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When You Should Clean Your Chimney



When You Should Clean Your Chimney

There isn’t an exact rule when you should get your chimney cleaned, such as cleaning after you’ve used it 100 times. But it’s still something to keep on your list; a fire without sufficient oxygen emits ‘creosote’ or tar vapors that can cling to your flue and eventually cause a fire. The last thing you want is to be sitting by the fireplace hearth and need to call the fire department! 

It’s possible to reduce the buildup of creosote in a fireplace by ensuring there is enough air and making a hot fire that burns clean. 

How Do You Check For Creosote? 

You can do this yourself. First,  you should double-check that there isn’t a downdraft from your chimney. If you put your hand in the fireplace and feel air moving, you need to open a window or door until it stops. 

With a dust mask and goggles, shine a flashlight and scratch the area just above the damper with your fireplace poker. If you scratch creosote and it’s as thin as a piece of paper, you don’t need to worry about cleaning the chimney right now. 

However, if it’s ⅛” thick, get a chimney cleaning soon. But if it’s ¼” thick, don’t use your fireplace until you have it cleaned. A fire could start at any time. 

Creosote that’s easiest to get rid of is dull gray, brown, or black. The next-easiest type is an accumulation that is black and granular, which can be scraped off with a chimney brush. Another type is a tar-like substance that is challenging to remove. 

The most dangerous and challenging creosote is shiny and glaze-like. It’s almost impossible to get rid of this creosote. 

Getting Rid of Creosote

It’s possible to clean out creosote yourself (if you have a dust mask, flashlight, and goggles), but for the best job, it’s wise to contact a chimney sweep. Make sure the Chimney Safety Institute of America accredits them.

Also, be sure the chimney sweep you bring in does the job. A good chimney sweep knows building codes, what deterioration looks like, and when there’s a venting problem. They should be able to give you a detailed description of your chimney’s condition. 

Note that the National Fire Protection Association advises that fireplaces, chimneys, and vents get an insection every year. 

Try a Chimney Sweep Log

Another thing to try when it’s time to get that chimney cleaned is to buy a chimney sweep log. Also known as a fireplace cleaning log, this product can help avoid chimney fires by eliminating creosote stuck to your chimney’s walls. 

Remember that creosote that sticks to the chimney over many years builds up and can burst into flames. Removing creosote is essential to your and your family’s safety, so be sure that your chimney is cleaned regularly, one way or another. 

Here are some additional safety tips for your fireplace: 

  • Have a carbon monoxide detector: These are common and inexpensive today, but many people still don’t have one. A dirty fireplace and chimney can release lethal carbon monoxide into the home. 
  • Ash benefits: Having about an inch of ash in the fireplace can make the coals keep heat, which lengthens burn time. 
  • Beware of smoke: A fireplace that is working right shouldn’t emit smoke into the home. If it happens, something’s wrong. 
  • Check the temperature outside: This affects how the chimney drafts. It’s recommended to open the damper 100% if it’s above 45 F outside. If it’s below that, keep the damper open about 50%. This keeps airflow at the optimum levels. 

Now that you know more about operating and cleaning your fireplace, you can enjoy it more because you know it’s safe. 

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Home Advice

How landscaping can add thousands to your house value



How landscaping can add thousands to your house value

When trying to sell a home, curb appeal is a significant success factor. Making the outside of your house appear welcoming and attractive to potential buyers is more than just weeding the garden and mowing the lawn.

Landscaping can actually increase the resale value of a property by around 15%, but it’s not just curb appeal that landscaping benefits. Strategically placed plants and trees can also improve the energy efficiency of a property – and if there’s one thing we know about home buyers, it’s that they love an energy-efficient home.

So what landscaping trends are worth the investment?

Create consistency

A home buyer that is looking for a period townhouse probably isn’t expecting a modern or Japanese-themed garden. Likewise, someone interested in a minimalist, modern interior isn’t going to want a fussy and flamboyant outdoor space that requires continuous upkeep.

Creating a theme, or a level of consistency that can be seen through the house and garden, might be worth the investment. Create a cottage-style garden with vegetable patches or large planters may work better and draw on cultural or historical influences that appeal to the type of buyer you’re looking for.

Have a plan

Proper landscaping can really add thousands to your house value, with a lot of the work being pretty easy and affordable. The fact landscaping can increase house value doesn’t mean you should immediately buy up all the plants you see, though. Those who are serious about making a difference to their outdoor space should sit down and create a plan. Take your time to think about what you need to improve the landscaping and gardens and seek inspiration from experts such as You can learn exactly what each product can be used for and how it can help boost your garden’s appeal. For instance, planters from this supplier can be used for specimen trees, vegetable gardening, or ornamental planted arrangements. Knowing what you want to do can help when it comes to buying what you need.

The most appealing outdoor spaces typically offer a low-maintenance lawn, year-round planting space, and a seating area so that the new owners can enjoy the garden as much as possible.

Less is more

As open, outdoor space is a hugely desirable house feature, less is often more when it comes to planting. Providing a few shrubs and perennials around the garden is fine, but try not to overshadow the lawn. By keeping the garden simple, you can ensure viewers get the full picture of how much space is on offer. Piling in the plants and trees can make the garden seem much smaller and reduce its appeal.

Create seasonal balance

As the average house sale can take several months, it would be silly to plan your garden with a single point in time in mind. While potential buyers might view the house in summer while flowers are in bloom and wildlife is flourishing, by the time they move in, everything will be dead and drab.

Choosing evergreen plants can help provide seasonal balance and leave the garden looking great all year round, with very little maintenance. That gives buyers the option to move straight in or make their own mark on the space.

These simple landscaping tips can really add a more desirable feel to your home and its outdoor space. For larger projects that will make a bigger difference to the house value, you can also try adding a patio, alfresco kitchen, or firepit.


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Home Advice

5 Things to Remember When Buying Artworks for Your Home



Artworks for Your Home

Not all of us are naturally good at choosing artwork to add more style to our home. Many of us still find it challenging what piece of art looks great or not to hang on our walls, which puts us in a difficult situation considering that artworks have a hefty price tag most of the time.

And while questions such as “how do I pick the right colour combination or right size that fits my home’s space?” and how can I combine different artworks that complement each other? Questions like these are very common, and most of the time, it’s very difficult to determine where to begin.

If you’re stuck on making a decision what kind of artwork best fits your home, or you already have an idea but don’t know where to begin, here’s our simple but very handy guide towards choosing art pieces that perfectly fit your home and style.

1. Always Consider the Available Space on Your Wall

Before anything else, you must determine the amount of space available on your wall before purchasing any Original Art online. If you want to get the exact sizing, you must grab your measuring tape right now. Having a larger wall is a plus since you have a lot of space to fit in one or more art pieces. You can buy a huge painting or choose smaller ones to create a gallery wall.

An excellent starting point is to combine and complement different styles and colours for a more wonderful appeal. You can also assess what you currently have on your wall so that you can decide and choose what piece of art to add that fits there perfectly.

2. Consider Your Current Decorations

Before deciding on a new painting for a specific section of your home, you must get an overview of your current furniture and decor. If you have neutral and simple furniture and decor, go for a colourful and rich art piece to wonderfully complement the environment. If that section of your house has enough texture and colour, choose a more subdued and simple art piece to prevent overcrowding.

3. Combine Complementary Colours and Styles

Wall art has different style categories that will help you identify different pieces that you’re attracted to. You can boldly combine different styles and colours or perhaps stay with your preferred genre if it feels right for you. You can also choose Original Art that is sold as a set or a pair.

There is no exact formula of combining artworks through their colour and styles, but make sure they complement each other.

4. Focus on Your Home’s Focal Point

When shopping for artwork for a specific section of your home, always keep in mind where the focal point is. For example, if you have a large amount of space on your wall, always choose a larger artwork with captivating design and colours so that your guests can easily distinguish which part of your home is the focal point. Also, you can create a gallery wall filled with smaller framed artworks.

5. Base It on Your Interior Theme

If your home’s style or design follows a specific theme, it would be appropriate that the artwork you’re trying to add matches it. Try buying a wall art that fits your home’s theme so that it won’t look awkward. For example, if your home’s theme is modern, it’s best to choose a simple artwork with minimalist pattern or abstract. Or perhaps, if your home has that rustic and traditional theme, go for classic artworks.

Final Thoughts

Lastly, always remember to shop for artworks with an open and creative mind. Choose what your heart desires because it will always look great in your home.

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Home Advice

What to Look for When Buying Replacement Vinyl Windows



Replacement Vinyl Windows

Planning all the details of a repair is not an easy task. You need to decide how to protect your veranda or garden house from wind, rain, snow, and dust. Vinyl windows are an excellent solution to environmental problems. But how to make the right choice?

What Are Vinyl Windows and How to Use Them?

Vinyl windows are made from a soft material crafted by mixing ethylene with chlorine. Windows are usually used to cover verandas and pavilions, but sometimes, they are installed in houses.


  • Good thermal conductivity. Windows keep heat well and do not let cold and wind inside.
  • Durability. Windows will perform their functions for at least eight years.
  • Easy installation. No need to adjust frames and slopes to the size of the windows.
  • Cost-efficiency. If you choose high-quality PVC windows, you can forget about exchanging them for up to 10 years.


  • Extreme weather problems. The probability of such an event is minimal, but if the temperature is very high and the sun is excessively scorching, then the windows may turn yellow.
  • It can’t be repaired. If the windows’ material deteriorates or tears, then the only way out is to replace it.

How to Choose and What to Look for

Follow simple steps to keep selection mistakes to a minimum.

  1. Pay attention to reviews. Even if friends advised the suppliers, you need to check all the information on the Internet. It’s easy to do this on Google because every active enterprise has honest user reviews.
  2. The prestige of the company. The following things say about the status of the company of professionals: a good website, fast communication, guarantees, provision of samples, clear consultation.
  3. Real value. Analyze the average cost of a service in the market to understand the real price. Too high a price is just a deception, an attempt to make money on those who do not understand the issue. Too low a price raises questions about the quality of materials and the reliability of workers.
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