The Cozy Flame's Blog

What Fireplace is Right For Me?

Are you using the spring and summer to plan a new fireplace system for your home? Many homeowners use the off-season to upgrade, update, and repair their fireplace. Maybe you’d like to use the spring and summer to find and install your dream fireplace? If so, we can help. At The Cozy Flame, we have the best products and manufacturers on the market. We also have a team of experts who can can’t wait to help you pick the best appliance for your space and personality.

Types of Fuel

Before committing to a style or type of fire appliance, it’s important to choose the fuel type that works best for you. The fuel type you choose will continue to be your fuel source for the life of your system unless you decide to change it. Choose wisely, because your fuel may determine efficiency, carbon footprint, and ease of use.

  • Gas Fires – Growing in popularity, the gas fire is quite common among homeowners. Gas fireplaces can be installed anywhere, with very little space. Some can even be installed in places with no ventilation. Gas fires burn with most efficiently and is also the most convenience. A gas fireplace often has a remote control, instant ignition, precise temperature control, and emergency shut off.
  • Pellet Fires – With the convenience of a gas appliance, but pellet fires come with beautiful, natural flame of wood. Pellet stove is the best of both worlds. These units feature a hopper which feeds the fire at a steady rate keeping a consistent temperature. They also have an instant ignition with a burner at the base of the firebox. Pellets are eco-friendly, as they are made from recycled wood waste, to burn cleanly and affordably.
  • Wood Fires – Wood fires produce the most heat, can be fueled by specific types of wood that you may prefer and can be fueled by a supply of wood that you have on hand. They create the most beautiful flame, with the look, sound, and feel that every homeowner wants. Wood creates creosote as it burns, however, more than pellets, and will require more maintenance to maintain safety and efficiency.

The Type of Fireplace

Once you pick a fuel for your fire, you can select the best fireplace for your home. There are plenty of options. We offer direct inserts, which can be installed anywhere and has the look of a fireplace. We also have stoves, which can also be installed anywhere and is freestanding. They also come in a standard fireplace insert, which can be installed directly into an existing firebox. We also have gas logs that can be installed into the firebox.

No matter what you desire, we have the means to make it happen. Check out our showroom to see some of the appliances in action. Drop by 116-Q Research Dr. in Milford, Connecticut, or call to schedule a consultation at 203-283-4459. At The Cozy Flame, we have everything you need for your new dream hearth.

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

How to Choose a Fireplace Insert

Fireplaces are more popular than ever in the housing market and among homeowners who are remodeling or constructing new homes. In today’s fireplace industry the possibilities are nearly endless when it comes to what is available, efficient, and safe.

Fuel Type

The first thing to consider when choosing a fireplace insert is what type of fuel you’d like to burn. Many homeowners prefer the ambiance of a wood fireplace, but today’s technologies allow for beautiful flames with other fuel options. At The Cozy Flame we offer pellet, wood, and gas inserts. They’re all beautiful, efficient, and versatile in design, function, and installation.How to Choose a Fireplace Insert Image - Milford, CT - The Cozy Flame

Location

When you choose an insert you have the option of retro-fitting it into an exiting masonry fireplace, or installing it in another place entirely. If you choose to install your insert in a room or location where there isn’t an existing fireplace you are limited to a direct-vent gas insert, but these inserts are beautiful and highly efficient.

You can choose a wood, pellet, or gas insert and the appliance will be attached to the existing chimney. The chimney should be thoroughly inspected by a certified chimney sweep for safe operation and the chimney liner should be appropriately-sized for the insert and should be rated for use with the fuel that you choose.

Size

When you’re choosing an insert for an existing fireplace, a fireplace expert from The Cozy Flame can walk you through the whole process starting with measuring your space. Any of our models can be appropriately fitted into an existing fireplace. Inserts come in small sizes, useful for zone heating and ambiance, large sizes, and everything in between. The important thing is to size the flue liner appropriately so that it vents properly.

Design

At The Cozy Flame we specialize in hearth design and fireplace aesthetics. Not only do we have an easy-to-find showroom just minutes off the I95 turnpike, but we also have online galleries of all of our best products. View our gas insert designs, our pellet inserts, and our wood-burning inserts. We proudly offer Regency products because of their warranty, customer satisfaction, and flawless designs.

If you’re ready to put together your dream fireplace, The Cozy Flame is ready to help. All of our fireplace experts are familiar with Regency inserts and specialize in hearth design and sales. We let our partners at Total Chimney Care focus on the installation, maintenance, and repairs so that we can focus on helping you find your dream fireplace.

Call 203-283-4459, contact us online, or stop by our show room Tuesday through Saturday 9am-4pm.

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

Get a $300 Tax Credit for Qualifying Wood Stoves

Did you purchase a new wood stove during 2015? Are you planning on buying one now that 2016 has arrived? If so, you may qualify for a $300 tax credit!

Qualifying purchases of new wood and pellet stoves are now eligible for a $300 tax credit. The tax credit has been extended through December 31st, 2016 and includes all purchases made during 2015 and 2016.

What is the biomass tax credit?

For several years, the US government has offered the biomass tax credit to encourage homeowners to make responsible decisions when purchasing new heating appliances. In this case, homeowners who buy a qualifying high efficiency biomass – meaning burns wood or pellets – stove can qualify for a $300 credit on their federal income taxes.

Does my new stove qualify? Qualifying Wood Stoves Get A $300 Tax Credit - The Cozy Flame - Milford, CT

In order to qualify for the tax credit, new stove purchases must meet certain criteria.

  • A new biomass (wood or pellet) stove purchased during 2015 or 2016. If the stove was purchased in 2014 but not installed until 2015, it will still qualify for the tax credit.

 

  • Must have an EPA certification of operating with at least 75% efficiency.

 

  • Previous sales outside the qualifying dates or stoves that have already been used for an exemption do not qualify a second time.

 

How do I claim it on my tax return?

The biomass tax credit can be claimed by filling out IRS Form 5695. The qualifying credit on the form, which covers residential energy credits, is typically found on line 22A. However, it is extremely important to check to make sure the right credit is applied before filing.

If you fill out your tax forms online or with tax filing software, look for the biomass tax credit under the “Credits” section of the national form; it may be listed under the subcategory for “Home ownership”.

No matter how you file, if you claimed a new stove in year’s past, the credit cannot be applied again.

 

Benefits of biomass stoves

The tax credit isn’t the only reason to choose a biomass stove!

 

  • Green energy. Because biomass stoves use a renewable resource for fuel, they are often considered a green source of energy. Likewise, burning pellets – which are often made of compressed wood scraps and remnants – is a way to be ever more environmentally friendly.

 

  • Efficient. Energy Star and EPA certified biomass stoves are required to operate with at least 75% efficiency. This is much higher than open hearth wood fireplaces.

 

  • Low cost. In addition to being a renewable resource, biomass stoves are have extremely low operating costs. Pellet stoves, for example, have heating costs that are lower than oil, electricity, propane, and kerosene. Wood is even less expensive than pellets; with a little bit of elbow grease and a day spent chopping wood, many homeowners are able to get firewood for the year at little to no out of pocket expense.

If you’re looking for a way to more efficiently heat your home – while also saving money on your taxes – let The Cozy Flame help you find your next biomass stove. Stop by our showroom today and let our expert staff show you some of our high efficiency, tax credit qualifying biomass stoves!

The Best Backup Heating Source Choices

While snow and ice may create a winter wonderland outside, it can also wreak havoc on power lines. Because of this, severe winter storms are known for knocking out electricity – sometimes for days at a time. This gives families the difficult task of keeping their family’s warm when the power is out.

The easiest way to make sure your family will stay warm during a power outage is by using a backup heating source. While there are many different supplemental heat sources, some are better designed for use during a power outage than others.

The three best backup heating options

There are three heating appliances that give you the best chance of staying warm when the power goes out: wood inserts, wood stoves, and gas stoves.

Wood inserts: Wood inserts allow homeowners to enjoy the warm and ambiance of a crackling wood fire – without the extreme inefficiency and heat loss. Wood inserts can be installed on their own or into an existing hearth, making them an ideal choice for wood fireplace owners who want a more efficient heating appliance. The best backup heating source choices - Milford CT - The cozy flame

Wood stoves: Wood stoves aren’t just for log cabins – these stylish and efficient appliances can effectively heat a single room or an entire home. Available in a variety of sizes and styles, stoves can keep your home cozy and warm as long as there is firewood in the house.

Gas stoves: Gas stoves combine the heat output of a wood stove with the ease of use of a gas fireplace. This allows users to enjoy a roaring fire at the touch of the button as well as avoid going out into the cold or snow in search of more firewood in the middle of the night. In addition, many gas stoves are installed as direct vent appliances; this venting style is considered to be the safest in the industry and greatly reduces the chances of dangerous gasses such as carbon monoxide backing up in a home.

Three heat sources that won’t keep you warm in a power outage

Not all fireplaces or heating appliances are created equal, and some require electricity or do not burn efficiently enough to work well as an alternative heating source. The following are three heat sources that aren’t effective during a power outage.

Pellet stoves: While pellet stoves are extremely efficient and can create enough heat to warm an entire home, they also require electricity to operate. Unless you have a small supplemental generator, a pellet stove cannot operate when the power is off.

Gas fireplaces: Small gas fireplaces (not gas inserts) are usually designed to be more decorative than serve as an actual heat source. Because of this, they may not even generate enough heat to effectively heat the room they are in.

Open wood fireplaces: Traditional open wood or open hearth fireplaces might create roaring fires, but are extremely inefficient; open hearth fireplaces are about 10% efficient (at best), meaning that more than 90% of your heat is going straight up the chimney.

When the power goes out, make sure your family isn’t left out in the cold. Contact The Cozy Flame today to learn more about the best backup heating options for your home and family.

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

How to Properly Clean a Pellet Stove or Insert

How to Clean a Pellet Stove - Milford, CT - The Cozy FlamePellet stoves and inserts are an increasingly popular fireplace option because of their ease of operation, energy efficiency, and low maintenance. However, many people who own these heating appliances may be incorrectly cleaning them.

Keeping your pellet stove or insert properly cleaned is an important factor in maintaining efficiency and safety standards for your unit. Below are some of the ways you can make sure your pellet stove or insert is being properly cleaned.

Annual maintenance

There are several annual maintenance items that should be completed at least once per year to keep your pellet stove or insert working its best. First, the venting should be taken apart and cleaned. This removes any soot, ash, or debris that has become trapped in the venting and allows the byproducts of combustion to freely vent to the outside. Likewise, the combustion fan should also be removed and cleaned.

While these maintenance items are important, we do not recommend that the average homeowner do it themselves. Many well-meaning people have permanently damaged their pellet stove or insert while attempting to take apart or put back together the venting, combustion fan, or other moving parts. Instead, trust the experts at The Cozy Flame to safely and correctly clean and service your heating appliance.

Weekly cleaning

When your pellet stove or insert is in regular use, weekly cleaning can help it continue to run safely and efficiently. Unlike the more intensive annual maintenance, this type of cleaning can be done by anyone using a simple set of hand tools, a bucket for ash, a scraper, and a fine bristle brush to clean up the soot. A vacuum is also recommended, but please make sure your vacuum has a proper filter; if not, soot and ash can easily go airborne and coat your interior furnishings!

First, shut off the stove and allow it to cool completely before attempting to clean it. Open the stove and begin by brushing off the glass; the idea is not to leave it sparkling, but rather to remove the majority of the soot and ash. Next, begin to clean inside the stove. Working from the top down, start by using the scraper to get the ash off of the combustion tubes. It is extremely important the combustion tubes remain clean as this is where the heat is generated.

Both the burn pot and burn pot liner can be easily removed and dumped into the bucket. Likewise, the fine bristle brush should be used to clean the walls of the stove as well as any nooks, crannies, or corners. The vacuum is an extremely helpful tool at containing soot as your clean. It is also recommended that you clean out your auger and hopper every couple of cycles. Pellets left in the stove can break down, leaving a fine dust that can affect the auger drive.

If you have questions about how to clean your pellet stove or insert or want more information about adding one of these heating appliances to your home, contact the experts at The Cozy Flame today!

Come See Us!

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