5 Signs It’s Time for a Chimney Cap Replacement

A rusty old round chimney cap on top of a circular flue tile on a concrete chimney crown

5 Signs It’s Time for a Chimney Cap Replacement

Chimney caps are meant to last a long time, but they certainly don’t last forever. While it’s not uncommon to get 50 years or more out of a chimney cap, they’re just like any other part of your home: eventually, they’ll need to be repaired or, more likely, replaced.

But how do you know when it’s time for a new chimney cap? What should you look out for?

At HY-C, we’ve manufactured well over a million chimney caps in the past few years. We’ve seen it all. From storm damage and wear and tear to defacements caused by raccoons, bats, or squirrels, we know what it looks like when an old cap finally reaches the end of its days.

In this guide, we’re going to cover the five signs to look for to know when it’s time to replace your chimney cap. By the time you’re done, you’ll know how to inspect your chimney cap for damage and how to determine when it’s time to pull the trigger on a new one.

We’ll even provide some resources to help you find a new cap if your old one isn’t up to par anymore.

1. You Don’t Have a Chimney Cap

A model of a brick chimney, concrete chimney crown, and square flue tile sitting on a concrete floor with a gray wall in the background

In the IT world, the most basic question is, “Is your computer turned on?” In the world of chimney caps, the most basic question is, “Does your flue currently even have a cap?”

It may seem rudimentary, but next time you’re out in your neighborhood, take a peek at some of the chimneys on your neighbors’ roofs. You may be surprised by just how many chimneys out there don’t have any kind of cap or cover over their flue tile.

Not having a chimney cap can lead to quite a few problems:

  • Rain, sleet, snow, hail, and other precipitation will get in your fireplace
  • Raccoons, squirrels, bats, and other critters will get in your chimney
  • Sparks from your fireplace could float out and cause a fire

If you have a fireplace and chimney and you don’t have a chimney cap, we’d strongly encourage you to install one soon to mitigate these issues. A good chimney cap doesn’t cost much, and it can save you from a lot of future frustration and repairs.

What size chimney cap do you need CTA

2. Your Chimney Cap Is Missing Key Features

A multi-flue chimney cap with no mesh sides installed on a chimney with the home's roof and neighborhood in the background

Like any other industry, chimney caps have evolved over time. Research and development have led to improvements that offer homeowners better protection and more long term peace of mind.

If you have an older cap, check to see if it has wire mesh on the sides. Some older caps don’t. These meshless caps still include a cover (or hood) to keep precipitation out, but animals can still access the flue(s) and get into your chimney.

If your cap doesn’t have mesh sides, it’s very wise to get a new cap that does.

Some newer caps also have a removable hood on them. This makes it easier to clean your chimney. If your current cap’s hood is not removable, upgrading to a new cap with a removable hood will make cleaning your flue a breeze.

3. Your Chimney Cap Is Rusty

A rusty, round chimney cap installed on a round chimney flue with trees in teh background

Nowadays, chimney caps are made of robust materials like stainless steel, galvanized steel, or copper. These strong metals resist rust and corrosion, helping to maintain the structural integrity of the cap.

Old chimney caps or caps made from subpar materials may be susceptible to rust. Rusted chimney caps are brittle. They can be damaged much more easily. Nuisance wildlife looking for a safe spot can take advantage of these vulnerable caps, too, breaking through them and setting up camp.

If your chimney cap is rusty, you should replace it as quickly as possible. A new, rust-free cap is a relatively small investment that will pay off well over time.

4. Your Chimney Cap Is Damaged

A close-up of a round chimney cap band installed on a flue tile with torn mesh screen over the flue pipe

A chimney cap may become damaged for several reasons:

  • Animals may chew through it or bend it
  • Strong winds may deform it (or blow it off entirely)
  • Broken tree limbs may land on it and compress it
  • General weathering/wear and tear may cause it to deteriorate

If a chimney cap is bent, smashed, or contorted in any way, it should be replaced as soon as possible. The hood of a chimney cap needs to be high enough above the flue tile to allow for a good draft. If it isn’t (because the cap is damaged), fireplace gasses (like smoke or carbon monoxide) could blow back into your home.

If a chimney cap’s mesh is broken or bent, that cap will need to be replaced, too. Wildlife constantly looks for ways to exploit openings in homes. Even the slightest deformity in a chimney cap’s mesh could give a bat or squirrel that little bit of extra room they need to get in.

5. Your Cap Doesn’t Match Your Home’s Aesthetics

A square copper chimney cap, square stainless steel chimney cap, and square black chimney cap side by side on a white background

Chimney caps are available in a few different colors, most commonly stainless steel, black, and copper. Each of these three colors can either compliment or clash with the aesthetic of the rest of your home. If your current cap’s color isn’t to your liking, that’s as good a reason as any to replace it.

Maybe you recently had your roof redone and have different-colored shingles now. Maybe you just had your brick or siding painted. Whatever the case, if you make any major changes to the exterior style of your home, it’s a good idea to get a chimney cap that matches that style, too.

What if You Need a New Chimney Cap?

As you can tell by now, there are plenty of reasons why you may need a new chimney cap. From simply not having a cap in the first place to incurring damage to your existing cap, it’s important to make sure your chimney and flue are properly protected.

So, you know the diagnoses now. But what if your chimney cap does need replacing?

The best place to start is finding the right size chimney cap for your flue. Whether you have a square flue, a rectangular flue, or a round flue, most shapes have a wide range of sizes to choose from. You may even want to get a custom chimney cap made just for your house.

After you’ve found the right cap, the next step is to install it. After that’s done — and barring any major weather events or ornery critters in your area — your new cap should keep you well protected for years to come.

Chimney Cap Installation Guide CTA
Firewood on a bar grate on the left and a pair of hands holding wood pellets on the right with a versus symbol in the middle

Wood Pellets vs. Logs: Which Fuel Should You Burn?

There are a lot of wood fuel options out there, but most wood burning appliances accommodate either wood pellets or wood logs. And even among those two types of fuel, there are several varieties to choose from.

You’re probably at least decently familiar with firewood, especially if you own a fireplace, a fire pit, a wood stove, or a wood furnace. Pellets, on the other hand, may be less familiar.

So which one should you use, and in which appliances? Can some appliances accommodate both? And what kind of burn time can you expect out of each fuel?

At HY-C, we make appliances that utilize both fuels, and we even produce our own pellet fuel. And we want to answer any and all questions you may have about pellets and logs.

By the end of this comprehensive guide, you’ll understand the differences between wood pellets and firewood logs. You’ll know what varieties of each fuel are available, which appliances accommodate each fuel, how much smoke each one puts out, and much more.

More importantly, you’ll know whether your wood burning appliance should use wood pellets or logs so you end up with the best wood burning experience possible.

Wood Pellets vs. Logs: Varieties

A close-up of a pile of wood pellets


Wood pellets are used for two purposes: heating and barbecuing. Barbecuing pellets are made to be burned in wood smokers or grills to season meat, enhancing its flavor. Common types of wood pellets used for flavoring include:

  • Apple
  • Cherry
  • Hickory
  • Maple
  • Mesquite
  • Pecan

Heating pellets, on the other hand, consist either of hardwood pellets or softwood pellets. Hardwood pellets are denser and tend to burn for a longer time as a result. Softwood pellets, by contrast, burn hotter, putting out more BTUs (British thermal units).


There are several types of firewood, and if you asked ten wood burning experts the best species of wood to burn, you may get ten different answers. Very generally, though, common varieties of firewood species found throughout the United States include:

  • Oak
  • Black locust
  • Maple
  • Ash
  • Walnut
  • Elm
  • Birch

Like pellets, firewood can be broken out into hardwood and softwood. Hardwood logs are more dense than softwood logs. Most experts agree that hardwood is better wood to burn, as it burns longer and hotter than softwood. Hardwood entails a higher price as a result, though.

Wood Pellets vs. Logs: Appliances

A person reaching into a smokeless fire pit filled with pellets with a long lighter to light a fire


There are quite a few appliances made to burn wood pellets.

Pellet grills allow you to cook meat using wood pellets as fuel instead of charcoal. These grills utilize barbecuing pellets (instead of heating pellets) to flavor food. They’re designed to burn pellets only; they’re not compatible with firewood.

You’re probably familiar with wood burning stoves, but there are also pellet stoves on the market designed to burn wood pellets rather than logs. These stoves radiate heat into the room in which they’re set up, providing warmth during the fall and winter months.

Most wood burning furnaces on the market are designed to burn logs, but there are some pellet furnaces out there. These furnaces tend to burn more cleanly and efficiently than their log-burning counterparts, but they are often much more expensive.

Finally, there are pellet fire pits engineered to burn wood pellets (though most models can also burn logs with no issue). These pellet fire pits are smokeless, leaning on both the pellet fuel and the fire pit’s airflow system to eliminate smoke byproducts.

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There’s certainly no shortage of appliances that burn logs.

Fireplaces are one of the most common. Whether homeowners use them for warmth or just ambiance, fireplaces have been around for hundreds of years. Most fireplaces feature a grate that holds the wood as it burns, allowing air to flow underneath the logs to keep the fire lit.

Another tried-and-true home heating appliance, wood stoves have been around for centuries, too. They predate their pellet counterparts, but they work the same way, radiating heat into whichever room in which they’re installed.

While smokeless pellet fire pits are catching on in popularity, they’re yet to overshadow the classic wood fire pit. Many backyards across the country feature either a homemade or store-bought fire pit to provide some extra warmth during fall and winter outdoor gatherings.

Finally, wood burning furnaces act as a viable central heating alternative in place of a gas or electric furnace. Firewood burns continuously in the firebox while a distribution blower pushes warm air from the furnace, into the air ducts, and throughout the rest of the home.

The four best wood burning furnaces on the market today CTA

Wood Pellets vs. Logs: Smoke Output

A Flame Genie Inferno smokeless firepit burning wood pellets on a patio


Have you ever wondered why fire produces smoke? The answer is moisture content. Trees survive and thrive on water, and when they’re cut into firewood, logs retain much of that moisture. A log can contain 50% or more of its weight in water. That results in a lot of smoke.

Pellets are made of compressed sawdust, so they contain much less moisture than logs. Wood pellets typically have moisture levels of just 5% to 10%. This means that when they’re burned, they tend to produce very little — if any — smoke.


Do logs give off more smoke than pellets?

The answer is, “It depends.” Even wood that appears dry can have a high moisture content, which will result in a lot of smoke (you can use a moisture meter to test the moisture content of a piece of firewood).

Ideally, firewood should have a moisture content below 20%. Seasoning freshly cut firewood involves splitting it, stacking it, covering it, and storing it. In order to achieve that twenty-percent-or-lower threshold, firewood needs to sit for about 6 to 12 months before use.

Getting your logs’ moisture content down won’t necessarily eliminate smoke entirely. But low moisture will help to mitigate smoke, making for a better burning experience.

Wood Pellets vs. Logs: Burn Time

Ashen firewood burning up in a fire


Wood pellets — even dense hardwood pellets — tend to burn up quickly. If you fill a pellet fire pit with about ten pounds of pellets, those pellets will burn for perhaps 15 or 20 minutes before you need to add more to the fire.

Using pellets, you’ll end up with a smoke-free experience and a very efficient fire, but you will have to babysit it quite a bit, adding more fuel relatively often. Be sure to add more pellets slowly, as too many at once will snuff the fire out.


You’ll get much longer burn times out of firewood compared to pellets. If you start a fire in a fire pit with four logs, you may need to add a new log every 30 to 40 minutes to keep the fire going (that time will vary depending on which species of wood you use and its moisture content).

Using firewood, you’ll likely wind up with more smoke than with pellet fuel. But you won’t have to keep as close an eye on the fire, freeing you up to do other things.

Should You Use Wood Pellets or Logs?

Choosing the right wood fuel can be confusing. Given the differences between pellets and logs, the different types of pellets and logs available, and different species of wood, it can be hard to keep it all straight.

You may be wondering at this point, “Which fuel should I use?”

To answer that question, start with your appliance. A pellet grill is made specifically for pellets, while a wood burning furnace is made just for logs. Fire pits can often accommodate either, so that’s left to your discretion.

After deciding whether you need pellets or logs, choose between hardwood (if you want a longer burn) or softwood (if you’re looking for a hotter burn).

And whatever fuel type you decide to use, always be sure to follow good fire safety habits. Keep a watchful eye on your fire and keep a fire extinguisher nearby in case things get out of control. This way, you’ll enjoy the comfort of the fire while keeping your home — and everything in it — safe.

Best firewood - top 10 types of wood fuel to burn CTA
A spate of Good Vibrations outdoor power upgrade products against a white background

Good Vibrations: How Packaging is Your Best Salesperson

If you’re a retail buyer, the best products you can stock are those whose packaging is designed to sell itself. If you’re an outdoor power equipment (OPE) parts buyer, that can be tough; OPE parts don’t always come with the most compelling packaging.

Good Vibrations — a line of outdoor power equipment upgrade parts for lawn mowers and trimmers by HY-C — is a different story.

We’ve designed these products to have persuasive packaging that customers can interact with to see how they work. When customers take the products off the shelves and test them for themselves, they’re more inclined to understand how they work and envision a use for them, leading to a sale.

In this guide, we’re going to take you through the packaging of each Good Vibrations product. We’ll show you how customers can interact with (or at the very least, see) key features of each piece of equipment and how those interactions can help to increase the likelihood of a sale.

Easy-Rider Tight-Turn Steering Knob

A person holding and rotating a Good Vibrations Easy-Rider Tight-Turn Steering Knob while facing the camera

The Easy Rider is a robust, one-size-fits-all steering wheel knob. It’s designed to help you steer your tractor (or boat or UTV) with one hand simply by grabbing the knob and spinning the wheel.

The Easy Rider’s packaging lets customers actually turn the knob and test the product out for themselves. They can feel the smooth, easy tolerance of the knob and the rubber grip that ensures their hand won’t slip while they use it.

Grass Hawk Dual-Bladed Mower Scraper

A person unlocking and rotating the dual-bladed head of a Good Vibrations Grass Hawk Dual-Bladed Mower Scraper while facing the camera

Cleaning the deck of a lawn mower (whether it’s a simple push mower or a zero turn mower) is tough work, especially with the wrong tools. The Grass Hawk is a specialized tool designed to make the job of scraping off grass much simpler.

It features both a flat and a curved scraper head for extra versatility. You can swap between each blade by rotating the head and locking it into place with the notch on the front of the tool. The packaging allows customers to test out this rotating motion for themselves to discover just how easy it is to switch blades.

Rough Rider Off-Road Drinking Mug

A person opening and closing the spring-loaded locking lid of a Good Vibrations Rough Rider Off-Road Drinking Mug while facing the camera

The Rough Rider is a rugged, 24 oz. drinking mug with a locking lid that only opens when you push down on its button. It also features a rubber base that contours to most cup holders.

In its packaging, the Rough Rider allows customers to feel the spring-loaded opening mechanism and to see just how tightly it seals in drinks. They can also test out the rubber base to feel how grippy and pliable it is.

The Kingpin Quick-Connect Hitch Pin

A person opening and closing the butterfly-style locking mechanism of a Good Vibrations Kingpin Quick-Connect Hitch Pin while facing the camera

The Kingpin comes with a butterfly-style locking mechanism at its tip that opens and closes when squeezing a trigger embedded in the handle. This allows you to attach and detach to a hitch simply, using just one hand.

Not only can customers test the spring-loaded, butterfly-style locking mechanism, but the packaging itself features a hitch graphic. It’s designed to show what the Kingpin looks like in action, painting an easy visual that consumers can understand.

Auto-Lock Magnetic Hitch Pin

A person holding a Good Vibrations Auto-Lock Magnetic Hitch Pin while facing the camera

The Auto-Lock Magnetic Hitch Pin is the second hitch pin in the Good Vibrations lineup. It locks into place with magnetic force, doing away with the butterfly-style connection of the Kingpin.

If a customer happens to have something metal (like a keychain) on them, they can touch it to the neodymium magnet to feel its 25 pounds of locking force at work. The most compelling part of the packaging, though, is the ability to feel the ergonomic grip of the hitch pin by simply grabbing and holding the handle.

Wheelies Tractor Wheel Covers

A person holding Good Vibrations Wheelies Tractor Wheel Covers while facing the camera

Our Wheelies Tractor Wheel Covers are designed to snap into place over existing tractor rims. They help prevent rust and discoloration while also adding some customizability to a tractor’s wheels.

They’re available in black and chrome, and they come in five different accent colors: orange, burnt orange, yellow, red, and black. The packaging exposes the wheel covers, allowing customers to see the vivid colors for themselves instead of just displaying the colors on a box graphic.

Start Me Up Full Grip Starter Handle

A person holding a Good Vibrations Start Me Up Full Grip Starter Handle while facing the camera

The Start Me Up handle is an upgrade part meant to replace the T-style handle that comes on most lawn mowers, chainsaws, snow blowers, and other pull cord-powered motors.

The packaging lets customers feel the handle for themselves; it features a curved, rubber grip for maximum comfort and ease of use. As the box graphics show, it also comes with a replacement rope. Customers who hold the Start Me Up for themselves will understand immediately that it’s a substantial upgrade from their stock starter handle.

Get-A-Grip Full Grip Deluxe Handle and Rope

A Good Vibrations Get-A-Grip Full Grip Deluxe Handle and Rope in packaging leaning against a wall

The Get-A-Grip starter handle doesn’t necessarily allow shoppers to touch and feel it in its packaging, but it’s still clear from its transparent plastic what the upgrade part has to offer.

Instead of using two fingers to grip an awkward T-handle while starting their mower, customers will be drawn to the full-grip handle that the Get-A-Grip offers. It also comes with a replacement rope which is clearly visible in the packaging.

Zero Gravity Trimmer Shoulder Strap

A Good Vibrations Zero Gravity Trimmer Shoulder Strap in its packaging leaning against a wall

The Zero Gravity Trimmer Shoulder Strap is a universal strap that attaches to trimmers, leaf blowers, and other outdoor power tools. It’s designed to alleviate the back pain that comes with weed eating and leaf blowing.

In this case, the graphics and the words on the box sell the product. With eye-catching font colors used for “WEIGHT ABSORBING”, and with “Trimmers Feels 75% Lighter!” highlighted in yellow, customers will get the gist of this product right away.

Hitchin’ Post+ 3-Way Hitch Plate

A Good Vibrations Hitchin' Post+ 3-Way Hitch Plate in its packaging leaning against a wall

The Hitchin’ Post+ is a three-way hitch plate for tractors and ATVs. It allows users to tow using three different methods: a tow ball, a hitch pin, or chains.

What’s not apparent in the picture is the weight of the product. In a customer’s hands, it feels substantial and well-made. It’s also apparent from the packaging that the Hitchin’ Post+ comes with a ball — a much-needed towing component that doesn’t need to be bought separately.

Z Hitch Zero-Turn 3-Way Hitch Plate

A Good Vibrations Z Hitch Zero-Turn 3-Way Hitch Plate in its packaging leaning against a wall

Some zero turn lawn mowers come with a hitch plate attached, but many don’t. The Z Hitch attaches to any hitchless zero turn mower with ease, allowing users to tow whatever they need.

Like the Hitchin’ Post+, the Z Hitch feels substantial in a customer’s hands. It’s heavy-duty, capable of towing tough loads without missing a beat. There’s also a graphic on the front which shows the hitch in action, painting a comprehensible picture in a customer’s mind.

Seat Magic Tractor Seat Repair

A tube of Good Vibrations Seat Magic Tractor Seat Repair in its packaging leaning against a wall

Tractor owners know that tractor seats wear out over time. It’s just inevitable. These seats develop rips and holes regularly, and replacing the entire seat is expensive.

Seat Magic offers a much cheaper alternative. It’s a sealant that you apply to a rip or hole in a tractor seat. When it dries, the seat is as good as new. The before-and-after picture on the packaging is simple but effective, demonstrating how the product works and how easy it is to use.

Should You Stock Good Vibrations in Your Store?

Good Vibration’s packaging is no accident. Everything about it — from the colors and materials to the words and the graphics — is designed to tell a story about how each product can make an aspect of lawn care easier, safer, or more efficient for a customer.

Put simply, Good Vibrations product packaging is like having an extra salesperson out on your floor. The interactivity, the imagery, the pithiness — it’s all designed to tap into a customer’s needs and make them realize they need a solution they may not have even been looking for.

So, should you stock Good Vibrations in your retail store?

Well, if your store has an outdoor power equipment parts section and you want to drive truly incremental sales, we believe Good Vibrations is an excellent opportunity.

We’ve seen it work in big box retail stores who sell hundreds of units per month. Just let the packaging tell the story for you. Let it sell itself — that’s how it’s designed to work.

If you’re interested in giving it a try, get in touch with our sales team. They’ll be more than happy to work with you to get Good Vibrations on your store’s shelves.

A HY-GUARD EXCLUSION Steel Dryer Vent Exhaust VentGuard installed on the side of a home with faux stone siding

A Comprehensive Guide to Dryer Vent Covers

Home ventilation is a delicate process. You want air to be able to circulate through your house to avoid stagnation, but you also want to avoid providing entry points for weather and wildlife. This delicate balance is a constant tension for homeowners.

When it comes to dryer ventilation, most vents terminate through the side of a home, providing a gaping hole for snow, rain, and critters to gain access. As a result, it’s very common for home builders and contractors to install outside dryer vent covers over a dryer exhaust vent.

But what are these covers, anyway? Why do you need one, and what are they made of? How many types of exterior dryer vent covers are out there — and what kind should you get?

As the manufacturers of quite a few makes and models of dryer vent covers, we want to answer those questions for you (and more).

By the time you’re finished here, you’ll know what kinds of dryer vent covers there are, what size you need, and what type is the best fit for your dryer exhaust vent.

What Is a Dryer Vent Cover?

A HY-GUARD EXCLUSION Steel Dryer Vent Exhaust VentGuard installed over a hood-style dryer vent cover on a house with beige siding

A dryer vent cover goes over the spot where the dryer exhaust vent exits your home. They’re designed to allow the air that goes through the dryer (as it runs) to vent out of the home properly while keeping out animals like squirrels, birds, bats, mice, and rats.

They’re also designed to maximize airflow to keep dryer lint moving properly through the dryer vent. Dryer lint accumulation is dangerous; if enough gathers at the base of your dryer, it could get too close to the heating filaments and cause a dryer fire.

Dryer vent covers may not look like much, but their dual functions as a ventilation tool and wildlife exclusion device make them a versatile and vital component on any home.

Do You Need a Dryer Vent Cover?

If your home (or apartment or condo) has a dryer, then yes, it’s strongly recommended that you have a dryer vent cover.

Like roof vents, soffit vents, and foundation vents, dryer vent ports offer animals and insects the opportunity to get into your home. An outside dryer vent cover is a simple, cost-effective solution that works 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

What Materials are Dryer Vent Covers Made Of?

From left to right, a HY-GUARD EXCLUSION Steel Dryer Vent Exhaust VentGuard, Universal Vent Guard, and Plastic Dryer Vent Exhaust VentGuard

Dryer vent covers are typically made of one of three materials:

  1. Plastic
  2. Aluminum
  3. Steel

Plastic, depending on how the vent cover is made, are a decent animal deterrent at best, and pretty much useless at worst. Some animals can bypass plastic very easily and get into your dryer vent.

Aluminum dryer vent covers (on the whole) tend to be more effective than plastic, but some critters (like squirrels, mice, and rats) can still chew through them and gain access.

Steel dryer vent covers, on the other hand, are incredibly effective as wildlife exclusion devices when installed properly. Animals won’t be able to tear them off or chew through them no matter how hard they may try.

What Types of Dryer Vent Covers Are There?

There are several kinds of dryer vent covers, but to simplify things, we’ll break them down into three common types:

  1. Dryer vent covers with louvers
  2. Hood-style dryer vent covers
  3. Bolt-on dryer vent covers

Dryer Vent Covers with Louvers

A white dryer vent cover with open louvers installed on the side of a house with wood siding with peeling powder blue paint

Dryer vent covers with louvers are very common, but they also offer minimal critter protection. The louvers open as air from the dryer exits the vent, and they stay closed when no air is moving through them. Outside air blowing toward the house can’t open the louvers; they only open in one direction.

These louvers are designed to keep critters out in theory, but in practice, they don’t exclude wildlife very well. Most critters can pop the louvers off simply by pulling on them or chewing through them, both gaining access and allowing future access to other animals.

Hood-style Dryer Vent Covers

A black, aluminum, hood-style dryer vent cover installed on a home with white siding

Hood-style dryer vent covers work based on angles. The opening of the vent cover is perpendicular to the exhaust vent, meaning critters have to climb up through the vent cover and into the vent. Some hood-style covers even come with a circular, aluminum louver for an extra layer of protection.

These hood-style dryer vent covers probably provide better protection than covers with louvers, but animals can still get past them. They use their claws to climb up the vent with little to no issue, and even if the vent has an aluminum louver, critters will chew right through it.

Bolt-on Dryer Vent Covers

A man installing a HY-GUARD EXCLUSION Plastic Dryer Vent Exhaust VentGuard on a house with beige siding

Bolt-on dryer vent covers are usually installed as an additional layer of protection on top of a louvered cover or a hood-style cover. Whether they’re made of plastic or steel, they’re the most effective animal exclusion dryer vent cover.

Since they bolt directly into the brick or siding of your house, they don’t even provide critters the opportunity to get near the exhaust vent, let alone into it. Wildlife also has trouble biting through the thick plastic and has no chance to chew through a steel bolt-on dryer vent cover.


At HY-C, we manufacture a variety of dryer vent covers under our HY-GUARD EXCLUSION brand. All of these covers are the bolt-on variety, meant to be used on their own or in conjunction with a louvered or hood-style vent cover.

Below are the dryer vent covers produced under the HY-GUARD EXCLUSION brand, the sizes and color(s) they come in, the materials they’re made from, and more.

Steel Dryer Vent Exhaust VentGuard

A man opening a HY-GUARD EXCLUSION Steel Dryer Vent Exhaust VentGuard installed on a house with stone siding

Available in two sizes — a 6-inch width for 4-inch vents and an 8-inch width for 6-inch vents — the Steel Dryer Vent Exhaust VentGuard bolts over a dryer exhaust using three bolts (one on the top and two on each side).

Its most prominent feature is its hinge-style opening which locks closed to prevent animal intrusion and opens easily to allow for dryer vent cleaning. Its steel construction ensures critters can’t pull it off or chew through it.

Plastic Dryer Vent Exhaust VentGuard

A HY-GUARD EXCLUSION 8-inch and 6-inch Plastic Dryer Vent Exhaust VentGuard side by side against a white background

The plastic version of the Dryer Vent Exhaust VentGuard also comes in a 6-inch width for 4-inch vents and an 8-inch width for 6-inch vents.

The 6-inch version features keyhole-style attachment points that slide onto the bolts and lock into place. This attachment style allows for easy removal for dryer vent cleaning access (but not so easy that animals can figure out how to take it off).

The 8-inch version, on the other hand, features the same hinge-style opening method of the Steel Dryer Vent Exhaust VentGuard, so you never have to remove it from the side of your house.

Both styles come in three colorswhite, tan, and brown — to match the desired aesthetic of your home. While they’re made of plastic, they’re thick enough to avoid damage from animals, and their bolt-on attachment style means they’ll stay on securely.

Universal VentGuard

A HY-GUARD EXCLUSION Universal Vent Guard installed over a louvered vent guard on a house with gray siding

Our Universal VentGuard is arguably the toughest exterior dryer vent cover we make. It’s made from stainless steel, and it features a ⅝” mesh that’s tight enough to keep even the smallest critters out while still allowing enough airflow out of the dryer exhaust vent.

It doesn’t feature a hinge-style opening, but it does bolt on using the keyhole-style attachment points, so it can slide on and off easily enough for vent cleaning. It’s designed to cover most 3-inch and 4-inch vent openings and/or louver-style covers.

Which Dryer Vent Cover Should You Get?

It’s probably clear by now that there’s more to dryer vent covers than first meets the eye. From sizes to materials to even the color of the cover, there’s so much to consider before choosing the right one.

So — which one should you get?

It’s likely that your home came pre-installed with louver-style dryer vent covers. These covers — while handy — offer the bare minimum level of protection against critters. Just about any animal out there will be able to remove them with little effort.

For a more robust level of protection, it may be wise to invest in a bolt-on style cover. Between plastic and steel, 6-inch and 8-inch sizes, and even some color options, HY-GUARD EXCLUSION offers plenty of bolt-on vent covers to exclude animals from just about any dryer vent.

If you want the best level of protection to keep critters out of your dryer vent, give them a try. They’re easy to install, and they’re likely to last for as long as you own your home.

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Four Ways Good Vibrations Products Help Drive Incremental Sales

If you’re an outdoor power equipment parts buyer, you know it’s not the sexiest category. Spark plugs, air filters, oil filters, and other maintenance and repair parts take up several feet of space on your walls and they don’t offer the opportunity to drive incremental sales.

But what if you could change that?

Good Vibrations — a line of outdoor power equipment accessories by HY-C — offers a chance to drive truly incremental sales in the outdoor power equipment (OPE) parts section of retail stores. And it’s been successful, too; well-known retailers across the country have Good Vibrations units in hundreds of their stores.

But what are the products? And why should you stock them in your store?

That’s what we’re going to cover in this guide. By the time you’re finished here, you’ll know what Good Vibrations products are, and you’ll understand four ways the product line can help you drive incremental outdoor power equipment parts sales.

What Are Good Vibrations Products?

A lineup of six Good Vibrations products on a white background, from left to right: the Hitchin' Post+, the Start Me Up lawn mower pull cord handle, the Rough Rider drinking mug, the Zero Gravity trimmer strap, the King Pin hitch pin, and the Easy-Rider steering wheel knob

The outdoor power equipment parts segment can essentially be split up into three categories:

  1. Maintenance items
  2. Repair items
  3. Tools and accessories

Maintenance items consist of spark plugs, air filters, oil, and things like that. They’re a planned consumer purchase driven by need rather than impulse. Customers tend to come in, find the maintenance part they need, and leave, having purchased only that one part.

Repair items are probably even less fun than maintenance items both for customers and retail buyers. These are model-specific parts that customers dislike because they only need them when something breaks, and buyers dislike because they take up vast amounts of retail space for very little payoff.

Good Vibrations products fall into the accessories category of the outdoor power equipment parts segment. We’ve covered what’s in the Good Vibrations lineup before, but here’s a quick overview:

  • Tractor steering wheel knobs
  • Weed eater straps
  • Hitch plates
  • Hitch pins
  • Mower pull cord handles
  • Mower deck scrapers
  • Offroad drinking mugs
  • Tractor wheel covers
  • Tractor seat repair sealant

These items are universal, not constrained to one model of lawn mower, trimmer, or tractor. They’re upgrades, too, offering a more fun, satisfying, and robust solution for customers. They’re impulse-driven purchases that provide a positive surprise for shoppers who may have been in your store to buy something else.

Four Ways Good Vibrations Drives Incremental Sales

All of this may be well and good, but you may be thinking, “Okay, but why should I carry Good Vibrations products? Why should I sacrifice valuable space in my store or swap out other items for these?”

Those are great questions that deserve thorough answers. With that in mind, here’s a list of four ways that Good Vibrations can help retailers drive incremental OPE parts sales.

1. Over 100 Million Shoppers Own Applicable Equipment

An image showing a man from the waist down sitting on a yellow zero turn lawn mower on a suburban lawn

Talk about a wide consumer base.

Yes, from lawn mowers and zero turn mowers to tractors and trimmers, there’re a lot of lawns in the U.S., and a lot of equipment to mow them. The chances are very high that if someone walks past a Good Vibrations display in your store, they have the prerequisite equipment to make an impulse purchase.

Good Vibrations products go beyond the lawn care niche, too. Our Easy-Rider Tight-Turn Steering Knob works great on boats and UTVs. The Start Me Up and Get-A-Grip pull cord handles are great for snow blowers, pressure washers, or anything else that utilizes a pull cord starter.

The applications are endless. If your shoppers see the products, they’ll almost certainly envision a use for them.

2. They Take Up Little Space (Relative to Other Products in Their Segment)

Two Good Vibrations wire frame product displays adorned with Good Vibrations products with a larger Good Vibrations wall display in the middle against a white background

Think about your selection of spark plugs. Picture your current selection of mower blades. They take up a lot of room, and customers tend only to buy one part for $2 to $25. For as much space as those maintenance products and repair products take up, they don’t offer a whole lot of payoff.

Those kinds of items may even be better off out of retail stores altogether; after all, a customer can just search a SKU and buy the part online.

Good Vibrations, on the other hand, takes up just a few feet of space on shelves, and is likely to move more units. After all, if a customer decides they need a hitch plate, they may as well buy a hitch pin while they’re at it. And a steering wheel knob. And, since they’re already in the store, why not some tractor wheel covers?

That’s the consumer mindset that helps drive incremental sales.

Good Vibrations offers a great bang for its real estate buck, providing retail buyers a real opportunity to drive sales while saving on space.

3. The Packaging Sells The Products for You

Good retail products all do this, but Good Vibrations does it exceptionally well. And that’s not us patting ourselves on the back, either; we acquired Good Vibrations from the inventors, and we were impressed ourselves at how intuitive and interactive each product’s packaging is.

Take the King-Pin Quick-Connect Hitch Pin, for example. It’s a one-handed hitch pin with a spring-loaded locking mechanism, and its packaging is designed so that a customer can actually feel it and use it while they’re in the store:

A GIF showing a Good Vibrations King Pin in its packaging and a hand squeezing the handle to retract the spring-loaded prongs on the end of the pin

The Rough Rider Off-Road Drinking Mug is the same way. It’s packaged for ease of transportation and barcode scanning, but customers can also interact with it to see how its spring-loaded locking lid works:

A Good Vibrations Rough Rider mug in its packaging with a hand reaching in to press the button and open the spring-loaded, locking lid on the mug

The packaging of every Good Vibrations product is designed this way to one extent or another, allowing shoppers to test out (or at the very least see) key features before they buy. Once they actually see and feel it in action, they’ll be more likely to make a purchase.

4. They Can Be Displayed on Their Own or at Checkout (or Both!)

A Good Vibrations product display showing various Good Vibrations products on a shelf

The entire Good Vibrations line works best together. All the products are related; they’re all outdoor power equipment upgrades for tractors, lawn mowers, trimmers, etc.

But they’re also impulse items. A person probably isn’t primarily looking for a steering wheel knob for their tractor when they come to a store, but once they see one, they can’t help but think that it would be nice to have.

Because of their cohesion as a complete product offering and the impulse nature of their design, Good Vibrations works well both in the outdoor power equipment parts section of a store and at the checkout line.

Particularly dedicated store owners may even want to try to place Good Vibrations in both locations to see what works best in their shop.

Will Good Vibrations Increase Your Sales?

By now, you know what Good Vibrations products are and what they do. You know that millions and millions of shoppers are eligible to buy them. You know they’re economical space-wise and that the product packaging is a huge part of the line’s appeal.

But there’s a lingering question: will Good Vibrations increase your sales?

Of course, in retail, there are no guarantees.

But what we can say is that we have POS data from three big box stores, and these locations move hundreds of units per month.

The bottom line is that in the OPE parts segment, Good Vibrations is much more fun and exciting than a maintenance or repair part, and there’s scarcely a person in the country who can’t get any use out of one (or more) of the products.

If you put Good Vibrations in your store, you will have the opportunity to drive truly incremental sales in outdoor power equipment parts.

And if you want to get started, get in touch with our sales team. They’ll be more than happy to start the process of getting Good Vibrations onto your store’s shelves.

Three fireplace grates sitting on a concrete factory floor

Best Cast Iron Fireplace Grates

Fireplace grates are primarily made from one of two materials: either steel or cast iron. Most people prefer cast iron because it retains heat exceptionally well and it tends to be more durable than steel.

If you’re in the market for a new fireplace grate, you may have come to the conclusion by now that cast iron is your best bet. There remains a question, though:

Which grate should you get?

At HY-C, we manufacture five lines of cast iron fireplace grates under our Liberty Foundry Co. name:

  • The G500 Sampson Series
  • The Franklin G Series
  • The GT SAF-T-GRATE Series
  • The G800 Series
  • The G1000 Series

In this guide, we’ll take you through each line of cast iron fireplace grates. We’ll include sizes for each of our five lines and some stand-out features of each grate to help you find the right cast iron fireplace grate for your fireplace.

G500 Sampson Series Cast Iron Fireplace Grates

The Sampson G500 fireplace grate integrates a self-feeding design to keep your fire going. As logs burn, they roll down the sloped sides of the grate to ensure that hot logs on the bottom feed fresh logs on the top.

The angle of the slope is adjustable, too, to help you burn wood at the best possible pace for your fire and fireplace.

Perhaps the best part of the G500 Sampson fireplace grates is that they’re adjustable. You can buy the size you need, and you can buy additional eight-inch sections that can be added to (or removed from) your grate to ensure it fits your fireplace perfectly — no matter what.

The G500 Sampson Series is Liberty Foundry Co.’s most versatile size-wise, with five different sizes available (all styles feature a leg clearance of 2.75”):

StyleDimensions*Weight (pounds)
G500-20-BX18″ x 14″ x 15″ x 7.5″22
G500-24-BX22″ x 18″ x 15″ x 7.5″27
G500-28-BX26″ x 22″ x 15″ x 7.5″33
G500-32-BX30″ x 26″ x 15″ x 7.5″35
G500-36-BX33″ x 29″ x 15″ x 7.5″41
*Dimensions are measured as front width x back width x depth x height

Franklin G Series Cast Iron Fireplace Grates

The Franklin G Series traces its name back to Benjamin Franklin himself. The Founding Father invented the metal-lined fireplace in 1743, and they came to be known as “Franklin stoves”.

Franklin G fireplace grates are relatively straightforward basket-style grates. They’re designed with a narrow depth to be used in smaller fireplaces.

Perhaps the most stand-out feature of the Franklin G Series of cast iron fireplace grates is that that three of the four sizes — the G17-BX, G22-BX, and G27-BX — come with four-inch leg clearance options (instead of the standard two inches) to facilitate additional airflow to help logs burn hotter and longer.

The four sizes in which Franklin G Series grates are available are as follows:

StyleDimensions*Weight (pounds)
G16-BX15″ x 15″ x 9″ x 5″12
G17-BX**17″ x 13″ x 12″ x 5″15
G22-BX**22″ x 19″ x 12″ x 5.25″20
G27-BX**27″ x 21″ x 13″ x 5.25″25
*Dimensions are measured as front width x back width x depth x height
**Indicates that sizes are available in a 4” leg clearance option

GT SAF-T-GRATE Cast Iron Fireplace Grates

Like the G500 Sampson Series, GT SAF-T-GRATE fireplace grates feature a curved, self-feeding design that allows burned fuel to roll toward the center and bottom of the grate while new wood is set on top.

The SAF-T-GRATES (as their name implies) are designed a bit more robustly than their G500 counterparts — all in the name of safety. As wood burns and shifts around, the sturdy, cast iron SAF-T-GRATES keep wood from rolling out of your firebox and into your living room.

Aside from that, each model features three inches of leg clearance. It’s not quite the four inch ventilation offered in some of the Franklin G models, but it still provides plenty of airflow to the logs as they burn.

The GT SAF-T-GRATES are available in three distinct sizes:

StyleDimensions*Weight (pounds)
GT-18-BX17″ x 14″ x 12″ x 6.5″21
GT-22-BX23″ x 18″ x 16″ x 8″26
GT-30-BX30″ x 26″ x 16″ x 8″38
*Dimensions are measured as front width x back width x depth x height

G800 Cast Iron Fireplace Grates

The G800 Series of fireplace grates are made in a very similar basket style to the Franklin G Series grates. One of the main differences is that the G800 grates are made a bit wider for bigger fireboxes (and therefore tend to be a bit heavier).

The G800 grates also come standard with a four-inch leg clearance height, meaning they offer maximum ventilation at all times.

Aside from that, they’re very straightforward cast iron fireplace grates with just three sizes available:

StyleDimensions*Weight (pounds)
G800-20-BX20″ x 16″ x 15″ x 7″23
G800-24-BX24″ x 21″ x 15″ x 7″26
G800-27-BX27″ x 23″ x 15″ x 7″28
*Dimensions are measured as front width x back width x depth x height

G1000 Cast Iron Fireplace Grates

Finally, the G1000 Series of fireplace grates is designed with the best of both worlds in mind: these are curved, basked-style grates that help ensure that burning wood rolls toward the middle and bottom of the grate.

The G1000 Series comes in two sizes that are made for bigger fireboxes, and both sizes are available with either two-and-a-half or four inches of leg clearance depending on how high you need the grate to be.

With the lightest models weighing in at 30 pounds, the G1000 Series of cast iron fireplace grates are about as robust as Liberty Foundry Co. makes them.

They’re available in two sizes (and each size is available with an optional four-inch leg clearance):

StyleDimensions*Weight (pounds)
G1024-BX**24″ x 20″ x 15″ x 6.5″30
G1028-BX**28″ x 24″ x 15″ x 6.5″34
*Dimensions are measured as front width x back width x depth x height
**Indicates that sizes are available in a 4” leg clearance option

Which Cast Iron Fireplace Grate Should You Get?

If you’ve read this far, you’re likely set on a cast iron fireplace grate. And that’s good news, because it means you’ve started to narrow your search — after all, there are dozens (if not hundreds) of fireplace grate options out there.

Each of the five Liberty Foundry Co. series of fireplace grates has something unique to offer. The Franklin G Series is designed for narrow fireboxes. The SAF-T-GRATE offers the best in safety. The G500 Sampson Series provides the most versatile size options.

And maybe size is what will drive your purchase. But whatever the deciding factors, make sure you consider what you want out of your fireplace grate in the long term.

Because if you make the right choice now, you’ll end up with a cast iron fireplace grate that should last you for many falls and winters to come.

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What Are Good Vibrations Products?

In lawn care, the big tools get the job done. Lawn mowers, tractors, trimmers — they pare down each and every blade of grass with precision to leave homeowners with a fresh, green, manicured lawn.

But small upgrades to the big tools can make a huge impact on comfort, convenience, and efficiency when caring for your lawn. And that’s exactly what Good Vibrations products are: universal lawn care accessories for trimmers, tractors, push mowers, zero turn mowers, and more.

But what’s in the line? How do the products work? And how do they make caring for your lawn easier and more comfortable?

As the owners of Good Vibrations, that’s exactly what we want to share with you in this guide.

We’ll go over which products we offer, what they’re compatible with, and how their design and development help to make yard work more enjoyable. By the time you’re finished here, you’ll understand this product offering, and you may even learn about a new upgrade or two you’d enjoy adding to your mower or tractor.

Good Vibrations Product Offering

In short, there are currently twelve Good Vibrations products that span nine different categories:

  • A steering wheel knob
  • A weed eater strap
  • Two hitch plates
  • Two locking hitch pins
  • Two lawn mower pull cord handles
  • A mower deck scraper
  • An offroad drinking mug
  • A selection of tractor wheel covers
  • Tractor seat repair sealant

We’ll cover all these products by category in relative order of their popularity.

Steering Wheel Knob

A red Good Vibrations Easy-Rider Tight-Turn Steering Knob installed on a steering wheel against a white background

The Easy-Rider Tight-Turn Steering Knob at a glance:

  • One-handed control and comfort
  • Universal fit for all lawn tractors
  • Quick, easy installation
  • Available in green, red, and gray

The Easy-Rider Tight-Turn Steering Knob fits on the steering wheel of any lawn tractor, regardless of make or model. The knob comes with an Allen wrench for easy adjustability and installation. The knob rotates in place as you grip it and turn your mower’s steering wheel, allowing you to control your vehicle easily with just one hand.

The Easy-Rider also works well on boats and golf carts, but it’s intended for off-road use only. Don’t install it on your personal vehicle, truck, or recreational vehicle!

Weed Eater Strap

A man using a weed trimmer with a Good Vibrations Zero Gravity Weight Absorbing Trimmer Strap attached on a white background with a blown-up image of the same trimmer strap next to the man

The Zero Gravity Weight Absorbing Trimmer Strap at a glance:

  • Makes trimmer feel 75% lighter
  • Shoulder pad contoured for soft, cushioned comfort
  • Bungee-style strap

One of the biggest pains (literally) of using a weed eater is back pain. The Zero Gravity Weight Absorbing Trimmer Strap helps to alleviate this problem. When installed correctly, all you should have to do is let your trimmer hang — just guide it along and pull the trigger to operate it.

The Zero Gravity’s unique, bungee-style strap is the secret to its success and comfort. It’s intuitive to use, attaching to any trimmer in seconds. It’s also great to use on leaf blowers.

Hitch Plates

Three images of the Good Vibrations Hitchin Post Plus+ 3-Way Hitchplate side by side showing its ball towing configuration, hitch pin configuration, and winch configuration

The Hitchin Post Plus+ 3-Way Hitchplate & Towing Ball at a glance:

  • Includes 1 ⅞” ball
  • Pin-hitch hole
  • Dual tow loops for chains, ropes, and winches

The Hitchin Post Plus+ offers three methods of towing additional equipment behind your tractor: a tow ball, a hitch pin hole, and two loops for chains or ropes. It attaches easily to any make and model of lawn tractor or ATV.

Despite its versatility, the Hitchin Post Plus+ is intended for off-road use only; you should not use the Hitchin Post on your truck to tow vehicles or equipment on roads or highways!

A Good Vibrations Z-Hitch Zero-Turn Hitchplate installed on a red zero-turn mower with green grass in the background

The Z-Hitch Zero-Turn Hitchplate at a glance:

  • Universal for all zero-turn mower makes and models
  • 3-way hitch plate
  • 2” to 6” centers for an easy, flexible fit

The Z-Hitch Zero-Turn Hitchplate is similar to the Hitchin Post Plus+, but it’s designed specifically for zero-turn mowers that may not have a built-in hitch plate. It’s made for the same three towing methods, too — a tow ball, a hitch pin, or chains or ropes.

Like the Hitchin Post Plus, the Z-Hitch is intended for off-road use only. It’s also important not to exceed your offroad vehicle’s towing capacity when utilizing a Z-Hitch.

Locking Hitch Pins

A Good Vibrations King Pin Quick-Connect Hitch Pin installed, connecting towing equipment to a tractor against a white background

The King Pin Quick-Connect Hitch Pin at a glance:

  • One-handed hitch and release
  • Automatically locks when yellow trigger is released
  • Heavy-duty treated construction with nickel plating
  • 5 ⅛” shaft, ½” diameter

The King Pin allows you to connect additional towing equipment to your lawn tractor or ATV with just one hand. The two prongs on the end are spring-loaded and connected to the handle. When pushing the King Pin in, the prongs retract and allow you to make the connection. Squeezing the trigger also retracts them, allowing you to pull the pin out.

The King Pin works well in conjunction with the Hitchin Post Plus+ and the Z-Hitch, and, like those items, it’s intended for off-road use only.

A Good Vibrations Auto-Lock Magnetic Hitch Pin installed, connecting towing equipment to a tractor with green grass in the background

The Auto-Lock Magnetic Hitch Pin at a glance:

  • Over 25 pounds of magnetic locking force
  • Extra-strong neodymium magnet
  • Easily stores on hitch when not in use
  • 4” shaft, ½” diameter

Like the King Pin, the Auto-Locking Magnetic Hitch Pin does away with the need for clips and pins when towing equipment behind your tractor or ATV. This pin utilizes a strong, neodymium magnet with over 25 pounds of locking force to keep your equipment secured while towing it.

The red handle is angled a bit relative to the shaft, too, allowing you to pull it out easily against the force of the magnet. This hitch pin is intended for offroad use only.

Lawn Mower Pull Cord Handles

A Good Vibrations Get-A-Grip Full Grip Deluxe Handle attached to a lawn mower pull cord with green grass in the background as a person's hand grips it

The Get-A-Grip Full Grip Deluxe Handle at a glance:

  • Full grip for comfort and ease of use
  • High-grade polymer rope
  • Makes starting push mower easier

Your lawn mower probably came with a small, clumsy T-handle attached to its pull cord. These T-handles are awkward to use, and the Get-A-Grip offers an easier, more comfortable alternative. Just snip your T-handle off (while holding onto the pull cord!), tie a knot in it, and slide it into the Get-A-Grip for easy installation.

This naturally shaped pull cord handle works well on lawn mowers, boats, snow blowers, pressure washers — any kind of machine that utilizes a pull cord starter.

A Good Vibrations Start Me Up Full-Grip Starter Handle attached to a lawn mower pull cord as a hand grips it against a white background

The Start Me Up Full-Grip Starter Handle at a glance:

  • 88” rope included
  • Soft-grip handle for a comfortable, secure hold
  • Easy to install — change handles in seconds

So, what’s the difference between the Get-A-Grip handle and the Start Me Up handle? They both offer an easier, more robust option than the standard T-handle. But the Start Me Up features quite a bit more padding in the handle for the very best in comfort.

It’s available in both red and gray, and, like the Get-A-Grip, it’s also useful for lawn mowers, snow blowers, boats, and pressure washers.

Mower Deck Scraper

A Good Vibrations Grass Hawk Dual-Bladed Mower Scraper scraping the lawn mower deck of a red lawn mower against a white background

The Grass Hawk Dual-Bladed Mower Scraper at a glance:

  • Flat and curved cleaning blades for versatility
  • Helps maintain a clean mower deck for a longer life and better cut
  • Also attaches to a pole for cleaning lawn tractors

The Grass Hawk mower scraper makes cleaning a mower deck much easier than with a knife or screwdriver. It features a rotating head with both a flat and curved cleaning blade to reach every crack and crevice of your mower deck.

The bottom of the handle comes with a threaded hole that screws into an extension pole in order to clean lawn tractors, more easily too.

Offroad Drinking Mug

A GIF showing a man squeezing the Jell-Lock base of a Good Vibrations Rough Rider Off-Road Drinking Mug, closing its lid, and flipping it over

The Rough Rider Off-Road Drinking Mug at a glance:

  • Jell-Lock base forms tight to any cup
  • Holds tight on rough terrain
  • One-handed open and close

When your lawn tractor or ATV takes you out on rough, uneven terrain, you shouldn’t use just any mug. The Rough Rider features a rubbery base that squeezes and flexes to fit into any cup-holder. The lid only opens at the press of a button, too, ensuring that dirt and grime stay out (and your beverage stays in).

The Rough Rider is perfect to use during lawn mowing, but it’s also well-suited to any offroad activity. Its 24-ounce capacity is enough to keep you hydrated (or caffeinated!) during any job.

Tractor Wheel Covers

A green and yellow tractor with chrome and yellow Good Vibrations Wheelies Tractor Wheel Covers installed on the two visible wheels

Wheelies Tractor Wheel Covers at a glance:

  • Black (in 6” and 8” radii)
  • Chrome (in 10” and 12” radii)
  • Red, light orange, burnt orange, yellow, and black accents available

As with anything lawn care-related, tractor wheels — especially white tractor wheels — develop a bit of an ugly green hue over time. Whether you want to cover up stains, wear and tear, or you just want to add a pop of color to your lawn tractor, Wheelies Tractor Wheel Covers have you… well, covered.

The 6” and 8” covers are available in black, and the 10” and 12” covers come in chrome. All sizes are available with light orange, dark orange, red, yellow, or black accents. They snap easily onto your wheels and, from a practicality standpoint, they help prevent rust.

Tractor Seat Sealant

A six-part image set showing the application, smoothing, and finished process of using Good Vibrations Seat Magic Tractor Seat Repair on both a black and a yellow tractor seat

Seat Magic Tractor Seat Repair at a glance:

  • Avoid expensive seat replacement
  • Durable and flexible
  • Repairs rips, holes, and gouges

Finally, Seat Magic Tractor Seat Repair is a sealant designed to fix any holes, cuts, or scrapes in your tractor’s seats. Replacing the need for duct tape, this sealant comes in black and yellow to compliment common tractor seat colors.

It works well on other foam products, too, including arm rests, cushions, and foam seats (especially the more common black color).

Where Can You Buy Good Vibrations Products?

By now, you should have a full, complete sense of what’s included in the Good Vibrations product lineup. From trimmer straps and steering wheel knobs to hitch plates, pins, and more, Good Vibrations’ versatile offering is designed to make lawn care easier, more comfortable, and more efficient.

But where can you find the products?

Hardware stores like Lowes, Home Depot, Tractor Supply, Menards, Fleet Farm, and others carry Good Vibrations. You can also find Good Vibrations products on Amazon.

And whether you’re interested in one Good Vibrations product or a few, we hope they’ll make caring for your lawn a little easier — and a lot more enjoyable.

A close-up of chopped, stacked firewood

Best Firewood: Top 10 Types of Wood Fuel to Burn

There’s more to burning wood than you might expect. Whether you’re using an outdoor fire pit, your fireplace, or a wood burning furnace or stove, different woods burn differently from one another.

And maybe you just buy whatever firewood is available at your local store. But have you ever stopped to ask, “What kind of wood is this, anyway? Do certain types of wood give off more heat than others? What type of wood should I be burning?”

The type of firewood available to you often depends on what kind of trees are native to your area. But, given the choice, some types of wood are better at some things than others. We should know — we’ve been through the process of getting a wood burning furnace approved by the EPA, and that involves dozens of burn tests with many different kinds of firewood.

In this guide (and with the help of data from Utah State University), we’ll cover 10 different species of firewood. We’ll tell you how much heat each species puts off, how much a full cord of each species weighs, and more insights to help you find the right wood to burn.

Firewood BTU Chart

The following chart covers basic information on ten species of wood common in North America. Depending on where you live, some species of firewood may be more readily available in your area than others.

SpeciesHeat per Cord (Million BTUs)Weight per Cord (Dry)Ease of SplittingSmoke
White Oak29.14,200 poundsMediumLow
Black Locust27.94,020 poundsDifficultLow
Maple25.53,680 poundsEasyLow
White Ash24.23,470 poundsMediumLow
Black Walnut22.23,190 poundsEasyLow
Elm20.93,020 poundsDifficultMedium
Birch20.82,990 poundsMediumMedium
Douglas-fir20.72970 poundsEasyHigh
Green Ash202,880 poundsEasyLow
Sycamore19.52,810 poundsDifficultMedium

The second column indicates how much energy (in British thermal units, or BTUs) a full cord of each species of wood will radiate when burned.

The third column indicates how much a full cord of each species of wood weighs after it’s been fully seasoned and dried out.

The fourth and fifth columns indicate how easy (or difficult) each type of wood is to split and how much smoke each species of wood tends to give off, respectively.

How Much is a Cord of Wood?

A full cord of wood stacked in the middle of a field with a sign reading "ONE FULL CORD" on it

A full cord of stacked firewood measures 4 feet high, 8 feet wide, and 4 feet in depth (for a total of 128 cubic feet). A full cord usually contains between 600 and 800 logs.

You may also see the term “face cord” used; this is about ⅓ of a cord, or 4 feet high, 8 feet wide, and 16 inches in depth.

A half cord of wood measures 4 feet high, 8 feet wide, and 2 feet in depth.

How Long Does it Take to Season Firewood?

The best way to season firewood is to stack it on a log rack and let it sit anywhere from 6 months to a year. This allows moisture to evaporate from the logs.

A piece of firewood may contain up to 50% of its weight or more in water. Waterlogged firewood won’t burn well. The goal is to get the moisture content to 20% or less (and you can test the moisture contents of a piece of firewood by using a moisture meter).

Because it takes so long to season firewood properly, most people buy their firewood a year in advance. When seasoning firewood, leave it outdoors in the open at least a few feet away from walls or other obstructions to facilitate proper airflow. Cover the top with a tarp to keep the wood safe from precipitation (but leave the sides uncovered to allow air to circulate).

Is Oak Good Firewood?

One full cord of dry, properly seasoned oak firewood will put off 29.1 million BTUs of energy, making oak one of the most efficient species of wood to burn. Though it’s heavy (with a full, dry cord weighing in at around 4,200 pounds) and not necessarily easy to split, oak wood puts off relatively little smoke when seasoned correctly.

  • Heat per cord (in millions of BTUs): 29.1
  • Weight per cord (dry): 4,200 pounds
  • Ease of splitting: Medium
  • Smoke contents: Low

Is Black Locust Good Firewood?

At 27.9 million BTUs of energy per cord, black locust wood is nearly as efficient as oak. It maintains a comparable weight at about 4,000 pounds per cord. It also puts off relatively little smoke, though it is pretty difficult to split if you’re cutting it on your own.

  • Heat per cord (in millions of BTUs): 27.9
  • Weight per cord (dry): 4,020 pounds
  • Ease of splitting: Difficult
  • Smoke contents: Low

Is Maple Good Firewood?

Maple is one of only three species of firewood on this list to put off over 25 million BTUs of energy per cord burned. It’s quite a bit lighter than oak or black locust, averaging about 3,700 pounds per cord. It’s also very easy to split, and it puts off very little smoke.

  • Heat per cord (in millions of BTUs): 25.5
  • Weight per cord (dry): 3,680 pounds
  • Ease of splitting: Easy
  • Smoke contents: Low

Is White Ash Good Firewood?

White ash is a great middle-of-the-road firewood option in terms of millions of BTUs per cord at 24.2. A dry, seasoned cord of white ash firewood weighs in at around 3,500 pounds, and it produces relatively little smoke. It’s not the easiest type of firewood to split, though, so keep that in mind if you’re cutting your own wood.

  • Heat per cord (in millions of BTUs): 24.2
  • Weight per cord (dry): 3,470 pounds
  • Ease of splitting: Medium
  • Smoke contents: Low

Is Black Walnut Good Firewood?

Black walnut is a relatively efficient firewood, offering about 22.2 million BTUs of energy per cord. It’s pretty light for its efficiency, with a full cord clocking in at around 3,200 pounds. It’s also easy to split, and it puts off very little smoke.

  • Heat per cord (in millions of BTUs): 22.2
  • Weight per cord (dry): 3,190 pounds
  • Ease of splitting: Easy
  • Smoke contents: Low
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Is Elm Good Firewood?

At about 3,000 pounds per cord and with an energy rating of about 20.9 million BTUs per cord, elm is a good middle-of-the-road firewood. Be cautious, though — it’s pretty difficult to split, and it puts off quite a bit more smoke than oak, black locust, maple, white ash, or black walnut.

  • Heat per cord (in millions of BTUs): 20.9
  • Weight per cord (dry): 3,020 pounds
  • Ease of splitting: Difficult
  • Smoke contents: Medium

Is Birch Good Firewood?

Birch’s energy capacity is comparable to elm at 20.8 million BTUs per cord. Its weight per cord is also comparable to elm at around 3,000 pounds. Like elm, it puts off a medium amount of smoke, and while it’s not the easiest wood to split on your own, it is easier than elm.

  • Heat per cord (in millions of BTUs): 20.8
  • Weight per cord (dry): 2,990 pounds
  • Ease of splitting: Medium
  • Smoke contents: Medium

Is Douglas-Fir Good Firewood?

Douglas-fir firewood is on par with elm and birch in terms of energy efficiency; it puts off about 20.7 million BTUs per cord. It weighs in at about 2,970 pounds per cord and it’s easy to split. The biggest caveat with douglas-fir is that it probably puts out the highest amount of smoke of any firewood on this list.

  • Heat per cord (in millions of BTUs): 20.7
  • Weight per cord (dry): 2,970 pounds
  • Ease of splitting: Easy
  • Smoke contents: High

Is Green Ash Good Firewood?

Though every type of firewood on this list is very efficient, green ash does come in second-to-last at just 20 million BTUs per dry, seasoned cord. It is relatively lightweight; at just 2,880 pounds per cord, it’s about 1,300 pounds lighter than oak. It’s also easy to split and emits a low amount of smoke.

  • Heat per cord (in millions of BTUs): 20
  • Weight per cord (dry): 2,880 pounds
  • Ease of splitting: Easy
  • Smoke contents: Low

Is Sycamore Good Firewood?

Sycamore has the unfortunate distinction of being the only firewood on this list not to crack 20 million BTUs per cord, just missing the mark at 19.5. It puts off a medium amount of smoke, too, and it’s relatively difficult to split. It is the lightest, though, with a properly seasoned cord of sycamore weighing about 2,800 pounds.

  • Heat per cord (in millions of BTUs): 19.5
  • Weight per cord (dry): 2,810 pounds
  • Ease of splitting: Difficult
  • Smoke contents: Medium

What Type of Firewood Should You Get?

As you can see, there’s more to burning wood than you may have expected. Thermal efficiency can vary by millions of BTUs per cord and weight can vary by thousands of pounds. There are also big variations in how easy each species is to split and how much smoke each species emits.

So — which firewood should you get?

In a lot of cases, this simply depends on which wood is native to your area. You may not have many options.

But, if given the choice, oak, black locust, and maple are high on the list in terms of heat per cord. Green ash and sycamore may be less energy efficient, but they’re very lightweight if you plan on hauling the wood yourself.

Whichever type you choose, be sure to store and season your wood properly. That way it will burn efficiently and cleanly, keeping you warm through the fall and winter months.

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Thumbnail images of a smokeless fire pits from Blue Sky, Solo Stove, Duraflame, Breeo, and Flame Genie against a transparent cord wood background

Best Smokeless Fire Pits of 2023

Smokeless fire pits are becoming more and more popular with each passing cold season. These cleverly-designed heating devices utilize a unique, double-walled airflow system to burn away smoke particles, greatly reducing (and even eliminating) smoke from your outdoor wood burning experience.

As great as smokeless fire pits are, there are several models on the market today, and that can make it tough to know which one to buy.

There are a lot of questions to consider: what type of wood fuel do these fire pits burn? To what extent are they customizable? How much do they cost?

At HY-C, we know a lot about smokeless fire pits; in fact, we manufacture one. And we want to share what we know about them with you to help you find the perfect smokeless fire pit.

In this guide, we’re going to consider five top-selling smokeless fire pits on the market today. By the time you’re done here, you’ll know everything you need to know about each model, from their material to how much they cost — and everything in between.

And though we make one of the fire pits on this list — the Flame Genie Inferno — we’re going to remain as objective as possible to help you find the right smokeless fire pit for you.

So, in no particular order, here are the top five smokeless fire pits on the market today.

Solo Stove Bonfire 2.0

A Solo Stove Bonfire 2.0 sitting ablaze on the corner of a wooden patio with a forest in the background and wood fuel beside it

The Solo Stove Bonfire 2.0 at a glance:

  • Price: $224.99
  • Diameter: 19.5”
  • Height: 14”
  • Weight: 23.3 pounds
  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Suggested fuel: Firewood

Solo Stove is without a doubt the most popular smokeless fire pit brand around today, and their Bonfire 2.0 is their best-reviewed model by far. It’s available in eight different colors, and you can even get one personalized with your favorite NFL or college football team’s logo.

So, what puts the “2.0” in “Bonfire 2.0”? Solo Stove added a new, removable base plate and ash pan, making clean up a lot easier than earlier iterations. You just lift the pan out after your fire has cooled and dump out the ashes.

Each Bonfire 2.0 comes with a carrying case for easy transportation, and you can even purchase one with a stand for just a few dollars more.

Breeo X19

A Breeo X19 smokeless fire pit sitting ablaze on white sand with two beige patio chairs in the background and a gray wooden fence behind them

The Breeo X19 at a glance:

  • Price: $399
  • Diameter: 22”
  • Height: 14.75”
  • Weight: 47 pounds
  • Material: Stainless steel and corten steel
  • Suggested fuel: Firewood

The Breeo X19 features a unique corten steel construction that gives it a rugged, industrial feel. At 47 pounds, it’s the heaviest smokeless fire pit on this list, but for good reason: each Breeo fire pit is durably made in the USA in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

All smokeless fire pits utilize airflow in the base to help eliminate smoke, but Breeo models feature a raised, X-shaped bridge in the bottom that gives the line its name.

While the corten steel offers a distinctive look, those who prefer the full stainless steel presentation will be happy to know that a fully stainless option is available for an additional $85.

Blue Sky The Improved Peak Smokeless Patio Fire Pit

A Blue Sky Improved Peak Smokeless Patio Fire Pit sitting ablaze on a concrete patio with two gray chairs in the background and a brick wall behind them

The Blue Sky Improved Peak Smokeless Patio Fire Pit at a glance:

  • Price: $249.99
  • Diameter: 21.6”
  • Height: 16”
  • Weight: 35.27 pounds
  • Material: Powder-coated steel
  • Suggested fuel: Firewood or wood pellets

Blue Sky’s improved smokeless fire pit is the first fire pit on this list that claims dual-fuel capabilities — either firewood or wood pellets. You can also get your favorite NFL or NHL team logo engraved on one (and even the U.S. Army logo, if you feel inclined).

But what’s so “improved” about Blue Sky’s smokeless fire pit? Like Solo Stove, they added a lift-out ash catch and grate to make cleaning easier. They also extended the bezel on the top of the fire pit to promote air flow, and they even raised the burn chamber to enhance the fire pit’s secondary burn capability.

It also features a unique, twelve-sided rim and faceted body, daring to go beyond the cylindrical look of the four other fire pits on this list.

Duraflame Stainless Steel Low Smoke Fire Pit

A Duraflame Stainless Steel Low Smoke Fire Pit ablaze against a white background

The Duraflame Stainless Steel Low Smoke Fire Pit at a glance:

  • Price: $215.79
  • Diameter: 19”
  • Height: 15.5”
  • Weight: 22 pounds
  • Material: 304 & 202 stainless steel
  • Suggested fuel: Firewood

You probably know Duraflame for their Firelogs and Firestarters. Turns out they make a pretty good smokeless fire pit, too; their Stainless Steel Low Smoke Fire Pit features both 304 and 202 stainless steel in its construction to resist corrosion and rust.

Duraflame’s smokeless fire pit also includes a removable ring, grate, and ash pan for easy cleaning.

It’s also the lightest fire pit on this list. Weighing in at just 22 pounds, it’s ultra-portable — great if you’re planning on taking your fire pit on a trip (a carrying bag is available to purchase separately, too).

Flame Genie Inferno

A Flame Genie Inferno smokeless fire pit ablaze on a brick pedestal on a brick patio with a white gazebo in the background in a yard at night

The Flame Genie Inferno at a glance:

  • Price: $171.99
  • Diameter: 19”
  • Height: 16.25”
  • Weight: 23 pounds
  • Material: Powder-coated galvanized steel
  • Suggested fuel: Wood pellets

Rounding out our list of the best smokeless fire pits of the year is our own Flame Genie Inferno. The Flame Genie comes in two parts — the base and the combustion chamber. Both portions stack on top of each other during use, and they fit into each other between use for easy storage and transportation.

This two-part design makes for easy cleaning, too. Ashes fall into the base, which can be removed and taken away for disposal after the fire is out.

The Inferno utilizes wood pellets for fuel, ensuring a continuously smoke-free experience. Aside from the Breeo X19, the Flame Genie Inferno is the only smokeless fire pit on this list to be made in the USA. Each model is made in our factory in St. Louis, Missouri.

Which Smokeless Fire Pit Should You Get?

With so many smokeless fire pits on the market today, it can be hard to find the right one to buy. We’ve presented five here, but those are just a sampling. There are dozens of great options to choose from.

So which one should you get?

The best thing to do is to consider how you plan on using your smokeless fire pit, and find one with the features that best match what you want.

Is portability important to you? If so, it may be best to choose a lightweight model. Maybe you prefer a model made in America? Or maybe price is your most important consideration?

Either way, be sure to compare what’s out there until you find the smokeless fire pit that fits your needs. Putting in the time and research now ensures you’ll wind up with a bright, warm outdoor companion that will keep you comfortable for many falls and winters to come.

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A racoon poking out of a gable attic vent on the side of a house with white siding

How to Deal with an Animal in Your Attic

Having an animal (or multiple animals) in your attic is an unpleasant experience. They make noise at all hours of the day and night, they break things, they leave waste behind, and — maybe worst of all — they can get out of the attic and into the rest of your home.

Whether you’re a new homeowner or a veteran homeowner, it can feel overwhelming when a wild animal finds its way into your living space.

You’re left asking questions like, “How did it get in? How many are up there? How do I go about getting them out of my home?”

We know how stressful the experience can be. At HY-C, we manufacture HY-GUARD EXCLUSION, a robust line of covers and guards designed to keep animals out of homes. We understand a lot about how animals invade houses, and we want to tell you exactly how to deal with them so you don’t have to worry.

In this guide, we’ll cover what kind of animals tend to get into attics and how they get in. We’ll also tell you how to get them out and, just as importantly, how to keep them out.

By the time you’re done here, you’ll have all the information you need to get — and keep — critters out of your attic.

What Kinds of Animals Get into Attics?

A colony of a few dozen bats hanging upside down on a rock surface

In short, just about anything. Any seasoned wildlife control operator can share horror stories about animals from across the spectrum getting into attics. But some are more common than others.

The animals that tend to find their way into attics most often include:

  • Mice
  • Rats
  • Red squirrels
  • Gray squirrels
  • Flying squirrels
  • Raccoons
  • Bats

The animals to which your attic is most vulnerable may vary depending on where you live, what the weather is like there, and a number of other environmental factors.

How Do Animals Get into an Attic?

Which animals get in is pretty straightforward; how they get in is a bit more of a complex topic. Houses need ventilation to keep air circulating properly. Vents allow for this airflow, but they also leave vulnerable openings for critters to exploit.

Animals may get in simply through damaged sections of a home; a mouse can squeeze into a hole in a roof just a little wider than the width of a pencil.

That said, there are four common entry points animals use to get into attics:

  1. Dormers
  2. Gable vents
  3. Ridge vents
  4. Static roof vents


A steep roof with dark brown terracotta shingles with two white dormers sticking out against the background of a blue sky

Dormers jut out from a roof. They’re walled structures that contain a window and an overhang above that window. As animals (like mice, rats, or squirrels) find their way onto roofs, they notice that this overhang provides overhead protection from flying predators.

Most overhangs on these dormers aren’t sealed completely tightly. As critters take cover in the dormer, they notice vulnerable openings and either squeeze or chew their way through. From there, they gain access to the attic.

Gable Vents

A half-circle gable vent against gray siding and a pointed roof with a blue sky in the background

Gable vents are vital for attic ventilation. They allow air to flow in one side and out the other, avoiding stagnation and dissipating heat buildup on hot summer days.

They’re also a vulnerable entry point for animals to get into an attic, though. Most gable vents are made from relatively flimsy materials that animals can just push right past. Some have screens on the inside that do help keep bugs out, but these screens won’t do much to stop a determined raccoon.

Ridge Vents

Ridge vents on a roof with gray shingles and a suburban neighborhood in the background

Ridge vents exist for the same reason gable vents do: they help facilitate proper attic ventilation. As with gable vents, though, ventilation means openings, and openings mean critters can find their way in.

These vents are located at the peak of the roof, and they’re arguably one of the easiest entry points for wildlife to get into an attic. As the roof settles over time and seasonal temperature swings cause the roof to expand in the heat and contract in the cold, the vents warp, allowing in animals.

Static Vents

A close-up of a black, static roof vent protruding from a roof with gray shingles

Static roof vents come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but they all have one thing in common: like gable vents and ridge vents, they provide additional airflow to an attic. Most of them are created with some form of animal exclusion in mind, but the level of protection tends to be minimal.

Static vents tend to be made of weak materials like aluminum that won’t offer enough protection against chewing from squirrels, mice, rats, or raccoons. Like gable vents, they also have bug screen installed in a lot of cases and, like gable vents, they just can’t stop animals from getting in.

Signs of Animals in Your Attic

Some signs of animals having invaded an attic will be obvious, but others are a bit more subtle than you may expect. When it comes to determining whether or not you have an attic full of critters, there tend to be two ways to tell: looking and listening.

Detecting Animals in an Attic by Sound

Different animals make different noises in an attic. A mouse makes different sounds than a squirrel; a raccoon makes different noises than a bat. Listening for animals above your ceiling is a bit like diagnosing a car with engine trouble — the type of noise gives clues as to the type of animal that may be up there.

Here’s a (non-exhaustive) list of some sounds to look out for:

  • Heavy thumping (like someone dragging suitcases around above you) may indicate raccoons
  • Skittering or scratching all day and night may indicate mice
  • A flurry of scratching only at dusk and dawn may indicate flying squirrels
  • Scampering sounds on and off throughout the day (and not at night) may indicate red squirrels

Pay attention to the type of noise you hear, the time of day (or night) at which it occurs, and how frequently you hear it. Relay this information to a wildlife control operator.

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Detecting Animals in an Attic Visually

Obviously if you poke your head up into your attic and see an animal, that’s confirmation enough. But even if they’re hiding up there, there are some things you can look out for that may indicate the presence of a critter.

Check the entry points listed above (dormers, gable vents, ridge vents, and static vents) for signs of damage or chewing. Damaged vents are a good indicator that a critter may have forced their way in.

You may also inspect these areas for trails of discoloration. Animals are dirty; their fur is oily, and they tend to track feces behind them. A stain near a hole in a vent is a pretty good bet that something with four legs has been coming and going.

Finally, you can peek up into your attic and check the insulation. If it’s disturbed, discolored, or you see animal feces, there’s a good chance that one’s been nesting up there.

What to Do if There Is an Animal in Your Attic

A gray squirrel standing on its hind legs on a stack of wooden boards with a gray tarp hanging in the background

If you’re hearing noises above your ceiling, your roof vents are damaged, or you see any other signs of an animal’s presence in your attic, there are four things you should do immediately to take care of the problem:

  1. Call a wildlife control operator. These professionals are well-versed in local animal laws and the habits of critters in your area. They know exactly what is needed to diagnose which animal is in your house and how to remove it.
  2. Repair any damage to your home. You’ll have to fix any damage the critters may have caused in your attic, but you’ll also need to fix the damage to the entry point those critters used to get in there in the first place (or else they’ll just come right back).
  3. Add exclusion devices to the entry point the animal used. Repairing the damage is a start, but if you really want to keep critters out, you’ll have to add additional exclusion protection to your roof vents.
  4. Add exclusion devices to any other potential entry points. Covering just the initial entry point won’t be enough. Animals have a strong sense of smell, and they’ll know that other critters called your attic home at one point. They’ll want to move in themselves.

How Do You Keep Animals Out of Your Attic?

A critter invading your attic is an unsettling thought. Animals wreak havoc, carry diseases, and even multiply, causing even more damage.

By now, though, you know what kind of animals tend to invade attics, how they get in, how to look and listen for them, and even what to do if you wind up with a critter in your living space.

As with most things in life, preventing problems is often a lot easier than having to fix them. If you want to get ahead of animals invading your attic, consider adding some kind of wildlife exclusion devices to your home. The best part is that these devices aren’t limited just to roofs and attics; they’re designed to keep pests out of any of the vulnerable spots on your home.

In most cases, a seasoned wildlife control operator can install them, covering everything from your chimney to your foundation to your dryer vent. Wildlife exclusion devices aren’t necessarily the most fun or exciting purchase, but they will go a long way toward saving you costly, frustrating headaches down the road.

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Four men sitting in chairs around a Flame Genie smokeless fire pit at night on a patio

Flame Genie vs. Solo Stove: Which Smokeless Fire Pit Should You Get?

A smokeless fire pit provides a warm, relaxing way to enjoy a cold fall or winter evening. These cleverly designed products allow you to sit comfortably around a fire without having to deal with troublesome, irritating clouds of smoke blowing in every direction.

If you’re considering getting a smokeless fire pit, the question naturally follows: which one should I buy?

With so many makes and models on the market today, it can be tough to narrow down your choices. But in this guide, we’re going to help you do just that.

We’ll compare two smokeless fire pit manufacturers: Solo Stove and Flame Genie. We’ll go through the models each manufacturer offers, how those models are designed, the fuel each model utilizes, and how much each model costs.

Before we get going, a quick disclaimer: at HY-C, we manufacture Flame Genie smokeless fire pits. Despite that, we’re going to keep this comparison as objective as possible, pointing out only the tangible specifications of each smokeless fire pit model.

By the end of this guide, you’ll have an in-depth understanding of each smokeless fire pit manufacturer. Armed with that information, you’ll be able to make the best buying decision for you.

Flame Genie vs. Solo Stove: Models

All four Flame Genie smokeless fire pit sizes pictured together against a white background

Flame Genie’s family of models is pretty straightforward: there’s the Flame Genie (with a 13.5” diameter), and the Flame Genie Inferno (with a 19” diameter). Both models are available in either stainless steel or a cost-effective galvanized steel with a black powder coating.

Here’s a look at the specifications of both Flame Genie models in both finish options:

Flame Genie (black)Flame Genie (stainless)Flame Genie Inferno (black)Flame Genie Inferno (stainless)
Diameter13.5 inches13.5 inches19 inches19 inches
Height12.5 inches12.5 inches16.25 inches16.25 inches
Weight13.5 pounds13.5 pounds24 pounds24 pounds
MaterialGalvanized steelStainless steelGalvanized steelStainless steel

Solo Stove, on the other hand, offers four models: the Mesa, the Ranger 2.0, the Bonfire 2.0, and the Yukon 2.0. Like Flame Genie, each model functions similarly and looks identical; just think of them as small, medium, large, and extra-large.

Here’s a look at the specifications of each of the four Solo Stove models:

MesaRanger 2.0Bonfire 2.0Yukon 2.0
Diameter5.1 inches15 inches19.5 inches27 inches
Height6.8 inches12.5 inches14 inches17 inches
Weight1.4 pounds15 pounds23.3 pounds41.6 pounds
MaterialStainless steelStainless steelStainless steelStainless steel
# of color options101 (stainless only)88

Flame Genie vs. Solo Stove: Design

Older Solo Stoves were designed as one solid piece with a perforated, non-removable ash pan in the bottom. After the fire died and the fire pit cooled, you’d simply turn your Solo Stove over and dump out all the ashes to clean it.

Newer models like the Ranger 2.0, Bonfire 2.0, and Yukon 2.0, on the other hand, are made with a removable ash pan. Instead of having to turn the entire fire pit over to clean it, all you have to do is lift out the ash pan, carry it away, and dump it out. These new and improved models offer a much easier cleaning experience.

The base and combustion chamber of a Flame Genie smokeless fire pit sitting together side by side
A Flame Genie’s base (left) and combustion chamber (right)

By contrast, Flame Genies come in two distinct pieces: the base (pictured left) and the combustion chamber (pictured right). As the fire burns in the combustion chamber, ash and embers fall through small holes in the bottom and filter down into the base.

After the fire is out and the fire pit cools, you can take the combustion chamber off and carry away just the base to dispose of the ashes.

The two components are designed to fit into each other when the fire pit is not in use, too. The base is sized to fit into the combustion chamber, helping to cut down on storage space and assisting with portability.

Flame Genie vs. Solo Stove: Fuel

A hand reaching into a Flame Genie smokeless fire pit filled with pellet fuel holding a lit lighter about to light the pellets

Solo Stoves are designed to accommodate standard firewood. The design of the airflow system on a Solo Stove preheats outside air that filters into the fire pit, helping to mitigate or even eliminate smoke. The drier and more seasoned the firewood, the better the burn in the fire pit.

Flame Genies, on the other hand, are made to burn wood pellet fuel. Wood pellets are made from compressed sawdust and, as a result, they have very little moisture content. This fuel, combined with the intentionally placed airflow holes on the fire pit, allow for a smokeless burn.

While Solo Stove suggests standard firewood and Flame Genies are made with pellets in mind, note that you can burn either fuel in either fire pit. Flame Genie works well with regular firewood (though pellets offer the best chance at a smoke-free experience), and Solo Stove manufactures and sells a pellet adapter for their fire pits.

Flame Genie vs. Solo Stove: Price

Solo Stove’s pricing model is very straightforward: if you buy a bigger model, you’ll pay more for it. Each model is made of the same stainless steel material, so prices increase consistently with size. Here’s a look at the price of each Solo Stove model (keep in mind that these are subject to change over time):

  • Solo Stove Mesa: $79.99
  • Solo Stove Ranger 2.0: $199.99
  • Solo Stove Bonfire 2.0: $224.99
  • Solo Stove Yukon 2.0: $399.99

Our Flame Genies, on the other hand, have a less consistent price model. That’s because we don’t enforce a minimum advertised price (MAP), allowing retailers to charge what they think is the best price for their customers. As a result, you’ll see Flame Genies priced differently from retailer to retailer.

With that in mind, though, here’s what you can excerpt to pay on average for each Flame Genie model (though you may see prices much higher or much lower than these):

  • Flame Genie (black): $135
  • Flame Genie (stainless): $210
  • Flame Genie Inferno (black): $199
  • Flame Genie Inferno (stainless): $380

Another factor that may affect price is the manufacturing location of each fire pit. Solo Stoves are made in China, meaning their prices may be affected by tariffs, freight fees, and other international pricing logistics.

Flame Genies are made in the USA and, as a result, aren’t subject to these international price variables.

Flame Genie vs. Solo Stove: Which One Should You Get?

We know the smokeless fire pit market is filled with all kinds of options and, as a result, it can be confusing to figure out which one to buy. This guide only covered two manufacturers, too; there are dozens more smokeless fire pit makes and models out there to choose from.

By now, though, you should have a solid understanding of the bells and whistles of Solo Stove and Flame Genie smokeless fire pits. You know about how they’re designed, what kind of fuel they burn, and how much they cost.

The question remains, though: which model should I buy?

That entirely depends on which features you’re looking for. Solo Stoves are good for firewood while Flame Genies are made for pellet fuel. Flame Genie’s two-piece design allows for good portability, but that also means that one part can’t work without the other. Solo Stove’s fixed prices are easy to digest, while Flame Genie prices may differ from retailer to retailer (either in your favor or not!).

In the end, try to imagine how you’re going to use your smokeless fire pit and buy the option with the features best-suited to that experience. You’ll wind up with a great heating device that’s warm, enjoyable, and — maybe most importantly — smoke-free.

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A Flame Genie smokeless pellet fire pit in the foreground resting on a rock ledge next to a gravel road at dusk with a white house in the background

How Does a Smokeless Fire Pit Work?

A fire pit provides a warm, cozy way to relax outdoors during the fall and winter months. But as enjoyable and welcoming as they are, fire pits have a major problem that you’ve probably experienced yourself: smoke from the fire can become overwhelming, irritating you during what should be a relaxing experience.

Smokeless fire pits solve this problem, eliminating the obnoxious fumes and allowing for a much better outdoor experience.

But have you ever wondered how a smokeless fire pit works its magic?

As the manufacturers of Flame Genie smokeless pellet fire pits, we’re well aware of what makes a smokeless fire pit work — how fuel and design combine to offer a pleasant, smoke-free experience. And we want to share what we know with you.

By the time you’re done here, you’ll understand how a smokeless fire pit works and, armed with that knowledge, you’ll be able to decide whether or not you should get one for yourself.

Wood Pellets

Two cupped hands holding a pile of wood pellets against a white background

Every fire needs fuel, and in a smokeless fire pit, wood pellets are the fuel of choice. But how does burning wood pellets instead of logs help eliminate smoke? The answer lies in the moisture content of both fuels.

Logs may have more water in them than you might expect. A freshly cut, unseasoned log could contain up to 50% of its weight in water. Smoke from a fire is a result of this moisture content; the more water in the log, the more smoke it will produce. That’s why veteran wood burners follow good burn practices and allow their logs to season for at least six months.

Wood pellets are made of compressed sawdust and held together by lignin (an organic material found in wood). Unlike a log, these wood pellets contain virtually no moisture in them, allowing for a highly efficient, smoke-free burn.

Smokeless Fire Pit Design

The lack of moisture content in wood pellets helps to reduce or even eliminate smoke, but that’s not the whole story. The design of the fire pit itself also plays a hand in keeping the environment smoke-free — particularly the airflow system.

The Flame Genie, as an example, is divided into two pieces: the upper portion in which the fire burns, and the lower portion which catches ashes as the pellets burn up. The upper portion is made of a hollow cylinder with an outer wall and an inner wall.

A Flame Genie smokeless fire pit with a cutout demonstrating where cool air enters and warm air exits the secondary combustion chamber

As the fire burns in the fire pit, cool air from the outside enters through two spots: holes in the lower portion and holes in the upper portion.

The air entering through the lower portion rises up through the pellets, providing oxygen to the fire. The air entering through the upper portion rises through the hollow cylinder and heats up. This superheated air exits through the inner wall of the upper chamber and interacts with gasses from the burning pellets.

A looping GIF showing a smokeless fire pit in use on a garden patio with mulch landscaping in the background

When the gasses from the pellets meet the superheated air, they catch fire, resulting in a secondary combustion. If everything is functioning properly, there will be flames coming from two locations: the pile of pellets, and the airflow holes in the top of the fire pit.

Do Smokeless Fire Pits Really Work?

Four Flame Genie smokeless pellet fire pits by a pool with a family sitting on patio furniture in the background

In short, yes! The combination of the airflow design and the pellet fuel work together to produce a truly smokeless fire that provides plenty of warmth and a great ambiance. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t caveats to consider, though.

For one, wood pellets tend to burn up a lot more quickly than logs. You may find yourself having to fill your smokeless fire pit with pellets much more frequently than simply adding an additional log to a fire.

You also need to be careful when adding new pellets to the fire because it’s very easy to smother the fire accidentally. Keep a cup on hand and add pellets frequently and in small amounts. Be sure to spread the new pellets out well as you add them, and use hearth tools (like a shovel or fire poker) to mix the new pellets in with the burning pellets.

Finally, it can be tough to get a pellet fire going initially. You can spray a little bit of lighter fluid around the perimeter of the pellets before lighting them, but do so sparingly. If you do this, be very careful when lighting the pellets.

Should You Get a Smokeless Fire Pit?

The old adage goes, “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” So it can be surprising to learn about smokeless fire pits and easy to wonder about how they work.

At this point, it should be clear that the pellet fuel and the airflow design of the fire pit itself work in tandem to create a smokeless burn.

But should you get a smokeless fire pit?

The answer depends; if you have a traditional fire pit that you like and you don’t mind the smoke it produces, you may not need to invest in a smokeless fire pit.

But if you’re tired of getting smoke in your eyes and your clothes and you tend to build a lot of outdoor fires, a smokeless fire pit may be just what you need. Flame Genie is a great place to start; it’s a well-reviewed, tried-and-true smokeless fire pit made right here in the USA.

And if Flame Genie doesn’t seem like a good fit for you, it’s a good time to be in the market for a smokeless fire pit — there are plenty of great options out there in all kinds of sizes and price ranges.

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