• Beware of Fireplace Replacement Rip-Offs

    For many, the fireplace is the heart of your home. It is usually located within your favorite room and is the place where friends and family gather. You strive to create a cozy retreat in which to make where memories. When it is time to for a fireplace replacement or repairs you want to be confident that your renovation investment is in qualified hands. Therefore, it is vital you dive into a little research, conduct interviews, and educate yourself about the process. Unfortunately, as in any industry, unscrupulous contractors exist. Beware of fireplace replacement rip-offs and be leery of the following three signs.

    1. The Price Seems Too Good to be True

    We all want to save money, right? Nothing could be more accurate when working within a specific budget. We are naturally attracted to low advertised prices and sales. This scenario is far too common: claims of free installation, clearance sales, or package deals. More often than not, companies use these tactics to lure potential customers to call. Then they offer a quote over the phone, the first suspicious sign. There is no way a contractor can quote a job without first performing a physical evaluation. The biggest complaint we hear from clients is that a company offers a quote, comes out and rips out the fireplace, discovers a significant issue, and the price suddenly doubles or triples, and you are stuck. We always caution folks about deals that seem too good to be true, because they usually are. Reputable fireplace replacement contractors understand value-based work, and will NEVER shortchange a client to save a dollar. Our process is professional and honest from the moment we arrive for the initial quote until the last bit of dust is swept away.

    2. The Old Bait & Switch Advertisements

    While this unscrupulous practice has been going on since the dawn of human trade, the phrase was termed in the 1920’s. It all starts with a deceptive ad denoting a product at a rock-bottom price, aimed at luring a customer in. Then, once the customer is interested, the salesman informs them that either that the advertised bargain item is out of stock, or it is totally inferior to another higher-priced item that is available. Or, they start you at a base model and upsell you with a host of extras that rack up the price. Lastly, you may hire the contractor, and once they start construction, they discover that the base model you purchased will not work, and therefore to finish the job you must upgrade. In many cases, these types of unprofessional contractors will never guarantee their work. So, should something go wrong in six months you are out of luck.

    3. Hidden Charges or Fees

    Once the contractor gives you a quote, you expect that to be the price for the completed the job, correct? However, so many times when a customer is handed the invoice there is quite a different number on the bottom line. Suddenly there are charges for undisclosed fees such as environmental clean-up, service fees, garbage removal, overtime, etc., none of which were initially discussed. A trustworthy contractor would never but his reputation on the line. He is open and honest about all of his fees.

    An educated customer is the best customer. It encourages an open line of communication throughout the whole process which makes for a happy homeowner and crew. Beware of fireplace replacement rip-offs and contact Day or Night/Home and Hearth. We offer a no-pressure in-home consultation where both your family and your home’s needs are assessed. We provide you with a custom solution. Contact us today to schedule an appointment. Let us help you enjoy your new fireplace this winter and for years to come!

  • Top 5 Fireplace Replacement Misconceptions

    Has your fireplace seen better days? Every winter do you wish it was in better shape so that you can use it to create a mood or warm up the room? Are you tired of lugging heavy, dirty logs inside during blustery days? Perhaps it is time to consider replacing your fireplace. Maybe you thought it would be too expensive. Or heard it is too messy. Or maybe, you thought the location was all wrong. Here are the top 5 fireplace replacement misconceptions.

    Misconception #1 You should wait as long as possible to replace your fireplace.

    Fireplaces have significant air gaps. They can send up to 8 percent of valuable furnace-heated air flying out of the chimney, making them inefficient even when not in use. Transforming your firebox into an efficient room heater by adding an insert is easy! Plus, it will pay for itself by slashing monthly heating costs. So, therefore you should replace it the sooner, the better!

    Misconception #2 The only reason to replace your fireplace is energy efficiency.

    If your home has an older masonry fireplace, you may find that it has started to deteriorate and costly repairs are needed, therefore has become unsafe to use. Installing a fireplace insert is an easy fix. Additionally, you may find that your old, open-air fireplace is a safety concern for your family, especially if you have small children or pets. Even when equipped with a mesh screen, logs can fall and roll out of the fireplace or expels embers. A fireplace insert gives you the beauty and ambiance of a crackling fire without the safety concerns.

    Misconception #3 Putting a fireplace in a home after it has been completed is impossible.

    Masonry fireplaces must be installed when the house is built, but a direct-vent gas fireplace can be installed in any home, at any time, with minor renovations. You can create a warm, inviting showpiece in the center of your home, no matter the age of your house.

    Misconception #4 The construction will be disruptive and take weeks to complete.

    While each installation presents unique challenges to your specific home, therefore it is difficult to give an exact estimate of installation time. However, we can tell you that you can expect the installation of a vented gas fireplace insert to take two days, while simpler vent-free units will take less time!

    Misconception #5 Any honest renovation company should be able to provide an exact price over the phone.

    It is impossible to give an accurate quote without seeing your actual home. We would never presume to offer only a well-educated guess. Sometimes there are unforeseen situations that can also affect the final price. For example, asbestos or other environmental factors may be present. An honest, reputable renovation company will walk you through every possibility while clearly explain pricing in such instances.

    Do not let these common fireplace replacement misconceptions stop you from enjoying a cozy fire this winter. Day or Night Plumbing and home and Hearth Services offers a no-pressure in-home consultation where both your family and your home’s needs are assessed. We provide you with a custom solution. Contact us today to schedule an appointment. Enjoy your new fireplace this winter and for years to come!

  • Fireplace or Fireplace Inserts, Which is Best?

    Typically, when you define a fireplace in its purest form, it is an opening in the wall, connected to a chimney, in which you burn fuel. A fireplace can be created in one of two ways: either masonry built-in or factory produced and inserted. Furthermore, there are many classifications of fireplaces. Fireplace or fireplace insert, which is best for your home? There are several options you must consider. Here is the 411 on all types and categories to help you make the most informed choice.

    Masonry Built Fireplace or Factory Produced Insert?

    The first item for consideration is whether you want a custom built-in fireplace or a factory produced insert. A masonry fireplace is constructed by builders made of brick, stone, or tile. The fireplace connects to the flue and chimney seamlessly. Factory built models are a metal box, which are framed into a house without masonry. They are usually installed in framed walls and encased in non-combustible materials and can burn either wood or gas. Additionally, they are available for new construction or retrofitting in an existing home.

    Types of Factory Produced Fireplaces

    Wood Pellet Stoves & Inserts

    These units burn wood pellets at a high temperature, which increases energy efficiency while eliminating soot and creosote. You can choose between a standalone stove (made of heavy-duty steel or cast iron) or a fireplace insert, which fits in your existing fireplace. Pellet stoves and inserts both require electricity to run; the power turns an auger that feeds the pellets into a burn pot. The units all have a microprocessor similar to your computer. It monitors the pellets to maintain safe and efficient operation and thermostatic control to keep a most accurate room temperature. Pellet stoves burn up to 89 percent energy efficient and are relatively inexpensive to run. Furthermore, a singleton of pellets can last from one to three months, depending on your heating requirements. We recommend stocking up on pellets in the summertime for the best deal!

    Vent-Free Gas Logs

    Vent-Free Gas Log gas log sets have a closed flue and exhausts into the room. These types of log sets offer many benefits. They are up to 99 percent efficient! Meaning, they return almost all of the heat into your room for ultimate comfort. Furthermore, they burn cleanly and produce minimal amounts of Carbon Monoxide, but can generate a lot of water. Vent-Free units are well suited for basement installation. They are ideal for areas where running ventilation would be difficult and costly. All that is required is the combination of a pre-fabricated firebox and a vent free log set. Plus, you can adjust the flame with remote control. Vent Free gas logs do emit an odor when burned so anyone with Asthma, emphysema or who gets sick from strong perfumes or fragrances should avoid having one.

    Vented Gas Logs

    Vented log sets are renowned for their fantastic realism, all without the hassle of lugging wood around. Until recently, vented log sets did not produce much heat and used a tremendous amount of gas. These units require the damper be left open all year round. So, selecting tight-sealing fireplace doors is a must. As previously stated, vented log sets are not as efficient as vent free log sets, averaging only 20–30 percent efficiency. However, it is still significantly more efficient than a wood burning fireplace, which is, at best, 7 percent efficient. And, further, often negatively productive. Meaning, the fireplace is sucking the room’s heat up the chimney! Also, they may emit a higher level of Carbon Monoxide and soot, so your fireplace must be well vented. Many people are attracted to their beautiful lazy yellow flickering flames that appear very realistic. And, some units even have glowing embers! DAY or NIGHT offers a high-efficiency gas log set that uses the same amount of gas as standard logs. It is about 35% efficient.

    Direct-Vent Fireplaces

    Direct-vent fireplaces do not go into existing fireplaces. They are a premiere factory built pre-fabricated fireplace that is perfect for remodeling or new home construction. These units require venting to the outside, but, the piping is very flexible. Therefore they may be vented from just about anywhere! Direct Vent fireplaces are the safest for your home. They pull air from the outside for the combustion, then it expels the fumes and Carbon Monoxide directly back outside. The fireplace is manufactured with glass and an airtight heat resistant seal. Additionally, they are available in many styles. Furthermore, these fireplaces are 71–86 percent efficient, making them an economical and beautiful choice to heat your home!

    Gas Direct-Vent Fireplace Inserts

    This is a highly efficient fireplace that is retrofitted into your masonry fireplace where you would typically burn wood. A surround is placed around the box to form a tight fit between the insert and the edges of your existing fireplace. Therefore, eliminating most drafts. Most installations will have a new metal chimney threaded through your existing vent for ventilation purposes. These inserts have many advantages over a log set. The most significant benefit is HEAT! High-quality models offer a variable speed fan that pulls cold air into the box from the room, circulates it without coming into contact with the fire and expels clean, hot air into your room. Most units now come with remotes to control the flame. Additionally, they are equipped with fan lighting and a programmable thermostat. Inserts are more decorative than a log set, and since they feature a glass front, they provide clean burning. So, there is no soot or Carbon Monoxide expelled into the room.

    Log Set, Pellet Unit or Fireplace or fireplace Inserts, which is best for your home? If you are considering buying a new fireplace or building a house that includes a fireplace feature, educate yourself and make an informed decision. Trust your fireplace replacement or installation to a qualified renovation partner. Day or Night Hearth and Home has years of experience and the largest Hearth Showroom in Maryland. Our skilled team will ensure you make the best decision for your home and family. Call or visit our Showroom today!