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Electric Fireplaces are Perfect for Apartments and Condos

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Simplifire Wall-Mount Electric Fireplaces

Do you want to create a completely unique look and feel to your contemporary space? With SimpliFire’s four wall-mount electric fireplace options, you’ll take any room to the next level, with distinct ambiance and style. Choose from a variety of viewing areas and backlighting.

Viewing options: 38”, 58”, or 94”
LED backlighting – multicolored
Adjustable flame heights/intensity

Simplifire Built-In Electric Fireplace

Adding the traditional look of a fireplace to your home has never been this easy. A detailed masonry-style interior, textured log set and four different flame intensity levels enhance the appeal of the SimpliFire Built-In electric fireplace series. Enjoy the ambiance – with or without the heat. Experience "Fire Made Simple."

100% efficient, adjustable heat that costs just pennies an hour to operate
Enjoy the ambiance with or without heat
Never replace bulbs thanks to LED flame technology
Intuitive, multifunction remote for control at your fingertips
Zone heat your space to remain comfortable, while reducing your monthly bills
Available in 30” or 36” models
Up to 4,800 BTUs or 10,000 BTUs, depending on choice of power input

For more information on electric fireplaces, Contact The Fireplace Shop and Grill Center at West Sport in Sudbury, MA.

Huge Grill and Fireplace Sale! Save Money This Weekend

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, August 15, 2019

The Massachusetts sales tax holiday is back this weekend. Here’s what to know.

Your chance to save some cash is coming back on Aug. 17 and 18, 2019.

Everybody loves a deal.

And if there’s ever a prime opportunity to scoop one up in Massachusetts — fireplace insert or gas grill you’ve been eyeing — that moment is coming soon.

This weekend, the state’s sales tax holiday returns, giving shoppers a chance to make some big-ticket purchases without fretting over the Commonwealth’s usual 6.25 percent cut of the bill.

Here’s everything to know about the two-day, tax-free affair, including when it is and how you can use it.

When is the tax holiday?

This year’s holiday is set for Aug. 17 and 18.

It’s about a week later than last year’s event, when the annual, two-day exemption returned after lawmakers decided to forgo it in 2016 and 2017 because of budget gaps.

In June, Rep. Paul Donato told the State House News Service pushing the holiday back a week “would be a better time for businesses.”

You can take advantage of the tax exemptions as long as the item is paid for within Eastern Standard Time hours between Aug. 17 and 18.

No sales tax is due on that purchase, even if delivery of the item occurs after the sales tax holiday weekend.

Similarly, if you purchase an item in-store during the holiday, you can still schedule home delivery after the weekend ends without paying tax.

What’s exempt from being tax-free?

Some items and products are not tax-free during the weekend. They are:

  • Motorboats
  • Motor vehicles
  • Tobacco products
  • Marijuana or marijuana products
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Telecommunications services
  • Steam
  • Gas
  • Electricity
  • Any single item that costs more than $2,500

The tax holiday only applies to individuals who are buying items for personal use only.

Is there a limit? What is it?

Yes, there is a limit. The sales tax holiday only applies to items that cost $2,500 or less.

It’s important to note the $2,500 limit only applies to the cost of each individual item. If you purchase several items under that amount and the total bill surpasses $2,500, you won’t have to pay sales tax.

Are rentals tax-free? What about layaway purchases?

Generally speaking, rentals of up to 30 days are tax free during the holiday, but only if they are not one of the exempt items in the list above, such as motor vehicles or motor boats.

Do I have to pay tax if, after the holiday, I return or exchange an item I bought tax-free?

No. Taxes will not be retroactively charged.

What else should I know?

If you’re unable to make that big purchase in August, there’s always next year.

Massachusetts lawmakers passed a law in 2018 that permanently creates a tax holiday weekend every year, so rest assured you’ll have another chance to score a deal.

Contact The Fireplace Shop and Grill Center at West Sport in Sudbury, MA for more information.

Grilling with Propane

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, August 08, 2019
The Fireplace Shop and Grill Center at West Sport in Sudbury, MA - Blaze Gas Grills

Grilling with propane (and propane accessories) is looked down upon by many BBQ enthusiasts, as it doesn’t impart any flavor onto the meat in the same way that charcoal does. But after speaking to chefs around the country, we’ve found some who valiantly defend the use of propane.

It's convenient, like a 7-Eleven

If this article were the big board on Family Feud, the No. 1 survey answer would be: “It’s quick and easy!” All the experts we spoke to love charcoal. But on the flipside, it’s so easy to start a propane grill, you can do it with a beer in your hand, and that alone is a pretty good defense of propane. Plus, lighting charcoal is a huge pain in the neck. Also, grilling with gas is much more straightforward for basic weeknight grilling -- it's quick to set-up and quick to clean-up.

If you’re a weekend grill warrior and your days are filled with other activities, the time saved using a propane grill is beneficial. You just light it and wait for the temp to rise versus building a fire and keeping a watchful eye on it.

Propane is great if you want an “easy-going cookout.” Charcoal is not a set it and forget it type deal. There’s no loading of the grill or meticulously organizing coals and wood to evenly create hot zones. Plus, during the cooking process, it’s much easier to adjust your temperature as needed without having to poke the embers (and probably singe your favorite shirt in the process!).

Heat zones make grilling a snap

If you’re going to make the effort to grill, you’re probably wanting to whip up a few different proteins and vegetables. Propane grilling makes this a snap. It’s harder to control heat levels with charcoal, but with propane you can cook a whole meal on the grill. Higher heat on one side for grilling burgers, steaks or hot dogs, and lower heat on the other for buns or veggies like asparagus, eggplant and zucchini.

Vegetables are extremely propane-friendly

Just make sure there’s no flame on the vegetables as they’re grilling or they’ll get a bad taste and burn marks. Position them at ten o’clock and then switch them over to two o’clock and you’ll have perfect x’s on your vegetables.

Plus, the smoky flavors imparted by charcoal aren’t always welcome. While it’s harder to develop smoky flavor profiles you get from wood on a propane grill, that same smokiness can also be a disadvantage by overpowering certain foods that are more delicate, like seafood or vegetables.

Smoking is still an option

There’s a way to get smoky flavors from a propane grill. Many of the newer grills have smoke boxes that allow you to put in wood chips that create flavorful smoke. So you can actually smoke, say, a pork shoulder on your propane grill. It’s not optimal, but you can get good smoke flavor into the meat.

For those without a new propane grill, you can always take hickory or cherry wood chips and wrap them in aluminum foil,” he recommended. Poke a couple of holes in the top, and they’ll smolder on the grill to fill it with smoke, achieving that desired extra flavor element followed by a two-second clean-up. No big deal, as you were headed back to the grill for seconds regardless.

Need a new grill, take advantage of tax-free weekend. Contact The Fireplace Shop and Grill Center at West Sport in Sudbury, MA for more information.

Huge Sale Tax Free Weekend!

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, August 01, 2019


Buy a Wood Burning Fireplace Insert and Pay No Tax!

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, July 17, 2019
The Fireplace Shop and Grill Center at West Sport in Sudbury, MA - Clydesdale fireplace wood-fired insert

This may be the perfect time to start thinking about heating your home this winter. Right now, at The Fireplace & Grill Center at West Sport in Sudbury, buy any Hearthstone Fireplace insert and pay no sales tax!

In fact, you don’t even have to wait until August 17th and 18th. You can shop now and pay later.

If you want to save money, increase energy efficiency and make your living space more attractive, a fireplace insert is a perfect solution. Traditional open fireplaces are inefficient. An insert is more efficient than a traditional open fireplace because it allows the fire to burn hotter. They also prevent heat from going up the chimney like in an open fireplace. The heat is instead forced out into your home, making it more comfortable.

Additionally, a new fireplace insert is an easy and fairly inexpensive way to update the look of your home. You can add a focal point to your room with the addition of a beautifully crafted stove or fireplace insert and don’t pay any sales tax.

Massachusetts winters are cold. Everyone wants a welcoming fire at home. Why not burn a fire that is more efficient and cost effective while adding beauty?

Many Hearthstone stoves and inserts have efficiency ratings over 80%. Contact us The Fireplace Shop and Grill Center at West Sport in Sudbury, MA.

Massachusetts Tax-Free Weekend is Set For August 17-18

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Massachusetts’ annual sales tax holiday will be held the weekend of Aug. 17-18, 2019.

Both the House and the Senate agreed on the date in resolutions passed during sparsely attended informal legislative sessions on Thursday.

This is the first year that Massachusetts retailers have been assured that the sales tax holiday weekend will occur, after the so-called Grand Bargain signed by Gov. Charlie Baker in 2018 made the annual tax holiday permanent.

In the past, lawmakers have decided each summer whether to hold a sales tax holiday, based on the condition of state revenues.

Retailers say the sales tax holiday boosts sales during a slow time of summer.

Under the new law, lawmakers have until June 15 to set the dates of the annual holiday, or the Department of Revenue will do it.

The sales tax break will apply to purchases under $2,500. It will exclude purchases of tobacco, marijuana, alcohol, cars, motorboats, telecommunications, gas, steam and electricity.

Shoppers save approximately $20 million a year during the two-day waiver of the state’s 6.25% sales tax.

Come visit The Fireplace & Grill Center at West Sport.


Smaller Gas Grills for Smaller Outdoor Spaces

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, June 26, 2019
West Sport, Sudbury, Boston, MA

Are you looking to buy a new grill? If so, you have many choices. If you have downsized to a new space, smaller grills are perfect for smaller yards and patios, and urban living. Just because you may have less space, this doesn’t mean that you need to compromise. Monster grills might be popular, but if it’s a small yard or outdoor space, the perfect gas grill can add ease and simplicity to outdoor cooking.

Many gas grills are too big for smaller spaces. But, there are options for a full-sized grill in a compact package; perfect for singles, couples and today’s smaller families. Grill the perfect steak; roast a chicken to perfection on the infrared rotisserie. Smaller gas grills offer the perfect balance between performance and flexibility and are ideal for smaller patios and decks.

A grill that doesn’t take up a lot of space is good for townhouse decks, garden apartments, and smaller yards. A small gas grill is popular with new home buyers as well as downsizing boomers. There has been increasing demand from customers for higher-end smaller gas grills.

For more information on gas grills, contact The Fireplace & Grill Center at West Sport.

How to Light a Charcoal Grill

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, June 05, 2019
West Sport, Sudbury, Boston, MA

You’ve marinated the meat, whipped up some sensational side dishes and checked the weather forecast repeatedly for the merest suggestion of rain. On the face of it, you’re all set to grill your way to a blaze of barbecue glory. Until, that is, the time comes to light the darn thing.

If you’ve found yourself fumbling with firelighters as your guests arrive one too many times, our guide to becoming a charcoal grill lighting champion is essential reading for a summer of fuss-free al fresco feasting. Just follow our step-by-step guide.

STEP 1: Make sure your barbecue is stable

For obvious safety reasons, always check your barbecue is standing sturdily on a flat surface and has no wobbly legs, before you fire it up.

STEP 2: Give some thought to your fuel

The best type of fuel to use on your barbecue will depend on what you're cooking and how long you want to cook for.

Charcoal briquettes are uniform in size and burn at an even temperature for longer periods so they’re perfect if you’re cooking for large crowds or roasting a whole joint of meat,' explained an expert from Weber, which makes the highest scoring barbecue in our most recent tests. Lumpwood charcoal, on the other hand, lights quicker, burns hotter and and delivers a subtle smoky flavor. You'll get up to one hour of cooking time from lump charcoal so it's suited to grilling smaller cuts of meat or vegetables that take no longer than 15-20 minutes to cook.'

STEP 3: Get the timing right

Allow plenty of time before you plan to start cooking to get your barbecue to the correct temperature. If there are still flames licking the charcoal, you risk burning the outside of your food while the inside remains dangerously under cooked. You'll know when the barbecue is ready to cook on because the flames will have died down and the charcoal will be glowing red with an ashy grey coating.

Don't forget to allow 10-15 minutes to pre-heat the grill before you start cooking on it.

STEP 4: Consider using a chimney fire starter

You can do things the traditional way, by placing scrunched up newspaper balls in the bottom of the barbecue, then topping this with charcoal on top.

However, using a chimney barbecue starter to light and burn your charcoal can help get things going faster.

The cylindrical shape of the starter means the charcoal lights quickly and evenly as the flames funnel up due to the chimney effect. Once the flames start licking through the top - usually in around 20 minutes - they’re ready to pour into your barbecue.

Using a chimney starter can also help measure out the correct amount of charcoal for what you're cooking. We recommend filling 1/3 of a chimney starter with charcoal for a low heat, filling half a chimney starter for an ideal roasting temperature, or using a full chimney starter for a high heat if you want to sear steaks.

STEP 5: Place your charcoal carefully

If your barbecue doesn't have a lid and you want an even temperature across the cooking surface of the barbecue grill, spread out your coals. If you want a hotter area in the middle for searing, but a cooler temperature around the edges for slower cooking right through your food, leave the charcoal piled up in the center of the barbecue.

If your barbecue has a lid, this will help regulate the temperature inside anyway, so where your charcoal ends up is less of an issue.

For more information on charcoal grills, contact The Fireplace & Grill Center at West Sport.


Buying the Right Grill

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, May 29, 2019
West Sport, Sudbury, Boston, MA

With so many outdoor grills on the market today, it can be complicated when considering buying one. Here are some pointers on finding the right grill for you. First off, gas or charcoal? Many will tell you it’s charcoal or nothing. But, it's a personal preference based on what you like to cook, how often you grill and how much you want to spend.

For example, if you mostly cook steak and burgers, a gas grill is just fine. You can cook those meats quickly, and when they’re done, you just turn it off and there isn’t much clean-up.

If you are more of a brisket and pulled pork person, then a smoker or pellet grill might be best. These bigger cuts of meat are slow-smoked and the smoke flavor that comes from cooking with charcoal plays a big part. A gas grill just can’t give you that.

Also think about how often you barbecue. If you are planning to barbecue a lot, then invest in something durable and versatile. If it’s just once in a while, then there’s no need for a big, expensive grill, in my opinion. Get something simple, and you’ll get your money’s worth.

If you’re feeding a lot of people you need a larger grill surface for larger cuts of meat or a lot of burgers, dogs or chicken. You don’t want half the group waiting while the other half is enjoying their food.

You could also personally have a gas grill, a fire pit grill and a smoker! A smoker is a beautiful thing. Smoked brisket, smoked ribs, smoked turkey. You have to be a dedicated (think 10-12 hours) cook if you want to get into smokers, but the modern ones are a lot easier to use.

Do your research, because there are a lot of brands, styles, sizes and price levels. No matter what grill you choose – charcoal or gas, big or small, smoker, the important thing is that barbecue season is finally here –fire it up and get cooking!

Contact The Fireplace & Grill Center at West Sport for more information.


Celebrate BBQ Month with a NEW GRILL

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, May 22, 2019


The Fireplace Shop & Grill - Sudbury, MA


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