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Firewood and Hearth

  1. How to Dry Firewood Before Winter

    How to Dry Firewood Before Winter

    As summer rolls to a close and hints of cooler weather start to show, many of us are looking forward to sweaters, pumpkin spice, and spending time around the fireplace or backyard firepit. If you want to make sure you can quickly and easily build fires all season long, you’ll need to start getting your firewood ready as soon as possible.

    Anyone who has ever struggled with getting damp wood to burn knows just how frustrating it can be! Drying firewood well before you need it and storing it correctly will help you avoid a lot of wasted time. Here’s a closer look at how to dry firewood and why you need to do it in the first place.

    Why Do You Need Dry Firewood?

    It’s much easier and less expensive to have your own firewood on-site rather than having to purchase fire logs every time you want to enjoy a fire. However, you can’t simply buy firewood and immediately use it in your fireplace or fire pit.

    Many people don’t realize that fresh-cut wood (also called “green wood”) is usually full of moisture. Before it’s ready to use, it needs to age. This process called seasoning, or curing, is an important part of wood-burning best practices.

    If you try to use wood that’s not properly seasoned, you’ll end up with a lot of creosote buildup in your chimney and a home that’s full of smoke. Wood that’s not properly dried also catches fire slowly, burns for a shorter amount...

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  2. 5 Tips for Keeping Your Fireplace and Hearth Clean

    5 Tips for Keeping Your Fireplace and Hearth Clean

    When fall weather arrives, it's time for hot cider and unwinding with the family near the fire. It turns out fireplaces are for more than just warming ourselves up on a cold night. In fact, researchers found out a tranquil night by the fireplace can actually reduce blood pressure and induce relaxation. If you find yourself using your hearth regularly throughout the season, it is crucial to make sure you know that cleaning a fireplace is paramount to you and your family’s safety. Here are 5 tips for cleaning a fireplace to create a safe and cozy environment in your home.

    Why Cleaning a Fireplace is a Must

    Cleaning a fireplace is crucial, and not only for keeping your home and hearth aesthetically pleasing. There are key reasons why this should be a top priority before breaking out the firewood this winter.

    • Safety: The leading reason for home heating fires is when homeowners fail to clean the chimney. Fireplace cleaning is key to making sure your fire burns efficiently and safely. In fact, over 24,000 fireplace fires occur annually.
    • Aesthetics: No one wants to see buildup and soot on your hearth. It will give our living area an unkempt look and sometimes even an unwanted smell.
    • Convenience: The more often you maintain your hearth by cleaning a fireplace, the less elbow grease you’ll have to contribute to the cleaning process. A little maintenance cleaning will go a long way and save a ton of time.

    Check out these five tips for how to clean a fireplace hearth:

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  3. Improve Your Firewood Storage: 4 Basics Tips on What You Need to Know

    firewood storage tips

    You might think that how you store your firewood isn't all that important, but it's of the utmost importance for several reasons. In this article, we will go over the importance of storing your firewood correctly and four basic tips on how you can improve your firewood storage so that when you want to light a fire, you won't encounter any unnecessary problems or issues.

    seasoning shed for firewood storageseasoning shed for firewood storage

    The Importance of Firewood Storage

    Storing your firewood properly is important...

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  4. Fireplace Maintenance: Prep for the Winter Season

    Fireplace Maintenance: Prep for the Winter Season

    Using a fireplace to heat your home saves on electricity bills, fills your house with a wonderful and unique smell, and hearkens back to age-old traditions. However, a fireplace is bound to take a little bit more work than turning the dial on an electrical system.

    We want to help you prepare for the winter season so that you can stay safe but continue to enjoy evenings sitting in front of a beautiful, roaring fire. Read on to learn about how to properly maintain your fireplace for winter, keep your fireplace or wood-burning stove in good condition, and how to use your fireplace or wood-buring stove.

    The Importance of Fireplace Maintenance 

    First, why is it even important to worry about fireplace maitenance? It can be difficult for those who haven't used a fireplace before to understand the amount of work that can go into one. However, you should know that maintaining your fireplace is one of the best ways to stay safe. 

    The safety risks might seem pretty obvious to some, but they are still worth stating here. A fireplace or a wood-burning stove that has not been properly and regularly cleaned is at risk of starting a chimney fire. 

    Chimney fires happen due to burning embers heading up the flue of the chimney and coming into contact with creosote, a compound called "wood tar." It results during wood combustion and consists primarily of heavy oils. There are traces of it that can be found in the smoke and embers that head up the flu. 

    Over time, these tiny fragments attach to and stack up on the side of the chimney. If you have ever tried cleaning your chimney, you likely got covered in oily soot. Now you know just what part of that is.

    An improperly cleaned fireplace is among the top causes of house fires, even when fewer people use fireplaces and wood burners to heat their homes. If you don't know how to clean your chimney yourself, you can always hire a professional chimney sweep to clean...

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  5. How to Stack Firewood for Winter

    How to Stack Firewood for Winter

    Have you spent plenty of time over the summer working on seasoning your firewood? Do you heat your home with a burning fireplace or a fire stove? A steady supply of firewood keeps the heating costs down and is a much more environmentally-friendly fuel source than other heating options, unlike coal and oil. Then learning how to stack the firewood appropriately will be a valuable skill to have.

    When you start a firewood stack the right way, it will take around a year to properly stack it. That is why it is so important that you do it the right way right away. 

    ShelterLogic Heavy Duty Firewood RackShelterLogic Heavy Duty Firewood Rack

    How To Stack Firewood

    When you stack seasoned firewood, do it in a way that allows it to either naturally dry out or to stay dry. There are three primary facets of a well-done firewood stack. You need to keep the firewood raised...

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  6. Why You Need a Meat Smoker, and Which Type is Best for You

    Why you Need a Meat Smoker

    When you need to take your backyard BBQing to the next level, it’s time to invest in a meat smoker. There’s hardly a better way to get delicious, juicy, fall-off-the-bone meat than a slow-cooking smoker that infuses an iconic smoked flavor into your meat. Even a cheap cut of chuck beef can end up becoming a delicious, tender roast that will impress your guests — and you can keep the price of your meal your best-kept secret! 

    This guide will discuss the six types of smokers, how to use them, where to use them, how long it takes to smoke meat, and the health benefits of smoked meats. Also, you’ll discover how hardtop shelters are a must for protecting your meat smoker from the elements. 

    smoked meatsmoked meat

    What Is a Meat Smoker?

    A meat smoker is a device that cooks meat slowly through a tried-and-true method of cooking meat under low heat and smoke. This art has been passed down from generation to generation and was once one of the only ways to preserve meat without a refrigerator. Not only was smoked meat vital for survival, but its delicious flavor has also kept it in BBQ cookbooks long after refrigerators became mainstream. There’s no denying the quality and texture of smoked meat that can only be produced by a meat smoker. 

    Depending on your abilities and needs, there are several types of smokers to enhance your BBQ game. Som...

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  7. The Do's and Don'ts of Storing Firewood

    The Do's and Don'ts of Storing Firewood

    Do the fall and winter make you excited about toasty fire pits and relaxing nights in front of a gently crackling fireplace? To make this happen, you need properly seasoned firewood that catches fire easily and burns evenly. After you obtain the right firewood, you need to store it in a place that will keep it dry, away from pests, and ready for use at any time.

    This quick guide will discuss how to properly store firewood, where it should and shouldn’t be stored, why it needs to be covered, and how to properly season harvested wood. When you have the right storage methods and accessories, it's easy to keep a fire going and enjoy the colder seasons. Check out these dos and don'ts of how to store firewood. 

    How to Properly Store Firewood

    Proper firewood storage requires a few conditions to be met. Overall, firewood should be kept on an elevated rack that is covered yet slightly ventilated to allow airflow. Also, firewood should be stored a short distance from the home from your building's exterior. This ensures that any pests don't enter your home. Here are the specifics about firewood storage and where to find the best solutions for your setup.

    What Makes Firewood Racks Special?

    When you need to store firewood in the best conditions, just any rack won't do. The unique nature of firewood racks keeps wood safely ventilated and protected from moisture and pests. While basic racks and shelves just hold wood, one made for firewood comes with a ventilated waterproof cover to keep the rain away. The waterproof polyester cover should be adjustable to cover your wood rack as it fluctuates in height.

    Firewood racks are also high enough to keep all the wood off the ground. This ensures that moisture and pests from below don’t have easy access to your woodpile. Overall, this solution combines airflow and...

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  8. Top 5 Fun Fall Backyard Activities

    fall activities | backyard activities

    The fall is a fun time to get outdoors and have a great time with the people you love hanging out with. But your fall fun doesn't have to be limited to festivals, fairs, and fishing holes: there are plenty of ways to entertain right in your own backyard.

    Whether you want to have an intimate gathering with the family or a blowout party with your neighbors and friends, we have some ideas in mind. Here are our top 5 fun fall backyard activities, which can also be adapted for gatherings of any size.

    backyard movie nightbackyard movie night

    Backyard Movie Night

    Grab the popcorn, drinks, candy, some outdoor portable chairs, and some blankets, and turn your backyard into a movie theater! If you have a laptop and a projector, you can stream one of the latest movies onto a portable screen, a sheet, or the side of a shed. Better yet, if you have a Sojag gazebo in your backyard, you can enjoy the open air, have a roof over your head, and attach a screen to the posts or the eave of the structure. 

    While a ...

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  9. How to Properly Season Firewood for Your Firepit, Fireplace, and Camping Adventures

    How to properly season firewood for your firepit

    There's nothing like sitting by a fire pit at the end of the day where you can relax with a favorite beverage in your hand. This is where you can share stories and reconnect with your friends and family, or simply take in the outdoor ambiance. The iconic crackle and warmth of a personal fire can make time appear to stand still and provide such a valuable atmosphere to the night. These cozy fires don't just happen by chance but are the result of using carefully prepared wood.

    To get the most out of your fireplace, fire pit, or campfire, not just any firewood will do. Before you can enjoy a steady fire, you must properly season your firewood. This enables an easy burn that is steady and safe for your home. This guide will show you how to season your firewood by following some tried-and-true methods and with a firewood seasoning shed.

    What Is Seasoning Firewood?

    When one talks about seasoning firewood, they're not talking about throwing on some salt and pepper. Instead, seasoning refers to the process of allowing moisture to evaporate from the firewood.

    When wood is first harvested from a tree, it is full of moisture. Burning wet wood can lead to poor fires, excessive smoke, and the production of the byproduct creosote. But by drying firewood, you can condition it to burn safely and efficiently. These basic firewood storage tips will show you how to dry out your firewood effectively so that you have an accessible stockpile of firewood for campfires, winter fireplaces, fire pits, and more.

    Why Is It Important to Season Firewood?

    Having firewood that burns more easily isn’t the only advantage of the seasoning process. If you try to burn freshly cut firewood, it can hold u...

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  10. 6 Tips for an Incredible Fireplace Makeover

    6 Tips for an Incredible Fireplace Makeover

    Does your home’s hearth leave you feeling less-than-inspired? While a traditional brick fireplace is a highly coveted feature, if the one you currently have doesn’t reflect your personal style, it can feel more like a drawback than a perk.

    Luckily, you don’t have to settle! From a fresh coat of paint to a complete fireplace makeover, there are plenty of ways to update your space. Here are a few of the most popular options for a simple DIY fireplace refresh.

    1. Give it a Good Cleaning

    Many homeowners find that giving their fireplace a thorough cleaning is enough to make them fall in love with it again. Not only is a dirty fireplace an eyesore, but it can also create a safety issue. That’s why we recommend cleaning your fireplace inside and out before you attempt any kind of fireplace makeover.  

    You’ll want to wait at least 12 hours after your last fire before you take on this project. This will ensure everything has had a chance to completely cool. When you’re ready, follow this step-by-step guide.  

    Step 1: Prepare the Area

    Cleaning your fireplace is a messy job, so it pays to prepare yourself and the area before you get started. Move everything you can away from the fireplace and put down plastic sheeting or drop cloths.

    Make sure you wear old clothes, rubber gloves, and a dust mask. If you have kneepads, put them on or use a thick folded towel to absorb some of the pressure.

    Step 2: Remove Ashes and Soot

    Using a hand broom or a small shovel, remove the ashes and dust from the fireplace. Then remove the grate or andirons, taking them outside to clean with soap and water. Set them aside to dry until you've finished the rest of your cleaning.

    Step 3: Clean the Inside

    Use a hand broom or dry bristle brush to sweep the inside walls, starting at the top and working your way do...

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