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You are here:TRI-COUNTY BRICK/Blog/Fireplaces

There is no point in arguing which type of fireplace has the most gorgeous flames. Wood burning fireplaces are, and will always be the most elegant and the least expensive fireplaces on the market.

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Gas Fireplaces Need Loving Too

Gas fireplaces need an annual inspection, in order to keep up to snuff. This is a very important practice, which many overlook; myself included. Because gas fireplaces burn clean and are very easy to take care of, some assume that this means it doesn’t need cleaning. While it is true that gas fireplaces are both efficient and low maintenance, it’s a known fact that ANY appliance can become a nuisance if neglected. That is why you need an annual inspection of your gas fireplace. By cleaning your fireplace and chimney, you can put your mind at ease when you start your unit this season.

Every fireplace or insert should be cleaned annually. This is due to the hard work a fireplace puts in with each use, when it is heating your home. It‘s best to get your fireplace checked each spring; that way you will have a flawlessly functioning fireplace all year round, but whatever schedule is easiest for you will work for the fireplace too.

Debris and junk and all that gunk

Debris likes to hang out in the vents, in the flue and inside the chimney. This needs to be removed, as it will restrict airflow and might smell bad. Gas fireplace debris includes:

1. Deteriorating logs
Ceramic or faux log inserts can eventually deteriorate with use, clinging to the sides of the insert and getting trapped.

Gas technician doing installation, repair, or seasonal maintenance on a built-in gas fireplace

Gas technician doing installation, repair, or seasonal maintenance on a built-in gas fireplace.

2. Dirty Glass doors or frame
Chipped or scratched glass can become a hazard over time. It can meddle with the heat output of your fireplace, and no one wants that. If this is the case, you will need to get it cleaned or replaced.

3. Residue
The inside and outside of a gas fireplace needs to be cleaned once in a while. Think about it, after all those gorgeous fires it’s bound to get a little dirty in there. It is very important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and use approved products for cleaning. Check with your technician, or a local dealer, to see if they offer cleaning services.

Remember: If you have a masonry fireplace with a gas log set insert, inspect the logs with every annual inspection.

What Happens during an inspection?

During an inspection, the technician will first take a look at the exterior. This includes making sure glass is not chipped, cracked, or dirty, and that the framework is holding up sufficiently. While checking for dents or debris, the technician will also look at the interior gas ignition under the log structure and make sure it is lighting flawlessly. They also make sure your log set is not deteriorating in any way. Often times, the face of the unit will to be taken off, so they can inspect the valves and connections underneath your fireplace or insert. They will make sure your fireplace’s heat output is correct, and clean up any residue that has started to block any ports or vents. After a routine check, your technician should make sure you have working carbon monoxide detectors, and that you are aware of any repairs your gas fireplace may need. Certified gas technicians have a wealth of information and will be happy to answer any questions you may have about your fireplace or insert, don’t be afraid to ask.

Just Flow With It.

Safety is always number one when it comes to enjoying a roaring fire in your living space. By having an annual inspection, you ensure that your beautiful fireplace is running at peak efficiency for whenever you need that glowing comfort or extra heat.

Happy Heating!

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A friend of mine was researching fireplaces. He wanted to replace the old wood burning one that came with his home. He asked me what was the difference between a fireplace and a fireplace insert. I mean they look the same, and they all make fire, so how do you know what you need? At first I didn’t have a good answer. As it turns out, confusion aside, there is a clear difference between these two. But after doing some reading, I was able to help my friend. With any luck, this article will help you figure out what you need and end the much heated (yes, literally) debate as to the difference between a fireplace and a fireplace insert.


When you think of a fireplace, you think of an opening (keyword open) in the wall with a flue above it to remove/vent the smoke. Some fireplaces have glass doors on the front, or a screen making it look closed. Basically, a fireplace is either built one of two ways: masonry or factory built.


Masonry fireplaces are constructed by builders, and are almost always made out of brick. However, some more upscale fireplaces are made of stone and even tile. This connects seamlessly to the flue and chimney in your home as one element.


Factory Built

Factory built fireplaces are a metal box, sometimes made with or without refractory bricks inside to be framed into a house without masonry. They are usually installed in framed walls and encased in non-combustible materials while the home is being built. Nowadays, a lot of new homes have gas fireplaces, but the standard for older homes is usually wood burning.

You can get a fireplace after your home has been built; it just requires a little bit of a renovation. A cavity will have to be created and venting allowed for, either by installing a chimney or applicable venting, or by buying a vent free fireplace (only available in certain states – check your local by-laws).


Fireplace Inserts

A fireplace insert can burn gas, wood, or pellets, and is inserted into an existing masonry fireplace; just like a stove can be. If you have a masonry fireplace that needs a facelift, an insert is there to fill the gap and rejuvenate your room. This means that it will exclusively take the place of your masonry fireplace, by connecting the insert to the chimney and flue leading outside. Sure this looks very similar to a fireplace, but it is definitely not the same thing. While you may not see the difference at first glance, there are many styles that make inserts and mason fireplace look very similar. Inserts are a low cost option compared to a complete renovation to install a gas fireplace, or completely replace your existing masonry fireplace. This is yet another reason why Inserts are so versatile. A fashionable choice, inserts can change the ambience of a room from traditional or rustic to contemporary.

Stoves can be installed as freestanding units, and can also be considered inserts because they are sometimes vented out of your existing chimney. You can take a look at our range of wood, gas and pellet stoves here.

Which one is best for you?

Quick Reference Guide
Get a Gas or
Wood Fireplace
Get an Insert
(Pellet, Gas, Wood or Stove)
I don’t have any fireplace at all
I have an older wood burning fireplace
I have an existing gas fireplace
I have a chimney but no fireplace
I’m having a house built
I want to save money

**This is a quick reference guide.
**Please consult a professional to ensure you get the right product for your home and lifestyle.


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Do you have an area in your backyard or at the cottage that needs a summer time spruce up? With a Patioflame®, you can enjoy the warmth and coziness of a fire; whenever you desire.

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There is nothing better than sitting around a warm, crackling fire on a cool summer’s night.

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June 8th - August 31, 2015

Starting June 8th and running through August 31, 2015, Jøtul is partnering with it's North American dealers  to implement the third annual Woodstove Changeout Program.  With the goal of improving air quality by removing dirty burning non-EPA certified wood-burning appliances from use, and reducing the burning of open fireplaces, Jøtul North America is pleased to offer you the opportunity to save up to $300 off the purchase of a Jøtul wood or gas stove, or fireplace insert.  For detailed information on how you can "Get In On The Change", contact Tri-County Brick today!

As part of our National Woodstove Changeout Program we are encouraging our dealers to act as a drop off location for your old non-EPA stove.  However in some cases a dealer may not have adequate space for your old stove and may request your drop it off directly at your local recycling center.  To find a local recycling center please click here.

Please contact your local participant Jøtul dealer before dropping your old non-EPA wood or gas stove off at a recycling center.

Inspired by federally led changeout programs around the U.S., Jøtul NA is the first manufacturer to implement its own changeout program, encouraging wood stove owners to become more environmentally friendly. Over the last two years more than 2,500 stoves were exchanged during the program throughout North America.

Because EPA-certified wood stoves emit approximately 70 percent less pollution than older conventional stoves, owners who make the change from a non-EPA stove can directly affect local air quality. In addition to being environmentally friendly, EPA-certified stoves can be 50 percent more efficient and burn up to 1/3 less wood than older models.

A portion of the sale of each changed out stove will go to benefit Operation BBQ Relief.

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As summer is quickly approaching, the last thing we are thinking about is heating up the house with our fireplace as the sun will do that for us! However, before you shut everything down for the warmer months, it’s important to give your Valor fireplace the maintenance it deserves.

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Let’s discuss the foundations of creating the perfect outdoor Living Space with ambience to entertain your family and friends while outside!

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My Stratford Rewards is your FREE and easy way to win daily Cash and Rewards Points towards unique prizes and opportunities.

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My Stratford Rewards is your FREE and easy way to win daily Cash and Rewards Points towards unique prizes and opportunities.

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320 Home Street, Stratford, ON N5A 7C9


519-273-5151 or Toll-Free 1-800-265-8582

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Today's hours (Thursday):
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Day Open Close
Monday 7:30 AM 5:30 PM
Tuesday 7:30 AM 5:30 PM
Wednesday 7:30 AM 5:30 PM
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Friday 7:30 AM 5:30 PM
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Sunday Closed