Monday, October 10, 2011

Rasmussen: Four Generations of Innovation

Growing ever consistently in popularity, gas lags for heating in vent-free as well as traditionally vented fireplaces are not a new invention. In reality, they have been in existence since the 1950's. As people become more and more aware of more environmentally sound ways of using energy in their homes, the interest in gas logs and different methods of gas heating is also increasing. Wooden logs, however, are becoming obsolete. Why cut down trees for burning, when you can use something reusable?
Rasmussen is a company whose roots go back four generations. Rasmus Rasmussen was a Danish immigrant, and to this country he brought the skills of professional ironworking and blacksmithing. In 1907, he started his business, Rasmussen Iron Works as a retail operation, with a selection of fireplace screens and various fireplace tools. Beyond the ordinary, these were exquisitely designed to offer esthetically pleasing options for their fireplaces. This opened a new channel for development, and also the ability to prove his own entrepreneurial versatility. Eventually the company would expand into areas that included the manufacturing of welded handles that were part of the structures of ships that were used during World War II, producing steel structures for buildings, as well as parts for trucks.
After World War II, the company decided to focus on retail efforts after Rasmus's son, Ted proposed the idea of selling many different types of fireplace products. This shop was opened in the front of the manufacturing location. Included in the items for sale were the inventive gas logs that offered consumers the ability to use a different fuel in their fireplaces, with ultimately better results.
Many customers saw the potential of gas logs, however they were dissuaded by the fake look of the logs. An enormous part of the appeal of wood burning fires are the beautiful natural characteristics, and the beauty of a fire on wooden logs. T.R., Ted’s son saw the capabilities of developing this concept further. Manufacturers scoffed at his ideas, and could not find anyone to create the product he was looking for. So, like any other maverick, he had to create it himself. He went to great lengths to create logs that could withstand the high temperatures of burning gas fires, while still being realistic and giving the look of actual wood. He spared no detail, and designed every crevice, every layer of bark, and even the char marks so that even the most discriminating eye would not be able to tell the difference between his logs and true wood. In addition to the gas logs, T.R. also developed the sand pan burner, which proved to produce the best performing flame in a gas-burning contraption.
T.R.’s son, Rett was also no exception to inheriting a talent for the family business. He has also expanded the business in new directions, while implementing improvements on existing products. He is behind the creation of the Chillbuster heaters, which are an amazing new concept for heating homes. They are run with gas logs, and can be controlled via remote. If you live in a climate where emergency heating sources are a concern, these are an excellent option because they are quite dependable. You do not an electricity source to power them, only propane or natural gas. Furthermore, just like using gas logs, you do no need to worry about the quality of the air because several different safety measures are included, like sensors that keep the oxygen and gas levels monitored.
For four generations Rasmussen has built a solid reputation for always providing their customers with great products they can rely on. They have created a name with products that perform well, and offer convenience and options. From blacksmithing to modern, wood-free fireplaces, they are a brilliant company with incredible roots!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Enjoy The Flames: Decorative Fire Pieces

Fire never goes out of style. Candles have been made in every design possible, and you can literally find them everywhere. No matter what your taste, personal esthetic, design inclinations may be, most people appreciate the warm glow of candles and firelight. In that same vein, and a little more extreme, fire pits, fire pots, tiki torches, and fireplaces are all ceaselessly favored as accents that bring fire to the forefront of a living space, whether inside or out.

 If you are looking for something new to add some fire in your house, and you want something a little out of the ordinary, a vent free fireplace may be for you. Unlike an ordinary fireplace, a ventless model can be used anywhere. They are powered by gas, either propane or natural gas, and can perform just like a traditional fireplace. Where they really differ from their built-in counterparts is in style. With a ventless fireplace, you can use gas logs, which are hand crafted from extremely resistant, durable ceramic, designed to replicate the intricate natural likeness of wood, or you can really veer off the beaten path with some of their more vibrant designs. Fire balls, which stack up and resemble cannon balls for a very modern, sculptural look. Fire balls are also made of ceramic material, and available in a host of different colors for customization and great coordination. Another great look is the colored crushed fire glass. Used in the standard stainless steel burner, it makes for a sparkling, brilliant look when the flames are lit. There are several colors available, like black, white, clear, blue, turquoise, and copper. Glass gems are also popular, and they also add an interesting touch to the décor. One of the most modern, and streamlined looks it the burner set up entirely bare. Without any accents and decoration, the look is straightforward, clean, and entirely timeless while still remaining current.    

Trends come and go, repeat themselves, get reworked, revitalized, tossed entirely, and reinvented. Fire remains, and no matter how many different incarnations it undergoes, decorative fire pieces, like unvented fireplaces, fire pits, and fire pots make enjoying it a breeze!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

5 HOT Things You Cannot Be Without This Winter!

1. A fire pit. If you live in South Florida, as I do, a fireplace is not exactly the most common household accessory to come by. Sure, you could have one built in to your home's architecture, but seriously, all that work for something you're only going to use a few months out of the year, and is not a necessity what so ever. And, just for kicks, to add insult to the injury, it really does not get cold enough to even need one for the warmth. What to do if your fantasies of enjoying a fire during the cold months has just been put out by that rant? Get yourself a fire pit, stat. Usually of the portable, easy to set up variety, you can find some gorgeous designs, that will go nicely with whatever your patio decor may be. Styles include table-like pits, furnaces, "houses," and chimneys, so you have the upper hand in choosing what works for you. If this isn't enough for you, and your mind schemes something more dramatic, more profound, more like an actual fireplace, you can actually have a fire pit into your backyard. Intricate or basic, huge or small, it can be done; which is the beauty of custom work!

2. Gas logs for the ventless fireplace. The ventless fireplace, you may ask? It does exist, and is a viable option for those who want to savor the glow of a fire in their homes, without having one built in. Yes, it really is that simple. Icing on the cake: no actual wood will get burned! Gas logs made for use in ventless fireplaces are continuously burning, totally safe for indoor air quality and breathing, and do not force you to come up with a way of storing an entire season's worth of wood. Brilliant!

3. Gas logs for the vented fireplace. Backing up #2, gas logs are versatile, and they really rock. It's kind of amazing that not too many people have heard of them, and how awesome they are. They totally replace the need for using actual wood, and heat quicker as well. And, when you're through, all you have to do is turn it off! If you're thinking that you're going to be missing out on the actual beauty of a fire in your hearth, think again. These hot logs are designed to mimic the looks of actual wood, with hand-painted wood designs, accessory pieces that add natural charm, and a fire that burns true. What you will actually be missing out on: residue, soot, ash, smoke, and a fire that needs to burn its way out. Still need convincing?

4. Pretty fireplace accessories. If fire is your thing, no matter how enticing gas logs may be, it's understood, it's part of our primal instincts, and modernity can only take over so far for some folks. So if you are all for wood fires in your fireplace, having nice tools that work, and add some decorative flair is really good too. It just says "winter."

5. A good chimney cap. If you have a fireplace, you'd be utterly foolish to forego this one. Your chimney just isn't a chimney without one. It should be functional, and for esthetic purposes, make sure it coordinates with your house's exterior. Multi flue, or single flue, fit to size or universal, make sure you have one and it fits before you get that fire roaring this year!

Here's to a happy and firery-hot autumn and winter season!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Alternative Fireplaces

When it gets cold, nothing beats a fire. If your dwelling does not have the capacity for housing a fireplace, or say perhaps your landlord isn’t crazy about the prospect of you having one installed, there are alternatives. Ventless fireplaces add an incredible element of warmth to any home, and they cost a mere fraction of the total cost of building one into a house.

            Ventless fireplaces are loaded with amazing benefits that many people are crazy about. Unlike conventional fireplaces, you do not have to worry about several things, for instance:  cleaning the residue that inherently comes with burning wood. They are easy to maintain, and provide a beautiful, well-working fire. For use indoors, they are very safe and have many features that keep their safety in check. Oxygen depletion sensors ensure the air always remains at a breathing-safe level, while gas fumes are kept in check by limiting the btu output of the gas logs. The logs are advisably set up in a certain way that ensures the amount of carbon is limited.
Many people also love the affordability factor of ventless gas fireplaces. Not only is installation a fraction of the price of a vented fireplace, you save money by using gas and electric logs because they do not burn out like wood does. This aspect of reusing is also very attractive to many people who are not thrilled with the continuous cycle of cutting trees for use as fuel.

            If you opt for electric fire, you have many choices that lay before you. Electric fireplaces are also a great alternative for those who want a another option for a fireplace that does not require massive construction, or the commitment of something permanent. These are very realistic, create a very warm heating capability, and are powered by simply plugging it into an outlet. An LED insert allows you to have the fun of different special effects, including crackling sounds! A remote control lets you adjust the flame to your desire. Electric logs are also available, and these work similarly to gas logs, and simply plug in as well.   
            If you are wanting a ventless fireplace, you do have options for the fuel that you use. You can use either gas logs or electric fireplace inserts for fabulous results that will simulate a real fire experience, and still has the capacity to heat a room. Gas logs are a very clever alternative to actual wood because they give you much control over the power of the fire, and allow you to literally turn it on if you have it connected to a control valve. No wasting time starting a fire, when a switch will do it for you.
             Ventless gas logs are made to resemble actual wood logs very closely. They are hand-painted and feature a very realistic grain pattern. Ceramic gas logs are extremely durable, and are built to be nearly unbreakable! Their working mechanisms are hidden securely, and when their flames are blazing, you would have to look awfully close and intently to really see a significant difference between a gas log fireplace and a traditional one.
            As for esthetics, ventless fireplaces are absolutely beautiful. They are pleasing to look at and can add a lot of dimension to your space. Available with accents like colored glass, fire balls, river rocks, and geometric shapes also offer the ability to have a look that does not have to even involve the wood design of gas logs if want. These styles offer a gorgeous, modern alternative fireplace that will emit enough heat to warm even the coldest room on a winter night while never compromising your personal décor.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Gas Logs: Whether You Have A Vented Or Ventless Fireplace

Fire is awesome, and it speaks to our primal nature. It also does wonders for heating homes, cutting fuel costs when heating, and esthetically it makes for excellent ambiance.
            There is nothing at all like the power of fire. When it gets cold outside, especially when it gets as cold as this past winter which shattered records, and brought continuous blizzards to many places throughout the country, there is nothing like a blazing fire to keep your home and spirit warm. If you are fortunate enough to have a fireplace, you know what it does for keeping the house heated. Did you know, however, that there are alternatives available if you are not exactly fond of using and storing actual wood, to keep the fire lit in your fireplace? And did you know, that the power of these alternatives is so awesome, that even if you do not have a fireplace built into your home, you still have options for creating a similar set up?

            If you have a vented fireplace, and are sick of the hassle of gathering firewood, lugging it home if you’ve purchased it, and storing large amounts of it to last you through the winter season? Are you done with the trouble it takes to clean up soot and ash, as well as the residue the burnt wood leaves in your fireplace and chimney? The perfect antidote to traditional wood logs are modern gas logs. Designed to give you control of the fire, and alleviate some of the issues associated with regular wood, gas logs have many fantastic benefits. It is true, that you do lose the rustic charm of conventional wood, but when you can kindle a gas flame, and set it to the desired temperature, and have it roaring in no time flat, are you truly missing out on anything? Certainly not, for sure. If you hook up a control valve to your gas log, it enables you to have even more control of the fire, as it can be adjusted with the simplicity of a switch.
            Gas logs used in a vented fireplace are a brilliant alternative to traditional wood because they are safer, as they do not spit and crackle, spewing sparks and embers. The actual logs are made of ceramic material, that is reinforced with steel. They look and burn beautifully, and are extremely durable.
            For use in a vented fireplace, all the same parts for your fireplace and chimney are still needed, however. A firebox, chimney, flue, and termination cap are absolutely essential for proper running. Finally, if you need even more added to the visuals, you can even purchase accessory kits that will add character, and add more realistic charm to your fire. Twig kits, wooden logs, pine cones, and wood chips can all be used as accent pieces.

            If you don’t own a fireplace, and do not have the ability to have one in your residence, a ventless fireplace can make your dream of having one, come true. Ventless fireplaces are just that: ventless. They are perfectly capable of functioning like a vented fireplace, and add the same warmth and glow to your home, without the high cost of installing a vented fireplace. What powers their fire are propane and natural gas. What is even more incredible about these unvented fireplaces is that they contain sensors for detection of oxygen depletion. Thermocouple determines the heat output, and BTUs are limited to reduce fumes from unburned gas. Specific patterns are created in burning the logs to control the level of carbon within the gas.
             Much effort has been made to create a very realistic look. Logs are hand-painted, and logs burn with a very natural pattern. Ventless fireplaces also add incredible decorative elements to any home. River rocks, ventless glass, and geometric designs can add even more of an accent to a ventless fireplace, in addition.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Infrared Searing For The Beginner


             If you’re accustomed to grilling, it may come as a surprise that grilling with the power of infrared heat is a totally different scenario. Just like any other cooking technique, it takes some time to master. For some this may happen quickly, and without much effort, while for others it may be more gradual. The most beloved method of cooking on an infrared grill is searing, which locks in moisture and creates savory flavor.

            Infrared technology in terms of grills is solely owed to the company TEC, or Thermal Engineering Corp. In the 1980’s they pioneered this technology and applied it to grills, and the end result was an ultra powerful grill, with the highest heat output on a grill ever seen. The technology was then patented, and these grills were only available to those in commercial environments such as restaurants. Once the year 2000 rolled around, this patent expired, and infrared gas grills were able to be sold to the public. At first, people did not catch on as quickly because of the enormous price tags that were attached. But because they were no longer protected, the technology was then accessible to everyone, and soon other manufacturers were releasing their own takes on the almighty infrared.
            Many people, once they’ve purchased an infrared grill, are anxious to begin cooking on it, and to know the proper ways to use it. Strangely, no one as of yet, has released a book that details the instructions that work best for grilling infrared. Above all, you must always keep in mind the difference in heat that this type of grill will bring. It’s really not your ordinary heat source, and it is way more powerful. The standard output is 1500 degrees, and will cook a steak in minutes. The grill’s hood must always be kept open during grilling because of the intense pressure that is generated by the gas. The powerful heat then rises off of the burner, and unlike a traditional grill, infrared gas grills do not conduct heat in the air. This is known as directional heat, and it travels directly upwards.
            It is important to note that the grill presents an interesting surface to work with. In between the grates is where the heat will rise from, and will cook the food that is placed on it, differently from the areas where the food hits the grates. The meat will have to be turned at very short intervals, somewhere between 30 and 45 seconds apart. This change in position changes the heat from direct to indirect. As you turn, the time lessens because even though the food may not be receiving direct contact with the infrared heat, it is still receiving residual heat that is present in the air due to conduction. 15 seconds in, there will be obvious stripes, signifying areas that have been cooked and others that have not. As you turn, the cooking is more even. Once this process of precision is complete, you will flip your item over to do the same process on the other side. Generally, you can allow about one minute and 30 seconds for each side as a safe estimate for total cooking. And, this my readers, is searing. Quick cooking, over extreme heat, with utmost attention paid to your subject.
            Among the different foods you can sear, ground beef hamburgers can be one of the trickiest as they are not exactly flat and can rarely get a searing that compares to that of fillets. Steak and fish fillets are the prime examples of foods that sear perfectly, ensuring perfection in tenderness and flavor.
            So, if infrared grilling is going to be on your personal to do list, or if you are just curious, I hope you’ve learned a thing or two from this little instructional! Happy searing!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Harsh Weather Calls for Tough Seating: Eucalyptus Hardwood Furniture

         What compliments the perfect outdoor kitchen better than the perfect outdoor living room? I think nothing! Spending time outside, in the sun and under the stars is something that never gets old. It is definitely one of the best aspects to living in Florida, where we have such a fantastic climate. If you want to make the most of your backyard, an awesome barbeque grill, and great patio furniture can turn your home into a luxury resort.

         Here in South Florida, we have intense weather conditions. Our renowned sunshine, blazing heat, monsoon-like rains, ever present humidity, salty air, and occasional tropical storm or hurricane make it a pretty interesting place to reside in, to say the least! If you spend time outdoors, rather if you do not live beneath a limestone rock down here, you are probably well aware that its always in a state of change. If you have furniture outdoors, you know how easily it can be worn down by the elements, and very quickly it can go from being beautiful and comfortable, to awaiting bulk trash pick up. Suffice it to say, it is also never enjoyable to waste money on furniture that is pricey and does not last long. And finding quality outdoor furniture that can actually withstand our regular conditions here in the sunshine state can be quite a  mission!

         The perfect solution? Hardwood eucalyptus. You’ve most likely heard of eucalyptus, as it has been used for millennia for its medicinal aromatherapy attributes, but the wood from this tree is a phenomenal material for outdoor patio furniture. Until recently, the most common wood used for patio furniture was teak. Gorgeous in color, and naturally able to avoid deterioration with elemental exposure, teak was the go-to wood of choice for people who wanted beautiful, sturdy, long-lasting, comfortable patio furnishings. Unfortunately, the world’s supply of teak has been detrimentally cut back, and it is not the wisest material to be using for furniture. Anyone with any intelligence at all will balk at its use, when there are ecologically sound alternatives, such as eucalyptus. On this note, harvesting teak is also illegal in many places, so that even if you wanted it, it would probably be difficult to obtain.

          Eucalyptus hardwood, on the other hand, is a brilliant alternative. This hardwood bears a beautiful resemblance to teak in that as aging occurs, a gray ash coloring overtakes its exterior, adding a distinctive elegance. There are so many reasons to be in love with this wood. Unlike other woods, it does not weaken under the pressure of the sun, salt, and water. It does not require chemical treating, and cleans rather easily. Other types of patio furniture, such as cheaper woods, aluminum, and plastic often need the power of pressure cleaning to remove the mildew and other unsanitary undesirables that can accumulate. Hardwood eucalyptus is resilient, and cleans with simple wiping with water, when it has been protected with proper oiling. Oiling also boasts the benefit of giving you the option of preserving the beautiful golden amber color, in contrast to the gray you can achieve with just outdoor exposure.
         Nearly any type of patio furniture is available in hardwood eucalyptus. Whether you want the perfect pair of adjustable chaise loungers, an extensive dining set, or a serving bar, guaranteed you can find the most suitable pieces to your taste and your patio space. Rocking chairs, bistro dining sets, benches, storage bins, and bar carts are also available to complete your outdoor living room.
         Many people can be hesitant to purchase eucalyptus furniture, as it can be pricey. However, if you want hardwood patio furniture that will last you many years of comfort and beauty, eucalyptus can save you thousands of dollars in the long run. As an investment, it will last decades, and physically its beauty will age gracefully.