Sunday, January 10, 2016

Fixing the Fireplace and First Place Finishes

It's that time of the year when you want to cuddle down in front of a toasty fire with a warm mug of cocoa. Mmmm.
But first things first. Fires can always be dangerous, and I strongly urge you to get your chimney cleaned and inspected if you can't remember when it was last done. It usually only costs $80-$100 if there aren't any complications or repairs. That is much less expensive than having your house burn down!

The first company we hired I wasn't terribly impressed with, but they did say we could convert our crumbly, broken fake logs to a real wood burning fireplace if we just switch out the gas burner.

In this instance I am much happier being safe than sorry, so I willingly hired another company for my own peace of mind. The second set of guys were much better (actually inspecting the chimney with a camera) and confirmed that we could burn wood.

He also said "If your husband is handy, he can install the new burner himself." I informed him that I was actually the handy one in these types of projects. *sigh* Gender stereotypes: still happening everyday.

The existing gas line was a pan of sorts (see above), that had large flames come out the pipe and extending through the fake logs. The new one has more focused flames that you only light to start the real logs aflame, then turn off once the wood is burning on it's own.

Disclaimer: Do NOT do this on your own if you are not completely comfortable and thoroughly understand what you are doing.

I did my research and took all appropriate precautions. Thankfully Mom was there to help me because the toughest part was trying to get the old pan out!

The existing pipe actually had the wrong type of sealing tape (white is used for water lines) so I bought some yellow which is specifically for gas lines. This is wrapped on any threaded connections.

 The actual assembly went pretty smooth after that.

We made sure to check all the gas seals with soapy water. When turning on the gas, if there was a leak it would have created bubbles with the soapy water. Then we would have had to shut the gas off right away and tighten the connection.

The instructions say to make sure the flames are pointing down and toward the back. This prevents ash from falling in the holes, or the gas blowing hot ash out toward you.

Eva wanted to help out too and offered encouragement even though my hands were all dirty.

She may be great at supporting DIY projects, but she also did great a few weekends ago when we competed in another Rally Obedience trial.

We participated in two trials, and she took first place in both! (It helps that she was the only dog in her class, so as long as we qualified, we got first.)
 She also moved up a class level, which is the middle ribbon. We moved from level 1 (beginner on-leash) to level 2 (intermediate off-leash.)

She wasn't too thrilled to have to sit and "stay" when there were interesting ribbons to smell and inspect.