Monday, January 23, 2012
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
We had a pretty good year last year, very good considering the economy. One of the reasons is our product knowledge, and another is our line of products from Travis Industries, maker of Lopi, Avalon, Xtrordinair, and the Tempest Torch. However, it is their gas fireplaces and inserts that are capturing the ever smarter consumer. Some of you have recognized this shift while others of you are just watching those customers pass you by.
You promote yourself as being a custom builder, more capable, knowledgeable, and now more “Greener” than your competition. But in this rapidly changing field, it is ever more difficult to keep up with so much change. Yet, your potential client is looking for just that builder. Like you, we too have trouble keeping up; however we do know about fireplaces.
If you are still recommending Heatilator, Heat-N-Glo, Lennox, or some other cheap builder firebox, shame on you. If your customer wanted cheap, they would certainly not have hired you. They expect excellence from you, in your workmanship and your choice of materials and products. Believe me, there is not one homeowner that does not regret their lack of attention to, or oversight of their choice in choosing a fireplace if they are the proud owner of a builder’s firebox. “Oh, well”, they say. But I say, “Shame on you.”
I have given up being tactful when customers come in and inquire about one of the “builder” units. I tell them that they are not their customer. Toll Brothers, Ryan Home Builders, W.B Homes, etc. are the intended buyers. And the only thing important to them is the price. When more than 55% of your business is to the large builder, quality has to take a beating. You cannot have price and quality in the same unit.
Additionally, our units can heat houses, not just rooms. In my own house, a W.B. Home, I installed one of my fireplaces and chose not to install a gas furnace. I also insulated and dry walled the chase, a requirement in my industry, but rarely found in building codes. This one unit heats my entire 3000 sq. ft home.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Before they go any further, I probably know their situation. They probably live in a development built by a large builder. Result, they have a builder’s grade decorative unit that is not intended to heat. Their fireplace is “Decorative”. Even worse, however, is that the bump out, where the unit is often situated, is not even insulated let alone dry-walled to seal up the chase. Depending on the pressure of the house relative to the outside pressure, cold air is leaking in, or heated air is leaking out.
Today, most track homes are built with either a builder’s grade pre-fab wood fireplace, or a builder’s grade Direct Vent gas fireplace. They look decent, and are easy for the builder to have installed by a sub-contractor. What you are not getting, however, is a quality product and a unit that heats.
The fireplace is one of the least understood amenities of a home. Realtors, consider the fireplace as the focal point of a room, or even the house, and builders are eager to oblige. But an open fireplace is extremely wasteful allowing heated air to escape up the chimney f24 hours a day. Using the fireplace is even worse. A good fire can pull 600 to 800 cfms of household air out of the house, more than can be replaced through cracks around our windows and doors leading to depressurization of the household. When this situation happens, the homeowners often smells creosote if burning wood, but nothing if they are using gas logs. Yet, the situation still exists.
In a depressurized house, your furnace will not work properly spilling toxic fumes into the area.
Friday, July 10, 2009
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) signed into law on February 17, 2009, includes a 30% consumer tax credit (up to $1,500) for the purchase of 75%-efficient bio-mass burning stoves (i.e. wood and pellets) and can be used towards the stove, venting, hearthpads and installation costs for the 2009 taxable year and again in 2010.
The new tax credit begins immediately and applies to qualifying bio-mass burning stoves already purchased in 2009; the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued a full list of efficiency guidelines regarding which products qualify.
Basically, all of our Travis, Harman, Bis, and Hearthstone wood and pellet stoves meet these requirements. This credit comes directly off of your income tax payments due. View our Tax Credit page for further details.