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Chimney Maintenance Tips For the Fall and Winter

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, July 27, 2011

We don’t think about it too much in the warm weather, but we should. Your home's fireplace and chimney can be a major source of cold air leaks and other issues in winter. So the chimney and fireplace need to be checked out before winter comes along.

If it has been a long time since you had your fireplace chimney cleaned, you should have it done by a professional chimney sweep. Definitely not a DIY project.

  • Be sure that the chimney is clear of any nests from birds, squirrels or other animals.
  • Check flue damper operation. Make sure it opens and closes fully, and that it is able to be locked in the open or closed position.
  • Check chimney draft. Make sure the chimney will draw up the fire and smoke properly. Test this by taking several sheets of newspaper and rolling them up. Then with the fireplace damper in the open position, light the newspaper in the fireplace. The smoke should rise up the chimney. If it doesn't, you have an obstruction and need to call a professional in to clean the chimney of creosote and ash and possible debris.
  • Also, have the fire brick in the fireplace inspected. If you see any open mortar joints have them repaired immediately! A fire can spread into the stud wall behind the masonry fire brick through open mortar joints.
The Fireplace Showcase is your one stop shop for all services and products related to chimneys, fireplaces, stoves, inserts, and hearth accessories.  We can install, maintain and repair your heating appliance or fireplace and chimney system.  

Grilling Tips for National Grilling Month

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Summer months are the best time to break out the grill and enjoy a different way of cooking. And, July is National Grilling Month.

The food just tastes better cooked on an open flame. It’s easy and convenient, and it gives people a chance to enjoy the outdoors.

Here are tips about Grilling:

Grilling vs. barbecue
The two are very different, though many times the terms are used to describe the same thing. Grilling is a fast process over high heat. Barbecue means “low and slow.”

Gas or charcoal
Using a gas grill or charcoal grill can determine the flavor as well as the convenience of the process. Gas is a often thought of as easier and more time efficient, while charcoal is a traditional way of grilling and produces a smoky, delicious flavor not found on a gas grill. However, the Big Green Egg is time efficient as well, heating up in just a few minutes.

Cooks should choose their option by time and convenience, the flavor they would like and their mindset of what they are looking for in the end.

Meat and vegetables
No matter the type of meat, lean cuts are ideal for grilling, while fatty cuts are better for barbecue.

One tool you should have is an instant read thermometer, which can tell you when food is cooked to your liking. The internal temperature never lies.

Also don’t put too much meat on the grill at one time, this can cause grease splatters, over cooking and the difficulty of moving food in the event of hot spots on the grill or flare ups.

A resting period for meat is crucial for allowing juices to be reabsorbed so it does not end up dry. It also allows the meat to cool and lets the temperature even out. After meat is removed from the grill, ten minutes is ideal before the first cut is made.

However, vegetables are excellent on the grill too. Any vegetable that can bake in the oven can be grilled. A special basket made specifically for grilling vegetables is handy so the items don’t fall through the grill slots.

Sauce

Sauce should not be applied to the food until just before it is finished because the sugars and tomato base in the sauce can easily burn and become bitter in flavor.

Why is this Charcoal Grill Called the "Big Green Egg"?

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, July 13, 2011

In 1974, Ed Fisher opened a store here called the Pachinko House to sell a game that he imported from Japan. He also shipped in oval earthenware grills called kamados. But they only collected dust in the back of the store until he began cooking chicken wings with them and fanning the smoke toward the street to attract shoppers.

“We were selling something called a kamado from a place named after a pachinko,” said Mr. Fisher, who saw the charcoal grills in the 1950s as a Navy lieutenant in Japan. “That didn’t sound American, and that wasn’t easy. But once I got people to try one, once they tasted the chicken we cooked on them, they were hooked.”

Giving them a distinctive green, dimpled surface and a catchy name - Big Green Egg - helped. So did that cool shape, which looked somehow countercultural when compared with conventional grills.

Now, more than 2,000 retailers across the nation stock Big Green Eggs, the brand Mr. Fisher eventually developed. And sales are growing by more than 20 percent every year for the past two decades.

More than a dozen competitors have entered the market, latching onto a customer base that proselytizes as well as cooks. Sometimes known as Eggheads, fans of the Big Green Egg Grill agree that  these kamado grills light faster than other grills, require less charcoal and hold and distribute heat more evenly, and that meats cooked on them are more moist and succulent.

At first, the eggs caught on as compact backyard barbecue pits. But as the fervor grew, fans began using them for many things that could be made in an oven and a grill, either Bundt cakes or pepperoni pizzas.

“I was a Weber and briquettes kind of guy,” said Michael Barry who has prepared everything from turkeys to apple brown betties on his Big Green Egg. “But then I heard about Big Green Eggs, and then I cooked on one, and I never looked back.”

If you are interested in checking out the Big Green Egg for yourself and seeing what all the hype is about, contact us or stop by Fireplace Showcase in Seekonk.

Original Article -NYTimes

July Pellet Special

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Buy your pellets now and save $5/ton on any orders over one ton. You know there will be a run on pellets soon, so buy your pellets now and save. This special is going on through July. At Fireplace Showcase we have New England Pellets and Eden Pellets.

New England Pellets: New England Wood Pellets are the most experienced and largest pellet manufacturer in the northeastern United States, they take a great deal of pride in the quality and craftsmanship that they put into making premium-grade pellets.

Their stringent quality standards apply to every pellet in every bag and exceed industry standards. And while their primary goal has been to constantly improve upon and evolve their premium wood pellets, one thing has never changed: their dedication to making not just the best performing wood pellets in America, but the most trusted, too.

Eden wood pellets: these pellets are half hard wood and half soft wood. Traditionally, hardwood has been the preferred fuel because it naturally has lower moisture content, is a denser fuel, burns longer, and has hotter coals.  Softwood is known for burning hotter initially, easy to light, having more pitch or sap, more sparks and sound as it burns, but burns up more quickly.  The pelletizing process takes away many of these differences. At Fireplace Showcase we make sure the products we sell have high quality standards.

The Big Green Egg is More than a Charcoal Grill

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Charcoal Grills are actually the most used type of grill and they come in many styles. Over the years, due to their popularity the charcoal grill has changed and evolved.  The Big Green Egg charcoal grill is grill for those who are serious about grilling and serious about taste.

These grills use a combination of a ceramic shell, natural lump charcoal and air flow to create a superior charcoal grilled taste. The grill is ceramic which introduces a whole new element in heat retention. Their capacity to withhold heat is one of the most important factors in their ability to produce the best charcoal grilling results. It allows for flavor and aroma retention.

With the Egg, you can sear meat at high temperatures and it will still retain its moistness. The Egg can cook meals perfectly whether you're slow cooking or searing. Besides being a grill, it can also be used as an oven which can cook homemade pizza, bread and pies or it can be used as a smoker. And a wide range of accessories are available. Charcoal grilling has the ability to enhance the food flavor and some people believe it is the only way to grill. There is another reason that the The Big Green Egg Charcoal grills are better than the traditional charcoal grill; they are ready to use in 15 minutes.

Chimney Cleaning is Essential for the Life and Safety of your Chimney

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Cleaning and repairing your chimney means you have a safe chimney. There are a few important issues to keep in mind to ensure that your fireplace works properly and to avoid common chimney repair issues. A dirty chimney is dangerous, don’t let creosote build up. Creosote is an oil which results from burning wood or pellets and, overtime, as it builds up it can eventually catch fire. One way to attend to this issue is to purchase creosote cleaner which you spray into your fire to help keep the production of creosote down.

Blockages from falling debris or animals can hinder smoke and gases from escaping the chimney. Some of these gases are corrosive and over the years can damage your chimney flue. The flue should be inspected annually. Additionally, there can also be brickwork problems, both aesthetic and structural. Be sure to have your chimney inspected to avoid unnecessary repairs. And, having chimney repairs and inspections done regularly helps you find minor problems before they become large ones.

Advantages of Pellet Stoves

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Pellet stoves are the perfect way to enjoy a nice, cozy fire while increasing heat efficiency. They offer an alternative means for heating your house. Pellet stoves combine beauty with convenient, user-friendly operation, and powerful heating. And, are helping the energy conscious home owner reduce home heating bills and bring ambiance to their living space.

Pellet stoves are traditionally compared to the wood burning stove, because the heat they put out is similar, but many believe that pellet stoves offer some advantages over traditional wood stoves.

The main advantage is the fact that pellet stoves are easy to load as compared to wood burning stoves. The pellets themselves are small and can be stored in a small space efficiently, whereas wood needs to be stacked and hauled, and needs a large space to be stored. Pellets burn very hot therefore they create very little ash because they burn very efficiently.

Pellet stoves run on electricity. The hopper electronically feeds the pellets into the stove and can be programmed to evenly and consistently dispense the pellets, so in effect; pellet stoves can be programmed to burn at an even rate and can remain at a consistent temperature over time which is a huge advantage.

Overall pellet stoves can save people quite a bit of money in regions where heating costs are typically higher than in other parts of the country. To take your time making an educated decision on your home heating options this fall, call Fireplace Showplace today.

Wooden Swingsets Encourage Active Play

Joseph Coupal - Monday, June 13, 2011

Swingsets are one of the most popular toys in a family’s backyard. They provide unlimited fun and joy for your kids. Wooden swingsets are gaining more and more in popularity because of their appearance and safety.

Safety is always a concern for parents. Unlike metal swingsets, wooden swingsets can be exposed to the hot sun and the wood will not get heated, allowing kids to still be able to play. Also, wooden swingsets can withstand any weather conditions for years.

Wooden swingsets have different shapes and sizes to meet your needs and to fit into your backyard design. At Fireplace Showcase we offer swingsets with innovative designs, quality construction and exceptional value that have gained us the confidence of thousands of customers.  Our swingsets help families enjoy outdoor play together and sow the seeds of a healthy, active lifestyle that gaming systems and television simply can't provide.

Whether simple or sophisticated, Fireplace Showcase offers a swing set option suitable for almost any outdoor space. Contact us today.

Summer is the perfect time for Chimney Cleanings and Inspections

Joseph Coupal - Friday, June 03, 2011

Summer is just around the corner and thank goodness we aren’t using our fireplaces for a while. This is the perfect time to schedule your chimney cleaning or inspection.

A clean chimney is a safe chimney. The type of wood you burn plays a large part in if you need to have your chimney cleaned. Burning green, wet wood makes your chimney need cleaning more often than dry, seasoned wood. However, chimney sweeping is an unregulated business. For this reason, people need to ask some questions, understand more, and be very vigilant when contracting someone to clean their chimney.

Your chimney should be cleaned and inspected every year to ensure that it is functioning properly, free of blockages, and safe for use. Additionally, if you are purchasing a new home, you are surely having a home inspection, consider a chimney inspection as well.

Even if you don't plan to use the fireplace, you should still have an expert inspect the chimney to make sure there aren't any leaks. If you are using central AC or heating, air could slowly escape through the chimney, leading to high utility bills. There are many potential dangers with chimneys, the most obvious problem in an older home being deterioration. The chimney itself or the flue liner could be slowly decaying. If you are planning on using the chimney, you want to fix a decaying chimney so gases cannot leak into your home and to keep flames and sparks contained within the fireplace and chimney.

At Fireplace Showcase our trained, knowledgeable, and licensed technicians have the knowledge and experience to handle any job, big or small.

Memorial Day Specials!

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, May 26, 2011

MEMORIAL DAY SPECIALS!

Vermont Casting grills Model #400SSP, Reg. $1702 on sale for $1549. (includes sideburner).

Model #400ESP Reg $1552., on sale for $1339. (includes sideburner).

FATHERS DAY SPECIAL..(or Memorial Day)!

CLOTH OR ROPE HATTERAS HAMMOCK WITH STAND...ONLY $199. (WHILE THEY LAST)...ITS A STEAL!

CHIMINEAS AND FIREPITS!

COME ON DOWN!!!!!