A warming trend

Sales of firewood, fireplaces get boost


Owner of Wood Stove and Fireplace Center, Jean Duggan stokes the fire on a wood burning "Fireplace Xtrordinair" in the back room of her store on Saturday morning. "I think there is something relaxing about watching a fire," Duggan said.

Lee Ferinden/Special to the Sun
Published: Sunday, January 5, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 4, 2003 at 10:25 p.m.

Facts

FYI: FIREPLACE TIPS

Jean Duggan gives these tips for starting a fire:

  • Before starting the fire, warm the chimney by burning newspaper.
  • Use well-seasoned wood or logs that have been dried and split for at least six months. Newer, wetter logs won't burn or give off heat as well as older, drier logs. The ends should be cracked. If you hit two pieces together, they should make a hollow sound, not a thud.
  • Grocery stores often have good logs, but they can be expensive. The best way to find high-quality firewood is by word-of-mouth.

  • It may rarely get cold enough to snow in sunny Florida, but some local homeowners know you don't need freezing weather to light a blazing hearth.
    Firewood has been flying off the shelves of local stores for several months, thanks to unusually cold weather this fall and winter.
    According to the National Weather Service, temperatures dropped to 32 degrees early Saturday morning, well below the normal low of 42. The chill, however, didn't break the record of 23 degrees, set back in 1928.
    Meteorologist Matt Zibura said a hard freeze warning was expected early Sunday morning, with temperatures falling into the mid-20s.
    And with below-average temperatures expected for the rest of the month, sales of firewood and fireplaces are expected to be roaring.
    "For many people, there's something very relaxing about watching fire, and many people want a fireplace in their house," said Jean Duggan, co-owner of Wood Stove and Fireplace Center on N. Main Street. She said business has been brisk since she opened the store in 1975.
    But fireplaces and wood stoves aren't just for decoration, she said. Some homeowners want a supplemental heat source in case a hard freeze causes electricity to go out.
    They're also easier on the wallet than central heating systems, she said.
    "People are getting more economical, and they're thinking in terms of zoned heating," she said. For instance, homeowners might put a fireplace in a family room where they know they'll be spending much of their time, and turn the thermostat down in the rest of the house.
    Zibura said Saturday night/Sunday morning lows aren't expected to reach the record low of 21 degrees, and today should be sunny and slightly warmer. The weather should remain cool and dry through Friday, with highs in mid- 60s and lows in the 30s.
    Ashley Rowland can be reached at 374-5095 or rowlana@ gvillesun.com.

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