood you are using is water logged, or green, the fire will tend to smoulder and not warm the chimney sufficiently. Wet wood causes the whole system to be cool, and inefficient. In contrast: dry wood means a hot fire, which results in a hot flue, and a hot flue means much less creosote clogging up your chimney.

Charcoal - When most of the tar and gasses have burned the remaining substance is charcoal (ash in it’s finer form). A hot bed of charcoals and ash can enhance the combustion process when burning larger pieces of wood. Start with a small fire to develop a bed of glowing embers. As the charcoal bed develops and the cooker heats up, slowly add larger and larger pieces of wood. It takes time to build a good charcoal bed, but it is well worth the effort. Only empty excess ash periodically and always leave a bed of ash on which to light the next fire.

Every type of wood is different, some such as ash burn well and produce plenty of heat, in contrast Poplar, the same wood that is used to make matchsticks! burns very slowly and produces very little heat. Below is an interesting poem to help you remember which wood to use and which to avoid!
Logs to burn, logs to burn,
Logs to save the coal a turn
Here's a word to make you wise,

When you hear the woodman's cries.
Never heed his usual tale,
That he has good logs for sale,
But read these lines and really learn,
the proper kind of logs to burn.
OAK logs will warm you well,
If they're old and dry.
LARCH logs of pine wood smell,
But the sparks will fly.
BEECH logs for Christmas time,
YEW logs heat well.
SCOTCH logs it is a crime,

For anyone to sell.
BIRCH logs will burn too fast,
CHESTNUT scarce at all
HAWTHORN logs are good to last,
If you cut them in the fall
HOLLY logs will burn like wax
You should burn them green

ELM logs like smouldering flax
No flame to be seen

PEAR logs and APPLE logs,

they will scent your room.
CHERRY logs across the dogs,
Smell like flowers in bloom
But ASH logs, all smooth and grey,
burn them green or old;
Buy up all that come your way,
They're worth their weight in gold.

Thursday 6 January 2011

Dangers Of Carbon Monxide Poisoning

Now for a lightly more scary topic, Carbon Monoxide Poisoning. One of the main causes of carbon monoxide poisoning is poorly maintained or installed gas appliances.

You can’t see it, taste it or smell it but it can kill quickly and with no warning. Unsafe gas appliances produce a highly poisonous gas called carbon monoxide (CO). It can cause death as well as serious long term health problems such as brain damage.

There are 6 main symptoms to look out for:
  1. headaches
  2. dizziness
  3. nausea
  4. breathlessness
  5. collapse
  6. loss of consciousness

Being aware of the symptoms could save your life.

Carbon monoxide symptoms are similar to flu, food poisoning, viral infections and simply tiredness. That’s why it’s quite common for people to mistake this very dangerous poisoning for something else.

Other signs that could point to carbon monoxide poisoning:
  • Your symptoms only occur when you are at home
  • Your symptoms disappear or get better when you leave home and come back when you return
  • Others in your household are experiencing symptoms (including your pets) and they appear at a similar time

What should I do if I experience any symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning?

  • Get fresh air immediately. Open doors and windows, turn off gas appliances and leave the house
  • See your doctor immediately or go to hospital - let them know that you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning. They can do a blood or breath test to check
  • If you think there is immediate danger, call the Gas Emergency Helpline
  • Get a Gas Safe registered engineer to inspect your gas appliances and flues to see if there is a dangerous problem
Don’t assume your gas appliances are safe: get a Gas Safe registered gas engineer to do a check. This is the only safe way to prevent yourself and those around you from incurring serious illness or death due to carbon monoxide exposure.

What is carbon monoxide?

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a highly poisonous substance produced by the incomplete burning of gas and Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG).

This happens when a gas appliance has been incorrectly fitted, badly repaired or poorly maintained. It can also occur if flues, chimneys or vents are blocked.

Oil and solid fuels such as coal, wood, petrol and oil can also produce carbon monoxide.

What is carbon monoxide poisoning?

Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs when you breathe in even small amounts of the gas.
When you breathe in carbon monoxide, it gets into your blood stream and prevents your red blood cells from carrying oxygen. Without oxygen, your body tissue and cells die.
Levels that do not kill can cause serious harm to health when breathed in over a long period of time. Long term effects of carbon monoxide poisoning include Paralysis and brain damage. Such long term effects occur because many people are unaware of unsafe gas appliances and subsequent gas leaks.

How do I avoid a carbon monoxide leak in my home?

Your home may show signs of carbon monoxide. Any one of the following could be a sign that there is carbon monoxide in your home. Get your gas appliances checked to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • The flame on your cooker should be crisp and blue. Lazy yellow or orange flames mean you need to get your cooker checked
  • Soot or yellow/brown staining around or on appliances
  • Pilot lights that frequently blow out
  • Increased condensation inside windows
If you have a faulty appliance in your home, it could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Get it checked as soon as possible by a Gas Safe registered engineer.

Happy New Year

Happy New Year from all of us at Fires | Fireplaces | Stoves, hope the festive period was warm and full of joy.
We thought we'd start off the new year by giving a brief summary of a number of products that have caught our eye recently and are looking like must-haves for 2011.

The first fire our this list comes courtesy of The Fireplace Megastore, The Verine Carmelo HE balanced flue gas fire takes the already very popular Verine Carmelo and makes it available to households and properties that do not have a chimney. The balanced flue vastly increases the efficiency of the Carmelo HE over the normal Carmelo, taking the efficiency up from around 40-50% up to 75%, this also means the heat output has upped from minimal heat output decorative fire to one that has a high output of 6.5kW.
The contemporary frameless finish and plain black lining create a very simple yet effective finish, this can be combined either white stones for a very minimalist finish or with the realistic log fuel effect for a slightly more traditional feel, both of these fuel effects are supplied with the fire for extra flexibility. The stunning finish and quality feel of this fire coupled with the success of the open-fronted Carmelo mean this fire is likely to become hot property when it is released in February-March.

Our next product that has just been released is the Ceraglass back panel for the Drugasar Metro range of balanced flue gas fires. This reflexive black glass back panel adds a more contemporary finish to the fire, with the warm glow of the flames reflected back into the room for even more ambience. Drugasar haven't even released a photo of this new back panel yet but we're sure that it is going to make these high-quality and supremely luxurious fires even more desirable.

Another range to look out for this year is the Celsi range of inset electric fires, with people looking for a more realistic flame effect to the traditional ribbon flame effect and some alternate flame effects either lacking in realism or requiring a large amount of maintenance the Celsi range of inset electric fires with their unique 3D flame effect offering the choice of Smouldering or blazing logs or glowing coal as well as real sounds to further add to the illusion that this fire is real. Other features include adjustable flame speed and brightness for ambience as well as a sleep timer and adjustable temperature controls, all possible via a handheld remote control. Available in a range of styles both contemporary and traditional this ultra-realistic range of electric fires is sure to be very popular in 2011.