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Outdoor News

The Art of Electric Fire

December 18th, 2014

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When shopping for an electric fireplace there are several things that you must consider. First, how does it look? Are you going to want this in your home or office for years to come? Flame first– if it does not catch your eye right away it probably never will. Style– does the style fit your home? Next is noise, if you can hear it running in the showroom from one foot away it will be irritating in your home. The showroom has a high level of background noise, your living room will not. The last thing to consider: quality of construction. Is it well built, with nice fitting parts and LED bulbs? You do not want to buy anything with less than LED bulbs in it, the cost and service will be troublesome. Heat is another item that is always asked for. Electric heaters can be a great way to warm a room and take a chill off of a cool evening.

Electric fires have advanced many times over since the old days of real wood logs cutout with a transparent sheet of plastic on them so a light bulb could be used to light up the center of the log set. Back then the illusion of fire was made by having the heat of the light bulb cause a pinwheel to rotate and the light on the translucent film to fluctuate looking like light from flames. Today we use a motor to create a rotation of reflective materials to create an upward moving flame reflection on a background panel. The lights have advanced from the old incandescent bulb to hundreds of small LEDs of different colors to create a more realistic reflection of flame. The blue LED gives an even more realistic flame appearance.

Another feature that has been added to help create that feeling of a real wood fire is the introduction of a heater. The extra heat makes for a more compelling feeling that the flame is real and generating the heat. Many people have asked if it is a real flame and when told it is not they ask where does the heat come from. The electric heater typically comes with different output settings with a fan to help the heat move around a larger area of the room.

In the past electric fires were either log sets or they were made to look like a masonry fire place. The construction was not built to last for many years and were never much of an added value when it came time to sell a home. Today’s electrics are well constructed and designed to last.  They have an electronic operating board that drives the motors and LEDs in the system to get quiet, efficient, and long lasting use. The LEDs in an electric fireplace today consume next to nothing in the way of power. As little as 2 cents to run the fire for 24 hours in most places. The LEDs will also last what will seem like forever. LED bulbs can last 100,000 hours for a good quality bulb. Even then if one or two of hundreds do stop working you will not notice it in the flame.

Installations of today’s electrics is also very simple. On a wall hung unit the installation is as simple as hanging a mirror or a picture. Simply locate the area, determine the stud locations. With a screw gun simple screw a minimum of 4 screws in the mounting frame to the studs. Then hang the body on the frame and snap the glass front in place. Only 10 minutes from start to finish. Inserts can take even less time. Simply assemble the surround attach it to the insert and slide the insert in place. No screws, drills, clamps etc. then just plug the unit into an existing outlet and it is ready to enjoy!

Post by Eric Hawkinson, VP Operations and Engineering

 

Holiday Gift Guide

December 11th, 2014

It’s that time of year. Still have no idea what to get your loved one this holiday season? Do they love spending time outdoors? Then look no further our holiday gift guide is here to help! Scroll through the gallery and follow the link on the image. Happy shopping!

NEW: Commercial Site

December 10th, 2014

While The Outdoor GreatRoom Company has always worked with commercial partners such as builders, architects, designers, hotels, and more, we’ve recently focused our attention and made it even easier for those in the commercial or contract line of work to access information. We’re hoping that having this section specific to commercial projects on our site will help ease the process on both ends.

There is a strong demand for hotels, resorts, restaurants and bars to add amenities like outdoor fire pits and indoor electric fireplaces. Any product can be used commercially and custom categories include gas fire pits, fire pit tables, gas fireplaces, fire features, outdoor kitchen islands, and custom gas UL listed burners. Photos of projects, custom build project information, specifications, and other resources are all there to provide support to the commercial customer. While anyone can get access to this section if they desire, they must first enter in their name, email, and company information so that OGC can contact them if necessary.

Commercial Login

 

Last Minute Holiday Preparations

December 9th, 2014

Read our Employee Renee’s story on last minute holiday preparations and how she is decorating for Christmas:

It’s December 1st, and I got the call.  My mother-in-law may want to enjoy Christmas and have someone else host our “small” family of 28.  As the words came out of my mouth that we would love to host, it did start my heart racing.  Suddenly hundreds of items are flying through my head.  I need more chairs, what will I serve, and how can I spruce up my house in time before Christmas, these were just a few items on the list of things to do.  Now changing things up in the house a few weeks before Christmas seemed impossible.  The living room is where I put the Christmas tree, people rarely sit in this room so I haven’t changed it for a long time.  I shouldn’t say we haven’t changed this room.  My husband painted the walls last year, which he didn’t understand since people don’t go into this “special room”.  I need something to attract my family to actually go ahead and sit and visit.  With little time and little budget during this season, I came up with the fantastic idea of an electric fireplace.  So working for the Outdoor GreatRoom has its advantages.  I’ve learned so much about this wall mounted electric fireplace it seemed like a no brainer to me.  Now, all I had to do was sell my husband on it!!  The great flame and 13 back lighting options were my biggest selling points, not to mention it comes with a remote.  Seriously, wouldn’t the remote be the biggest selling feature for any man?   Little did I know that if I had first said it only takes minutes to install, he would have said yes right away.  So to take one big “to do” off the list, we will be installing a GreatCo. Linear Electric Fireplace in our living room.  I’m on to the next item on the list, and I’ll take any suggestions on what to serve on Christmas day!

Renee

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A Fireplace for the Holidays

December 4th, 2014

The holiday season is all about spending time with family and friends. What better way to do that than gathering around a warm fire and swapping stories and memories. Not only is it proven that sitting around a fire can be good for your mental health, it is also a great way to put away the distractions of daily life and pay attention to loved ones.

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Decorating for the holidays can be one of the most exciting times of the year. One staple of holiday decorating (besides the tree) is a cozy fireplace. Whether it is to display stockings, garland, or other holiday treasures, the fireplace is the focal point of the room. The Outdoor GreatRoom Company can help you get ready for the holidays if you don’t have a fireplace or would like to upgrade your existing unit. Modern, traditional, or somewhere in between we’ve got you covered with our wall mount linear electric fireplaces, built in electric fireplaces, or electric fireplace insert. All are very simple to use, quick, and easy-to-install and are safe to use year round. They are cool to the touch and perfect for use with small pets and children.

With all the hustle and bustle of the holidays it is good to take time to slow down and spend quality time with family and friends. Why not do that around a cozy (and cost effective) electric fireplace!

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The Mental Health Benefits of Sitting Around a Fire

December 2nd, 2014

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The warm glow and crackling sounds of fire can lower blood pressure, a response that University of Alabama researchers attribute to early humans’ primal reliance on flames for a variety of needs.

An abstract on PubMed states: “For early humans, fire likely extended the day, provided heat, helped with hunting, warded off predators and insects, illuminated dark places, and facilitated cooking.”

A formal study backs up the claims, with results indicating consistent blood pressure decreases in “fire-with-sound” conditions. “Findings confirm that hearth and campfires induce relaxation as part of a multisensory, absorptive, and social experience,” wrote Department of Antropology researchers from U of A…

Read more at Patio & Hearth Products Report

Original Article from Huffington Post

Study by PubMed

Thanksgiving on the Grill

November 25th, 2014

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, cooking and recipes are on everyone’s mind. While we all have our favorite tried and true Thanksgiving recipes that we wouldn’t change a thing, there are a lot of unique recipes to try as well. Our favorites are always grill recipes, with rich flavors that are sure to please. Take a look at the recipes below and incorporate them into your Thanksgiving meal!

Turkey is a must! Try this Slow Grilled Turkey recipe from Martha Stewart.

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Top off the turkey with this sweet and zesty Cranberry BBQ Sauce.

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As a side dish, give sweet potatoes a makeover with this Grilled Sweet Potato Kebob recipe.

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And you can’t forget the pumpkin pie. Give this traditional dessert a twist by making it a Grilled Pumpkin Pie!

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Office Closed for Thanksgiving

November 24th, 2014

The Outdoor GreatRoom Company offices will be closed Thursday and Friday, November 27 and 28 for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. We will resume regular business hours at 8 am, Monday, December 1. Enjoy this time with friends and family!

Pergola Comparison: Buy or DIY?

November 20th, 2014

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When planning an outdoor room a pergola is an important part of the overall design. Beyond choosing the style of what you want, it is important to consider your overall cost and time spent. Whether you are a dealer looking to provide Pergolas to your customers, or a retail consumer looking to DIY a pergola yourself, the Outdoor GreatRoom Company wants to help you figure that out. Below is a comparison of what it would cost, both time and dollars, to DIY build a Sonoma 12 foot Pergola or purchase from The Outdoor GreatRoom Company.

Do It Yourself Construction

ACTION ITEM                                                                                   ESTIMATED TIME

Putting together a plan for constructing                                              1 days

Constructing each column of pergola                                                   2 days

Constructing each arched rafter (8 rafters)                                          3 days

Constructing each straight rafter (10 rafters)                                      2 days

Detailing, sanding, routing edges, grooves, etc.                                   3 days

Staining and drying                                                                                  2 days

Buying hardware, miscellaneous                                                            1 days

Delivery, installation                                                                                 1 day

   Total Time To Construct Pergola                     15 days         

ESTIMATED COST

Estimated cost of lumber                                                                       $1350

Estimated cost of hardware                                                                   $450

Estimated cost of stain                                                                          $175

Estimated tool rental, other materials needed                                    $350

15 days labor, 10 hours per day, 1 person @ $15 per hour                $2,250

   Total Estimated Cost                                          $4,575

These would be estimated costs for a landscaper building a 12’ arched wood pergola by themselves.  This would involve 15 working days and $4,575 worth of materials/labor.  This is also assuming this landscaper can get down to the fine details of the pergola and have the exact look that you get when you see a Sonoma 12 Pergola from The Outdoor GreatRoom Company.

 

The Outdoor Greatroom Company Sonoma Pergola

ACTION ITEMS                                                                              ESTIMATED TIME   

Order Sonoma 12 Pergola from OGC                                                 1 minute

Ship and deliver pergola                                                                       5 days

Install Pergola                                                                                        4 hours

           Total Time                                                                     5 days, 4 hours, 1 minute

                                                                                                          ESTIMATED COST

Sonoma 12 Redwood Pergola                                             Retail Value                 $3,699

                                                                                               Dealer Cost (40%)     $2,219.40

 

Savings by purchasing an engineered, pre-finished, ready to install pergola versus building one:  10 ½ days and $2,355.60 for a dealer.         

 

 

Google Business Pages: Why it’s Important

November 18th, 2014

Google Business Pages is important to your customers so it should be to you too. This is a free business marketing tool that every company and small business has access to. And chances are even if you haven’t created a Google Business Pages profile, it has been created on your behalf by Google, pulling (sometimes incorrect) information from the web.

Example

If a customer in Minneapolis is looking for a fire pit, their first instinct will be to go to the internet. Let’s say they search for “Gas Fire Pits Minneapolis” which results in a list of stores close by. They pick the store at the top of the list because it has the most information and pictures. They often times aren’t looking for an online store, but need to find a store nearby to visit and shop. The Outdoor GreatRoom Company wants you to be that store! Even without your own website, you can still be at the top of the search results and get that potential consumer in your door. (click image to enlarge)

google business results

For us at The Outdoor GreatRoom Company, it is important that our customers businesses, even those that do not sell online or have their own website, have an online presence. Free marketing tools such as social media, these google resources, Yelp, etc. are very important when potential consumers are searching for a business. Even businesses that have a Google page set up already should be continually updating their profile with key words, pictures, and up to date information.

Read here for a consumers point of view on why it is important to keep an up to date Google profile. 

To get started download our Google Business instruction guide or visit google.com/business.