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BrookeChaplan posted a blog entry in Brooke Chaplan's Green BlogBurning a wood fire in your fireplace on chilly winter days can add a touch of coziness to your home, and it can also bring much-needed warmth to your space. However, a wood-burning fire in your fireplace can increase indoor air pollution. The air pollution can be so significant at times that it creates a true health hazard that puts you and your loved ones inside the home at immediate risk. With proper usage and maintenance of your fireplace, you can reduce the risk of indoor air pollution generated by your fireplace. Clean the Chimney Regularly Each time you burn a wood fire in your fireplace, creosote, and other elements are deposited in the chimney. These are highly flammable materials, and a stray spark could ignite the material and cause a house fire. In addition, when the material is very thick, it can partially or even fully block the flow of smoke out of the home. When even some of the smoke remains inside the home, the issue of toxic gases becomes a serious concern. Scheduling annual chimney sweeping service before you use the fireplace each season can reduce this risk. If you use your fireplace heavily, it may also be necessary to schedule a second service halfway through the winter season. Open the Flue Completely Another cause of indoor air pollution from a fireplace relates to the flue. The flue must be fully open in order to allow smoke to filter up and out of the home. If the flue is not open, the smoke can billow back into the home. During a chimney inspection, a chimney sweep can inspect the flue and ensure that it functions as intended. Ensure Proper Ventilation Ventilation is critical when you are burning a wood fire in your fireplace. Smoke typically will rise up and out of the home through the chimney when the flue is open. However, when you have open windows or doors inside the home or even when fans are operating in some rooms, the smoke can be pulled into the home. If you are concerned about carbon monoxide from your fireplace, invest in a quality carbon monoxide detector. If ventilation continues to be an issue with a conventional fireplace, you may need to replace it with a safer alternative like a gas fireplace insert. As wonderful as a wood-burning fireplace can be throughout the winter, this charming feature can be hazardous to your health. Indoor air pollution is a serious concern for anyone who burns a fire even occasionally in their fireplace. Take these steps today to keep your home environment as safe as possible.
LizzieWeakley posted a blog entry in Lizzie Weakley's Green BlogThe roof protects your home interiors from snow, wind, hail, storm, rain and sun. It also ensures that heat from either the outside or inside does not leak to either side. If the roof is energy-inefficient, it may be costing hundreds of dollars in heating and cooling costs. Here are factors of your roof that may impact on the energy efficiency of your home. The Level of Insulation Ideally, energy efficiency is ensuring that the temperature out there does not affect the indoor temperature. One of the areas where outdoor temperature may influence your indoor temperature is the roof. The insulation levels in your attic determine whether the house losses some of the cool air during summer or gets cold during summer. Inspect the attic insulation regularly. Install additional insulation when necessary. Quality insulation also protects the roof from damage due to condensation in the attic. Ventilation Your roof requires some ventilation to offload the excess heat that may be hidden in the attic. During the cold weather, the trapped heat in the attic may thaw the snow prematurely and create ice dams. Ice dams eventually become points of weakness and leakage on the roof. You may end up with expensive leak repairs or roof replacement. During the hot weather, trapped heat may make your cooling systems less efficient. Therefore, it costs you more to cool the house that you should. Moreover, poor ventilation may tap moisture under your roof and cause damage to the holding beans and the roof structure. Trapped moisture can lead to mildew growth and rust on your metallic fixtures. Color The color of the roof also affects the energy efficiency of your home. Dark-colored roofs usually absorb lots of heat during summer. They can heat up to over 150 F° in a hot summer. The extra heat is transmitted to the attic and other materials in your home. This increases the indoor temperature thereby raising the energy consumption of your air conditioning systems. You end up paying more to keep your house cool. Consider light-colored roofs or roofs made from light-reflecting materials. You can also seek the help of professional roof contractors such as Stevens Roofing Corporation to help determine best colors to reflect heat. This enhances your energy efficiency and keeps your home cooler. Cut your energy costs by improving the energy efficiency of your home starting with the roof. Install the right roofing when building or refurbishing the house. Check the above elements to lower your energy costs.