Hardware Retailing

FEB 2019

Hardware Retailing magazine is the pre-eminent how-to management magazine for small business owners and managers in the home improvement retailing industry.

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Heating, Cooling and Ventilation It's important to consider the regional temperatures to keep an outdoor kitchen and living space comfortable. When Erickson first began completing construction jobs five years ago, he was living in the Chicago suburbs where outdoor kitchens were a popular request among homeowners looking to extend their time spent outside. "I learned the ways to make an outdoor space warm in cooler temperatures in Illinois but that translates to Florida as well for colder evenings," he says. "Many of my customers add propane heaters, and some may want an infrared heater, which I recommend if they have a covered roof." For homeowners who intend to use their outdoor kitchens as long as they can, combining a variety of items to keep the space warm can make it accessible almost all year. One way almost any retailer can keep outdoor living areas warm is by adding a fire pit into the design, Erickson says. These can range from something as simple as a wood-burning fire pit to stationary setups with fire rings and glass. An outdoor fireplace is another way to heat up the space and bring a homeowner's design preferences to the space. In many designs, the fireplace becomes the focal point, and it also can provide storage and built-in seating areas. "Adding an outdoor fireplace is a high-end addition to this project," Erickson says. "If a DIYer has enough experience, there are some manufacturers that provide a kit for fireplaces, but I recommend most homeowners use a professional mason to complete this project." Three years ago, Erickson moved to Florida to start Inside Out Kitchen and Bath with his brother. Erickson says he is now frequently asked by customers what to add to keep outdoor living areas cool. If it gets hot outside, an outdoor ceiling fan can help promote circulation. Homeowners should pick out options that are wet, dry and damp-rated outdoor fans. These are waterproof and can handle the outdoors. Wall-mounted outdoor fans are also an option for customers whose outdoor kitchens aren't covered by a roof or other structure. According to Erickson, he often will add misting fans to his outdoor projects to provide relief from intense humidity. To prevent smoke from blowing in guests' faces or clouding the cook's focus, a vent hood is also a smart addition. The hood should be larger than the grill so it can catch smoke easily.

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