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Winter Weather Can Damage Your Outdoor Entertainment Area

Fall weather might have had a slow start, but winter is in full swing. Most of the country is experiencing arctic temperatures, and it happened abruptly. You might have been enjoying your outdoor fire pit, and now you can’t stand outside to find your car key. It’s cold. This weather doesn’t just affect your heating bill; it can also damage your outdoor entertainment area. Even if you haven’t prepped your outdoor space for winter, there is time to prevent damage from happening.

Prevent Dry Rot, Mildew, and Mold

You can save yourself a lot of work and hassle by simply storing certain things in a garage, shed, or house. Cloth furnishings should be taken indoors to avoid damage to the upholstery. Most patio furniture is equipped with separate cloth cushions so they can be easily removed and stored. Other things that should be removed and stored include curtains, coverings, and decorative elements. If you cannot remove items or store furniture, you can protect your furnishings with a roof or custom cover.

Prevent Rust, Stains, and Deterioration

Your cup holders, sinks, and fire pit will hold water if allowed. Throughout winter, rain and snow fall and collect in these spaces. This moisture will freeze and damage your appliances, furniture, and fire pit. Many cup holders in tables and chairs are removable. If they aren’t removable, cover them. Protect your fire pit with a custom cover, and cover your sinks, or disconnect the drain so that water runs out of them. This will prevent water damage and keep debris from clogging your drains and pipes.

Prevent Damaged Pipes and Connections

Before you forget your outdoor space for winter, disconnect the water from the sink, refrigerator, and any other connection that can freeze and bust. It’s best to also disconnect the gas line to the fire pit, stove, or grill since it will be several weeks or months until you use theses appliances. If you have electricity in your outdoor entertainment area, you should be able to shut it off so that there is no risk of complications, damage, or fire to your belongings.

Protect the Inside of Your Cabinets

Your cabinets are made to withstand the outdoors, but the things you have in your cabinet are not. Double-check that you don’t have items in your entertainment area that can freeze and bust, making a mess that you’ll have to clean later. Open cabinets can allow water in to damage the structure and materials inside as well. These storage areas are a great place for furniture cushions. Take perishables out, and put cloth pillows, curtains, and cushions in. Then lock them up so they’re secure.

Call Us Today

At IBD Outdoor Rooms, we want all of our customers to get the most out of their outdoor entertainment area. We offer many options to create your dream space and add value to your property, and we want it to last. If you’re concerned about your entertainment area during the winter, consider adding a roof to your area. There are many great options that are beautiful and functional. Choose the best for you today. Call IBD Outdoor Rooms at 704-960-4530 to speak with a representative today.

By Sheryl Isenhour | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

Storing Wood Throughout Winter

Throughout winter, the average homeowner in the northern states and Canada may burn about four cords of firewood. This is a fairly large portion of wood. One cord is a stack of cut wood measuring 4 ft. x 4 ft. x 8 ft., equaling 128 cubic feet. Considering that most stove and fireplaces will only hold about 3-5 cubic feet at one time, you have to have a place to store the rest of this wood all winter!

Seasoned Firewood

You should only burn properly seasoned firewood in your fireplace, stove, or fire pit. This means that you not only need a place to store it through winter, but also while it seasons. When a tree is cut down, it is filled with water in long tubes that stretch from top to bottom. The water from the wood dries when you cut the length and expose it to sunlight and airflow. Cut and store the best-burning firewood for 3-6 months (depending on the species of tree) so that it has less that 25 % water content.

Storing Your Wood Supply

It can be tricky to find adequate space for all that firewood! The best way to store your wood so that it becomes seasoned properly is to store the stack with at least one side exposed to sunlight and free-flowing air. Storing seasoned firewood inside a shed is also a fine idea. Placing your wood on a bed of gravel prevents your wood from sitting in standing water. This is particularly important in wet climates like the Pacific Northwest. You can also use the bark of the firewood to protect it. For instance, placing the bottom layer of wood bark-down can protect it from standing water. Placing the top later of wood bark-up can help the water to runoff instead of affecting the entire stack. Many homeowners prefer covering wood with tarps to avoid wet firewood, but it’s still important to leave one side of the stack exposed until it is seasoned and ready to burn.

Buying Your Wood Supply

In order to save space, or if trees are not available for cutting, homeowners often buy firewood from a local supplier. If you’re buying wood, it’s important to find a supplier that only sells seasoned wood. Go and see the wood before you make your purchase. Measure and make sure that you’re getting a cord if that is what’s advertised. Don’t pay too much for firewood.

Signs Your Wood is Ready to Burn

Whether you cut and store your wood for the winter, or you purchase and store a cord at a time, you should be sure it’s seasoned before you burn it in your fireplace, stove, or fire pit. When your wood is ready to burn you will see:
-Cracks along the edge of the wood (checks)
-Graying or dulling in color
-Hollow noise when hit together
-Bark pulls away from the wood
-Lighter in weight
-Wood feels dry (inside) when split

Whether you want to store your wood in a shed, a lean-to, or in the open, make sure it’s seasoned, and well away from the house. Placing firewood next to the house is a fire hazard. Most conservation agencies suggest storing your firewood 30 feet from your residence.

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The Value of a Gas Fireplace

When it comes to fireplaces, gas is the most popular and most efficient option today. Outdoor fireplaces are no different. The convenience of gas is unrivaled, and homeowners are taking the opportunity to get them installed before winter. Enjoy the warmth of a fireplace in the colder months!

Start Now

You can start planning now and find the fireplace of your dreams to enhance your outdoor area. Gas fireplaces are great fall and winter additions to your home. There is still time to choose the best fireplace and have it installed before the temperature drops.

Choosing Gas

When you choose a gas fireplace, you get the added benefit of convenience, efficiency, and a reduced carbon footprint. IBD Outdoor Rooms specializes in the gas powered fire pit and has a model to match every home, need, and personality.

Eco-Friendly

Gas fire pits are good for the environment. They are highly efficient, produce less byproducts into the atmosphere, and less smoke into your yard area.

Enjoyable

Because of the high-efficiency of gas, you and your guests will not be bothered by smoke, sparks, and odors from your fireplace. Gas fire pits burn only gas (unless you drop debris in the pit, which is not recommended).

Convenient

Your gas fireplace is perfect for cool nights when you don’t want to shiver while you light a fire for a short get-together. Gas will fire with a switch or match, and extinguish just as quickly and easily. Depending on the model, you can adjust the heat and flame with easy controls, making these fire pits and fireplaces perfect for every season.

Choices

You can choose a gas fire pit that sits at the center of all the fun and activity. This is great if you have the space. If your space is limited, you can also choose a gas wall fireplace. Rinnai Walls are a great and beautiful option for divider walls and offer all of the benefits of gas fire. You can also install a fireplace cabinet to house a manufactured gas fireplace of your choice. You aren’t limited to one model or one style when choosing gas!

Customizable

IBD Outdoor Rooms ships fire pits ready to finish. That means homeowners have the last say and can finish the fire pit with a material or style that matches the surrounding area, the patio furniture, the terrain, and more.

Real, Beautiful Flame

When you choose a gas fireplace or fire pit, you can even choose a traditional wood fire using ceramic wood that looks authentic! Enjoy a beautiful fire without hauling, splitting, or lighting wood. There’s no ash to dispose of, and no coals to extinguish at the end of the night.

With all the benefits, there is no reason to choose anything other than gas for your outdoor fireplace. To start your oder, call IBD today at 704-960-4530!

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Closing Down Your Outdoor Kitchen For The Season

When you are finished using your outdoor kitchen for the season, there are a few things you should do to preserve and protect it through the off season. Winter can be hard on surfaces and equipment that isn’t prepared. Many small things that can make a difference can slip your mind during your winter prep. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your winter prep, so that you can enjoy your outdoor kitchen again in the spring.

Remove Cloth

Even cloth that has been treated for water resistance and stain prevention can become damaged during winter. Remove all removable cloth and store in a dry area. This includes cushions, curtains, cabinet coverings, and pergola coverings.

Cover Anything That Holds Water

Anything that can hold water will. First snow will pack into a space, and then eventually melt, leaving standing water. Water will stain sinks, furniture, and flooring if it’s allowed to sit and rust. It will ruin cloth furniture if it’s not covered. You should cover your sink to prevent water and other debris from falling into it, clogging pipes, and staining. You can prevent water from filling furniture cup holders and penetrating cloth furniture by covering your furniture or storing it in a dry area. Other things, like a fire pit can be covered or turned over to keep from collecting water.

Disconnect Fuel and Water Supply

If you use a propane, or gas grill or fire pit, you should turn off all the fuel connections that you don’t plan to use this winter. Shut off the water supply to the sink and refrigerator, and unplug any appliances that are exposed to the weather.

Secure Cabinets

Make sure your cabinets are securely closed to prevent animal intrusion, as well as theft during the winter months.

Clean Surfaces and Cabinets

Use a cleaning solutions to clean the surfaces and cabinets of your outdoor kitchen. Make sure to remove any food products from the cabinets, as they will attract animals. Use your favorite grill cleaner to clean your grill, stove, and oven if you have one. Any bit of crumbs or grease can attract unwanted guests this winter.

Utilize Storage

Perhaps you still would like to use your fire pit or fire place, but won’t be using your cooking surfaces or appliances in the cold months. You can utilize the spaces in your outdoor kitchen to keep your furniture cushions close by. They may fit inside your cabinets or your refrigerator, where they’ll stay dry and you can easily grab them at will.

Your outdoor kitchen may be one of your favorite places. It is an investment, and part of your home, even if it’s outside. It’s important to protect it from damage, disrepair, and animal intrusion. You can close out your outdoor kitchen for winter and it will be ready with little difficulty this spring for your first cook-out. If you’re looking for a little more added protection, fall is the perfect time to build a custom structure. IBD Outdoor Rooms can find the perfect design for your needs, that will not only protect your outdoor kitchen this winter, but offer shade and protection year-round.

Fire Safety Tips

As cool weather arrives, so does burn season. If you have a custom outdoor room by IBD Outdoor Rooms, you may have a fireplace or fire pit. Even a gas stove should be used with caution. This is in order to keep the family and property safe from injury and damage.

At IBD Outdoor Rooms, it’s our priority to provide beautiful and functional products for homeowners that are safe and durable. It’s important that those who enjoy the fire products will also exercise caution. Remember fire safety while a fire is in use! As you prepare for cool weather, it’s a good idea to brush up on your fire safety. This way you can make sure everyone in your home does as well.

Identify Who Should Operate Fire Appliances

Hosting a get-together at your home? Simply relaxing by a fire in the evening? Either way, it’s important for everyone to know who is and isn’t allowed to feed, stoke, or control the fire. Let everyone know their role so that those that are young or inexperienced are aware of the danger of the fire. Make sure that you have rules established for guests, and that children are kept out of harms way at all times and NEVER left unattended with a fire.

Is Your Fireplace, Fire Pit, or Appliance is Ready for a Fire?

It may be unsafe for a fire to burn in your appliance. Haven’t had a recent inspection or sweep? You may have a venting issue that puts your family at risk. If you haven’t had your fireplace inspected in the last 12 months, you should schedule an inspection now. Have an outdoor fireplace or fire pit? If so, you should make sure that it is clean, connections are secure, and that it’s clear of flammables.

Make Sure You’re Using the Correct Fuel

Believe it or not, some homeowners buy products from a home improvement store or online. In doing this, they often forget about securing the correct fuel or having it installed and connected to the fuel source. Make sure you know the difference between bio-ethanol fuel and natural gas. Mistaking one fuel for another can cause a devastating accident. If you plan to burn wood, make sure you burn properly seasoned wood so that it burns cleanly. In addition, it throws less sparks into the air that may ignite nearby debris.

Keep Children Away from a Flame

Some fireplace and fire pit designs can be decorative. The Art of Fire designs sold by IBD Outdoor Rooms are visual expressions of art, that children may not realize are dangerous. Again, be sure children are not left unattended. Also, if your guests have children they keep them under a watchful eye.

Watch the Weather

Do not use your fire appliance during times of high wind or when your area is at high risk for wildfire. Despite the safety testing and features on most fire products, natural disasters happen frequently and unexpectedly. One strong wind gust can create an uncontrollable fire. If you’re not certain how to prepare for your first season with your outdoor fire pit, consult the campfire safety tips compiled by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

Better Safe than Sorry

When it comes to your family, your property, and your community, it’s important to exercise caution first. A little more planning, a little more discussion and preparation, and you just might prevent a costly disaster. For more information about fire pit safety, click here.

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