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Important Tips for Buying a Wood Stove

Joseph Coupal - Friday, January 04, 2013

Unapproved models can cause damage to your home

(WPRI) -- Trying to cut down on heating costs by buying a wood or pellet stove can seem like an attractive option, but unless you're buying one that's been tested, you could be putting yourself and your home at risk.

As the temperatures drop we begin to turn up the heat, and with oil and gas prices where they are, many of us turn to alternative heat sources.

"It may not be built to handle the heat that you are putting into it, and God forbid it could start a fire," said Barbara Vallente from Fireplace Showcase.

A lot of consumers are buying products from out-of-state vendors on the Internet, but what you may not know is that certain models may not be approved appliances. In Rhode Island and Massachusetts, wood stoves must have a UL approval number of 1482, and pellet stoves should have an Americans Standard testing method number 1509 on it. These numbers can usually be found in the owner's manual.

Those two numbers mean that the products have been put through stringent testing to make sure they're safe to operate in your home. In order to install a wood or pellet stove you must get a permit, and city and town building inspectors require the appliance have an approval number.

"It guarantees the safety of the product, and also that your insurance company will cover you," Vallente added.

If an unapproved pellet stove or wood causes property damage, chances are your homeowner's insurance will not cover your losses. Be sure to purchase yours from a reputable company that knows the law, and can put you in touch with professionals who know what they're doing.

Also, when hiring a contractor to install your stove, make sure they are licensed or registered. For more information, visit the RI Contractors' Registration and Licensing Board's website.

Original Article: WPRI.COM

Working Fireplaces Increase Home Value

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, September 14, 2011

If you are remodeling your home or building a new home, be sure to add a fireplace or fireplace insert. A working fireplace adds value to your home, and is considered a plus to home buyers.

Fireplaces and inserts can be fueled by natural gas, pellets, or wood and all these fuel sources have their advantages and disadvantages.

Many homeowners are interested in green heat, or alternative home heating solutions. So pellet and wood fireplace inserts are very desirable. Both pellets and wood are considered renewable energy sources and are economical. You will surely set your home apart when it comes time to sell by talking with potential buyers about the lower home heating bills and higher heating efficiency of your home.

Gas fireplace inserts are generally easier to use with less mess and effort. Controlled by a thermostat or remote control, gas fireplace inserts are convenient and beautiful.

But, whichever fuel source you choose to run your fireplace or fireplace insert, one thing is certain; working fireplaces add atmosphere and ambiance to any home. New home buyers love the idea of a working fireplace, they certainly make your home more enticing.

If you are remodeling for your own enjoyment, a room with a fireplace adds a whole new dimension to entertaining. Click “fireplace inserts” for more information from Fireplace Showcase.

Massachusetts Home Heating Bills will be Costly this Winter

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Massachusetts households will face higher heating costs this winter. The fuel oil prices have hit their highest summer levels in three years.

Heating oil prices in Massachusetts averaged $3.73 a gallon last month, up $1 from the same time last year, and 31 cents above the average price last winter.

If prices stay where they are, according to an analysis of US Energy Department data, it would boost the average Massachusetts heating bill by about $225 this winter.

Higher energy costs act like a tax, siphoning money that consumers might spend on other goods and services. Discretionary spending goes way down when heating your home and food take precedence.

Where heating oil prices might go remains unclear. Any number of factors could affect the price, including the progress of the economic recovery, global demand for oil, the strength of the dollar, and severity of the winter.

The key factor, of course, is the price of crude oil, which accounts for about 60% of the cost of heating oil. Crude has been particularly volatile over past few months, going above $100 dropping back to $80 and hitting everywhere in between.

No one knows what oil prices are going to do, but there is speculation that they will not come down. Many expect prices to remain high through the winter, rising at least in the early part of the season. Consumers should not expect oil prices to drop.

Original article Boston Globe


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