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Mountain Home Stove

Inserts: Save energy & add value to your home with a fireplace insert

If your home has an old open wood-burning fireplace, or an older gas or wood insert, it might be time for an upgrade.

Many wood fireplaces or inserts that are 20 or more years old are unsafe, made with old technology or simply have worn out.

Installing a modern fireplace or gas- or wood-burning insert into an old, inefficient open wood fireplace is energy-saving, beautiful and adds to the value of your home.

Designed to slide into an open masonry or zero-clearance (manufactured) wood fireplace, inserts provide a solution to outdated units. In general, wood-burning inserts cannot be installed in a manufactured wood fireplace box – only into a masonry fireplace.  With a couple exceptions, gas-burning inserts can be installed in a masonry or manufactured fireplace.

Considerations for installing a fireplace insert

Are you renting, or do you own your home? Inserts are investments that save energy and money over time and add value to your home. As such, inserts make sense for homeowners, but not for renters.

What type of unit do you have now? How efficient is it? Do you want to reduce consumption and emissions and be safer? Inserts replace unsafe and inefficient units. Weigh the cost of installation with the benefits you’ll experience: A safer unit, lower energy costs over time, and reduced emissions.

Insert, fireplace or stove? A few definitions.

A fireplace insert slides into an existing wood-burning fireplace cavity. A zero-clearance fireplace is designed to be built into a frame wall during a remodeling project or new home construction – these can be wood or gas-burning.  And, a stove is a stand-alone unit that is on legs or a pedestal base, usually installed a 10” – 20” away from a wall.

The primary appeal of an insert is to make your inefficient fireplace operational so it can become the functional centerpiece of your home.

Fireplace inserts provide lots of heat from the fuel that’s used, offering an efficient way to heat your home while providing a cozy ambiance.

Choose your fuel

Fireplace inserts are made to burn wood, gas or pellets.

The first step in choosing an insert is to decide which fuel you prefer.

If you have quick and easy access to a wood supply and are equipped to cut, split and haul wood, a wood-burning insert will save you thousands of dollars in heating costs over the course of its life. 

A wood-burning insert looks like a wood stove, without legs or a base, and slides into the existing fireplace. Decorative panels are installed around both sides and the top of the insert to hide the rest of the fireplace opening, and blower fans are recommended to increase their heating power.

If you like the idea of burning a renewable resource and want to minimize the time handling wood, you might consider a pellet insert.

Pellet inserts normally protrude out on the hearth a bit because of the pellet hopper or bin.  Pellets come packaged much like water softener salt, in easy to handle 40-pound bags. You should be able to keep a full year’s supply of pellets if you have four to six feet of space in a corner. Something to note: Pellets must be kept dry.

If you want convenience and the easiest operating insert, go with gas.

Gas fireplace inserts are normally setup for natural gas, but are easily converted to liquid propane. Gas inserts come with an on/off remote control or a multi-function remote that can operate in a thermostat mode and operate other features of the insert.

How to weigh your options: Looking at numbers

Every fireplace insert is tested to specific standards and efficiency data is available on every model that is manufactured. Generally speaking, the efficiency of most wood burning inserts is in the range of the mid 70%.

There are a few different ways to measure and list efficiencies, particularly with gas. Energuide, AFUE and steady state efficiencies are the most common.

An AFUE rating stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. Energuide has become the official efficiency rating for gas fireplaces. Energuide represents the amount of heat made based on the amount of gas that is used. You can equate it to the miles per gallon rating on your car over a long trip. The vehicle starts and stops in traffic and speed varies between city and highway driving.

Steady state efficiency is the amount of heat produced when the insert is operating. This number is usually a higher percentage rate than the AFUE rating. It’s a measurement of how efficiently the insert converts gas to heat once it’s warmed up and running steadily. This number can be compared to driving your car under optimum conditions: The mileage is better.

All that being said, efficiencies of gas inserts do not vary much from natural gas to liquid propane. The Energuide numbers are usually in the mid 70’s on the lower end to the mid/upper 80’s on the higher end of the range, again depending on the model. 

Visit us here at Mountain Home Stove & Fireplace, and we’ll give you the specs on all the inserts you see in our showroom.

Installation considerations

There’s much to think about when it comes to installing an insert: Clearance requirements to combustibles, the condition of the existing fireplace and chimney, size restrictions and code considerations are all critical to the safe installation of an insert.

Our team has lots of experience installing inserts, and we’re here to help you from the beginning, as you start to look at your options and decide if an insert is the right path for you.

How to Prepare Fire Pits & Fireplaces for Winter

Snowy nights are already just around the corner. Will your outdoor fire pits be ready?

How to winterize outdoor fire pits

Rain and snow inside your fire pit can make it difficult to light when you return to use it again. Keeping it clean and dry through winter are the most important ways to winterize.

  1. Remove debris from your fire pit so it doesn’t rust or clog up over winter.
  2. Cover your fire pit with a fitted weather-resistant cover. This keeps moisture and leaves out of your fire pit during winter. Choose a cover that fits the precise dimensions of your fire pit for best results
  3. Turn off gas to the feature and the power.

Return to your indoor fireplace: Got batteries?

Ready to bring your warm, cozy nights indoors?

In spring, you might have turned off the pilot light on your fireplace. Remember to turn it back on!

Or maybe, your heating control system needs a new set of batteries. Even if they still have charge, changing out batteries each year at the start of heating season is a good habit — that way, you don’t have to worry or think about it all winter.

Does your heating appliance have batteries?

If your gas stove or fireplace has a standing pilot (also called a “millivolt”), and it has a wireless thermostat or remote control, there are batteries in two places that now need to be changed.

If, on the other hand, your appliance has a wired thermostat, there are no batteries. If it’s not lighting, there’s a chance the wires might have been chewed up by a mouse or a vacuum.

Finally, if you have an electronic or intermittent ignition appliance, there are batteries in the remote that need to be changed.

How to change batteries in your heating appliance

The device that has the up-down button for temperature is called the remote or transmitter — and it transmits the air temperature to another device called the receiver.

The receiver is wired to the appliance gas valve, so it’s located where the pilot knob and gas valve are — usually underneath the unit.

It can have a 3-position switch:

  1. Set to ON, the appliance will operate until you reach in there and turn it to OFF.
  2. Set to REMOTE, the appliance will automatically operate to meet the set point of the remote/transmitter (or thermostat). Note: Sometimes after changing batteries you must re-sync the system by setting the switch to REMOTE, bring the remote close to this black box, and use a sharp point like a pen to press in the LEARN button, which is recessed. You should hear a beep.
  3. Set to OFF, the appliance will operate until you reach in and turn it to ON.

If you always have to light a pilot light at the beginning of the heating season, and it stays on all the time, there’s a good chance you have another box in the system with a set of batteries.

If you’re preparing your indoor fireplace for winter and don’t feel like doing it yourself, it’s a great time to have your unit cleaned and inspected! Click here to request a visit from our professionals.

We’re moving! Our new fireplace showroom in Steamboat Springs

Mountain Home Stove and Fireplace is moving across town! As our small, family-owned and operated local business continues to grow and keep Yampa Valley warm, we need a bit more wiggle room.

Beginning August 1, 2020, our new office and showroom will be located at 2620 S. Copper Frontage Rd. Unit 6B in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

We’re excited to be moving into a bigger space where we can show more fireplace units and wood stoves, so you can explore the possibilities of your dream home.

Our mission is to be the Steamboat Springs area’s go-to resource for safe, quality fire products and services, with a personal touch. And since your wood stove or fireplace experience begins when you add one to your home, we believe our expanded showroom is just the way to better serve you from the start.

We’re looking forward to increasing our productivity and efficiency by having more room for our service equipment, too. Our in-house servicing team is a group of expert installers, and sweep and pellet techs. Whether you need an annual chimney sweep, pellet stove service or renovation, our team is here to help.

We’ll be closed to make the move from July 29-31. Visit our new location beginning August 1st!

In the meantime, take advantage of our summer deals. Sweep and service specials expire July 31. To enjoy the big savings happening now, you must book before July 31 and have the service completed in August.

(By September, wait times for service and installations double — from 1-2 weeks to 3-4 weeks. Fall brings big projects, hectic contractors and lots of special requests. So now’s the time to have your units serviced and your chimney swept!)

Call 970-879-7962 to schedule your service, or click here to submit a service request online.

5 Tips for Choosing a Backyard Fire Pit

Photo courtesy: HPC Fire

Summer brings days on the river, and nights sitting around an outdoor fire, drinking wine and this summer — happy hours on Zoom.

Fire pits transform your backyard into a summertime sanctuary, creating an environment for socializing and quality time. 

Looking to bring the indoors outside?

Here are 5 things to consider as you choose and install an outdoor fire pit:

1. Consider your fuel source

Are you dreaming of small, discrete flames or a tall, dancing bonfire?

The larger the flame, the bigger the gas supply line required. Choosing a fire pit begins with the question of what fuel source you have.

outdoor fire pit colorado
Photo courtesy: HPC Fire

With fire pits, the gas line is typically buried under a patio or deck, and the size of the line needed is based on two things: the capacity of the fire feature (how big you want the flames to be) and the distance from the meter or propane tank.

Installing gas and potentially electric supply in an existing patio is disruptive but can be done. New construction or remodels where piping locations can be easily accessed and hidden are less expensive than tearing up pavers or landscaping.

2. What’s your style?

There are many fire pit designs to choose from. Do you like the look of burning logs, glass marbles or lava rock? Want to circle around a stand-alone fire feature, or tuck away a cozy built-in fireplace?

Does your backyard have a contemporary, linear style, or do you want to feel like you’re sitting around a campfire?

Think about how you want to use your fire pit, how you want it to make you feel, and how it fits in with the overall aesthetic of your backyard and home.

backyard fire pit
Photo courtesy: HPC Fire

3. Backyard microclimate

How windy is your patio? How often does it rain?

When choosing a fire pit, consider how it will pair with the elements in your backyard microclimate.

4. Considering care and maintenance

Fire pit features do require some care and maintenance, especially in our Colorado environment. Logs and burners left uncovered during snow and rainstorms will fail when water goes through freezing and thawing.

Plan to cover up that fire pit – Buy a cover and use it!

Different styles of fire pits require different kinds and amounts of maintenance. Fireplaces that are more vertical are less likely to fill with water, but any fire feature will be susceptible to freeze damage.

5. Who’s around?

Many outdoor fireplaces are open, with no glass between you, kids or pets and the flame. Most fire pits can be supplied with safety screens. Some fire pit designs incorporate glass shields that act as wind and safety barriers. Consider who’s around and how attentive you want to be to extra safety features like these.

outdoor fire pit colorado
Photo courtesy: HPC Fire

Choosing the right fire pit for your yard begins with imagining yourself and your loved ones using it.

From there, we can help you navigate the details so that you end up with a backyard paradise.

Why choose us?

“Whether you are looking for a contemporary gas fireplace or rustic wood stove, we have plenty of options for you to choose from. With over 18 years of experience under my belt, I can confidently guide you in selecting the right fireplace for your home or business.” –Wolf Bennett, Owner

About Us

A family-owned and operated local business, Mountain Home Stove & Fireplace has been keeping the Yampa Valley warm and happy since 2002. Our mission is to be the Steamboat Springs area’s go-to resource for safe, quality products and services, with a personal touch.

Our Location

Address: 2620 S. Copper Frontage Rd Unit 6b, Steamboat Springs, CO 80487
(Between Kitchen Perfection &
Granite Haus off highway 129/Elk River Rd.)


Phone: 970-879-7962

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