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Hearth  
How to Clean a Fireplace
By Elise White
9/12/2014 9:10:00 AM  




The warm glimmer of a blazing fireplace inspires cozy holiday bliss in all of us. Even crooning Christmas legends have roasted chestnuts and hung stockings around the fire in beloved verse.

 

Nonetheless, while a toasty fire presents a practical way to warm up the wintertime chill, a neglected fireplace may spark a flame you can’t control. When soot condenses from continuous use, a highly combustible substance called creosote accumulates, leaving you one match away from a house fire.

 

Thus, to maintain a safe domestic blaze, let’s prepare for some holiday hearth action with an annual cleaning. As the hearth is the center of your home, protect your haven with these easy steps.

 

You will need:

  • Hearth Utility Gloves
  • Newspaper/tarp
  • Trash bags
  • Shovel and ash bucket
  • Chimney Sweep Brush
  • Bucket of warm water
  • Scrubber
  • Detergent (optional)
  • Ash vac (optional)

 

1. Manage the mayhem

 

First thing’s first. Has it been one day? For this undertaking, it’s important that you wait 24 hours since the last lit fire.

 

Slip on our exclusive suede hearth utility gloves and make sure you’re dressed for the occasion – old clothing is great for fireplace cleaning.

 

Place newspaper or tarp on the fireplace floor to catch the soot and cover close furniture with old sheets or cloth. Trash bags are also helpful to have nearby to dispose of waste.

 

2. Detection Perfection

 

Open the flue and peer into your chimney. With a little skylight, you can inspect soot and possibly metallic hardened deposits of creosote. Let’s get to work!

 

3. Brush, Brush and Away!

 

Begin by using your handy dandy shovel to remove ashes and debris piled in the fireplace.

 

Next, take a chimney sweep brush and brush away! Our round poly brushes do a thorough job without scratching up the flue. Pair with a fiberglass extension rod and make sure to brush each wall top to bottom. Shovel the ashes into a pan and dump the wreckage into your standby trash bags or a sturdy ash bucket or scuttle.

 

Next, take a scrubber brush and a bucket of warm water and begin a deep cleansing. To make it more effective, add a squirt or two of detergent in the pale. Rinse with a sponge and wipe dry with an old towel.

 

4. Throw it in the bag!

 

Pick up your protective newspaper or tarp, full of soot and deposits, and throw it in the bag! The trash bag, obviously. Relax while the walls dry and savor that awesome feeling of do-it-yourself accomplishment. Close the flue and we’re back in business!

 

Success!

 

Now, you’re ready to rekindle another winter of yuletide bliss before the fireplace.  Who needs lengthy footage of a burning log? You’ve got your own safe, efficient, slow-burning beauty at the ready.

 

For maximum ease and efficiency in cleaning your fireplace, visit our Fireplace Cleaning & Maintenance collection.


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Tags: fireplace cleaning, hearth, fireplace, how to clean your fireplace
Categories: Hearth
Outdoor Living  
Solar Solutions: Easy, Eco-Friendly Outdoor Lighting Ideas
By Elise White
8/27/2014 10:51:00 AM  

Looking for the right lighting for your landscape? Solar lights offer many advantages over other types of outdoor lights. Solar lighting requires no wiring or cords, which means installation is quick and easy. Plus, solar lights are an eco-friendly, energy-saving option because they capture the sun’s energy by day to brighten your home’s exterior at night. Here are some great ideas for adding beauty and security to your home with minimal effort!


 

A Fairy Solution

 

Here at Plow & Hearth, we’re big fans of glittering fairies and woodland folk! Their resin wings and miniature homes fill our virtual shop and catalog pages. What’s the most flutter-ful thing about them, you ask?

 

The magical ability to light their way through our gardens, of course!

 

Luminescent fairy wings in flight make such a beautiful sight that we’re inspired to mimic their magic with string lights and hanging ornaments.

 

Have you been searching for the radiant romance of hanging lights and lanterns at dawn or the airy atmosphere of a faintly lit garden, fit for fairies? Or perhaps you’re seeking the security of a bright walkway, ensuring no late night homecoming goes unlit? These solar solutions have it covered, with or without the aid of wing-ed friends!

 

Harnessing Sunlight: What’s inside?

 

No access to shimmering stardust? No worries, the mechanics are fairly simple. Leave your lights to bathe in sunny rays during the daytime and the solar panels, found on the crown or side of your model, will store up energy. Your lights will ignite as sunlight fades and last for about four hours at a time. 

 

While solar lights seem to work like magic, the actual chemistry is equally compelling. Each light contains either nickel cadmium (NiCD) or nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries wired to solar cells that convert sunlight directly into energy. In many cases, this energy powers an efficient light-emitting diode, or LED bulb. Leave them outside all year long!

 

Enchanting fairy lights, path lights, or lanterns are must-haves for any outdoor celestial haven. But don’t limit yourself to hardwired systems for landscape lighting in the process of creating the magic! There are so many eco-friendly and efficient solar lighting options to try.

 

Wireless and convenient, decorative solar garden lighting makes the perfect light and design solution to any outdoor entertainment or dining dilemma.

 

Shine Bright Like A Fairy

 

Brighter isn’t always better! Compared to conventional models, solar landscape lighting emits a softer ethereal glow to sustain light longer into the evening. The blaze won’t match that of traditional low-voltage lights, but these handy units conserve energy, light, and of course, your bill.

 

Long-lasting LED lights are the most common landscape light bulb, emitting a muted shine sufficient for solar security lighting along steps and pathways. Halogen or florescent solar lights burn brighter, but won’t last as long.

 

Like all of nature’s wonders, these lights are at the mercy of the sun. On winter or overcast days, cells will generate less power for the batteries to store. Nevertheless, on bright days that fade into clear dreamy nights perfect for entertaining, your solar lights will power through with abiding elfin spirit!

 

The Brilliant Benefits

 

Minimal maintenance and lack of a light switch are huge advantages to having solar outdoor entertaining lighting and security bulbs. Regularly wipe down the panels with a barely damp cloth and you’re set. The battery only needs to be replaced every two years!

 

Photo sensors and motion sensors maintain the magic, allowing you to watch your lights turn on from afar or catch the occasional nymph tiptoeing by. But if you’d rather dispel the magic for a while, some models come with a manual switch.

 

Subtly designed installations are one of many recent design advances in the solar landscape world. These days, you can place solar lights along in-ground walkways, float them in pools, or place them inside for decorative accents. Weatherproof technology even allows you to mount panels outside to give your shed, closet, or barn some fairy rustic mood lighting!

 

Twinkle to your heart’s content!

 

From the twinkling glow of rustic string lights and hanging orbs to the firefly effect of fairy lights in mason jars and color changing mobiles, solar lights bring unexpected brilliance your yard! Even classically designed practical and security lighting provide a serene ambience to skirt your pathways.

 

Borrow a little solar stardust to sprinkle above the garden and along the courtyard. You may just mesmerize even your enchanted woodland friends!

Shop our entire Solar Lighting collection!


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