Fireplace Showcase

Call Us Anytime
508-969-4844

Fireplaces, Pellet Stoves, Inserts MA, RI Blog

RSS Grab FPS Blog Feed

Barbecuing at proper temperatures

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Grilling is quite a bit different from barbecuing. During the grilling process you are cooking at high temperatures, often in excess of 700 degrees, directly over the heat source. In barbecuing, the heat is not directly affecting the meat. The heat is raising the temperature in the cooking chamber where the meat resides. Proper barbecuing temperatures are 210 degrees to 225 degrees. This is the optimum temperature for prolonged barbecuing. It also produces the most tender meat due to the slow cooking resulting from indirect heat. 

Barbecue with Gas Grills or Charcoal Grills

Joseph Coupal - Saturday, April 24, 2010
The American tradition of barbecuing always seems to generate the age-old debate over which type of grill is the best ... a charcoal grill or a gas grill. Both types of grills have their advantages and disadvantages and you should choose a grill based on your own tastes and needs. When picking a grill, consider your budget, your planned grilling location, your taste preferences and even your schedule.

A charcoal grill is simply the more traditional of the two, and a lot of people love it for this reason alone. It involves the primal enjoyment of working with fire and working the heat source to properly cook the food. The heat source is hotter in general, but is more uneven, which requires the chef to pay attention to the grill and to know exactly what they’re doing; to be a “grill master”.  The charcoal grill is most loved because of the smoky or grilled flavor that it gives to the food, which the gas grill will not do. It takes longer to cook food with a charcoal grill, but in return for your hard work, you get a smokier, more traditional flavor in your food.  A charcoal grill is usually much cheaper to buy than a gas grill because it requires less assembly by the manufacturer. A gas grill can be quite expensive, so you should analyze your budget and get a grill you can afford. Also, a bag of charcoal costs slightly less than a comparable amount of propane, so even the upkeep of a charcoal grill is also cheaper.

A gas grill is much more convenient for cooking regular meals. It basically has a similar convenience as your oven. A gas grill requires only the flip of a switch to light and a few minutes to warm up. The food also cooks more quickly and more evenly than it does on a charcoal grill. These advantages can benefit a family that would like to cook regular dinners on their grill, a busy family with less time to cook, or a family that eats dinner later in the evening,. They don’t have to wait as long for their food as they would have to with a charcoal grill. A charcoal grill would be better for family picnics or vacations, times that are more relaxed and leisurely. Another advantage of the gas grill is that when it is operated properly, it is a lot safer. Unlike a charcoal grill, which requires an open flame for part of its operation, a gas grill can be put in much smaller spaces, including patios and decks and nearer to the house, because there is no exposed flame. And, with a gas grill, small children and pets are in no danger of an open flame. The amount of supervision is cut drastically from the necessary supervision with a charcoal grill. Consider the space you have for your grill and any safety issues specific to your family.  A gas grill is also much easier to clean. The surfaces get less carbon on them and are made to easily wipe clean. A charcoal grill gets heavy with carbon and requires a lot of scrubbing to get clean.

Gas Grill Lava Rocks

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, April 15, 2010
Gas grills use lava rocks, which come with the grill. The rocks are heated by the gas flame and cook like charcoal.
  • Keeping the rocks clean is about the only task you'll have with a gas grill. If there is a buildup of grease on the rocks you will have flare-ups during cooking which can burn the food. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning or replacing the lava rocks.
  • A good habit to develop is to turn the burner to high for five minutes after you're finished cooking to help burn off grease and other drippings.
  • Occasionally rearrange and turn the lava rocks so heating and cleaning is more even.
  • Replace the lava rocks when they don't look clean, and start to break apart. Do not stack lava racks. They should be only one layer deep on the grate.

Chimney Caps keep water and wildlife out

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, April 07, 2010
Did you get water in your fireplace with all of the rain this past month? Don't let it happen again. We can provide you with a stainless steel chimney cap that will prevent both rain and critters (wildlife) from coming into your home. We can provide you with the right chimney cap for a "do it yourself" project or we can do the entire job for you. 

Chimney caps come in galvanized steel, painted galvanized steel and stainless steel. The steel caps will essentially last the life of the house and are the best value, unless you’re looking for decorative features.  The Fireplace Showcase can handle all measurements and installations.

Storage Sheds

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, March 30, 2010
A barn style storage shed is often called a garden shed. A shed, which is typically simple, single-story structured and in the back garden or back yard is the garden shed. It is a slight structure built for shelter or storage. It is used as a workshop and can be attached as a 'lean-to' for a permanent building or separate. It is often with open front or sides. Sheds can be of various types depending on the complexity of their construction and their size. They vary from small open-sided tin-roofed structures to large wood-framed sheds with shingled roofs. Windows and electrical outlets can be attached to them.  Check out our wide selection of shed styles at The Fireplace Showcase.

Swingsets and Jungle Gym Playgrounds for the Family

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, March 24, 2010

If you are currently in the market for a wooden swing set, one thing has probably become evident - these products bear no resemblance to the swing sets you grew up with. The models available today are less like an old-time swing set and more like a playground, complete with slides, ladders, forts, and more. With so many variations to choose from, it can be difficult to make the right decision for your children.

To occupy the kids while the family is in the backyard – and to help children develop their co-ordination as well as giving them more physical exercise – parents are turning more to these outdoor playground sets.

These high quality, sophisticated, wooden ‘play systems’ are multifaceted devices that offer a variety of choices and options such as swings, gym rings, trapeze bars, gliders, spiral tube slides, monkey bars, gang planks and tree houses, just to mention a few. All options that assist your children's physical coordination development while being a lot of fun.

Generally speaking, outdoor wooden play systems are designed for children ages two and up. However, an infant swing can be used for children 8-12 months old. These sets are made to withstand all weather conditions and are easy to maintain – only requiring periodical staining or sealing of the wood.  

The Fireplace showcase carries Eastern Jungle Gym Swing Sets/Playgrounds and provides complete service including delivery and installation.

Beware of Pellets - Low cost may cost more

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, March 18, 2010
Beware of Pellets ...Low priced wood pellets can sometimes cause unexpected problems with your pellet stove.  Or even worse.  Our service technicians have been sent out to service stoves with auger problems. Just a few items we have accumulated......nuts, bolts, crayons, small toys, a spoon, and fishing twine.  If you make the investment in a beautiful efficient pellet stove or insert don't skimp on the pellets. 

SAFELY Enjoy Your Beautiful New Fireplace

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Enjoy Your Beautiful New Fireplace – SAFLEY!   
  • Keep a fire extinguisher handy….Year Round!
  • Maintain a clutter-free boundary around your fireplace.  To be safe, make it at least two foot “clutter free” zone.  
  • Keep your fireplace grate closed when in use.
  • Liquid accelerants (gasoline, lighter fluid) can be disastrous.  Never use them!
  • Have your fireplace chimney inspected annually by a qualified chimney service provider.  Consider doing this in the spring so your fireplace will be safely ready when you are.
  • Make your “Fireplace Owner’s Manual” a document that you actually READ.  Practice safety.

Vermont Castings Sales of the Year

Joseph Coupal - Saturday, March 13, 2010
Save up to $300 NOW on Vermont Castings stoves, inserts and fireplaces.

Tax Credit FAQ Fact Sheet Burning Stoves

Joseph Coupal - Friday, March 12, 2010
Tax Credit FAQ Fact Sheet

What is the Biomass-Burning Stove Tax Credit?

This federal tax credit encourages people to make energy-conscious purchases that improve the energy efficiency of their home. It is an up to $1,500 credit you can get for buying a qualifying biomass-burning stove or fireplace insert between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010. Biomass simply means the stove uses wood or pellet fuel.

What is the difference between a tax deduction and a tax credit?

A deduction is an expense or amount you can subtract from your taxable income. A tax credit lowers your actual tax bill dollar-for-dollar, in this case by up to $1,500. In general, a tax credit is more valuable than a similar tax deduction.

How is the value of this tax credit determined?

When you buy a qualifying biomass-burning appliance between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010, you get a tax credit of 30% of the total price, up to $1,500 dollars. So, for example, if your wood or pellet stove cost $5,000 (which can include installation), you can deduct $1,500 from the taxes you owe the government.

What appliances qualify for the tax credit?

Any wood- or pellet-burning stove that meets the 75% efficiency rating qualifies for this credit.