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Sunday, December 11, 2022

Holiday Decor Ideas for Fireplaces

 During the holidays, people usually place decor on mantels and around the focal point of the house - the fireplace. Here are some inspiring ideas. Remember to keep stockings away from the front of the fireplace as they can be a fire hazard, and never burn a Christmas tree in the fireplace because they burn too hot and too fast and can cause a house fire. 

Fireplace not working? No problem - use candles for a welcoming atmosphere. 

Above and left: These faux fireplaces work great for focal points for your holiday decorations. 

Real fireplace - real fire - and nice decor without any stockings hanging down in front of the fireplace. We give this one an A+!

Whoops!  Looks nice, but do you see the problem? 

A stunning historical fireplace that is nicely done


Marge Padgitt is the president of HearthMasters, Inc. and author of Wood-Fired Heating and Cooking. or Sign up for blog notices so you don't miss an article!

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Gas is at risk in Kansas City and everywhere!


Wednesday, August 24 (tentatively)
9:00 AM CT
Kansas City City Hall -
26th Floor, Council Chamber
414 E. 12th Street
Kansas City, MO 64106

Make a public comment on how eliminating natural gas affects you, your business, and your customers.
- or -
Help us fill the room with opposition. Attend the meeting to show support for industry members commenting against the CPRP.

The final draft of the Kansas City Climate Protection and Resiliency Plan (CPRP) will establish an Equitable Building Decarbonization Program to update existing building heating, water heating, and cooking systems to run on electricity instead of natural gas. It will also require all new city buildings to be all-electric and to electrify existing city buildings. It is only a matter of time before they want homes changed, too.
Members…it is crucial that the KC City Council hears from you as to why eliminating natural gas affects your customers and your business!
There is a committee hearing scheduled for this Wednesday at 9 AM. While an agenda for this hearing has not yet been released (which is by design to keep the crowd small) we have received word from the America Gas Association that this topic will be on the agenda.

To send in written comments:  Those who wish to comment on proposed ordinances can email written testimony to Comments received will be distributed to the committee and added to the public record by the clerk.

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Everyone Needs a Wood Stove for Emergency Heating!

With the economy in shambles and the cost of everything going up, including oil, gas, and electricity, the one piece of advice I can give to people is this:

Everyone needs a wood-burning stove or fireplace insert in their home for emergency heating and NOW is the time to buy!
Wood-burning stove insert by Regency

  •  Wood-burning stoves work without the use of electricity or fans (unlike gas furnaces or pellet stoves).
  •  Wood stoves and inserts produce TWICE the amount of heat (BTU's) than gas stoves or inserts!
  •  Fuel is readily available either by using your own trees on site or purchasing through a firewood dealer. Tip: Buy NOW.
  •  No electricity is needed for a wood stove or insert to work! In case of emergency when the power is out you'll be able to stay in your home instead of going to stay with friends or family or going to a hotel.
  •  With a freestanding stove you can cook on the top if needed.

Freestanding wood-burning stove by Hearthstone
Use a wood-burning stove during fall and winter as a supplemental heating source to save money and provide a more comfortable, even heat. Radiant heat from a wood stove or masonry heater has more health benefits than a gas furnace or electric baseboard heaters.

Good quality wood stoves aren't inexpensive - but they are worth the investment. A good stove will last many years. Note: beware of box store wood stoves that have no or limited warranty and may burn out after a few seasons. 

New EPA approved wood-burning stoves and inserts are 75%+ efficient which means that most of the heat is staying in your house rather than going up the flue as with a standard open fireplace. 

Bonus: Get a TAX CREDIT for an efficient wood stove or insert up to 26% in 2022 and that includes labor and all materials!

Call us if you are in the greater Kansas City area or another professional chimney sweep our hearth dealer to discuss upgrading your inefficient open fireplace to a high-efficiency wood-burning insert, or if no fireplace is available you can have a freestanding wood stove along with a Class A chimney or stainless steel chimney liner installed. Note: These appliances can ONLY be installed in MASONRY chimneys or with a CLASS A chimney.

A word about GAS: If you have a gas-burning insert or stove, it will likely work with no power available. They just produce HALF the amount of heat as a wood-burning appliance.

Note: Blowers on gas or wood-burning appliances will NOT work unless you have a generator. But they will still provide heat. 
Find a professional installer at or


Marge Padgitt is a chimney industry veteran and author of Wood-Fired Heating and Cooking and the Chimney Pro's Resource Book. She is a speaker, talk show guest, and instructor. Visit or for more information.

Monday, August 2, 2021

Efficient Heating with Wood and a Tax Credit to Boot!

Have your cake and eat it too, as they say. Homeowners who purchase a high-efficiency wood-burning appliance in 2022 and 2023 can take advantage of not only efficient and clean-burning heat but receive a nice tax credit as well.

People living off grid or who aspire to a self-sufficient lifestyle love using wood-burning appliances for heating, and in some cases, cooking. Anyone who heats with wood will attest to the fact that it is much less expensive than forced air appliances or electric heating, especially if they can fell trees off of their own land, but the benefits don’t end there. The healing radiant energy produced is a welcome effect for arthritis and fibromyalgia sufferers. Not to mention that sitting in front of a toasty fire in the middle of winter just cannot be beat.

Freestanding stove
Wood-burning freestanding stoves can be installed in almost any location in a home and use a Class A metal chimney or can be connected to a masonry chimney with a stainless-steel flue liner. Wood-burning fireplace inserts may be installed into a masonry fireplace with a masonry chimney with the use of a smaller stainless steel flue liner. They cannot be installed in prefabricated metal fireplaces or use a prefabricated metal chimney. This applies to pellet stoves and inserts as well with a different type of vent.

Anytime changes are made to a fireplace a Level 2 camera inspection is required in most jurisdictions and recommended in any case. A professional CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep should do this inspection. Find one at

Site built masonry heater by
Gene Padgitt

Masonry heaters are site-built masonry appliances with interior channels that trap heat. The
masonry absorbs the heat, then releases it into the room. Houses with open floor plans are best suited to this type of heater since it does not use fans or ducts to distribute heat. Radiant heat is emitted from all four sides of the appliance. There are kits manufactured which may include only the heater core, or the entire finished product. Heater masons also build masonry heaters without kits.  Masonry heaters are the most efficient type of wood-burning appliance, and they use 2/3 less wood than a high-efficient wood-burning stove. For more information visit or

In recent years, the wood-burning industry has modified and improved their products to the point that they now produce extremely efficient appliances that burn clean with little emissions. Some are better than others, but appliances with an efficiency rating of 75% or higher and approved by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), will provide home heating and be eligible for the credit. Older, less efficient appliances do not qualify for the tax credit.

Appliances that were made prior to 1989 likely do not meet the earlier EPA standards and therefore, are not allowed to be installed in homes. So, think twice before purchasing a used woodstove.

The U.S. Biomass Tax credit allows for a tax credit of 26% of the purchase and installation costs for eligible products purchased and installed between January 1, 2021 and December 31, 2022. Appliances must have an efficiency rating of 75% or more.

For eligible products purchased and installed between January 1, 2023 and December 31, 2023, the tax credit is reduced to 22% of the purchase and installation costs. Any eligible product purchased in 2020 but installed in 2021, can be claimed on a 2021 tax return. Products must be claimed on the tax return year in which the product installation is complete. Keep your receipts for your accountant and register your appliance on the manufacturer website.

The nice thing about this government offer, which likely will not be repeated, is that not only is the appliance itself covered in the Tax Credit, but the chimney pipe or flue liner and labor for installation as well. This can add up to a hefty amount.

Now for the not-so-good news: Be prepared for a long wait time for your new appliance since manufacturers are having a hard time keeping up with the demand. And prices on everything have gone up and will likely continue to climb. So, order that new appliance now even if you have to wait a few months for the installation.

Marge Padgitt is a chimney industry veteran and author of Wood-Fired Heating and Cooking. Reach her at