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

Identifying Your Fireplace

For many potential homebuyers, a fireplace is a major selling point in a home. In addition to providing heat and warmth in the winter, they give a room elegance and ambiance all year long. Without being a fireplace expert, however, it can be difficult to identify the type of fireplace you have in your home.

Identifying Your Fireplace - Milford CT - The Cozy FlameIdentifying the type of fireplace you own can be extremely useful, especially when it needs to be repaired or replaced. Being able to identify the type of fireplace you own can also save you valuable time when attempting to troubleshoot problems. Below are several of the most common types of fireplaces along with their identifying characteristics.

Gas Log Fireplace

Many homes have had their existing wood burning fireplaces retrofitted with gas logs. Gas logs replicate the look of a wood burning fire but with the ease of use of a gas appliance. Over time, the delicate logs may shift or become damaged while being cleaned or maintained. Likewise, you may want to update an older gas log to one with a more modern or realistic look. Replacing gas logs should be done professionally as even slight variations in placement can affect both safety and efficiency.

Direct Vent Fireplaces

Direct vent fireplaces do not use air from inside the home for the combustion process. Instead, they operate by bringing cold air in through the chimney and removing the byproducts of combustion the same way. Because of this, they can be used without opening windows and without risk of the backflow of smoke or gas into the home. Direct vent fireplaces also continue to work even when the power is off.

Fireplace Inserts

A fireplace insert is a self-contained system designed to burn more efficiently than traditional open hearths. Inserts can burn a variety of fuel sources including wood, gas, or pellets. If your home has an existing fireplace insert, it is important to check to make sure it is installed correctly. Improperly installed fireplace inserts can cause lingering smoky smells, excessive buildup of creosote in the chimney, and backdrafts from temperature differentials.

Finding the Make and Model

Whether your fireplace unit needs minor or major repairs, you will need to be able to identify the manufacturer, make, model, or serial number from your specific unit. Often, the easiest way to do this is by referencing the owner’s manual. If you cannot find the owner’s manual or it was not transferred between home owners, try looking for the fireplace’s identification plate or rating label. These identification tags are often found below or behind the fireplace’s lower louver, and can be seen by lowering the louver. Typically the identification tag will be stamped on the floor or attached to the gas line.

If you are unable to identify the type of fireplace in your home or cannot find its identification plate, contact The Cozy Flame. Our expert staff can help you identify the type of fireplace you have, as well as make recommendations for appropriate replacements.

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.

What Are Direct Vent Fireplaces and Direct Vent Gas Inserts?

Fire places add to a home’s comfort. They can make your home more appealing to your family, friends, and future buyers. Unfortunately, traditional fireplaces are often a lot of work. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be that way! Direct vent fireplaces and gas inserts are the best selling fireplaces today; but what exactly is the difference between these and traditional fireplaces? The major difference is that all of the gasses produced by the fireplace are vented directly outside with a venting system that is specific to the unit. However, there is an array of other benefits that go with direct vent fireplaces and gas inserts.

Hampton H15 Small Direct Vent Stove

Hampton H15 Small Direct Vent Stove

Efficiency- Direct vent technology is about five times more efficient than traditional fireplaces—which is a lot of savings!

Health- When wood burns in a traditional fireplace, carbon monoxide and particulates from the fire are released into the surrounding area. In high concentrations, carbon monoxide is poisonous. Because direct vent fireplaces vent the air from the fire directly outside, no harmful byproducts are released into the building. This makes direct vent technology a much more healthful option in comparison to traditional options.

Those benefits apply to either direct vent fireplaces or direct vent gas inserts; however, there are further benefits to choosing a direct vent gas insert.

Direct Vent Gas Insert Benefits

  • Ease and Convenience- With gas inserts, there is no need to cut, haul, stack, or stock fire wood. There is no need to clean between fires or wait for your fire to die out before going to bed. A simple flip of the switch will generate the heat and ambiance of a fire, and another flip will put an end to the fire.
  • Clean Burning- Although wood burning fireplaces have come a long way in efficiency and emission reduction over the years, gas is still more efficient than wood. As a result, there is less pollution, less clean up, and less wasted energy.
  • Realistic Wood and Fire- You may be wary about gas inserts because of realism. There’s just something about a real fire. Fortunately, getting a gas insert doesn’t mean that you have to miss out on the feeling of a traditional fire. Gas inserts have been getting more and more realistic looking and you can enjoy them with the flick of a switch!Aesthetic Variety- Our gas inserts come in a wide variety of style options. Rest assured, no matter what look you’re going for, we probably have a gas insert that will match your needs.

If you are unsure what option is right for your family and need help deciding, our Comfort Consultants are available to answer any questions you may have and help you decide. We want you to walk away with the best fit possible. Just call us at 203-283-4459 or stop by and see us! We’ll be more than happy to help. If you already know what option you prefer, click here to start shopping now!

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