R&A Magazine - Summer 2021 - 15

ASK THE EXPERTS
Given the building supply issues we've seen as a result of Covid 19, how
has the pandemic impacted the fireplace industry? We're in the early
stages of planning a major project which will include at least two fireplaces
and would like to know what's coming down the road in terms of
new technology and how much lead time will be necessary.
After drying up in March, April, and May during the shutdown in 2020, our fireplace business
started to pick back up in June, July, and August of 2020. It really took off in September and is
still going very strong in spite of the summer season which is typically when we relax a bit and
do upgrades in the showroom. Even with more staff on board it is still a challenge to keep up! We
are blessed with dependable staff who take their job seriously and rose to the challenge.
As for why we are seeing this extended uptick in demand, I believe it is a result of folks spending
so much more time at home and realizing how nice it would be to have a fireplace and how
an attractive and efficient fireplace helps in creating a cozy, comfortable, and enjoyable place to
be. There is also the fact that most of us didn't vacation much the last two years and, therefore,
have some extra funds to invest in our homes. I believe more and more homeowners are making
home improvement investments that can be enjoyed for years to come while adding value to
their homes.
Addressing the issue of supply and your concern for lead time, as with most other building products
today, this can be a challenge. Some manufacturers are really struggling to keep up, others
are doing fairly well. For us, depending on the scope of the job and the products needed, you
are looking at anywhere from 6 weeks to three months which we expect to continue through the
upcoming winter season. The bottom line is if you want it in time for the holidays do not delay too
long to start the process of visiting showrooms and doing your research.
Another effect from the shutdown and increase in demand is the development of new products.
While it varies by manufacturer, I would say that most of them have delayed rolling out new products
since the start of the pandemic in 2020. In fact, many of the new products we expected to
see this spring are being delayed until next spring. Some manufacturers however, like Mendota
(which we carry), are still going strong in innovation and are starting to roll out new products
and designs. Coming out soon is a whole new line of Net Zero Biofuel Zero Carbon Footprint and
electric/water fireplaces called the Waterplaces. The Biofuel fireplaces are starting to roll out
with the electric/water fireplaces using water and electric to make a stunning looking fireplace
starting mid-summer. (While we are hoping to add these to our showroom displays this summer,
the challenge is finding the time to do it!) The Net Zero line of fireplaces will complement their
gorgeous, hi-efficient gas fireplaces that are in high demand due to their very realistic look and
efficiency, and heat output. You can choose between a hi-efficiency high output, gas fireplace,
an extremely real looking fireplace by electric and water vapor, or a Biofuel fireplace that is the
cleanest burning fireplace without the need for a gas line or vent. I believe that this Net-Zero
technology will be a significant part of the fireplace industry's future-especially in warmer climate
areas where a fireplace ambiance is welcome but the heat is not. Maybe you have a room
where you would love to have a year-round fireplace but cannot run a gas line or a vent. They can
be installed in virtually any room and we have done many. We've been installing Dimplex water
vapor fireplaces for approximately 5 years and have had very good success with them. They are
especially popular in condos where a gas line cannot be run or vented through a wall. We carry
an assortment of attractive electric fireplaces that come in a variety of designs and styles.
In closing, despite some hiccups in supply, rest assured that the fireplace technology is robust
and as innovative as ever. Coming before too long, look for Wi-Fi controlled technology. In the
meantime come visit us at LanChester Grill & Hearth where we have the world's largest Mendota
fireplace display-over 80 units on display with 70 plus in operation.
Sam Jay Stoltzfus
Owner
LanChester
Grill & Hearth, LLC
ask the experts

R&A Magazine - Summer 2021

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https://www.nxtbook.com/ramagazine/ramag/SUMMER2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ramagazine/ramag/Spring-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ramagazine/ramag/Winter2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ramagazine/ramag/Fall2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/ramagazine/ramag/Summer2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ramag/winter2020
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