Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions are your opportunity to ask Fun Outdoor Living advice or “how to” instructions on your outdoor kitchen project.

We have experts from Bull Outdoor Products and DCS by Fisher & Paykel on our team.

Any question you may have, please call (704) 684-1203 or fill out the form to contact us.


 

  • How a Backyard Update Can Boost Your Property Value

    Source: Techno-Bloc – Originally published: May 12, 2017

    by Erin Vaughan

    Good news, homeowners!

    In a recent University of Michigan study, landscape updates were shown to boost property values up to 11 percent. That means that if you’re looking to boost your home’s rates on your next evaluation, your best bet may be to head to the backyard.

    But sophistication counts, researchers found. Homes that featured a curated, professional look scored significantly better among buyers.

    Meanwhile, landscape updates perform well on cost-versus-value reports as well. Decks, in particular, fare well along these measures.

    In 2016, a mid-range deck recouped 75 percent of its cost to install, beating out both bathroom and kitchen remodels. For context, the overall cost-versus-value rate for improvement projects in 2016 came in at around 64 percent.

    That means you stand to reap substantial benefits by investing in your lawn and outdoor living spaces. In fact, some experts indicate that a $20,000 investment here could net around $200,000 when you resell.

    That means every $1 you put into the backyard is worth $10 in improved value. Still, some improvements perform better than others, and it pays to stay up on outdoor trends.

    Here are a couple of projects that will do the most for your home’s bottom line.

    Turn Your Backyard Into An Extension Of Your Home

    Landscaping and interior design experts both have been excited recently about the concept of the outdoor living area. The idea is to create spaces perfect for leisure and enjoying pleasant weather and nights spent with loved ones.

    Meanwhile, open indoor rooms with large windows and glass doors give full views of your landscaping and outdoor panoramas.

    To get the look for your outdoor space, extend your patio out past its current boundaries. You can implement circular cutouts for trees, shrubs, or attractive flower beds, lined with pavers. For the ideal outdoor hosting spot, add a dry stone fire pit or an outdoor kitchen with a stone countertop and grill.

    Manufactured concrete stones come in interesting colors and unique textures that allow you to put your personal stamp on the project.

     

    Boost Your Property Value—Without Growing Your Home’s Water Footprint

    Backyards offer a chance to show off your home’s water efficiency, as well. Irrigation systems labeled with the EPA’s WaterSense seal carry weight among environmentally-minded homeowners.

    This is especially important if you want to resell or add value to your home. As you might predict, interest in water-efficient properties soars during periods of drought.

    But homes labeled with any kind of green certification tend to do well on the market. One study noticed a nine percent premium for properties carrying such labels. Using EPA-certified products lends credibility to any water-efficiency claims your realtor makes to potential buyers.

    Surveys consistently demonstrate home shoppers’ rising interest in green properties. For instance, in one such study, an overwhelming amount of homeowners—up to 94 percent—who had purchased a green home in the past said they’d readily recommend such properties to a friend.

    What’s more, 91 percent said they would definitely choose a green home if they were to relocate. Fifty-five percent said it didn’t even matter to them that their green home cost a little more than a conventional home.

    Many of the most advanced irrigation controls are WiFi-connected and programmed to pull in data from local weather forecasts to prevent overwatering when it rains. They also time sprinkler use so that it’s just enough for the local climate. This can reduce water use by as 8,800 gallons annually, according to the EPA.

    Another great eco-conscious option is permeable pavements. These allow for the proper percolation for surface water into the ground and reduce the risk and severity of flooding. Hence, they are great solution when designed as a means for water harvesting. In colder climates, they speed up the melting process of snow, reduce winter hazards and cost-savings on de-icing salt and snow removal.

    Many states/municipalities encourage the use of permeable pavements by offering tax incentives and utility fee reductions. You may want to check with your local government to see if they offer local incentives for their use.

    Succulents or ornamental grasses can give a backyard an edgy flair and reduce the home’s water footprint. They’re lovely when paired with stone pathways or in flower beds built with retaining walls. They also beautifully complement the hardscaping projects mentioned in the section above.

    Outdoor Lighting: More Than a Security Feature

    Many high-end outdoor spaces now concentrate on lighting, even when the sun starts to fall.

    Surveys show that 84 percent of respondents consider a home’s landscaping to be a determining factor in whether or not to purchase a home. Outdoor lighting helps you make the most of this and adds sophistication to your property, no matter what time of day you wind up showing it.

    Dramatic uplighting highlights unique architectural features on your home. It can also draw attention to ponds and fountains, trees, fences, and other eye-catching areas in your yard.

    Meanwhile, downlighting adds a welcoming feel to patios and other exterior seating. And there’s a lot more to it than floodlights. Circle cored LED paver lights can be concealed in your walkways and bounders. This allows you to add bright accents along paths or walls for extra ambience in your exterior living spaces.

    For an enchanting look, try the LED lights that look like miniature sculptures. For a more classic look, opt for the LED string lights controlled via WiFi.

    Make It Count with the Professional Touch

    Uplighting landscaping features for dramatic effect is an art all to its own. For that reason, you may want to consult with a professional for this part of your landscaping efforts.

    Complicated landscaping designs like installing water features, retaining walls, and hardscaping projects can often use a trained eye and a little expertise. Professional landscapers can advise you on the best types of designs to fit your climate and outdoor aesthetic. They’ll also have experience pulling permits if they’re required for your larger projects.

    A landscaper can also take the guesswork out of construction jobs, such as hardscaped seating, fire pits, paths and stone walls, and tiered courtyards and garden walls.

    Typically, professionals charge between $50 to $75 an hour. Still, most will draw up designs for you to DIY if you want to save money and do some of the hard labor yourself.

    Smart landscaping, better lighting, and enviable stone features will give professional polish to your exteriors.

    But watch out—you may just make the neighbors jealous!

    About the author

    Erin Vaughan is a blogger, gardener, and aspiring homeowner.  She currently resides in Austin, TX where she writes full time for Modernize, with the goal of empowering homeowners with the expert guidance and educational tools they need to take on big home projects with confidence.

  • Un-burnt Natural Gas smell!

    Natural gas is odorless and invisible, so the Gas Company adds Mercaptan to it. The odorant has a very distinctive “rotten egg” or sulfur-like smell. That helps everyone easily detect a leak.

  • Propane or Natural Gas?

    The difference between propane, or liquid petroleum gas (LPG), and natural gas comes down to their portability, compression, energy efficiency, and cost. However, there is generally no difference when it comes to performance in appliances for heating, cooking, or drying. The mixture of natural gas is comprised of propane, along with other gases like methane, butane, ethane, and pentane.

    One difference in the physical properties of propane and natural gas is how easily they liquefy and transport. Propane turns into a liquid at —46° F (-43° C), so it’s easy to compress and carry in a portable tank. You can buy compressed propane at most gas stations. It’s decompressed by a valve at the source of use, such as a barbeque grill. Yet natural gas doesn’t compress as easily. It usually comes to your home from a utility company along dedicated lines to power things like a central heating system, clothes dryer, and water heater.

    Propane is heavier than air which is heavier than natural gas. Both natural gas and propane will dissipate into the air if they are released in an open enough environment and both can pose an explosive risk if they concentrate enough and are ignited. However, because propane is heavier, it tends to fall to the ground, collect, and pose a greater explosive risk. On the other hand, because natural gas is lighter than air, it tends to rise and dissipate into the air, posing less of an explosive risk.

    Propane provides more energy per unit volume than does natural gas. Heat is measured in BTUs, or British Thermal Units. Propane provides about 2500 BTUs for the same volume of natural gas that only gives 1000 BTUs. However, natural gas can be less expensive at up to one-sixth the cost of propane, depending on where you live. Utilities in colder climates might supply natural gas for less money, especially during winter months. Some rural areas don’t have access to a utility company that provides gas service.

    Since they are both petroleum distillates, made of hydrocarbons, these gases have comparable power. Natural gas, as its name implies, develops naturally in deposits underground, so it only needs to be pumped out to use. Propane, since it is one of the gases in those deposits, must be further separated and distilled.

    You probably couldn’t tell the difference between their performance on a grill or water heater. They ignite at the same temperature. Some barbecue enthusiasts prefer natural gas because it is a cleaner burning fuel, which means it doesn’t release as many pollutants into the air. Exhaust from propane might affect the taste of food. To the end user, there aren’t many differences between natural gas and propane, but they do differ in their chemical properties.

  • Fire Pit Drainage?

    Bull and Fun Outdoor Living currently do not cut any holes for drainage, but when your plumber hooks up the gas to the burner you have to drill a hole into the cement board in order to get to the burner. So that provides an out for water.

  • How do you light the backburner?

    On Bull Outdoor Products grills equipped with an Infrared Backburner…

    1. Make sure the gas is on.
    2. Turn the knob slowly but stop before the ignition snaps, when you stop, hold the knob for 7-10 seconds. This allows the gas to flow thru the Infrared Backburner for 7-10 seconds allowing the gas to migrate to the opposite side of the Backburner where the ignition is located.
    3. After doing so proceed turning the knob to complete the snap.
    4. Once you hear the snap the gas will be ignited.
  • Installing a Side Burner

    Note: Use Teflon tape on all threaded connections.

    1. Connect a short double ended 3/8 female flare gas line to the back of the BBQ.
    2. Then connect a 3/8 Flare “T” Fitting to the gas line.
    3. From that connection, you will have two remaining access points. One for the side burner and one for the Incoming gas.
    4. Make your connections and light it up.
  • How can I tell if I have a gas leak?

    Safety first…when in doubt ask for help

     

    If you smell NATURAL gas outdoors

    • Alert others and leave the area immediately
    • Call your local Gas Company at their emergency phone number with the location of the leak(s)
    • Call your local fire department, police department, or 911

     

    ONLY IF YOU ARE SURE THERE IS NOT A CHANCE OF FIRE

    A good test is to mix a bit of water with dish soap. Then with a brush dab your connections with the soapy water, if you do indeed have a leak you will see your connection start to bubble.

  • Call 811 before you dig!

    Whether you are planning to do it yourself or hire a professional, smart digging means calling 811 before each job.

    State and federal laws require anyone excavating to contact every potentially affected operator of underground facilities before starting to dig. North Carolina requires two business days notice and South Carolina require three business days notice, excluding weekends and holidays.*

     

    One easy phone call to 811 quickly begins the process of getting underground lines marked. Local One-Call Center personnel will notify affected utility companies who then send a crew to mark underground lines for free.

     

    Simple digging jobs can damage utility lines and disrupt vital services to an entire neighborhood, harm those who dig and result in expensive fines and repair costs. Marked lines show those who dig the approximate location of underground lines and help prevent undesired consequences. Knowing where underground utility lines are buried before each digging project begins helps to prevent injury, expense and penalties. The depth of utility lines may vary and multiple utility lines may exist in one area. (Based on information from Common Ground Alliance, North Carolina One-Call Center, South Carolina Palmetto Utility Protection Service

     

    Who to call

    The national call before you dig number is 811

    North Carolina One-Call Center: 811 or 1-800-632-4949

    South Carolina Palmetto Utility Protection Service (PUPS): 811 or 1-888-721-7877

     

    *The NC and SC call centers generally operate between 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.

     

    Your call sets this process in motion:

    • Utilities with underground lines near the site are notified.
    • Utilities mark underground lines with color-coded flags or paint:
      • Red = Electric
      • Yellow = Gas, oil, or steam
      • Orange = Telephone, television, or other communication line
      • Blue = Water
      • Green = Sewer
      • Pink = Temporary survey marking
      • White = Proposed excavation
    • All marks are “good” for 15 days and projects should be updated if work extends over the 15-day period.

     

    Don’t assume you know what’s below. Protect yourself and those around you – call 811.

    Not all underground facility owners are One-Call members.

     

    Helpful Hints:

    • Always dig around the marks — not on them! Some utility lines may be buried at a shallow depth and an unintended shovel thrust can bring you right back to square one — facing potentially dangerous and/or costly consequences.
    • Excavation equipment can cause major damage to underground utilities. A best, safe practice is to “hand dig” within 30 inches of the locate markings on the ground.
    • Erosion or root structure growth may shift the locations of your utility lines, so remember to call again each time you are planning a digging job. Safe digging is no accident. Know what’s below. Always call before you dig.
    • If excavating, ditching, trenching, drilling, or blasting is to be done on or adjacent to your property, check https://www.call811.com/ or call your state One-Call system.
  • 304 Grade Stainless Steel?

    304 Grade Stainless Steel is the best for the job!

    Stainless Steel – Grade 304

    Chemical Formula

    Fe, <0.08% C, 17.5-20% Cr, 8-11% Ni, <2% Mn, <1% Si, <0.045% P, <0.03% S
    Topics Covered
    Background

    Corrosion Resistance *** this is important

    Heat Resistance*** this is important

    Heat Treatment*** this is important

    Welding*** this is important

    Machining

    Dual Certification

    Applications*** this is important

    Key Properties

    Composition

    Mechanical Properties

    Physical Properties

    Grade Specification Comparison

    Possible Alternative Grades

    Background

    Grade 304 is the standard “18/8” stainless; it is the most versatile and most widely used stainless steel, available in a wider range of products, forms and finishes than any other. It has excellent forming and welding characteristics. The balanced austenitic structure of Grade 304 enables it to be severely deep drawn without intermediate annealing, which has made this grade dominant in the manufacture of drawn stainless parts such as sinks, hollow-ware and saucepans. For these applications it is common to use special “304DDQ” (Deep Drawing Quality) variants. Grade 304 is readily brake or roll formed into a variety of components for applications in the industrial, architectural, and transportation fields. Grade 304 also has outstanding welding characteristics. Post-weld annealing is not required when welding thin sections.

    Grade 304L, the low carbon version of 304, does not require post-weld annealing and so is extensively used in heavy gauge components (over about 6mm). Grade 304H with its higher carbon content finds application at elevated temperatures. The austenitic structure also gives these grades excellent toughness, even down to cryogenic temperatures.

     

    Corrosion Resistance

    Excellent in a wide range of atmospheric environments and many corrosive media. Subject to pitting and crevice corrosion in warm chloride environments, and to stress corrosion cracking above about 60°C. Considered resistant to potable water with up to about 200mg/L chlorides at ambient temperatures, reducing to about 150mg/L at 60°C.

    Heat Resistance

    Good oxidation resistance in intermittent service to 870°C and in continuous service to 925°C. Continuous use of 304 in the 425-860°C range is not recommended if subsequent aqueous corrosion resistance is important. Grade 304L is more resistant to carbide precipitation and can be heated into the above temperature range.

    Grade 304H has higher strength at elevated temperatures so is often used for structural and pressure-containing applications at temperatures above about 500°C and up to about 800°C. 304H will become sensitized in the temperature range of 425-860°C; this is not a problem for high temperature applications, but will result in reduced aqueous corrosion resistance.

     

    Heat Treatment

    Solution Treatment (Annealing) – Heat to 1010-1120°C and cool rapidly. These grades cannot be hardened by thermal treatment.

    Welding

    Excellent weldability by all standard fusion methods, both with and without filler metals. AS 1554.6 pre-qualifies welding of 304 with Grade 308 and 304L with 308L rods or electrodes (and with their high silicon equivalents). Heavy welded sections in Grade 304 may require post-weld annealing for maximum corrosion resistance. This is not required for Grade 304L. Grade 321 may also be used as an alternative to 304 if heavy section welding is required and post-weld heat treatment is not possible.

    Machining

    A “Ugima” improved machinability version of grade 304 is available in bar products. “Ugima” machines significantly better than standard 304 or 304L, giving higher machining rates and lower tool wear in many operations.

     

    Dual Certification

    It is common for 304 and 304L to be stocked in “Dual Certified” form, particularly in plate and pipe. These items have chemical and mechanical properties complying with both 304 and 304L specifications. Such dual certified product does not meet 304H specifications and may be unacceptable for high temperature applications.

    Applications

    Typical applications include:

    ·         Food processing equipment, particularly in beer brewing, milk processing & wine making.

    ·         Kitchen benches, sinks, troughs, equipment and appliances

    ·         Architectural panelling, railings & trim

    ·         Chemical containers, including for transport

    ·         Heat Exchangers

    ·         Woven or welded screens for mining, quarrying & water filtration

    ·         Threaded fasteners

    ·         Springs

     

    Key Properties

    These properties are specified for flat rolled product (plate, sheet and coil) in ASTM A240/A240M. Similar but not necessarily identical properties are specified for other products such as pipe and bar in their respective specifications.

    Composition

    Typical compositional ranges for grade 304 stainless steels are given in table 1.

    Table 1. Composition ranges for 304 grade stainless steel

    GradeCMnSiPSCrMoNiN
    304min.

    max.

    0.08

    2.0

    0.75

    0.045

    0.030

    18.0

    20.0

    8.0

    10.5

    0.10

    304Lmin.

    max.

    0.030

    2.0

    0.75

    0.045

    0.030

    18.0

    20.0

    8.0

    12.0

    0.10

    304Hmin.

    max.

    0.04

    0.10

    2.0

    0.75

    -0.045

    0.030

    18.0

    20.0

    8.0

    10.5

     

    Mechanical Properties

    Typical mechanical properties for grade 304 stainless steels are given in table 2.

    Table 2. Mechanical properties of 304 grade stainless steel

    GradeTensile Strength (MPa) minYield Strength 0.2% Proof (MPa) minElongation (% in 50mm) minHardness
    Rockwell B (HR B) maxBrinell (HB) max
    3045152054092201
    304L4851704092201
    304H5152054092201
    304H also has a requirement for a grain size of ASTM No 7 or coarser.

    Physical Properties

    Typical physical properties for annealed grade 304 stainless steels are given in table 3.

    Table 3. Physical properties of 304 grade stainless steel in the annealed condition

    GradeDensity (kg/m3)Elastic Modulus (GPa)Mean Coefficient of Thermal Expansion (mm/m/°C)Thermal Conductivity (W/m.K)Specific Heat 0-100°C (J/kg.K)Electrical Resistivity (nW.m)
    0-100°C0-315°C0-538°Cat 100°Cat 500°C
    304/L/H800019317.217.818.416.221.5500720

     

    Grade Specification Comparison

    Approximate grade comparisons for 304 stainless steels are given in table 4.

    Table 4. Grade specifications for 304 grade stainless steel

    GradeUNS NoOld BritishEuronormSwedish SSJapanese JIS
    BSEnNoName
    304S30400304S3158E1.4301X5CrNi18-102332SUS 304
    304LS30403304S111.4306X2CrNi19-112352SUS 304L
    304HS30409304S511.4948X6CrNi18-11
    These comparisons are approximate only. The list is intended as a comparison of functionally similar materials not as a schedule of contractual equivalents. If exact equivalents are needed original specifications must be consulted.

     

    Possible Alternative Grades

    Possible alternative grades to grade 304 stainless steels are given in table 5.

    Table 5. Possible alternative grades to 304 grade stainless steel

    GradeWhy it might be chosen instead of 304
    301LA higher work hardening rate grade is required for certain roll formed or stretch formed components.