Frequently Asked Questions

Should I have any type of inspection done to my fireplace, stove or insert?

Yes. We recommend annual service of your fireplace by a qualified serviceperson. This will ensure that your appliance is functioning properly. Call us at 817.293.2204.

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Can I install a fireplace, stove or insert myself?

Installation of our hearth products must be done in strict accordance with local or national building codes, and the unit's installation manual. We recommend that our products be installed by our trained professionals.

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What does it mean if a stove has a catalytic combustor or convertor?

It is a device used on some wood stoves to increase combustion efficiency by lowering flue gas ignition temperatures.

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What does Direct Vent mean?

An appliance with a sealed, specifically designed venting system, that draws combustion air from outdoors and exhausts its combustion products to the outdoors, eliminating the need for a standard chimney system. A glass panel in direct vent units is critical to keeping the combustion system sealed from the home.

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What does it mean if a fireplace is Unvented or Vent-Free?

It is an appliance that draws combustion air from inside the home. The appliance is designed to burn so efficiently that it eliminates the need for venting. By using the latest in technical advances they offer the most economical means to provide supplemental heat and they are fully operational during power outages. They are available in a variety to products ranging from gas log sets to fireplaces and stoves. They are fully approved by the leading testing agencies.

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What is a fireplace insert?

Fireplace inserts are heating units that retrofit into an existing fireplace (masonry or factory-built). They burn wood, gas or wood pellets and offer superior efficiency. Fireplace inserts utilize the existing chimney, though a flue liner or other modification may be necessary. Vent-free fireplace inserts require no chimney or flue modification. Most have blowers to circulate the heat. Inserts are used to change an existing non-efficient fireplace into an efficient, heat producing zone heat.

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What does Natural draft (B-vent) mean?

It is a gas-burning appliance that takes in combustion air from the home and vents byproducts of combustion outside the home.

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What is the difference between Vented and Vent-free logs?

Vented units have a spectacular flame pattern, but are decorative only. Vent-free models offer high efficiency but may not be permitted in some areas (check with your local building official or Leonard's Stone & Fireplace before installing any unit). Whether you want the look of a small split pine campfire or massive oak logs, there is a gas log insert set for you.

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What is a Zero-Clearance Fireplace?

It is a factory-built fireplace that is constructed so that it can be placed, safely, with close clearances to combustible materials.

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My fireplace smokes a bit when I start a fire. How do I fix this?

If the problem corrects itself once the fire gets going, you've simply got a cold chimney. Cold air sinks. You can probably feel the air coming down when you arrange the wood. You need to warm the chimney up. Roll up some newspaper tightly and light the end. Hold your makeshift torch up the flue so the lit end is past the damper. This should help warm the chimney enough to reverse the draft. You'll be able to hear the reversal when it happens.

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My fireplace is drafty. How can I correct this problem?

The most likely cause is a poorly sealing damper. Spend some money on a high quality fireplace damper for a tight seal. You'll recover the cost in your heating bill after two or three winters.

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My fireplace smokes constantly. How can I correct this problem?

One usual reason a fireplace will smoke is lack of air. It's easy to check if the problem is lack of air. Just open a nearby window to create a draft and see what happens. If this is the problem, the air coming in the window will feed the fire and allow it to burn hotter and cleaner, sending smoke up the chimney. In an airtight home, you may need to open a window just a smidge any time you have a fire. An upstairs window is best.

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I tried that. Lack of air isn't the problem. What now?

Another equally likely problem that's a little harder to check for is blockage. Shine a flashlight on the damper to make sure that it is opening fully. Shine the light up the chimney to see if you can see any blockage. You may need to get on the roof and shine the light down the chimney as well. Remove any leaves or birds' nests or whatever else you see. If this doesn't work, it's time to call the chimney sweep and get a professional opinion.

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Can I improve air flow without opening a window?

Yes. If your house is too airtight to get a good fire going without opening a window, you can install an "outside air kit." This kit is just what it sounds like. It draws in air from the outside to help the fire burn. You can keep all your windows closed. You can purchase this kit from Leonard's Stone and Fireplace.

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Do the glass doors need to be closed if I use an outside air kit?

No. You can leave the doors open if you like. But since the air kit provides all the air the fire needs, you can also close the doors. You've increased your options.

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Does my fireplace need glass doors?

Glass doors are standard on some models and optional on others. They may be operable, a decorative panel or a sealed panel depending on the application. They are composed of tempered or ceramic glass in metal frames with or without gaskets. The majority of glass used is of the tempered variety and if broken, shatters into numerous little pieces. Ceramic glass is able to withstand much higher temperatures up to 1200 degrees. It is more fragile than tempered glass and found on heater-rated products but not limited to this use. Gas units that use B-vent may have operable glass doors or a decorative glass panel. Direct-vent gas units have sealed glass panels as no room air is used for combustion.

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Should I leave the glass doors open or closed?

When you're just starting a fire, you want the glass doors to be all the way open. The fire needs plenty of air so that it can burn hot and clean. A cool fire will produce more smoke and creosote buildup in the chimney. Once you can see embers (glowing coals) in the wood, it's safe to close the glass doors partially to control the fire. When the fireplace is not in use, keep the glass doors closed (and the damper too!) You'll save on your heating bill.

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Doesn't the solid glass panel keep me from getting heat out of my direct vent gas fireplace?

On the contrary, the glass panel keeps warm room air which your furnace has already heated from going up your fireplace flue. Direct vent fireplaces are excellent sources of zone heating by bringing room air in the bottom grill, heating and returning it to the room through the top grill.

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How do I clean the glass doors?

You can actually use a little ash from your fireplace to do the job. Just take a rag or sturdy paper towel, get it moist, dip it in a bit of ash, and use it to clean the windows.

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How do I clean the brass trim?

Do NOT use any sort of polish or metal cleaner. The trim on fireplaces usually has a lacquer coating that can be stripped off with harsh cleaners. Stick to simple soap and water.

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What is Creosote?

It is deposits of condensed wood smoke in the chimney and connector pipe resulting from incomplete combustion. It can ignite and cause a chimney fire.

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What is a flue?

A flue is another name for the fireplace chimney or venting system.

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How often should I have my chimney cleaned?

At least once a year, maybe more. A good rule of thumb is that the chimney should be swept after each cord to cord and a half of wood used. Have a chimney sweep come out midway through winter and inspect the system. He can advise you whether there's enough buildup to justify cleaning the chimney twice a year.

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Does Leonard's Stone & Fireplace offer a chimney sweep service?

We do not offer a chimney sweeping service but you can give us a call at 817.293.2204 and we will be happy to recommend someone to you.

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What kind of wood should I burn in a wood burning fireplace?

Use seasoned hard wood. "Seasoned" wood is wood that has been dried out for at least half a year, preferably a year. It's opposite, green wood, will produce a cooler, smokier fire that's bad for your chimney. Hard woods are woods like oak, maple, beech, and ash. They burn hotter than pine, spruce, birch, or redwood. Do NOT use wood that has been painted or had finish applied. This could release toxic fumes into your home.

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What stoves qualify for the new 30% tax credit(up to $1500)?

The 2009 Economic Stimulus legislation signed into law by President Obama includes a 30% tax credit (up to $1,500) for the purchase in 2009 and 2010 of a 75%-efficient biomass-burning stove as measured using a lower heating value. The tax credit provisions are extended improvements of the legislation that passed in October 2008. The major changes are an extension of the credit to 2010 and the increase on the credit from $300 to 30% of the total cost. While the new tax credit takes effect immediately, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has not issued the guidelines for determining what stoves meet the efficiency requirements to qualify for the credit or how a manufacturer will qualify their products. These guidelines are expected by very soon, however the credit applies to all qualifying stoves sold in 2009. Once the IRS guidelines are issued, wood and pellet stove manufacturers will test their stoves and will notify their retailers about their models that qualify. STATUS: As of May 19, 2009, the IRS has not yet published its guidelines on stove efficiency qualifications.

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Can an old traditional stove become a clean burn unit by just simply changing some parts?

No, this can not be done.

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What does BTUs mean?

British Thermal Unit, the primary heat measurement unit used by the hearth industry. It is the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of 1 lb. of water by 1 degree F.

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Where can I purchase parts or accessories for my fireplace/stove/insert?

Give us a call at 817.293.2204 and we will be happy to help you. Please have the make and model of fireplace/stove/insert.

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I live in a warm climate and want the look of a great fire but don’t want heat. What are my options?

Too much heat can be an issue even in colder climates. There are several gas fireplace models which allow you to control the heat coming into the room. You have the option of redirecting the heat totally out of your home, or to other parts of your home. Electric fireplaces are also available in a heat or no heat operation mode. We will be happy to assist you in making this decision.

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Why do I have blue flames?

This is normal in the first few minutes of operation. If after the first 30 minutes of full burn you still have blue flames, an adjustment may be needed on your unit. For assistance with this, give us a call at 817.293.2204.

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How much gas does the pilot light use?

A pilot light will burn 800 to 1500 BTUs/hr. Your monthly gas bill should include your exact cost per "therm" (100,000 BTUs). Based on this rate you can calculate the cost for your area to operate a pilot light.

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Can I shut the pilot off in the summer?

Yes, or you can safely leave it burning. The pilot helps keep the moisture from inside the firebox, which is caused by the humidity in the air. Keeping the pilot on will also extend the life of the thermopile and thermocouple and keeps insects out of the burner tubes.

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Can gas hearth products burn either natural gas or LP gas?

They can burn one or the other, but not both. You need to be sure the gas hearth appliance you have is set up for the type of gas fuel you intend to burn. Conversion kits are available which will allow a unit to be changed to match the proper fuel type.

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How do I clean my gas logs?

Never, ever wash your logs. Remove the logs carefully from the fireplace in a box, take them outside and use a soft brush or vacuum to clean them. Make sure you replace the logs exactly as they were originally placed.

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My pilot stays lit for a few minutes then goes out. Can you help me?

This may indicate flame is not reaching the tip of the thermopile or thermocouple due to low gas pressure, which may be caused by operating the set without fully opening the fireplace key valve. This may also be caused by too much heat hitting the base of the thermopile on millivolt systems, or may indicate a worn or defective pilot assembly. Please verify that the fireplace key valve is fully open, or contact Leonard's Stone & Fireplace for repair or replacement.

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What sort of maintenance do gas logs require?

Vented gas logs do not require regular maintenance. However, it is a good idea to have valves, pilots and gas connections on your set periodically inspected by a hearth professional. Although it is not required maintenance, annually refurbishing the ember material and cleaning of the logs will help maintain your set's beauty and realism. Vent-free gas log sets should be inspected annually by a qualified hearth professional.

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Who will install the gas line for my gas fireplace?

Leonards's Stone & Fireplace does not install gas lines. A licensed contractor or plumber can install your gas line. Check your local yellow pages.

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What happens if I lose electricity?

Gas fireplaces with standing pilots will still operate during a power outage. Blowers will not operate in an outage. Millivolt control switches, i.e. remote controls, wall thermostats, wall switch kits and the on/off rocker switch will turn your fireplace on during a power outage.

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