The Different Options You Have For Fireplaces

Fireplaces can serve as a focal point in a room, provide a source of heat and add to the comfort of your home. They can also help you to save on energy costs. There’s so many different kinds of fireplaces that you can either install or find in a home. If you’re shopping for a home, you may want a home with a built-in fireplace. You don’t necessarily need one to get all of the benefits that a fireplace can provide. There’s different types of fireplaces that are made to suit the many different needs of homeowners. Here, we’ll show you some different kinds of fireplaces along with their pros and cons. 

Wood Fireplaces 

The most commonly thought of fireplace is the wood-burning fireplace. This will be built-in to your home, or you can install them in your home to use as a heat source. You may even install a wood stove in the upstairs part of your home and another in the downstairs in order to keep an even heat throughout the home. In some homes, however, just one wood stove is enough to heat the entire house! 

This type of fireplace requires maintaining from time-to-time including cleaning the chimney. You’ll also need to clean out ash from the inside of the fireplace. The material that’s being burned- wood, needs to be stored somewhere. Rain and inclement weather can cause a problem, as you’ll need to dry the wood some before it can be burned effectively. You’ll need a screen to protect you and your family from the ash and embers that may be blown around form the inside of the fireplace while it’s burning wood. These fireplaces are advantageous for a classic look and feel but can often be a pain to clean.   

Gas Fireplaces 

If your home is fitted with a gas fireplace, you’re lucky because these types of fireplaces are cleaner and provide a more even heat source. Gas fireplaces, true to their name, burn gas instead of wood. A vented gas fireplace will look very similar to that of a wood- burning fireplace. There is a firebox present in the chimney that allows for ventilation with these types of heating sources. You can use a variety of things to give the appearance that you are “burning” them in a gas fireplace. This includes beads that will bring flames up and ceramic logs that appear just like the logs that would be present in a wood-burning fireplace. You can even easily convert a gas burning fireplace to a wood burning one. This is, if you seem miss cleaning up all of the ash that they create!   

Direct Vent Fireplaces

These fireplaces don’t require a chimney. They draw in outside air and feed off a gas line that’s attached through the wall. The flame of these fireplaces is secured behind a piece of glass. The big advantage to these kinds of fireplaces is that they emit a large amount of heat and don’t lose much heat in the process, since there’s no chimney to lose air through.  

Faux Fireplaces

If you choose, there’s a variety of options that you have in getting a fireplace that doesn’t actually create a flame at all. These fireplaces are typically run on electricity and give the same effect of a fireplace but are much easier to install anywhere in your home. Consider these if you really would like a fireplace without the hassle!

Tips for Saving on Monthly Services

If money is tight right now, or if you’re just trying to live frugally, there are a number of ways to save money without having to drastically change your lifestyle. One of the best way to save money is by going through all of your recurring bills to see where you can eliminate or reduce spending.

In our age of user-friendly, advanced technology, there are more services available to us than ever before. You can call an Uber with one tap on your phone or order more laundry detergent by clicking the Amazon Dash button in your cabinet. With services this readily available to us, it’s hard not to sign up. Read on to learn how to save some money on your monthly services without having to sacrifice too many of life’s comforts.

Utilities

There are countless ways to save on water, heat, and electricity. Yes, you can turn down the heat in the winter time and take shorter showers, but there are less commonly known ways to save as well. For example:

  • Keep multiple electric-powered items plugged into one power-strip and power off the strip overnight. This will stop those items from consuming electricity in standby mode
  • Insulate your windows in the winter time by using caulking, weather stripping, and shrink wrap your windows with heat shrink film to keep the heat in
  • Some Saturday afternoon make a checklist of all of your home’s lightbulbs. Then go out and replace them with energy efficient CFLs and LED bulbs
  • Hang clothes on the line in fair weather and wash your clothes in cold water; much of the energy consumed by washing clothes goes to heating the water up first

Monthly services

Remember when there were only a few good shows on TV and paying for cable was the only way to watch them? Now any given household can have Netflix, Amazon Streaming, HBO Go, and countless other monthly services for watching TV.

To save on watching your favorite movies and television, try these tips:

  • Ditch Netflix DVD services or expensive premium cable channels and rent from your local library system. Through inter-library loans you can get the newest movies and TV shows shipped to your library for free
  • Cancel your cable bill and try a cheap service like Hulu. If you’re worried about missing the news, use websites or news apps on your smart TV to keep up to date on the issues
  • Negotiate rates with your provider. Sometimes all it takes is a phone call to learn about better options. Since many people are taking the internet-only approach, cable companies are desperate to maintain customers

Saving on telephone bills:

  • First, ditch the landline. You probably only get telemarketers calling there anyway; what do you have to lose?
  • Use a family plan and calculate your data usage. Make sure your family is on wifi whenever possible. You can save up to $30/month just by having a lower data plan
  • Negotiate with your provider. Reminding your provider that you have other options when it comes to cell phones can get you a better rate.

General tips and tricks:

  • If you have a student email address (.edu) this can be used to gain discounts from a number of monthly services
  • Ask your providers to apply promotions to your account. If you see that something you pay for is running a deal, call and ask if you can have the rate as well. You’re a loyal customer after all
  • If you’ve built up good credit, look for lower interest rates online. There are apps and websites dedicated to finding you better deals