FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS & ADVICE
Why is a wood stove better than a wood fireplace?
There are wood stoves and wood efficient fireplaces. There are also traditional open burning fireplace that are not at all efficient. We do not sell or promote open burning open type fireplaces as they are only 12% efficient at best and when not burning is taking away at least 15% of your total household heat.
The reason why we have these non heating units in Alaska in the first place is because of demand. Folks come up to Alaska from the lower 48 and remember all the heat that their fireplace provided them. They were in a zone 2 or 3. We are in a zone 5. Basically you are in the wrong place on the globe to entertain this style of a heating appliance. We sell a lot if "INSERTS" both in gas and wood to repair their open type fireplace unit to one that is more efficient.
Why is a gas fireplace better than a wood fireplace?
1000 to 1! In my own personal opinion. I can make out a check with a pen or cut wood. I used to own a tree farm and I've cut all the wood that I ever want to in my lifetime. It's someone else's turn. Wood is the most expensive fuel in the world!!
How much room do I need to install a stove or fireplace?
A wood heating appliance requires much more room than a gas heating appliance.
A standard footprint for wood is 48" wide X 54" in depth. You still have to keep combustibles at least 36" away from the sides of a wood stove and a minimum of 60" in the front from couches etc.
Gas appliances on the other hand have much less of a requirement depending on the size of heater that you choose.
Do you warrantee and repair the products you sell? For how long?
Our warranty is what the manufacturer covers. We do not sell extended warranties beyond that. Each manufacturer has different coverage. Just contact us and we'll send you more information!
Is my old fireplace safe?
This is a NO answer until a professional looks at it and can deem it as being safe. We get asked this question from time to time and this answer requires a visit to the site to make that determination.
Will I save money with a wood stove?
Any investment in a professionally installed wood stove will give you 25 times your return on your investment. When one buys heating oil he is left with an invoice and a tank full of oil lasts about 3 months. At the end of 3 months one has to make another investment in oil and gets an invoice. At the end of 25 years one has a stack of invoices and nothing to show for it. After 25 years with a wood burning stove one has a marketable unit that still has value and can also keep producing heat.
A recent customer from Dillingham called and said he just spent $4.84 per gallon on oil in his village to fill a 500 gallon tank. In doing the math that is $2,420.00 of oil he just bought. He call me and asked me how much a Blaze King "KING" wood stove would cost and we replied at the time $2400.00. The customer asked to have one shipped his way. Sale made!
How big of a house can you heat with a wood stove?
Our largest wood burner is rated for 3,000 sq. ft.
Do you deliver to the Alaska bush?
We ship to the bush all the time and do not charge to getting the Heating Appliance to a major air carrier in the Wasilla, Palmer or Anchorage bowl.
Many customers come into Alaska Fireplace & Accessories, Inc. asking us to repair a stove they purchased elsewhere and find that there really is no repair that can be made. Wholesalers, Internet Sales, Lumber Companies and many Tailgaters do not have the access to purchase high end stoves and these stove companies are in competition for the sale depending on price only and often exaggerate their efficiencies and performance to make that sale. Customer satisfaction usually does not come into play and warranties are lamently honored through a slow process and the customer is left in the cold. Don't be fooled by the "SHAMWOW" salesman.
Quality manufacturers only do business with retailers that have a showroom to represent their products, trained professionals to talk about their products on performance and installation and also be responsible for their products when we install them. We must carry adequate insurance for the manufacturer and for the customer to provide peace of mind that what they are going to purchase from us will perform in a manner they expect and get the hands on training they need to operate the unit. Honoring warranties in a timely fashion so that being without heat is minimized and customer satisfaction is maximized. The service provided on the purchase of a stove or fireplace from Alaska Fireplace & Accessories, Inc. goes well beyond the sale date of the product.
The next consideration is the investment in a quality chimney system. On the wood side of the business we favor the MetalBestos Branding for many reasons. To educate yourself of the many benefits of MetalBestos please visit the MetalBestos website and read up! We do our best to stock all components for your project so you have a one-stop purchase and free consultation on your plans for the best configuration and performance. Wood stoves need to be planned into the design of the house and not as an after thought to the end project. It is very important to place the wood stove at the SOUTH side of the home and not on the NORTH side. You will get about a 30% increase on your felt heat by following this long forgotten used to be common sense fact. Chimney costs vary widely depending on the configuration and can sometimes exceed the cost of the stove.
Many times we are asked about floor protection and wall protection. We get calls many times a week asking about the "Standard" clearance for a wood stove. The "Standard" answer is found in the National Fire Protection Association Code Number 211. Most folks that get this answer think that it is absurd and don't like it because it puts most soves out three to four feet into the room away from any combustibles. The real answer about a stoves clearance is to get the installation instructions for the stove you want to purchase and look at the multitude of combinations possible that are considered safe and tested for that particular stove.
We have all the answers and all the information for any installation that we sell and represent and can consult with you or your builder so you have the very safest and trustworthy system installed for your safety and home protection. Wall and floor protection can be purchased at the shops ready made and can be installed in a fairly short time for free standing appliances. These floor and wall pads vary in quality and colors and are cost effective choices. Many of our customers opt to do their own work and we have seen some beautiful artwork in homes that cannot be purchased through regular channels. Getting the proper information and adequate clearances is very critical in a useable system. Built-in fireplaces take more resources and there is basically an unlimited array of choices that can be designed thus the pricing fluctuates on tastes.
Installation is a critical part of putting all of the above together so they will perform well and pass all critiques from Customer Satisfaction to passing all Home Inspections to any State Fire Marshall scrutiny. We prefer to go the location and look at what you want to be installed and provide the very best application possible so the heating appliance will optimally perform. An estimate is then given covering cost of the stove with all options selected along with the chimney with wall and floor applications necessary to do a great job. We welcome anyone to view our work as we are very proud of our accomplishments and want the support of the end customer to be confident of our skills.
Do you stock the fireplaces you sell?
We have 2 manned store locations one in Palmer, one in Wasilla and a Blaze King ONLY display at the Anchorage Hydroponics site. We are stocked full of free-standing and built-in fireplaces along with a warehouse full of crated and boxed products ready for shipment anywhere in Alaska. Many custom orders are fulfilled and we have an ongoing stream of weekly shipments of all kinds of heating equipment and venting components. Getting product from the best manufacturers in the industry providing the finest materials available is actually a very fun process and doesn't seem like work. We enjoy what we do and are very blessed.
Can I save money on my home heating costs with a fireplace?
Most heating appliances that we sell and install have a 100% payback on their original investment within a 2 to 4 year timeframe or less! Having an alternative heating source in any Alaska home is a must. As times and winter conditions get harsher the value of a properly designed and installed heating system is well enjoyed beyond its monetary value when needed most.
Are gas fireplaces easier on the environment than wood fireplaces?
The discussion on gas versus wood needs to get out of the hands of politicians as they have no idea of what they are talking about.
Getting down to real life situations....We live in Alaska. We have oil. We have wood. We have Natural Gas. Propane is an option. Someday we will be able to generate our own power and use that to heat with but for now these are the answers. We favor non-powered heating as this is the least common denominator for survival and the one that will carry you through the toughest of times.
Wood is the bottom line fuel source for many and is readily available in most locations. Wood requires manual labor for processing this resource and there is a mini empire or process that needs to be invested in by the homeowner for wood burning appliances. What we mean by this is that there are items needed to support the wood burning process such as chain saws, splitting devices, carrying devices, storage devices, cleaning devices etc. We have seen the younger generation expel energies in this endeavour and in the last few years we have seen the older generation getting involved again. One elderly 85 year old gent recently came into the shop and told me he was buying a wood stove for the same reasons today as he was when he was 25 yeas old!
As a University of Maine Graduate Forestry Major I speak of my many wood burning and tree farming experiences. Burning wood is one of man's love for the last million years. I've burned wood most of my life and enjoy it but being full time in business with 3 stores doesn't allow much time to process wood. Some of the best weekends in my life are remembered of family getting together to help each other cut and split wood. Mom would call out to the crew in the back yard to come in and sometimes we were so heavily involved into our project she would bring the food and drinks out to us. Thinking back on the unity and sharing was awesome and is now being fully realized as to the nature of these much cherished and missed events. Someday I'll get back to it....meanwhile, enjoying a Natural Gas fireplace that doesn't require any manual processing is the choice for this fat dude. Coming home and kicking up the Natural Gas fireplace thermostat and turning on the TV and watching the world events on FOX is the favored gig.
12 TIPS TO MAKE SURE YOUR WOOD STOVE IS READY FOR SAFE WINTER HEATING
This year over 171 home fires have taken their toll on families in Alaska. Sometimes, home fires are due to improperly installed or serviced wood stoves. Here are a few important tips to make sure your family doesn't become a tragic statistic:
Maintain all factory-specified clearances to combustible materials.
Don't use gasoline, gasoline-type lantern fuel, kerosene, charcoal lighter fluid or similar liquids to start or "freshen up" a fire.
Don't burn your stove with the stove door(s) open.
Inspect the stove periodically for missing fire bricks.
Inspect the chimney at the beginning of the season and every two months for creosote build-up.
Don't start a chimney fire to clean the flue.
Don't burn materials other than natural wood, and never burn wet or green wood as it causes excessive creosote that can lead to a chimney fire.
Use a perimeter gate to keep small children away from hot surfaces.
Don't burn a stove so hot the stove or chimney connector begins to glow.
Don't remove hot ashes or store hot ashes in a garage or basement as they will generate carbon monoxide air and/or flammable gases.
Don't cook on a stove not designed for that purpose.
Make sure your stove is connected to an code-approved factory built chimney or a code-approved masonry chimney with a flue liner. Never vent a wood stove into a "Class B" gas vent chimney.
Also, make sure you have properly installed smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, and test your alarms once a month to be sure they are working.
Everything you need to know about wood.
1. You HAVE wood
3. You do NOT HAVE wood
5. You HAVE DRY wood
7. You HAVE WET wood
9. You HAVE Spruce wood
11.You HAVE Birch wood