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Modern Fireplaces: Trend or Fad?

Post in 'It's a Gas!' started by Inside Guy, Nov 21, 2008.

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  1. Inside Guy

    Inside Guy New Member

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    It seems that fireplace manufactures are chasing the "modern" fireplace, no logs, fire art-type appliances. What do you all think of these things. Fad or a trend to the future? I've developed a few for the last 5 years and it seems that they're finally starting to grab some footing in the marketplace.

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  2. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    As with most things...I think there is a market - BUT, what tends to happen is that too many makers start vying for a small part of the pie.

    Wood stoves provide a small window into this - a number of more modern and Euro styles have come into the market in the last couple of years - those which can fit any decor...maybe just slightly modern, do well. The really fancy ones (Rais, etc.) have a niche market, and are high priced enough that sales of a couple hundred units a year are adequate.

    Marketing is a big part of it. What sells unassisted is completely different than what can sell when someone is leading the charge!
  3. jtp10181

    jtp10181 Minister of Fire

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    We have had demand for them before the brands we sell even came up with anything. We lost some sales to the competition because we had nothing. We just finally for the new Heat & Glo SLR (Cosmo). We had one sold before they even started the production line. I think in a month I have seen 5 go through the warehouse.

    http://www.heatnglo.com/products/fireplaces/gasFireplaceDetail.asp?f=02950
  4. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    Their popularity will come and go.

    Matt
  5. R&D Guy

    R&D Guy New Member

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    IG - agreed, seems all you see in Hearth & Home Mag is more Me-Too wide screens, and it's been 50/50 with the last 2 years worth of certifications at my employer between these all-glass models and traditional fireplaces.

    Weird since they are so NOT-Green as far as efficiency and that's the other huge shift in the industry with everyone going IPI. Saw a wide screen at the 2006 HPBA in Reno that actually had a 300 CFM blower that sucked all the heat outside. What's up with the prices too? The Montego sells for $16,000.
  6. Inside Guy

    Inside Guy New Member

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    R&D;Guy, they sure are a lot of fun to develop though:) Good point on the "green" comment, but It doesn't have to be that way! But you'll have to admit, they sure are a lot of fun to develop! When this modern movement started I thought "fad," but now I believe it's a trend, although not many may agree with me, I think people are wanting the ambiance and not necessary a traditional looking fire... something that looks cool and doesn't leave a big footprint. With the current state of the economy, those that can afford to buy have a high-end taste. Oh and btw, $16,000 for a fireplace... I guess I'm out!
  7. tubbster

    tubbster Member

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    Looks like a decent unit, but not one I would want, I have a more traditional house that would not support that look.

    I think they cheaped out on the ignition module. For just a dollar or two more, they could have used a relay so that they could have the battery backup actually work as a battery backup, i.e, you can have batteries *AND* have it plugged in. The way they have it now, plug it in w/ batteries and make a mess.
  8. jtp10181

    jtp10181 Minister of Fire

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    Yeah I agree they have just included that in the base module. Currently you can get a "cabit kit" that comes with a battery relay. Also the WSK200/300 wall controls have automatic battery backup which you can put on any IPI unit.
  9. R&D Guy

    R&D Guy New Member

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    Yeah, it's interesting to hear your dealers and reps cry about green technology in one room and then wince at the radiant heat they experience in front of a contemporary that's only 41% efficient, but you have to trust that they have their hand on the pulse. Feeling no heat is a priority.

    Anytime I question the relevance of efficiency I get the same response, even on this forum who seem to be made up mostly of the 1 percent'ers; the majority who have gas already have a high efficiency gas furnace so looks and ambiance far out-weigh heating performance. I can't argue, at my own house I'll run the ginormous fireplace downstairs for a little zone heating knowing exactly how inefficient the unit itself is since I oversaw the tests including the pre-marketing numbers, but also knowing the zone heating with the ambiance is worth the extra few dollars a month.
  10. R&D Guy

    R&D Guy New Member

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    Yeah we reviewed the Dexon IPI, and it's a "value" based system IMO - a first generation v1.0 in the world of IPI. Two things that baffled me was why you wouldn't allow a standing pilot for those finicky installs, and the either or power option. Looking at the control module it looks like a copy of the Skytech AF4000 Ameriflame IPI. Has the same Molex connection, and quick disconnects for the ignitor and sensor with the same alpha designation and wire color.

    IMO no one can touch the new SIT IPI Proflame 880. SIT has the safety, quality and performance record no one in the industry can touch. Their Profame also has a standing pilot option and the batteries are only a backup option. Only problem with their system is that it's a Me-Too at any expo. No real custom features for mfg's since anyone can add it to their product.
  11. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Right now I would be amazed if a reasonable market for high end stuff was out there.......

    There is definitely a big market for gas fireplaces with less efficiency - because of the boom in building and folks moving to South Carolina, Etc......lots of warm and temperate areas of the country where they want a flame and yet not want to get roasted out.

    In the end, it would seem that the country is big enough for completely separate markets....really a bunch of different countries (climates) all rolled up into one.
  12. tubbster

    tubbster Member

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    I for one would be all over a more efficient stove.
    The only one I saw that was efficient was the condensing unit that then went and spewed the water into the living area. (Humidifies as it heats!) That is the main hangup I had with the vent free heater. It was ruining my house!

    I used to heat with a laser 55 vented kero heater. What a great little bit of engineering there. Had a nice big stainless heat exchanger, and of course power venting.

    Has anyone developed a power vented, yet traditional looking, freestanding stove that could get anywhere from 80 -90% of the heat into the house? Is it possible? We did put men on the moon once!
  13. tubbster

    tubbster Member

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