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Saturday, September 23, 2017

Independence company is celebrating 35 years in business this month

HearthMasters, a specialty chimney and fireplace contracting company serving the greater Kansas City area, is celebrating 35 years in business. HearthMasters is the largest company of its type in the Midwest region.

Independence, Missouri, September 22, 2017

Gene Padgitt started Midwest Chimney Sweep in September of 1982 as a one-man chimney sweeping
Gene finishing up a Queen Anne Victorian Project
 to rebuild five chimneys in NE Kansas City
operation at a time when there were no chimney sweeps in Independence and only two others in the greater Kansas City area.  The company has since grown to 16 employees with multiple trucks in operation, and specializes in historic masonry chimney restoration, custom fireplace and chimney work, masonry heaters, and brick oven design and construction.

HearthMasters also offers chimney sweeping and inspections, leak repairs, dryer vent cleaning, diagnosis of performance problems, whole house ventilators, and consultations with builders and architects.
Gene Padgitt, the company V.P. and senior technician, has a degree in HVACR Technology, is a Certified Heater Mason, NFI Certified Gas Specialist, CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep, State Certified Private Fire Investigator, and Licensed Mechanical Contractor in all cities in the Kansas City area. Gene serves as an expert witness for fire investigations involving chimneys and heating appliances. He has won 13 national and local awards for his masonry skills. 

Marge Padgitt, President and CEO is a, CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep and NFI Certified Wood-burning Specialist.

The Padgitts have served on regional and national boards for industry related association. Currently, Marge is the president of the Midwest Chimney Safety Council, and Gene is the Secretary. Marge and Gene have taught industry classes to professionals for over 20 years, and recently started HearthMasters Masonry School, in order to meet the demand for masonry skills training for chimney sweeps and masons.

Marge is the author of The Chimney and Hearth Pro’s Resource Book, The Homeowner’s Guide to Chimneys, Fireplaces, and Alternative Heating Appliances, and a new book coming out in 2018 which is called Investigating Structural Fires Related to Chimneys and Heating Appliances. She also publishes Wood-Fired Magazine.

Marge offers classes on chimney and fireplace safety and heating options to neighborhood groups or associations.

For more information visit,,, and www. 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Cut utility bills by using wood-heating appliances

A good way to cut utility bills during cold weather is to use a wood-fired heating appliance such as a masonry heater, wood-burning stove, or wood-burning fireplace insert. Now is the time to have such an appliance installed before the busy fall season hits hearth stores and chimney sweeps. Some stove manufacturers such as Regency offer summer purchase incentives and rebates.  

Today’s modern wood-burning heating appliances are very efficient and clean-burning, unlike their older predecessors. The Environmental Protection Agency regulates wood stove emissions and has strict requirements that stove manufacturers must follow. This is why replacing an older, dirty burning wood stove is good not only for the environment, but good for the pocket book because less wood is needed to produce the same amount of heat as older stoves.

Fuel costs can be significantly less than oil, gas, or electric heating appliances, especially if there is a nearby supply of inexpensive cordwood. For homeowners with their own land and trees, the concept of no cost for fuel other than physical exertion is very attractive. For those wanting to live off-grid, have an emergency heating alternative, or just lower fuel costs, the addition of a wood-burning appliance is a good solution.

Masonry Heater by HearthMasters
Masonry heaters are arguably the best type of wood-burning appliance. They use old-world technology which is a series of channels installed inside the appliance that trap heat, then transfer the heat slowly through the mass of masonry. Masonry heaters are large and need to be centrally located for maximum benefit. The Masonry Heater Association of North America recommends that a Certified Heater Mason build a masonry heater since he/she has taken specialized training on this unique appliance. The MHA has more information on these efficient site-built appliances on their website at  

Fireplace insert by Regency
Fireplace inserts are appliances that are installed inside an existing masonry fireplace. They use a small stainless steel flue liner and can be used either with or without a blower. By installing a new EPA approved efficient wood-burning fireplace insert the fireplace efficiency will be increased by approximately 75%.

Freestanding wood-burning stoves are also very efficient and clean–burning. They work by emitting radiant and convective heat, and are best situated in a central location in the home. A stove can be installed in any room with the proper floor and wall protection. A wood stove installed in a basement can provided needed warmth in a cold area, and since heat rises - the floors above will be heated as well.

As far as chimneys go, a Class A stainless steel chimney can be used to vent gasses, or an existing masonry chimney may be used with a stainless steel liner installed.  A professional installer will know which type of flue liner or chimney to use with a particular appliance.

The Midwest Chimney Safety Council suggests hiring a professional to do any type of wood-fueled appliance installation. In some areas, such as the greater Kansas City area, it is a code requirement to have a licensed professional install a wood-burning appliance.            

For more information on fuel cost calculators visit

Marge Padgitt is the CEO of HearthMasters, Inc. in Independence, MO                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Top Five Wood-Fired Restaurants in Kansas City

To the wood-fired connoisseur, there is nothing that can compare to food – any food -- cooked in a wood-fired oven. This is because the taste imparted to the food from the wood is something that can’t be obtained from gas or electric ovens.

A team of taste testers was sent to each of these restaurants on multiple occasions over the past year in order to sample some of their wonderful dishes. The results were unanimous: Eat wood-fired whenever possible!

We know this is true, because we build brick ovens and install pre-cast ovens from Italy in restaurants, and as builders we have to sample the food so we can tell clients how great it is. 

Pizza Bella: 18th & Baltimore, Kansas City, Missouri offers a menu which features gourmet pizza designed by the owner/chef. Pizzas featured are Margherita, prosciutto, mushroom, leek, potato, egg, and others that are not found in standard pizza joint. The appetizers and desserts feature brussels sprouts, olives and olive oils, mussels, and a charcuteirie plate with assorted cheeses, mustards, and baguette. All of the breads and doughs are made on site. A true gourmet food experience can be found here. Ask the bartender to suggest a wine or beer with your meal.

Blue Grotto: Brookside Plaza at 63rd & Wornall, Kansas City , Missouri serves antipasta, soups, salads, entrees, and wood-fired pizza featuring Funghi and Salsiccia, and a Quattro Stagnioni pizza with artichokes, criminis, olives, peppers, and fontina cheese. The cast iron apple cobbler is a fitting finish to a delicious meal. The Blue Grotto has more good reviews online than most restaurants in town so it is worth the trip.

Red Door Woodfired Grill: 6324 Brookside Plaza, Brookside, Kansas City, MO opened in January of 2017 with a newly remodeled restaurant. The burgers feature a blend of short rib, ternderloin and beef brisket from McGonigle's Market. The menu matches that of Red Door Leawood, for which award-winning chef Debbie Gold consulted. A variety of appetizers, flatbread pizzas, burgers, sandwiches, salads, and entrees fill the menu. The flatbread pizzas cooked in the stone oven are the feature that foodies love.

Providence Pizza, Hwy 71 and Main Street, Grandview, Missouri specializes in pizza but also serves great calzones, sandwiches, appetizers, salads, and desserts. The restaurant offers the customer a choice of thin or thick crust, and an extensive list of toppings, cheeses, and sauces. Pizza is cooked in their large copper-clad wood-fired oven at the front of the restaurant.

The oven at Rock & Run Brewery and Pub
Rock & Run Brewery and Pub: 110 E Kansas St., Liberty, Missouri offers an exotic brew pub menu which includes appetizers such as deviled eggs, mini bruschetta, and house-made meatballs, salads, soups, sandwiches, pastas, and of course, pizza. Rock & Run’s specialty pizzas include a white pizza with chicken, bacon, white garlic sauce, and mozzarella & provolone cheeses, a pulled pork pizza, Reuben pizza, and a super-hot diablo pizza.  Of course, Rock & Run offers an extensive wine and beer list since the restaurant brews their own beer on site.  A must for any visit is to top the meal off with campfire s’mores cooked in the wood-fired oven which are to die for.
Marge Padgitt is the publisher of Wood-Fired Magazine and CEO of HearthMasters, Inc. HearthMasters builds and installs wood-fired ovens and installed ovens at three of the above locations. See more info at