The Cozy Flame's Blog

Don’t Let Winter Pass You by Without a Hearth

It’s halfway through winter, and there is still plenty of cold weather until spring. You can save money on heating costs for these last few weeks by adding a hearth to your home. Not only will it save you money, but it will add to your property value and transform your room into your dream space.

The Value of a Hearth

Homeowners love fireplaces. Adding a beautiful hearth is a great way to bring up the value of a property for refinancing or selling. It will also enhance your experience of your own home! Relax in the evenings next to a crackling fireplace, and benefit month after month, and year after year.
Save Money—Utilize a fireplace for zone heating and save money on utilities. Lower your thermostat and heat the most-used rooms with a hearth, then watch the electricity bills drop.
Save the Environment—Adding a gas fireplace appliance will burn cleanly and is generally better for the environment than other methods of heating. You can be environmentally-conscious and still enjoy a new hearth.

Your Dream Hearth is Possible

You can choose a new hearth that matches your personality, lifestyle, home décor, and budget. When you start your hearth search with an expert, you can find a product that’s best for you, and have it installed before winter is over!
Fireplaces—Gas fireplaces are a great addition to any home and any room. You can have a gas fireplace in every room of your house, or select rooms, as long as you have access to natural gas. Gas fireplaces are the cleanest-burning fireplaces on the market, and many can be installed anywhere, no matter the amount of space. Vent-free gas log sets don’t even need to be ventilated. They are rated for indoor use and safety, and are an affordable addition to any hearth.
Direct Vent Fireplaces and Stoves—Direct vent appliances are a closed unit that vents through a wall or ceiling. They are safe, affordable, highly efficient, and are available as wood-burning or gas-burning. If you have readily available firewood, a wood-burning direct vent fireplace would be a great option. No need to construct an expensive chimney, no need to remodel the home. Similarly, stoves are freestanding and can be installed anywhere as long as a ventilation system is installed.

Hire a Professional for the Job

You should start your hearth search with a professional. The Cozy Flame sells fireplaces, direct vent fireplaces, wood burning stoves, gas stoves, direct vent stoves, vent free stoves, pellet stoves, electric stoves, wood burning inserts, gas inserts, direct vent gas inserts, gas logs, and a variety of doors, mantels, and fireplace accessories. Our Comfort Consultants are available at our show room at 116-Q Research Drive in Milford, Connecticut. We can get you started on this journey. When it’s time for installation, choose none other than our licensed, insured, and certified sister company, Total Chimney Care. We’ll help you take care of the decision-making, and they’ll take care of the installation!
Call The Cozy Flame at 203-283-4459 today.

By Steve Sobczak | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

The Three Types of Gas Fireplaces

Fireplaces remain one of the top selling points for new homes. According to the National Association of Homebuilders, fireplaces are the second most requested home feature.

AThree Types of Gas Fireplaces - Milford, CT - The Cozy Flames fireplaces continue to maintain their popularity as a home feature, many homeowners have begun eschewing wood burning fireplaces in favor of gas. Gas fireplaces are perfect for those looking for all the ambiance of a traditional wood burning fireplace without all of the work. With advances in both style and technology, gas fireplaces are now able to even more closely replicate the look and feel of wood.

Gas fireplaces can be divided into three main categories: vented, direct vent, and vent free. Below are descriptions of each type of gas appliance. While there are pros and cons to each, choosing a gas fireplace ultimately comes down to personal preference and choice.

Vented gas fireplaces

Vented gas fireplaces are typically found when an existing fireplace is converted from wood to gas by installing gas logs. In a vented gas fireplace, the gasses produced from the fire along with any smoke travel up and out of the existing chimney structure, preventing them from flowing back into the home.
Vented gas systems are ideal for homeowners who have a wood burning fireplace but would like to install gas logs. However, installing gas logs should not be seen as a solution to a troubled chimney. If your chimney does not draw air well enough to burn wood or is otherwise damaged, it should be repaired before switching to gas.

Direct vent gas fireplaces

In a direct vent gas fireplace, a two-layer pipe is used to directly connect the fireplace unit with the exterior of the home. These pipes allow the fireplace to draw air in and expel gasses directly from outside. Because of this, direct vent fireplaces are considered by some to be the safest gas fireplace option. As no inside air is used and all waste flows directly outside, there is virtually no risk of gas or carbon monoxide entering the home.
Because they vent directly to the outdoors, direct vent fireplaces must be placed on an exterior wall. However, these fireplaces are known for most closely resembling the look of a traditional fireplace. Some models that are meant to be used for aesthetics rather than heating even comes with logs that can be rearranged to even more closely mimic a wood fire.

Vent free gas fireplaces

Vent free gas fireplaces are popular because they can literally be put anywhere in a home: upstairs, downstairs, on interior walls, on exterior walls, or even in the middle of a room. Homeowners with vent free fireplaces enjoy the freedom of being able to install them anywhere, as well as the amount of heat they produce. Because there is no exterior venting, no heat is lost to the outside. However, this lack of venting does lead to a less realistic looking flame and fire.

Most manufacturers recommend having a window open while a vent free fireplace is in use. This prevents any change of accidental indoor air pollution from occurring. Likewise, while no smoke is produced those with a keen sense of smell may notice an odor with the fireplace.

If you’re interested in learning more about the three types of gas appliances, contact the experts at The Cozy Flame today! Our staff will help you find the perfect gas appliance to meet your needs.

By Steve Sobczak | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

How to Care for Your Gas Fireplace

Gas fireplaces and inserts have grown in popularity in recent years due to their ease of use and maintenance. These heating appliances offer a number of benefits over traditional wood burning fireplaces. First, fires can be started with the simple flip of a switch, as opposed to the work needed to start and maintain a wood fire. Likewise, with gas fireplaces there is no need to chop, haul, season, and store firewood, saving both time and money. Finally, there is no need to sweep and remove ashes from a gas fireplace.

A few simple steps can help to ensure the longevity of your gas fireplace.

A few simple steps can help to ensure the longevity of your gas fireplace.

While there is no day to day cleanup of ashes with gas fireplaces, they still do require annual maintenance to continue performing at optimum levels. By completing these simple maintenance tasks and having an annual inspection, your gas fireplace will last for many years to come.

Cleaning

The exterior glass and metal finish of a gas fireplace can be easily cleaned with a damp cloth. Homeowners should avoid using any abrasive or chemical cleaners, however, as these can damage the finish. This cleaning can be easily completed as needed.

The interior of your gas fireplace should also be carefully cleaned one to two times each year. Before cleaning, the gas valve should always be completely turned off. The burner and control compartment can be kept clean merely by brushing and vacuuming them. Because they are fragile, a soft, clean paintbrush should be used to prevent accidental damage. As with the exterior of the fireplace, abrasive chemicals should never be used, and the fireplace should never be cleaned while it is still hot.

Glass and log replacement

While gas fireplace components are made to last, they can sometimes become damaged. This can be the result of long term wear and tear or accidental breakage. The main concern when replacing either the glass or log of a gas fireplace is to make sure that the new parts are certified to be used with your particular unit. Likewise, improper positioning of a gas log can result in poor performance and an excessive buildup of carbon.

Working with a professional fireplace company may be the best way to ensure that the new parts are both licensed for use with your unit and installed correctly.

Vent maintenance

While the venting system of your fireplace will be checked during an annual inspection, homeowners should check their vents one to two additional times each year. This is especially important to do if the fireplace has not been used for a long period of time. The exterior vent should be free from signs of damage or obstruction, and should not have any rust signs or holes. If any damage is present, discontinue use and contact a fireplace company immediately.

Professional inspection

Just like a wood burning fireplace, a gas fireplace should be inspected and cleaned by a professional chimney sweep each year. Doing this ensures that your appliance remains in excellent condition, has not been damaged, and can be used safely for another year.

If you have any questions about caring for your gas fireplace or need to schedule an annual inspection, contact The Cozy Flame today!

Alternative Heating Sources for Emergency Heating Backup

HamptonGCI60LargePelletInsert-MilfordCT-TheCozyFlameWhen the power goes off in the winter, the primary concern for most homeowners is how to stay warm until the power returns. With the devastating power outages caused by Hurricane Sandy still fresh in the mind of area residents, many are looking for alternative heating sources that can be used in the event of severe weather and other natural disasters that may disrupt traditional heating sources.

Appliances such as wood stoves, direct vent appliances, or pellet stoves are an excellent alternative energy source. In addition to being totally “off grid,” these heating sources still work even when the power is down.

Wood stoves 

Wood stoves may seem old fashioned, but these appliances have been modernized to meet the needs of the current consumer market. In addition to coming in a variety of styles and sizes to meet various budgets, wood stoves are considered to be a green, eco-friendly heat source due to their use of renewable materials as fuel and their low EPA-certified emissions.

While shopping for and purchasing firewood may seem like a waste of time and money, wood is a far less expensive fuel source than gas or electricity. As oil prices have risen in the recent years, so have the prices for propane and natural gas. Many homeowners are able to further increase their savings by harvesting, chopping, and storing their own firewood. Finally, as they use wood as their only fuel source, wood stoves are able to continue to heat a home even when the power if out.

Direct vent appliances 

While similar to traditional fireplaces in many ways, direct vent fireplaces differ in a few major ways. First, they do not use air from inside the home as part of the combustion process. Instead, outside air is brought in through the chimney, where smoke and fumes also exit. Because of this, there is virtually no risk of dangerous gasses flowing into the home.

The other major difference in direct vent fireplaces is that they are not connected to any other utilities. With many current models coming equipped with their own blowers, the fireplace’s convective heat can be used even when the power is out.

Pellet stoves 

The popularity of pellet stoves has increased dramatically in recent years. Many homeowners are drawn to them as a wood burning fireplace alternative. They replicate the look and real of a wood burning fire without the hassle of chopping, seasoning, and storing firewood; pellet bags can be easily bought, stacked, and stored in a variety of places. In addition, pellet stoves create very little ash, making them easier to clean maintain. They also burn up to 15% more efficiently than a traditional wood appliance.

Despite their many advantages, pellet stoves do require electricity to run. However, some models are equipped with battery packs that can be used in the event of a power outage. For homes with existing generators or for homeowners looking to purchase and install one, pellet stoves are still a viable heating source for use when the electricity is out.

Which Stove is Right for Me: Wood-Burning, Gas, or Pellet?

fpi1You would like to get a stove to use as a heating appliance this winter, but you are not sure which fuel type is right for your home. With the options of high-efficiency wood-burning, gas, and pellet stoves, choosing the best fuel source for you can be challenging. The Cozy Flame sells all three types of stoves, and our expert staff know the benefits and downsides of each fuel source. We would like to share with you these pros and cons about wood-burning, gas, and pellet stoves to help you make the right choice for you.

 

WOOD-BURNING STOVES

Advantages

  • With new technology, wood-burning stoves are both clean-burning and energy-efficient, even earning certification from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) based on emissions testing.
  • Firewood is relatively cheap, especially if you cut and dry it yourself.
  • You can always depend on heat from wood-burning stoves because you do not have to rely on electricity or gas to have a fire.

Disadvantages

  • Having to bring firewood in from outside can be a tiresome chore.
  • Firewood can require a large area of storage space outside of your home.
  • You do not get a long period of burning time as you must tend to a wood-burning fire frequently, even every four hours.

 

GAS STOVES

Advantages

  • Gas stoves have the most convenience as all you have to do is press a button to start a fire. Some models can even be operated by remote control.
  • A gas-fueled fire emits fewer toxins than a fire fueled with wood.
  • Relatively maintenance-free, you don’t have to clean up the mess that occurs with a wood-burning stove.

Disadvantages

  • If you do not have a natural gas connection to your home, this type of stove cannot be installed in your home.
  • The price of natural gas tends to fluctuate, so it can be hard to budget your heating costs.
  • For some people, a gas flame will never be the same as a wood-burning fire because of the appearance, smells, and sounds of a wood fire.

 

PELLET STOVES

Advantages

  • Pellet stoves rank the highest in the environmentally-friendly category. The pellets are made from recycled sawdust and wood shavings. Compacted tightly, pellets burn much cleaner than firewood.
  • The cost of pellets is relatively inexpensive. Additionally, users tend to notice lower heating costs when operating a pellet stove as a heating appliance.
  • Easy to use, you just open the hopper, pour the amount of pellets inside the hopper, and then turn on the stove.

Disadvantages

  • Since pellet stoves rely on electricity to operate, you will be without heat if your power goes out during bad weather.
  • Although pellet stoves are cheaper to operate, they usually cost more than the other two types of stoves.
  • Burning pellets generally leaves a mess behind, so the cleaning involved may not be what you want to do on a regular basis.

 

If you have more questions about any of these types of stoves, contact The Cozy Flame today. We can help you decide which type is the best fit for you.

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The Cozy Flame | 116 Research Dr. Suite Q, Milford, Connecticut 06460