The Cozy Flame's Blog

Gas, Wood, or Pellet?

When it comes to fire appliances, there are many options to consider. What fuel type or unit you choose may depend on fuel accessibility or space. Each type of unit brings fire, comfort, and warmth into your home as well as other benefits specific to the fuel you choose. At The Cozy Flame, we sell gas, pellet, and wood stoves, fireplaces, and inserts. Find out which is best for your home.

GasGas, wood, pellet appliances

Gas units offer the most convenience and luxury, by far. They have become the choice among homeowners, flippers, property managers, and even hotels and inns. Gas units can be installed fairly easily and can be operated from across the room with a remote. With a gas unit, you can have a roaring fire with the push of a button and temperature control that is precise and dependable. Gas units have the added bonus of low-maintenance. When it’s installed properly, it is one of the safest fire units on the market. They produce very little soot and no creosote. Annual maintenance is easy peasy, and helps the fireplace continue working at its best.

Pellet

For homeowners who enjoy convenience and ambiance, but long for the traditional wood fire, pellets are the solution. A pellet stove burns immediately with an ignitor and burns consistently and for long periods with the help of a hopper. The hopper feeds pellets into the burner, and a fire-viewing window gives the look and feel of an open fireplace. As an added bonus pellet appliances are beneficial for the environment. Pellets are recycled wood products, making use of waste, and it burns completely, cutting down on emissions.

Wood

For homeowners who have access to woods on their property or a good local supplier, the wood fireplace is still a classic favorite. Wood fires produce the most heat, wood is a renewable resource, and they offer the beautiful, vibrant yellow flames that a homeowner longs for on a cold winter’s evening. The downside to wood fires is the work. Wood has to be split, carried, stacked, and stored until burn season. It also brings a mess with it. Dust, insects, and wood pieces often clutter the floor around the fireplace if it isn’t cleaned regularly. Wood also produces more soot and creosote than other types of fuel. That means burning wood will require more sweeps throughout the years to keep the flue clear of build up and hazards.

Professional Installations and Services

At The Cozy Flame you can find the best products and services in the industry, but we depend on our sister company, Total Chimney Care for installations and maintenance. It’s important to only have licensed professionals install, repair, service, and maintain your fire appliances and chimneys.

Are you ready to get started today? Let us help you find the fire for your house. Call us at 203-283-4459 today.

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!

Cleaning and Maintaining Your Wood Stove

Cleaning and Maintaining Your Wood Stove - The Cozy Flame - Milford CTWood stoves are no longer rustic heating alternatives meant just for log cabins and hunting lodges. Instead, modern wood stoves are energy efficient appliances that can produce enough heat to keep your home’s living areas warm and cozy.

While one of the draws of wood stoves is that they often require less upkeep than wood burning fireplaces, they still need to be regularly maintained. Below are some tips for cleaning and maintaining your wood stove.

Ash removal

One of the best things homeowners can do to maintain their wood stoves is to regularly remove ashes. Depending on frequency of use, ashes may need to be removed as often as every few days or as little as a few times per month. Ashes should always be removed before there is an excessive buildup, especially around the startup air housing or loading doors.

When removing ashes, wait until the fire has died down and the ashes are completely cooled. This allows any remaining ashes or coals to extinguish before the ashes are removed, minimizing the risk of burns from any remaining hot embers. Ashes should be stored in a metal container with a tight fitting lid and should never be dumped into cardboard or paper containers or mixed with regular trash.

To improve the startup for your next fire, leave ½ to 1 inch of ash on the bottom of the firebox. Doing this creates an insulating layer that allows for a more uniform burn than occurs in a completely clean firebox.

Glass cleaning

Never clean the glass while the stove in is use. Instead, wait for the stove to cool down to room temperature after use; depending on how long the stove was operating, it may take several hours for the stove to cool down.

The interior glass of your wood stove can be cleaned using a soft, clean cloth and fireplace glass cleaner. Allow the cleaner to dry completely and buff away any excess cleaner before closing the door. Regular household cleaners should never be used when cleaning the interior glass; because they are not designed to be heat safe, the chemicals in regular cleaners may ignite, damage the glass, or release toxic chemicals when the wood stove is in use.

Minimizing creosote buildup

Creosote buildup is the leading cause of chimney fire; because of this, it is important to minimize creosote buildup in your wood stove. The following burning and usage tips can help you minimize the amount of creosote produced by your wood stove.

  • Burn the stove with the draft control completely open for 10-15 minutes each morning during the burning season.
  • Whenever new wood is added to the fire, open the damper to the full open position for 10-15 minutes.
  • Never burn wet or green wood.
  • Instead of a large, low fire burn a smaller, hot fire.
  • Do not allow fires to smolder for long periods of time.
  • Have your chimney professionally swept and inspected.

For more information on wood stoves and wood stove maintenance, contact The Cozy Flame today!

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

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