Thursday, December 19, 2013

Heating efficiency - heat your home the right way this winter

This winter save on your heating costs by heating your home with your fireplace or wood burner. Or don't. While it may seem like a good idea to fire up the fireplace or wood burning stove, it is not likely to perform better than oil or gas heat. So let's cover some ways to help that fireplace save you some money on your heating bill and warm up your home at the same time. 

Depending on the type of fireplace you have, it may actually waste more energy than it creates throughout the season because in most cases the heat goes up the chimney, drawing cold air into the house to replace the heated air. And, when a fire isn’t burning, there is even more loss of warm and and money wasted on heating your home. When there's no fire in the fireplace warm air can still escape through the chimney. Be weary of the products that deem to fix this problem and other pitfalls with fireplaces. Do your research before you buy as many of them are not as effective — or safe — as you might like them to be. Here are a few common things that may or may not help you save on heating your home. Find out what will really work in saving you heat and money.

Fireback. A fireback is simply a heavy sheet of metal (traditionally cast iron) behind the fire. it protects masonry in the back of the fireplace. The fireback is used to reflect heat into the room, instead of all the heat going up the chimney. While great in theory, in practice it is nothing more than a pretty fireplace decoration. 

Damper. The damper is the metal plate that regulates airflow through the chimney. Some dampers fit snuggly when they’re new, but frequently warp within a year or two, producing a loose fit and allowing air to leak past them. A leaky or missing fireplace damper can cost as much as several hundred dollars of heat loss right up your chimney. Chimney cap dampers close the entire top of the chimney, so they reduce heat loss when the fireplace is not being used, but that's about it. They don’t improve efficiency otherwise.

Fireplace doors. Fireplace doors are efficiency and preserve energy. During winter or the cold season where the need to use the fireplace arises, a big portion of the comforting heat generated by the burning fuels at the fireplace can leak outside through the chimney even with a fireplace blower being used around. During the warm summer seasons where air-conditioning plays a vital role in cooling the house, the cool air will also leak out into the chimney thereby affecting the energy costs of the household. With a fireplace door installed, the chimney is shut tight and neither heat nor cool air could leak out through the chimney. This results into overall energy efficiency.

Grate heater and radiators. Grate heaters and radiators aren’t as large as complete fireplace inserts but capture a significant amount of heat from the fire and force it into the house. Although steam heat radiators have been in use longer than most heating technologies, some of their longstanding use owing to their durability and relatively simple conception, they are not the most efficient means of centrally heating a home or a building. I do not recommend these. There are many places between the grate heater and the individual radiators in each room that can contribute to inefficient operation, from the system of pipes to the radiators to the grate heater itself. In terms of cost, the isolated components of the system are usually lower priced than other heating methods, but replacement of the entire system can get very expensive. Thus, depending on the age and the condition of steam heat system, a cost/efficiency analysis can often fail at both ends. Stay away from this means of heating your home. 

Insert or wood burner. To make your fireplace truly efficient, you’ll want to install an insert approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). A fireplace insert is basically a woodstove that fits into a masonry fireplace. Within the last 15 years, fireplace inserts have become much more energy efficient. This is the best option to improve efficiency and reduce standby losses. To be safe and effective, the insert must have a stainless steel liner run right to the top of the chimney.

Inflatable plugs. If you’re not using your fireplace regularly, inflatable plugs can stop warm air from going up the chimney when the fireplace is not in use.You can install a Chimney Balloon in the fireplace flue and close it off with a tight energy-saving seal. It is very simple to do.

As the winter continues on it is important to be prepared and educated on the best ways to prevent heat loss in your home. It's all about being efficient and responsible and we are glad we can help.

Contact Trees "R" Us, Inc. today for a free estimate of any tree services needed at 847-913-9069, or nick@treesrusinc.com.

Thanks for reading,
Nick
nick@treesrusinc.com

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Get your tree pruning done in the winter!

Well, winter sure did come on like a lion. There was no easing us into it this year. I'm sure many of you had big plans to get the yard ready for next season or prepare that garden before the snow fell, but Mother Nature had other plans for your yard, garden and trees. 

Don't fret Trees "R" Us, Inc. can still help you get your trees in order even though we're in full swing winter. Did you know that a great time to get your tree work done is in the winter? That's right, winter is the perfect time, so give us a call as our schedule is filling up fast. Winter is especially a great time to have tree work performed on deciduous trees. While certain types of pruning on evergreens can be harmful this time of year, all deciduous species can be pruned in the fall or winter without exception. 

Our most popular requests this time of year are deadwood pruning, house clearance, tree limb removal and/or removal of entire trees. Whatever you need, contact us to see what we can do for you and when the best time to do that type of tree work is. 

You can rest easy when you call us as our staff has been properly trained and uses industry standard equipment to get the job done right. The first time.

So, don't refrain from getting tree work done in the winter thinking that it is not good for your tree. This couldn't be further from the truth in  most cases.

If you were one of the many who suffered through the unexpected November storm in the Chicago area that caused numerous tornadoes, then you've probably had some tree damage that still needs to be resolved. If you have a tree or even multiple trees that suffered storm damage that has not been fixed yet, Trees "R" Us, Inc. can give you a fast and professional quote on tree pruning or tree removal.

Our hearts go out to all those who suffered damage or a loss from that deadly storm, especially those in Washington, Illinois.

Trees "R" Us, Inc. is dedicated to providing you with exceptional service. Our highly trained and certified team will provide you the information you need to make an educated and informed decision.

Trees "R" Us, Inc. is a professional tree service in the Chicagoland area. We service the north shore, north suburbs and northwest suburbs of Chicago. Trees "R" Us, Inc. has 4 certified arborists on staff ready to assess your plants and tree care needs in a timely manner. Our services include tree trimming, pruning, stump grinding, emergency tree services, tree removal, cabling and bracing, fertilization and plant health care.

Thanks for reading,
Nick
nick@treesrusinc.com

Monday, December 9, 2013

Real or Fake? 13 Reasons why or why not to use an artificial Christmas tree

Did you catch my last post on the pros and cons of real Christmas trees? Be sure check that out is addition to this post on artificial Christmas trees. 

Are you thinking of buying a new Christmas tree this year? Are you keeping up with a family tradition or starting a new one?  No matter what your plan is for a Christmas tree this year, make sure you know what to expect with either a real or fake Christmas tree. And while there really are no right or wrong answers, there certainly are real, proven pros and cons to the real vs. artificial Christmas tree.

When It Comes to Artificial Trees…

PROS of Artificial Christmas Trees


1. Convenience. Just grab the pieces from storage, snap them together and the tree is up and ready for trimming with lights and ornaments. You get to use it over and over for years to come.

2. Easy storage and maintenance. Bend branches, make it thinner, bag it up or place it in the box it came in and store it easily for next year.

3. Longer use during the season. You can set up an artificial Christmas tree as early as you want. You know how stores start putting up Christmas decorations before Halloween is even over? Now you can too!  If that's your thing. Live trees have a short 'shelf life' so your fake tree can get you in the Christmas spirit at any time during the year.  On the flip side, it can stay up until Valentine's day if you're too lazy to pack it up!

4. Minimal maintenance. No watering needed for the artificial tree. No sap. No needles all over the floor needing to be cleaned up.

5. Consistency. You always will know how the tree will fit in the same spot year after year. Figuring out the size of the real tree you need in the space available in the house is always tricky when at the tree farm.

6. Ease of trimming. Over the years, artificial trees have changed from just a plain tree to trees with lights already on them or frosted with fake snow on the branches. Pre-lit trees certainly make trimming the tree easier.

CONS

7. No smell. This is big, as fragrance is a top reason people prefer live trees.

8. Room for storage. You must store them, which takes up space you may not have. Often, it is hard to fit them back in original boxes. They are cumbersome to lug up tight attic stairs or down basement stairs. They can take up quite a bit of space.

9. Aesthetics. Most artificial trees are not as full and voluminous as real trees.

10. Environmental concern. Artificial trees are made from nonrenewable petroleum. If one catches fire, it releases toxic fumes. Some contain metals and lead as well.

11. Fake looking appearance. I've never found this to be the case, but many say it is hard to retain the shape of artificial trees that have been bent tightly and stored all year in a box. I guess it would depend on the quality of tree that you purchased. Make sure to get a good one. Hopefully you'll have it for many years to come and the cost will be worth it.

12. The initial cost. Speaking of costs, artificial trees can be a big expense, with some of the bigger, pre-lit trees running into the hundreds of dollars. Of course, when you spread that out over the lifetime of the tree, it isn't much more than a real tree.

13. Poor recycling. Many of us hang on to our trees for about 6-9 years. After that time, they go in the garbage where they get transported to a landfill and sit there for centuries. 

As you can see whether you buy a real or artificial tree is a matter of personal preference and many times a matter of family tradition that probably started many, many years ago. Which ever way you go, just do your research before hand and make sure you are making the best decision for your family, wallet, environment and home. 

Thanks for reading,

Nick

Nick@treesrusinc.com


**Trees "R" Us, Inc. is a professional tree service in the Chicagoland area. We service the north shore, north suburbs and northwest suburbs of Chicago. Trees "R" Us, Inc. has 4 certified arborists on staff ready to assess your plants and tree care needs in a timely manner. Our services include tree trimming, pruning, stump grinding, emergency tree services, tree removal, cabling and bracing, fertilization and plant health care.

Trees "R" Us, Inc. can be contacted at 847-913-9069 or through our online forms atwww.treesrusinc.com.**

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Real or Fake? 10 reasons why or why not to buy a real Christmas tree



Do you buy a real christmas tree every year or drag out the artificial one from the basement or attic? No matter what you do, I bet it is a tradition and you wouldn't have it any other way. Family traditions like this make for great memories and tend not to change over the years. And while there really is no right or wrong answer, there certainly are real, proven pros and cons to the real vs. artificial Christmas tree.


Ask people if they prefer real Christmas trees or artificial trees and one thing is clear: People are firmly rooted in their tree traditions.


When It Comes to Real trees...


PROS of Real Christmas Trees



1. Memories and traditions. Making or continuing a tradition of taking the family out to the tree farm and picking out the perfect tree…or Charlie Brown tree…is one of the most special times of the year for many. Making those memories is irreplaceable.


2. It smells like Christmas. Bringing the Christmas tree home is an exciting time. The tree fills the house with that fresh pine scent, a sure sign that Christmas is on its way. Douglas firs and Fraser firs both have a distinct fragrance.


3. Support local economy. Buy buying a Christmas tree, many times you can find them locally and thereby support the local farming community.


4. Easy recycling. After the season is over, the tree is ideal for post-holiday bonfires. This is a serious tradition for some families! Sounds like fun. Wish we'd do that here in Chicago, but too much snow and icey-cold temps don't make me want to roast marshmallows on the open fire.


5. Helping the environment. During growth, real Christmas trees emit oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide and other gases. It will clean the air in your home.


CONS to Buying A Real Christmas Tree


6. The mess. Real trees are a mess. They will shed needles on floors, carpets and the cars or trucks that transported them. Also, look out for sap. What a mess that can be on the carpet.


7. Pets react strangely to the tree. Pets are attracted to real trees — drinking the water, climbing them, eating the needles and then getting sick on the carpet. Cats especially think that these trees are their personal jungle gyms. Dogs on the other hand have been known to 'mark' them. Gross, I know, but, that's what they'd do if they were outside after all.


8. Allergies. Christmas trees inside the home may spur allergies, asthma attacks and hives.


9. Potential fire hazards. If exposed to flames or intense heat sources, real trees become engulfed in flames within seconds, especially if the trees are dry and brittle.


10. Extra work. You have to saw off excess stumpage, cram it in (or on) your car, clean up the needles and cover bare spots.


As you can see the real tree has some great environmental benefits, but is more work. I'll tackle the reasons why artificial Christmas trees are good or bad next, so stay tuned.


Thanks for reading,


Nick


Nick@treesrusinc.com


**Trees "R" Us, Inc. is a professional tree service in the Chicagoland area. We service the north shore, north suburbs and northwest suburbs of Chicago. Trees "R" Us, Inc. has 4 certified arborists on staff ready to assess your plants and tree care needs in a timely manner. Our services include tree trimming, pruning, stump grinding, emergency tree services, tree removal, cabling and bracing, fertilization and plant health care.






Trees "R" Us, Inc. can be contacted at 847-913-9069 or through our online forms at www.treesrusinc.com.**