heating efficiency Archives - The Cozy Flame

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Be Warm and Cozy (and Save Money) With an Insert

Homeowners love fireplaces! Unfortunately, not every home has one, not every family has the money for a huge remodel, and not everyone has access to wood to burn. There is a solution. You can enjoy a beautiful fire in a safe and stylish fire appliance, and it won’t break the bank (or break your house) to install. In fact, you’ll end up saving money. Turn down the thermostat and enjoy a new direct vent insert.

What is a Direct Vent Insert?

Standard inserts are retro-fitted into an existing firebox. A direct vent insert can be installed anywhere because they don’t need a chimney at all. The term “direct vent” means they are vented to the outdoors through a wall. The unit pulls air from the outside, and vents outside, never using or wasting heated air from the house. In fact, a direct vent insert never affects the inside of the house (except to heat it!). It’s a highly efficient, closed unit, equipped with a blower that pushes the heat into your house even more.

Why Choose a Direct Vent Insert?

  1. Save money – You will start saving money immediately when your direct vent insert is installed. Turn down your thermostat and turn on your fireplace. It doesn’t even use electricity unless you use the blower.
  2. Heat during outages – Your direct vent insert will continue to heat despite a power outage. The blower requires electricity, but the convection heat will continue to provide adequate heat with no electricity whatsoever.
  3. Eco-friendly – Direct vent inserts benefit the environment as much as they do you. They burn natural gas, which is the cleanest fossil fuel. It produces less harmful chemicals into the air, and direct vents are highly efficient without the problems that traditional gas fireplaces have.
  4. Hassle-free – You don’t have to cut, split, or carry firewood to have a beautiful fire. You won’t have to open your fireplace to adjust your logs or feed it, so there will never be soot, smoke, or ash in your house caused by your insert.
  5. Stylish and beautiful – Direct gas inserts come in a variety of colors, styles, and sizes. You can choose an insert that is contemporary or traditional, and everything in between. Choose decorative doors that complement your home décor. There are sizes big and small for all of your spaces and to meet all your needs.

Where to Put Your Insert?

You can have your direct vent insert installed anywhere that a vent can be installed to the outside of the house. If you’re considering a new fire appliance like an insert, contact a professional now. At The Cozy Flame, our Comfort Consultants can help you decide where to install your insert, what size will work best for your needs, and we’ll show you the styles to match your tastes. Our fireplace experts can tell you how to save even more money by using your insert for zone heating. There is no drawback to a direct vent insert. Raise your property value before a sale, save on heating costs, or “go green”—whatever your reasoning, you can’t go wrong with a direct vent insert. Come by The Cozy Flame at 116-Q Research Dr., or call us at 203-283-4459.

Get More Efficient Heat With a Fireplace Insert

Fireplace Insert Efficiency Napoleon Oakdale - Milford CT - The Cozy Flame

Napoleon® Oakdale™ – 1101
EPA certified

Fireplaces are an excellent way to add warmth and ambiance to any home. However, many homeowners become disenchanted with their masonry fireplaces because of their lack of energy efficiency and large amounts of maintenance. For those who want the look and feel of a masonry fire without the added work, a fireplace insert may be a good alternative. Fireplace inserts are available in a wide variety of styles and fuel options, meaning there is an insert for every family.

Reasons to choose a fireplace insert

There are a number of reasons to opt to install a fireplace insert. Below are three of the most popular reasons to install a fireplace insert in your home.

1. Energy efficiency

Masonry fireplaces use open combustion when burning wood. In this combustion process, air from inside your home is pulled into the fire while cold outside air rushes down the chimney to replace it. Likewise, much of the heat of a masonry fire is lost up the chimney; some wood burning fireplaces have efficiency ratings as low as between 5 and 10 percent.

Fireplace inserts, however, are considerably more efficient. Depending on the fuel source, most fireplace inserts burn with as high as 85% efficiency. Because they use closed system combustion, very little heat is lost to the outside. When used as a supplemental heat source, the Hearth, Patio, and Barbecue Association estimates that fireplace inserts can reduce utility bills by as much as 40%.

Modern fireplace inserts are also required to be certified by the EPA. To earn this certification, inserts must meet requirements for the amount of particulate air pollution they create. Because of their efficient closed combustion system, inserts create almost zero particulate emissions.

2. Reinforce damaged masonry

If your masonry fireplace is unusable because of damage that will cost thousands of dollars to repair, a fireplace insert might be a viable alternative. Fireplace inserts can be installed into an existing masonry firebox without having to live in a construction zone for weeks on end.

As long as there is no significant damage structure of the chimney, most inserts can be easily installed and use the existing flue. In some cases, however, installing a new chimney liner may be necessary to prevent smoke or backdraft issues caused by an incorrectly sized flue.

3. Multiple styles

Fireplace inserts are available in a variety of styles, from the traditional to the modern. This allows homeowners to choose a unit that meets the overall look and feel of their home. In addition, this level of choice lets families find a unit that is also budget friendly.

In addition to a variety of aesthetic choices, there are fireplace inserts available for nearly every fireplace fuel source. Inserts burning pellets, gas, and even wood can be installed based on your heating needs and personal preference.

If you want to upgrade from a masonry fireplace to the increased energy efficiency of a fireplace insert, stop by the showroom or contact The Cozy Flame today. Our expert staff will be happy to help you find an insert that meets all of your family’s needs and can be enjoyed for years to come!

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

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.

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