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Utilizing An Ash Bucket At Your Fireplace Can Help Prevent Fires

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Whenever you burn a solid fuel, such as wood, coal, or pellets, in your stove, fireplace, or insert, you will be left with ashes to remove. These ashes must be removed periodically as they can affect both performance and durability of the product. The frequency of this ash removal will depend on the product itself, the type of fuel being burned, and the species of the fuel. Small bits of hot coals removed, mixed and buried within the ashes, represent a hidden danger. What many consumers are unaware of is that these hot coals can stay dormant for weeks when buried in ashes. The ash acts as an insulator keeping coals from burning out. All these coals need to flare up once more is oxygen. It’s for this reason fire departments often return to a scene to place more water on smoldering timbers and newly flared coals.

The key is a safe removal of ashes and coals from the product, and from the living quarters. The proper type of ash “holder” or pail, for ash removal and storage should also be sheet metal. The bottom should be slightly offset from the bottom so that the actual bottom does not make contact with flooring. The edge will and should make contact, but the majority of the bottom is elevated. The pail should have a large wire handle for easy carrying. And, most importantly, the pail should have a lid that closes tightly. This is the key for safety. Spend the few extra dollars to purchase an ash bucket that has the features just mentioned. There are many ash buckets in our industry that are quite decorative as well so aesthetics need not be too ignored. And, do not place the bucket directly on a wood porch or breezeway floor, but instead, on a non-combustible surface such as stone, concrete, brick, or slate. Contact us today if you need any fireplace accessories or even questions about fireplace inserts and stoves.

Fireplace Showcase Presents: The One Match Fire Starter

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It does not require the skill of an Eagle Scout to make a good fire in your fireplace. You just have to use a tried and trusted fire-starting method and what better way than to use an easy one step method using fatwood?

Before you start your fire crumble two or three sheets of paper such as yesterday’s newspaper. Avoid burning plastics or paper with color printing (such as the Sunday comics, magazines, or gift wrapping paper) as they give off toxic fumes. Put the crumbled paper on your fireplace grate. The grate elevates your fire, allowing it to pull in plenty of air to keep a good draft going up the chimney.

On top of the crumbled paper place a couple of sticks of fatwood, a natural fire starter. Fatwood comes from the stumps of pine trees, the section of the trees that naturally collects the highly combustible resinous sap or pitch. It is a sap soaked southern yellow pine natural fire starter. Purchased in easy-to-use sticks about 8 inches long, fatwood is known as nature's one-match fire starter.

When using fatwood as your fire starter, add 3 pieces of split, dried firewood on top of the fatwood. This will ensure that the fire will start and heat the right way, and will help to avoid any smoke coming into the room. As the fire burns, use the tongs from your fireplace tool set to add more split firewood as needed. Place a fireplace screen in front of the fire to protect your home and loved ones. Now, sit back and enjoy your fireplace fire! If you have any questions about fatwood or any fireplace needs feel free to contact us and we’ll be happy to help.

One Stove That Can Meet All Your Heating Needs

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, November 23, 2010

For most people home heating is a necessity, and the traditional forms of heating are now for many simply unaffordable. Due to conflicts creating problems with fuel supply, and increasing global demand, the price of oil is generally increasing. There are several factors driving the rise in prices. The first is a limited supply of the resources, and year on year increase in demand.

Looking at this situation, Fireplace Showcase knows we need to diversify our sources of energy. Home and business heating for example is one area where we can make changes, with wood pellets and pellet stoves. Wood has been used for heating for thousands of years, but really burning logs is not a modern practical solution. Therefore processing the wood into wood pellets produces a modern fuel, which can be used automatically in a pellet stove.

A pellet burner is designed with an internal fuel hopper. This hopper can hold at least enough pellet fuel to run the stove for 12 hours. Hopper extensions are available, which can extend the running time of some pellet stoves up to a week. To remove the need to fill the pellet stove at all, it is possible to get a large external hopper fitted, which can feed the stove automatically. An external hopper can hold a years’ worth of fuel, you simply order a pellet delivery and a tank will fill the hopper.

The pellet stove can feed fuel automatically as well as start the fire on demand, running from a standard wall thermostat for example. Depending on what type of fuel you are running on, you may need to only empty the ash draw once a month. If you feel as though this is the right stove for you, or wish to know more information on pellet stoves contact us today and we’ll be happy to help.

Give The Gift of Ambiance This Holiday Season

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Per usual this time of year, The Fireplace Showcase telephones are "heating up".  Smart shoppers aren't waiting for the bitter cold to both beautify and increase the enjoyment of their home.  Consider the beauty and warmth that a Vermont Castings Sequoia EPA wood fireplace offer you today.

The catalytic Sequoia can heat up to 2,500 square feet of your home as efficiently as a wood stove. It’s a new tradition in fireplace design and it’s only available from Vermont Castings. Just some of the features and benefits include:

  • Heat output: 11 ,300 to 75,500 BTU/hr (based on EPA ratings)
  • Less than 2.5 g/hr particulate emissions
  • Ceramic glass window features glass air-wash system
  • Arched cast iron doors are air sealed
  • Burn time up to 14 hours
  • Size of logs up to 24”
  • Large ash handling system with two removable ash pans
  • Uses Majestic triple wall chimney system
  • Twin outside air kit (AK-MST)
Of course the Vermont Castings Sequoia is just one of many remarkable additions that you can add to your home.  We carry an assortment of  Quadra-Fire fireplaces, Napoleon Wood Fireplaces, and the ever popular Monessen's brand gas vented and vent free fireplaces. 

Cleaning Up Ash Is Easy With The Ash Vacuum

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Fireplaces are amazing to use during those chilly days by all, unfortunately no one enjoys cleaning them either. Ashes are such fine particles that they tend to go everywhere when trying to scoop them up into the garbage. The mess is only part of the problem as the coals can typically remain hot for many days adding to the difficulty of cleaning. Most household vacuums can't withstand the heat to vacuum the ashes and there aren't any commercial vacuums either. The Ash vacuum is designed to handle the heat from stoves and fireplaces while cleaning without any ashes flying around the room!

The Loveless Ash Vacuum is one of the safest ways of cleaning stoves and fireplaces. The entire vacuum is made of metal to withstand the highest of temperatures. The fire resistant filter is so fine that no ash will escape back into the room. Cleaning the filter is simple so as to allow the entire cleaning process to be completed without having to stop and clean the filter. The machine is designed to also hold up to 3 gallons of debris safely and securely. The vacuum is not designed to vacuum up wood or larger coal as they recommend leaving that to burn later. The unit operates very quietly and comes in several different styles that look appealing when left out. The device has many fire resistant plastic accessories to allow for easier cleaning based on the area size.

The Loveless units are the safest and easiest way for you to clean your ash contraptions in your home or office. This vacuum is designed with safety in mind and homeowners love it. No homeowner enjoys cleaning, though this vacuum series has definitely made it a much easier task. Contact us today to find out how you can get a ash vacuum or if you have any fireplace or chimney needs.

Interested In A Pellet Stove? Use The $1,500 Tax Credit!

Joseph Coupal - Monday, November 01, 2010

Included in the 2009 Economic Stimulus legislation signed into law by President Barrack Obama on February 17th, 2009, is a 30% (up to $1,500) consumer tax credit in 2009 and 2010 for the purchase of a 75% efficient biomass-burning stove as measured using a lower heating value. The Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association and the Pellet Fuels Institute, succeeded in their efforts improving the tax credit to promote renewable energy and help consumers fight rising year to year home heating costs.

The pellet stove biomass tax credit provisions in this new legislation contain improvement amendments to the legislation passed back in October 2008. The major changes made were an extension of the credit to 2010 and an increase of the credit from $300 to 30% of the total cost of stove.

Guidelines for determining what pellet stoves meet the efficiency requirements to qualify for the credit are determined by the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the IRS. The pellet and biomass tax credit took effect January 1st, 2009. These guidelines were released on March 31, 2009, and the credit applies to all qualifying pellet stoves sold in 2009 and 2010. Make sure you contact us soon as this tax credit will only be in effect for a couple more months. So be sure to check out our selection of pellet stoves and take the government up on this terrific offer! Below we have added in a couple important questions that were asked about this tax credit.

Q: What is a federal consumer tax credit?
A: Consumers claim the credit on their federal income tax form at the end of the year. The credit then increases the tax refund or decreases the amount the taxpayer has to pay.

Q: When does this pellet / biomass tax credit go into effect and how long will it last?
A: The pellet tax credit goes into effect January 1st, 2009 and is valid only for the purchase of a qualifying stoves in 2009 and 2010. The sales receipt must indicate that the purchase was made between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010.

Q: How does the language in this legislation differ from what was passed in October 2008?
A: The new legislation 1) increases the pellet - biomass tax credit from $300 to 30% of the total cost of a biomass-pellet burning stove, 2) extends the tax credit to purchases in 2010, and 3) measures the pellet-biomass stove’s efficiency based on the lower heating value.

Add Safety And Style To Your Home With A Hearth Rug

Joseph Coupal - Monday, October 25, 2010

It's cold outside and getting into the warmth of the home is first on the list. Once in the door the next stop is in front of the fireplace where the rugs are at the hearth. These rugs keep our feet off the cold floor and protect our homes as a first line of defense from errant sparks and embers. Beauty and safety are possible with a rug in front of the hearth.

Safety: While it is important to keep our homes warm we want to be safe also. The primary line of defense for an open fireplace is a screen and hearth rugs that are fire resistant. This is important on so many levels. The fireplace screen will help to knock down the majority of flying embers and a fire resistant rug will reduce damage to the floor and possible fires. Hearth rugs of fiberglass are very easy to find and are one of the safest types to use. The rug actually melts and does not burn.

Fireplace Decor:
Safety is first, but you can have a hearth fireplace rug that matches a present room decor or set the tone for a change. Hearth rugs do come in a couple different styles. Half circle hearth rugs for a close fit to the front of the hearth brick area or a braided oval shape. The oval has been a staple for decades. Often in older times they were made as a rag rug. However, unless made of wool, these are not fire resistant. Wool is another style of hearth rug. While considered fire resistant they protect by not breaking into flame. The wool will smother the ember. This will leave a char spot on the rug but it can be worked out and is still far better than a fire in the house.

Hearth rugs are a great addition to any home with a fireplace. Not only will they protect your home from being damaged but they can add elegance to your home as well.

Fireplace Showcase Web Coupons Are About To Expire!

Joseph Coupal - Monday, October 18, 2010

As you all may be well aware of, we have been having a special on certain items this month and had coupons on our site that you could print out and bring to our store. Most of the coupons are money saving coupons that can help you all out for the month of October.

Our coupons include $100 off any regular price stove that is regularly priced over $1,000. We also have coupons for $10.00 off any Chimney, wood stove and wood insert cleaning. Our third coupon is $20.00 off pellet stoves and inserts. Then our final money saving coupon is 10% off custom glass enclosures, gas logs, mantels and marble or granite enclosures.

These coupons are only good for this month, and time is running out folks! The offers expire on October 31st. Make sure that you all print out these coupons and cut them out and bring them to our location to save you money on your next purchase. If you have any other questions or concerns give us a call or contact us via email and we’ll be glad to help.

Give Dad The Perfect “Turkey Grillin’ Machine” For Thanksgiving

Joseph Coupal - Monday, October 11, 2010

It happens every year.  The turkey owns your oven and you are out of oven spaceThe Fireplace Showcase has your answer.  The XL EGG grill which is large enough to grill TWO 20-lb birds for you this Holiday season.  Maybe you are not doing turkey this year.  The XL EGG will easily do 12 steaks at a time.  She really is a grillin’ machine.  For many years the Large EGG was our most popular size. It has substantial capacity (one 20-lb turkey, 6 chickens, or 8 steaks), but as consumers increased the frequency of their outdoor cooking, they discovered that entire meals could be cooked over the coals. We realized there was a substantial demand for an even bigger EGG so we developed the XL Big Green Egg.

With any great product come customized product accessories.  Be sure to check out our Green Egg accessories to include 3Tier Racks, Flexible Skewers, cookbooks and more.
 
We want to remind you that time is running out on the incredible Vermont Castings rebate offer on all  stove and insert products.  Their product rebates offer (up to $250) expire on October 31st.  And of course, The Fireplace Showcase has a host of discount web coupons ranging from stove purchase discounts to stove and chimney cleaning services.  View them all on our Specials page.  

Eliminate Fire Risk – Get Your Chimney Swept Before Firing Up

Joseph Coupal - Monday, October 04, 2010
The Fireplace Showcase cares about you and your family.  Soon the local news will begin to buzz about area home fires that originate in the chimney.  Hopefully those fires remain localized to the chimney, but sadly that is not always the case.  

Our trained, licensed, and professional chimney technicians have knowledge, experience, and the tools to tackle any job, big or small. We sweep, clean, service, install, repair, and inspect all types of fireplace chimneys.  

Of course now is the time to consider replacing that old, inefficient, and dated fireplace.  If you haven’t done so recently, check out our “Fireplaces” section of our website.  There you will find an assortment of beautiful, affordable, and energy efficient fireplaces.  Choose from vent free or vented solutions, natural wood, or pellet stoves and fireplace inserts.

We need you to realize that the cost of chimney service is nominal (as low as $125 and rarely exceeding $200) compared to the damage that an non-maintained chimney can do to your home.  Call The Fireplace Showcase today before you fire-up your fireplace.  The safety of your family depends on it.