Browse the best braai & fireplace installation & maintenance specialists and compare ratings and reviews.
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South Africa is a land of many contrasts, from boiling hot summers to freezing cold winters, bringing differing needs with them. Whilst most South Africans live for the summer months when they can be outdoors in the sunshine, winter is still a factor that must be coped with some form of efficiency, more particularly now with the nationwide load-shedding which comes in waves from month to month. Keeping warm in winter during periods when electricity supplies have been subjected to controlled shut-downs can be very difficult and depressing. It is becoming more common for modern homes to now have a built-in fireplace/braai which serves a dual purpose during both summer and winter. Indoor braais can be enjoyed when the summer weather is inclement (wet, windy, blustery) whilst the same area can become a gloriously warm central feature during the colder months. Alternatively, it is possible to have an indoor or outdoor built-in braai area as well as a dedicated indoor fireplace.
Such fireplaces can come in many different designs, from the traditional fireplace to the more modern stove-type wood burner which gives off incredible amounts of heat. It is fair to say that fireplaces can be tailored to meet your practical and aesthetic needs, whether your home is modern or more traditional. One of the nicest aspects of a built-in indoor braai is that it has a door or doors which can be shut to provide a streamlined appearance when not in use – or hide an uncleaned area from the night before!
An indoor fireplace or a built-in in-/outdoor braai requires a chimney or flue which has to be kept clean.
Fires lead to the buildup in the chimney of soot and creosote, which is a thick oily residue which is similar to tar and is a byproduct of burning wood. If this residue catches alight, it can cause devastating house fires. When your fireplace or indoor braai chimney needs cleaning, you will notice signs such as: oily spots on the walls of your fireplace caused by creosote residue within the chimney, which will hinder airflow within the chimney and prevent smoke rising correctly up the chimney. This can also lead to difficulties in starting fires due to insufficient flow of oxygen through the chimney. A smell lingering in the house which is like that of a campfire, indicating a buildup of creosote and soot in the chimney. Blockage of the chimney top due to birds or squirrels nesting at the top of the structure, or soot or creosote falling onto the wood of the fire, which is a clear indication of a pending blockage. Any of the above signs are a warning that you need to call in a fireplace maintenance specialist to resolve the problem.
Due to their popularity, these specialists are easily found in most towns. There are now so many specialists offering indoor braai and fireplace installations that one is rather spoilt for choice. However, if you want to assure yourself of their service and quality, you need to check their customer reviews, which can easily be done through search sites such as Uptasker, which also provides online ratings. Uptasker is a great help in finding a supplier close to your area, as this site lists in geographical locations, as well as providing ‘one-click’ links to websites, if available, from which you will be able to see their catalogues or pictures of their previous installations. You can also check house and home magazines and the Yellow Pages, newspaper adverts, flyers or brochures which are handed out at robots when specials are being offered. And, of course, there is the good old-fashioned word-of-mouth recommendation!
Installing a braai or fireplace is just the beginning of the journey. Whilst you can easily plan for many years of enjoyment and warmth from these installations, you also need to remember that maintenance is a must which cannot be ignored. To keep your installation working at peak performance and providing you with the utmost heat and safety, ensure that you have a maintenance routine. If anything goes wrong, call in the specialists who know what they are doing and can provide you with the assurance that all is working as it should. Be particularly aware if you have a fireplace with a tempered glass window, that this window is not cracked or buckling and that the flue is not clogged or showing any signs of damage. For more tips and information, see Uptasker’s braai and fireplace installation and maintenance specialist articles and suppliers’ listings.
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