Fireplaces: Still Warming Homes and Hearts

There’s a reason the expression “hearth and home” represents our precious family lives. Since ancient times, fireplaces were the heart of the home, keeping people warm and fed. Our affection for them didn’t end once furnace-powered heat replaced them in most American homes during the 20th century.

“We no longer build fireplaces for physical warmth,” observed novelist Edna Ferber. “We build them for the warmth of the soul; we build them to dream by, to hope by, to home by.”

And, many people just want a supplemental heat source, says Chuck Ault, co-owner of Collier’s Heating & Air Conditioning and Collier’s Fireplace Shoppe in Warsaw, Ind. He should know. For nearly two decades, before he and co-owner Kevin Lehman purchased Collier’s, he worked for the business installing and repairing fireplaces and stoves.

“We install and service gas stoves, gas fireplaces, wood stoves and wood fireplaces,” says Ault. “We can replace old equipment. We do fireplaces in new homes. We can install gas lines. We can handle the whole job, from start to finish, from the design to framing to installation, venting, gas, electrical and masonry.”

Now celebrating its 25th year, Collier’s Fireplace Shoppe displays and sells wood, electric and gas fireplaces, both vented and unvented. It also installs electric fireplaces, wood boilers and pellet stoves and helps customers to understand the benefits of each kind of product.

“Our fireplace experts help you to determine the best fit for your home and your specific needs,” says Ault. “We have a range of cost options to fit almost any budget.”

These days, many customers want to convert a masonry wood fireplace to a gas fireplace.
“That’s a fairly simple process,” Ault explains. “There are a couple of options – you could install a gas log in the existing fireplace or you could install a gas insert, which would be much more efficient.”

A gas insert causes the fireplace to draw air from outdoors rather than drawing furnace-heated air from your home and sending it up the chimney.

“Old wood-burning fireplaces are not very efficient, so the draft can actually start to pull heat out of the house,” Ault explains. “If the fireplace is updated, we can do more efficient inserts that draw air in from outside, so it stops pulling heat out of the house. Most gas inserts are around 80 percent efficient. These can be a supplemental heat source or a good heat source for emergency situations.”

Collier’s also helps homeowners to update their old, unattractive fireplaces by replacing the doors or adding gas logs.

“A gas insert changes the whole look of the fireplace,” says Ault. “We can do everything, from just a simple update to a complete remodel of an existing fireplace.”

If you live in a home with no fireplace but you’re thinking of installing one, Ault suggests taking some pictures of where you would like the fireplace to be or what you currently have.

“Take measurements,” he says. “Pinterest pictures can help us to get an idea of what your vision and goals are. Then talk to our fireplace experts and we can help you begin the process.”

Residents of apartments and condominiums may want to consider installing an electric fireplace.

“Electric fireplaces have come a long way,” says Ault. “They require no chimney and provide an amazing array of flame patterns to fit the mood you’re in. We’ve also installed them in restaurants and conference rooms and we carry the best brands in the industry.”

When it comes to fireplace maintenance, Ault recommends having a gas fireplace checked and serviced annually.

“We go through and clean the system, redress the logs and make everything look like new,” he says.

For wood fireplaces, he recommends having the chimney cleaned and inspected annually.

During their decades of hands-on work at Collier’s, Ault and Lehman never imagined they would someday own the company, but they were identified as potential successors and moved into management positions.

“We got the opportunity to buy into the company and we didn’t think we should pass up,” says Ault. “We have a vested interest in the company – it’s been good to our families over the years, and we look at Collier’s as an opportunity to extend our family to the team that we’ve built, to include the households we serve, and the communities where we live and work.”

Another branch of the business, Collier’s Solar, has more than 10 years of experience installing ground-mount and roof-mount solar panels. The company has also been in the heating and air-conditioning business for more than 34 years, including geothermal installations, serving the greater Warsaw area.

Whether you yearn for the roar and scent of a wood-burning fireplace or want the convenience and tidiness of a gas or electric fireplace, there have never been more options to suit your individual situation.

Learn more by calling (574) 203-5882 or visit the showroom at 2315 North Shelby Dr., Warsaw, Ind. ❚