What’s the big deal about buying a new fireplace or stove? Why not just buy the cheapest one you can find at the big box stores or online? Burning gas or burning wood, it really doesn’t matter . . . . after all, they all look the same, they’re all built the same, and all do the same thing, right? Nope, absolutely WRONG!
Are you in the market for a new fireplace or stove? Maybe for a building or remodeling project? In that case, you’re wise to buy at your nearest WE LOVE FIRE dealership. And here’s why.
Anything and everything is available online these days. Whether it's band-aids or band instruments, a new birdhouse or a new house for your family, or maybe ordering lunch or buying groceries for the next three weeks, you can find anything online. This certainly includes fireplaces, too. There are lots of websites selling fireplaces and stoves online.
Online, low price wins. But, there's so much more to purchasing hearth products than just a low price from some obscure website.
We can talk about seeing and inspecting the actual product, appreciating the quality that goes into it, the manufacturer's reputation, or the effects of buying locally from a professional business. There's zero consideration for any of this when you buy a fireplace from a website.
Granted, it's very tempting to buy an inexpensive fireplace online with DIY instructions that seem so simple a fifth grader could follow. However, mistakes with installations can be catastrophic and expensive. Literally, dozens of code and manufacturers' requirements must be met. Very few do-it-yourselfers are even aware of NFPA 211 and other requirements.
Before buying online and installing the fireplace yourself or hiring someone, consider these questions:
- Are you aware of top and side clearance requirements for a stove or fireplace?
- How about the required mantle heights or the size of the hearth for your new stove?
- What are mandatory clearance requirements for chimney pipe or stove pipe?
- Can they be reduced?
- Can you cut and thread black gas pipe?
- Do you own a manometer to check gas pressures?
- How about an electronic gas sniffer for detecting gas leaks?
- Are you aware of the air to fuel ratio for your gas fireplace or stove and how to adjust it?
- How about venting profiles?
- How are your framing, finishing and roofing skills?
- Etc... etc.
You get the point. There's lots of knowledge, experience, and special equipment necessary to safely and effectively install a woodburning or gas appliance. Your WE LOVE FIRE expert has all this type of expertise in-house!
Rely and count on them to safely and correctly install everything they sell. Can you say the same thing regarding purchasing online or from a big box store? An old saying states, 'just because you helped a neighbor install a new outlet in his garage doesn't make you an electrician!' The same thing applies to fireplace and stove installations. Just because a website sells fireplaces online doesn't make them professionals in the industry! Leave it to the experts who do this for a living.
Another important question has to do with the warranty. Some manufacturer's products sold outside an authorized dealer network might limit or void warranty service altogether if the product has been installed and/or serviced by unauthorized personnel. It's worth asking about.
THE BIG BOX STORES
You may be able to see the appliances at a big box store. You won’t be able to see the flames, feel the heat, or have any meaningful discussion about your specific project. In fact, depending on the time of day/week, no one might be around to answer any of your questions! And staff covering from the paint or carpeting departments won’t be any help to you. No one from a big box store will come to your home and conduct a thorough site evaluation to determine what products may be best.
Good luck figuring out the venting profile and what components you’ll need. Special orders or backorders for key venting components may take several weeks. The big box stores fireplace and stove displays will likely be on a large storage rack, probably four or five feet above the floor. Just use your imagination to picture how this might look in your home!
Big box stores may not provide you with a “qualified installers” list. Most are plumbers, carpenters, or HVAC contractors. If you’re a gambler, bet that none have been to any formal training related to fireplaces and stoves. Keep in mind that most jurisdictions and even your insurance company may require inspections by a hearth-certified professional. This means your intended budget is not looking so good.
Now would be a good time to hope and pray that nothing goes wrong with the fireplace project. Because if there is an issue, the finger-pointing is about to begin!
YOUR “WE LOVE FIRE” DEALERSHIP
None of these points mentioned above will become issues when you make the prudent decision to do business with your WE LOVE FIRE expert. The technical knowledge, the specific experience with hundreds of fireplace and stove installations, the professional credentials, trained and nationally certified service technicians that thoroughly know and understand their trade, beautiful showrooms with dozens of burning models and displays . . . . these are all reasons that you need to buy from your WE LOVE FIRE specialist.
Another critical point: all the equipment that your WE LOVE FIRE dealers have on display is there for a reason. The brand names are all terrific values that are not available at the big box stores.
Do we carry the cheapest? That’s unlikely. But all are terrific values built heavier, with higher quality, and more reliable than the cheaper stuff. Goods and services are usually priced for a reason, including fireplace products. It’s about the value received vs. the dollars that you spend.
Have you ever received an online order that’s been damaged? If it’s a $30 or $40 item, they will probably not even want the item back. You’ll likely just get a new one sent out. But with a $2000 or $3000 fireplace or stove, it’s a bit different. Do you have the time and fortitude to get a return authorization, make arrangements for shipping a 100 lb. gas fireplace or a 400 lb. wood-burning fireplace back to the supplier, and then wait patiently for a replacement to show up? We’re guessing probably not.
On the other hand, your WE LOVE FIRE dealer will act as a liaison on your behalf when working through any damages in shipping or warranty claims with the manufacturer
Keep in mind that all WE LOVE FIRE dealerships are locally owned and support the local area's economy. There's a huge ripple effect when you spend your dollars locally rather than online or at the big box stores. A significant portion of your dollar supports local businesses, schools, and churches and provides aid to neighbors in need. Locally owned businesses create and sustain communities by creating jobs for your friends and neighbors, contributing to improved public infrastructures, emergency response services, and economic and social investing in the area. Local businesses donate more to local events, teams, and nonprofits than national chains.
In short, a local business helps strengthen all aspects of a community. We all need to support local business ventures.
SHOP WE LOVE FIRE
We realize that online shopping is not going away. A relatively new venture from your WE LOVE FIRE dealer network has been established to complement our local showrooms. With the addition of Shop.WeLoveFire.com, this retail website now can directly connect you to your local WE LOVE FIRE shop. You could do some research and a bit of shopping online at ShopWeLoveFire.com, then plan some time at your dealership to review your plans and go over other details of your project.
Or, if you prefer, stop at your WE LOVE FIRE dealer retail store and, after discussions with the experts, decide if an online purchase from Shop.WeLoveFire.com is right for you. The biggest advantage of shopping online this way is these products are sold and serviced by the same experienced, competent hearth professionals near you.
Hopefully, after reading this article, your inner monologue says, "Why would I even consider buying a cheaper, inferior product just to save a little money? "
You can find a better selection, higher quality, expertise, and professionalism and help your community by doing business locally. While you might be tempted to buy your fireplace or stove from a big box store or some obscure website, your local WE LOVE FIRE dealer cares more because their name is on the door.