Solace Home Comfort - Maintaining Your Fireplace

Advice & Tips: Maintaining Your Fireplace

Every year brings its new challenges, and if you’re a homeowner, the list of TO DO’s can be long. If you own a fireplace, we want to ensure that you are in the know when it comes to fireplace maintenance.

Maintaining a fireplace every year can add years to its life. By scheduling routine maintenance, you ensure a safe, warm and efficient fireplace for your family and your home.

One of the product lines we are very proud to represent is VALOR FIREPLACES. Here are some helpful tips from Vancouver’s very own, local brand.

Maintaining Your Fireplace

A fireplace surface, especially the glass viewing window, become extremely hot during operation. At full capacity a Valor gas fireplace can get over 500°F and will remain hot even after the fireplace is turned off for a period of time. All Valor models now come equipped with safety screens, but for an even safer approach we would suggest an aftermarket safety gate to keep toddlers and young children away from the fireplace.

  • First and foremost– Read your owner’s manual and follow all instructions and warnings.
  • If your fireplace has been on recently– Do not touch any part of the fireplace while it is hot! Let the fireplace cool before cleaning it.
  • Mineral white film on glass– Clean the glass regularly if this occurs, if it is left you risk it being etched into the glass. Note that you should NEVER use an abrasive cleaner on the ceramic glass. Use a soft damp cloth to apply the cleaner (recommended cleaners: Brasso, Polish Plus by Kelkem, Cook Top Clean Creme by Elco, White Off by Rutland, Turtle Wax).
  • Barrier Screens– All barrier screens can be dusted off with a soft brush.
  • Cast Iron– Cast iron parts can be brushed clean, while enamelled cast iron parts can be cleaned with mild soap and water.
  • Fireboxes & Burner– Any dust can be brushed from the ceramic logs/rocks and firebox walls after removing the front unit and opening the window. Ensure no particles are brushed into the slots of the burner.
  • Glass Beads– Dishwasher safe! Ensure they completely dry when putting back.
  • Steel Surrounds & Trims– Mild soap and warm water on cooled surfaces only. Any alcohol/solvent base cleaner will weaken the coating and damage it.

For more information on fireplace safety, maintenance and more please visit the Valor Fireplace Safety page.


Solace Home Comfort - Outdoor Lighting Tips

Outdoor Lighting Options and Tips

Those of us living on the West Coast wait all year for the weather to warm up because it means one thing: Patio Season! Nothing says summer quite like a warm night watching the sunset in a wooden adirondack chair or enjoying something cool and refreshing in the open air. When the sun goes down and you’re not quite ready to turn in, the right kind of lighting optimizes the time you get to spend outdoors.

Having your friend over for a BBQ doesn’t haven’t to be moved indoors when you have enough lighting to see one another or find the cooler with ease. If it’s just a romantic evening for two, forgo the candles and opt for the glow of string lights or glow-in-the-dark potted planters.

Coming soon from Valor is a new outdoor fireplace, sure to wow guests and keep them warm as the summer months turn to fall. Pioneered by a local North Vancouver company because here on the West Coast, we never want patio season to end. In the mean time, here are so inexpensive ways to decorate your yard, balcony, patio or deck  beautifully and effectively-with light!

Solace Home Comfort - Outdoor Lighting Tips

  • UP-CYCLED CAN LANTERNS: hold onto those canned vegetable, paint or soup cans! Start of by washing them thoroughly. The next step is to paint them any colour or colours you like, be as bold as you like. Next, use a nail and hammer or drill to make small holes (randomly or in a pattern) around the can, be sure to do all around and two holes on opposite sides of the cans, right near the top lid. Then add wire for a handle (optional). Lastly, place a battery operated candle inside and place around your outdoor space. If you using a real candle, be sure to blow them out at the end of the evening, and never leave candles unattended.

Solace Home Comfort - Outdoor Lighting Tips

  • GLOW-THE-DARK PLANTERS: This one is easy! Simply buy the glow in the dark paint at your craft store and follow the instructions for how many coats. Leave to dry and in the sun all day, by night fall you have a natural, solar-powered light source!

Solace Home Comfort - Outdoor Lighting Tips

  • DECORATIVE TWIGS: These delicate string lights can be found at hardware and craft stores, usually around Christmas time. If you have your own twigs, simply wrap the wires around the branches. Otherwise, decorative branches can be found in craft or home decor stores as well!

Solace Home Comfort - Outdoor Lighting Tips

  • LANTERN STRING LIGHTS: Most of know how effective simple, white outdoor string lights can be in making a space look romantic and stylish. For a unique look, make sure you have a few extra yards. Drill a hole through a lid to a mason jar, string the lights through the hole and let them bunch up in the jar. String the lights back through, and close the lid up!
Solace Home Comfort - Fireplace Terms and Words

Guide to Understanding Fireplace Terminology

Ever find yourself scratching your head and thinking, “What the?” when it comes to understanding all the lingo and terms around fireplaces? You’re not alone.

Unless you’ve been working within the fireplace industry there are a lot of words, phrases, and terminology associated that can make any outsider stumped. To help you better understand just what we are talking about throughout our website, manuals and catalogues we’ve created this page.


B VENT – Listed, factory-built, double wall metal pipe for venting gas appliances with draft hoods and other appliances listed for use with Type B Gas Vent.

BLOWER – An electric, motor driven fan used to circulate air at an increased pace and velocity through the fireplace convection air chamber.

BTU OR BRITISH THERMAL UNIT – A unit for measuring energy, equal to the amount of energy needed to increase the temperature of 1 pound of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit.

CLEARANCES – Minimum distance, composed only of an air space, which must be maintained between a heat source such as a fireplace or vent and combustible surfaces. Distance required by building and fire codes between stove, fireplace, or chimney and combustible materials such as wood furniture or carpets. Clearances must be obeyed even if the combustible materials covered by noncombustible plaster or other masonry materials.

CO-AXIAL DIRECT VENT – A Direct Vent system consisting of a length of sealed, exhaust pipe inside a same length of a larger diameter combustion air pipe. Basically a pipe within another pipe – center is exhaust and outer donut area is fresh air.

CO-LINEAR DIRECT VENT – A Direct Vent system consisting of two separate pipes of the same diameter. One pipe for exhaust and the other for combustion air.

COMBUSTIBLE MATERIAL – Material made of, or surfaced with, wood, compressed paper, plant fibers, or other material that will ignite and burn, as applied to materials adjacent to or in contact with heat-producing appliances, chimney connectors, steam and hot water pipes and warm air ducts. Such material shall be considered as combustible even though flame proofed, fire retardant treated, or plastered.

DIRECT VENT – Method of venting appliance whereby all air for combustion is derived directly from the outside atmosphere and all flue gases are discharged directly to the outside atmosphere. Exhaust system for gas fireplaces that is gravity induced. No chimney is required.

EFFICIENCY – The percentage of heat that goes into the room instead of up the chimney.

FIREBOX – The inner-most compartment of a fireplace designed to support the combustion of fuel.

FLUE – The passageway in a chimney for conveying flue gases to the outside atmosphere.

GAS FIREPLACE INSERT – A gas appliance designed to be installed within an existing masonry fireplace opening or a metal factory-built firebox. It offers superior efficiency.

GAS VENT – A factory made, listed venting system designed to remove flue gases to the outside atmosphere. Please also see Direct Vent, Type B vent or Flexible Chimney Liner.

MANTEL – Shelf over and above the fireplace opening. Stone, brick or wood may be used.

MODULATING CONTROL – The ability to control the fuel input to the gas fire automatically – similar to the cruise control on an automobile. Available with Valor’s standard ValorStat Control System.

NATURAL GAS – Clean-burning fossil fuel available in vast quantities throughout North America and delivered to homes via an extensive pipeline network. Colorless, highly flammable gas found in porous geologic formations beneath the earth’s surface. Consists mainly of methane.

PILOT – A small flame used to ignite the gas at the main burner.

RADIANT HEAT – Heat that moves out in waves from a central point and heats objects in its path. The invisible and harmless radiation emitted by a hot object. This radiation is converted into heat when it is absorbed.

THERMOSTAT – An automatic device for regulating the temperature in a building by controlling the heating or cooling source. Acts strictly as an on/off switch – does not modulate the heating or cooling source.

VALORSTAT – A wireless handheld remote control system which allows the user complete control of the fire from anywhere in the room. Standard equipment on most Valor models – controls the comfort, convenience and aesthetics you want from your Valor gas fireplace. See Modulating Control.

ZERO CLEARANCE FIREPLACE – A factory-built metal fireplace with multi-layer construction providing enough insulation and/or air cooling so that the base, back, and in some cases sides, can safely be placed in direct contact (zero clearance) with combustible floors and walls.