energy-efficiency Archives - The Cozy Flame

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What is Zone Heating and How can it Save on Energy Bills?

What is Zone Heating and How Can It Save on Energy Bills - Fairfield New Haven CT - Total Chimney CareKeeping your home warm in the winter is a significant expense for most homeowners. However, because many people are not home all day or do not use every area of their home they feel as if they are throwing their money away to keep their whole home warm all winter.

One alternative solution to using your furnace to heat your whole house is zone heating. Zone heating is an excellent way to help you save on energy ills while still keeping you and your family comfortable and warm all winter long.

What is zone heating?

Zone heating “puts the heat where you need it” by warming only certain rooms or areas of a house at a time. While a traditional furnace cycles on and off throughout the day to heat the entire house, a zone heating system heats a few rooms at a time at selected times. This prevents rooms – like bedrooms – from being warmed when no one is using them. With a zone heating system, for example, you could heat your living or family room during the day before switching to the bedrooms at night, ensuring now unoccupied rooms are being unnecessarily warmed.

Benefits of zone heating

The primary benefit of zone heating is energy savings. When you use your furnace to heat your home, it is impossible to control what specific parts of your home are being heated. Because of this, parts of your home are being heated even when no one is using them; this is the same as throwing money away into the furnace.

Zone heating, on the other hand, lets you control which areas of you home are being heated at what times. This allows you to concentrate on only heating areas of your home when you are using them, allowing you to set the thermostat to a lower overall temperature. This can significantly reduce energy costs, especially during the increased rates that often occur in the winter.

Why use gas for zone heating?

While zone heating can be accomplished with a regular furnace, one of the best ways to heat your home in this way is with the use of a supplemental gas heater. There are a number of reasons why gas is the ideal choice for zone heating.

  • Convenience: Using a gas heating appliance is as easy as flipping a switch. This is much easier than the work and upkeep required when using a wood burning fireplace.
  • Dependability: If your home loses power in bad weather, you will not be left in the cold. During power outages, gas heating appliances will continue to work, keeping your family warm and comfortable until power is restored.
  • Economy: Gas is consistently one of the cheapest fuel sources. Likewise, gas appliances require very little regular maintenance, reducing upkeep fees.
  • Efficiency: Modern gas heaters are extremely efficient. This means that the fuel being burned goes directly to heating your home rather than being lost in the combustion process.

Zone heating is an excellent way to heat your home while also saving your family money. For more information on how a gas heating appliance can be used to create zone heating in your home, contact The Cozy Flame  today!

Installing Fireplace Doors Save on Energy Bills

Fireplace Doors Heating Efficiency  - Milford CT - The Cozy Flame

Heritage style welded steel frame and glass doors

Nothing can create a feeling of warmth and welcome quite like an open hearth fireplace. A roaring wood burning fire is a great way to create a relaxing ambiance and make any room feel homier.

Unfortunately, open hearth fireplaces are known for their inefficiency. Because of their open design, large amounts of energy are often lost during the combustion process. However, there is one can to make your fireplace more efficient – installing fireplace doors!

There are a number of benefits to installing fireplace doors. In addition to saving money on energy bills, adding fireplace doors is also a great way to change the look of your fireplace without investing in a major remodel. Below are some reasons to consider installing fireplace doors.

1. Save on energy bills

Fireplace doors can help lower your heating and cooling costs. Although a damper can partially seal your chimney from the rest of your house, it does not keep heated or cooled air from escaping. Likewise, dampers often allow warm or cold air from outside your home in, causing your HVAC system to run more in order to compensate. By installing fireplace doors, you are creating an extra layer of protection between your climate controlled air and the outside temperature. This helps keep the temperature inside your home more constant which leads to savings on your energy bills.

2. Increased efficiency

In addition to helping you save money on your energy bills, fireplace doors can also help your fireplace operate more efficiently. Most open hearth fireplaces operate with about 10% efficiency, meaning much of the heat created by the fire is lost up the chimney. Fireplace doors are able to increase efficiency by allowing heat to be better absorbed and radiated throughout the room. Likewise, closing the doors helps mimic the effects of a closed combustion system, helping wood burn more completely.

3. Better fireplace safety

If you live in a home with small children or pets, you may have safety concerns when it comes to using your fireplace. Fireplace doors are an excellent way to create a barrier between the fire and the rest of your home, preventing inquiring hands – or paws – from getting too close to the flames. Likewise, fireplace doors can also keep stray sparks and embers out of the rest of your home, helping to reduce the risk of accidental fire.

4. Updated style

An out of date fireplace can be an eyesore, especially if it does not fit with the style of the rest of your home. Adding fireplace doors is a way to change the look of your fireplace without the costly expense of a complete rebuild. Fireplace doors are available in styles ranging from the contemporary to the traditional, allowing you to find the perfect fireplace doors for your home.

Installing fireplace doors is a great way to help you save money on your energy bills. If you’re interested in giving your fireplace an updated look while saving money and increase efficiency, stop by The Cozy Flame to shop and learn about what fireplace doors can do for you home!

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.

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Are You Prepared for the Record Winter?

record_winter_low_temperatures_the_cozy_flame_milford_ctThe newly-released Old Farmer’s Almanac has predicted record cold temperatures for the Eastern two thirds of the United States this winter. This includes greater-than-normal snowfall for most of the Northeast. “Colder is just almost too familiar a term,” said almanac editor Janice Stillman. “Think of it as a refriger-nation.”

To prepare for this record winter, homeowners should evaluate the efficiency and cost to run their current heating appliances. Often, the colder it gets outside the higher the electricity and gas bills are. Likewise, many are left scrambling to stay warm in the event that the electricity goes out. Fortunately, there are several options that will keep your family without breaking the bank.

Low-cost heating appliances 

As the outside temperature drops, more people will turn up their thermostats in an effort to stay warm. As a result, gas and electricity prices will predictably skyrocket during the colder months due to increased demand. In an effort to avoid exorbitant heating bills, some homeowners are looking for low-cost heating appliances to supplement their furnaces and keep costs down.

One of the most popular and most cost effective heating appliances is a pellet stove. Pellet stoves mimic the look and feel of a wood burning appliance without the hassle of hauling and storing large amounts of firewood. Pellets, which usually come in easy-to-store, 40 pound bags, burn up to 15% more efficiently than wood. This means that pellet stoves produce both less smoke and less ash, making cleaning and maintenance much easier.

While pellet stoves do require a small amount of electricity to run, the power needs can easily be met by a small, emergency generator. Likewise, there are now some available models that do not require electricity.

Keeping warm during a power outage

When the power goes out unexpectedly in the winter, most people’s primary concern is how to keep themselves and their family warm and comfortable until the electricity returns. Unfortunately, many heating appliances run in part on electricity, causing them to be inoperable during a power outage. Even those with small, emergency generators may not be immune if the electricity is shut off for a number of days.

Because of this, many homeowners have begun favoring alternative heat sources that do not require electricity to operate. In addition to saving money on the gas or electric bills, these appliances come with the peace of mind that they can be used in case the power goes out.

One of the most popular electricity-free heating appliances are wood stoves. Once the primary heating source for homes nationwide, wood stoves have experienced a resurgence in popularity in recent years. Now available in a variety of modern materials and styles, many consider wood stoves to be an eco-friendly, green energy source because of their low, EPA-certified emissions and use of a renewable energy source.

Direct vent fireplaces are another popular choice for homeowners looking for a heating appliance that will run even when the power is off. With a similar look to traditional fireplaces, it can be difficult to spot the differences between the two. Direct vent fireplaces, however, do not use inside air as part of the combustion process. Rather, air from the outside is brought in through the chimney, which prevents a backflow of dangerous gasses from entering the home. As most models come with their own blowers, the heat can continue to be used even if the electricity is out.

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.

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