The Cozy Flame's Blog

Fire Building Tips for Your Wood Burning Insert

Your wood burning insert is the perfect addition to your home. It will make your holidays warmer, your favorite room cozier, and your heating bills less painful. Save money this winter by having the best fire possible in your wood-burning insert.

Burning the Right Wood

It doesn’t matter how well you build your fire, it won’t burn well if it isn’t appropriate for burning. You should only burn properly seasoned firewood in your wood burning insert. Wood that is too wet is called “green” and burns incompletely, producing more pollution, leaving more creosote in the flue, and bringing down the chimney’s efficiency in general.

Lighting the Fire

You should never use ignition fuels like gasoline in your wood-burning insert. It is not designed to withstand that kind of concentrated heat, nor has it been tested for safety for use in that way. The best way to light your fire every time is to keep kindling on hand as well as some small bits of paper or lint to light.

The Top-Down Method

The top-down method may be a new idea in America, but it has been used in Europe for hundreds of years in masonry heaters. It also works in stoves, fireplaces, and inserts and is a more efficient way to build and burn a fire. First, you place your largest pieces of wood on the bottom of the fireplace—ends at front and back. Next, place 4-5 smaller levels of wood on top until that stack fills about ½ the height of the fireplace. The kindling will be on top, and can begin as sticks, and end with wood shavings and crumbled bits of paper. The entire stack should stay below the fireplace opening so that air circulates properly. As the smaller fuel burns, it falls below, igniting the wood on the next level. Building your fire in this way allows for a cleaner, hotter burn that uses less fuel. In addition, the chimney that vents the smoke better than you’ve ever seen.

Keep it Clean

Your wood burning insert works as well as it’s cared for. Professionally instal and regularly service your insert to ensure the safety and efficiency of the system. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommend regular chimney maintenance in order to burn a safe and efficient fire this winter. Chimney sweeps keep the flue clear of debris, soot, and creosote. Chimney inspections assess the safety and function of the system so that your fire will be beautiful, warm, and easy on the environment.

The best way to build a fire in your wood burning insert is to consistently use the insert properly. Do not burn trash, clothes, or anything else that is not wood. Keep the doors closed when a fire is burning. Utilize the vents and flue damper to allow air to circulate your fire. While you’re at it, make sure you brush up on fireplace safety and discuss fireplace safety with your family. Find a trusted chimney sweep company for all of your comprehensive chimney needs, and call The Cozy Flame for all of your hearth needs.

Call The Cozy Flame at 203-283-4459 today!

Which Fireplace is Right for Me?

The Right Fireplace Image - Milford CT - The Cozy FlameChoosing a fireplace is as tedious a job as choosing your dream home. Today there are options that can bring together your home decor and your home heating needs. Efficiency, design, variety, and fuel vary, so it’s important to explore options and choose whatever fits your home and family best. To improve efficiency, many homeowners are choosing inserts, which bring efficiency up significantly and operate safely and easily.

You can raise the efficiency of your fireplace by choosing a fireplace insert that is custom fitted into the existing fireplace, and uses the existing chimney. With an insert there is no need for an expensive rebuild, just custom installation and inspection.

Wood Inserts

If you have access to cord wood you may choose to burn wood. You may simply prefer wood heat for the smell, look, and warmth it provides. Whatever the reason, wood is a great option for aesthetics, but a wood insert is the best choice if the goal is heat. The wood burning insert is the most efficient way to burn wood currently. The closed unit uses nearly all the heat produced to heat the room, leaving very little to vent through the chimney. This can cause problems if there isn’t enough heat to push the vapors and soot up and out of the chimney, so it’s important to have it professionally installed so that the flue is the proper size. This can also be a problem with other types of fuel inserts as well.

Gas Inserts

Like wood inserts, these require very little work for installation, and sometimes don’t even require use of the chimney. Which insert you choose will determine how it is vented, and your chimney sweep can install it properly. Many homeowners choose a direct-vent gas insert to avoid repairing or restoring a damaged or old chimney, because these can be vented through a wall or roof. If you choose a standard gas insert, you chimney will have to be cleaned and inspected upon installation, and may even require a new liner installed since not all types of liners are suitable for gas burning appliances. Regardless, gas inserts are a favorite because they light with the flip of a switch, burn clean, and are the most efficient heating source.

Pellet Inserts

Pellet inserts burn a wood product which is a compressed pellet made up of sawdust. Pellets are a green option because they help saw mills cut down on waste. Pellet inserts are convenient because they have a steady burn by use of a hopper that distributes fuel at the homeowner’s desired speed. Also, these are a low-maintenance and clean option. They give the result of wood-burning without the debris that split wood leaves behind in your floor.

Whatever fireplace you choose, it’s important to have it professionally installed. You also need to keep up with regular chimney sweeps and annual inspections to keep your new fireplace working safely and efficiently.

Think you’re ready for a new fireplace? Let The Cozy Flame help make your dreams come true with a dream fireplace. Call us today or contact us online.

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.

Transforming Your Old Fireplace

You’ve reached the inevitable point when the charm in your fireplace is waning. Have no fear; there's hope for you yet!

Your fireplace’s charm is waning. There are practical alternatives out there to revamp the look and feel of your fireplace and add functionality to boot.

Have you ever looked at your fireplace and wondered what you could do to spruce it up? You’ve reached the inevitable point when the charm in your fireplace is waning. So what options are available to you then? Do you need to spend thousands of dollars to get a new one just because your old fireplace doesn’t look that appealing anymore?

Replacement isn’t the only solution for your type of dilemma. There are other more practical alternatives out there, one of which is the installation of accessories that not only revamp the look and feel of your fireplace, but also has a lot of added functionality to boot. Luckily, we here at The Cozy Flame decided to make a short checklist to help you in selecting the right accessory for you.

Direct Vent Gas Inserts

These are one of the most popular accessories on the market because of the advantages you would be able to get from this insert. Not only is the Direct Vent Gas Insert efficient, but it assures a clean burn and a secure containment of the combustion byproducts and residues. To sum it up, you are guaranteed both a clean and safe burn and at the same time not compromising its ability to create heat.

Gas Inserts

If you’re looking to change your good old Wood Burning Fireplace into something more convenient for you, like a Gas Burning Fireplace, then having a Gas Insert installed is the answer. This would transform your old fireplace into something completely new in an instant. And not only will it provide you with the convenience and ease that you’ve been looking for, but it also guarantees a safe and clean burn.

Wood Burning Inserts

Having a Wood Burning Insert installed in your old fireplace is the definite go-to for that easy, hassle-free and beautiful transformation that a lot of homeowners are looking for. These inserts are designed to retrofit directly into your old fireplace, thus giving you an entirely new look without the added hassle and cost of a complete rebuild.

These are only some of the many other accessories you can opt to install to help revamp your old fireplace and transform it not only in aesthetics, but also in functionality, without having to sacrifice its main function of course. So go on and select the perfect accessory for you!

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