FAQs - Tevis Home



Which type of fireplace should I choose: gas, wood or pellet?
The answer to this question has many variable and often depends on your situation. As with any home purchasing decision they each have pro’s and con’s.

Pellet Stoves
• Units are thermostatically controlled
• Blowers circulate heat
• No need for a traditional chimney
• Pellets are more efficient than cord wood
• Units are cleaner than firewood, but pellets are still made of wood and can be dusty
• Relies on electricity
• Require the most in depth maintenance of the options. Pellet stoves require complete disassembly to clean, this is done periodically depending on use.

LP or Natural Gas
• Clean and quick burning
• Economical
• Controlled by a thermostat or remote
• No chimney or electricity required
• Powered by natural gas, with fluctuating prices
• Critics find the flames look mechanical

• The biggest heater for the money
• Works without electricity
• Requires the most manual labor
• Is very messy
• You must have a chimney

What is the difference between a fireplace and an insert?
Fireplaces can be either masonry or factory-built. A masonry fireplace is almost always built of bricks. A factory-built, also called prefab, fireplace are a metal box with refractory bricks inside manufactured to be framed into a house, without masonry. Sometimes they are gas fireplaces, but they are often for burning wood.

So what’s a fireplace insert? In a word, it’s a stove. Either gas or wood, it’s a stove which is inserted into an open fireplace. Fireplace inserts are almost exclusively installed into masonry fireplaces, though there are a few very special models which are listed to be installed into prefabricated fireplaces.

Do I need vented or vent free?
A direct vent fireplace has a completely sealed combustion chamber which allows it to vent directly out a side wall or through the ceiling of your home.  The benefit of this system is that it brings in air from the outside of the home rather than using the room air and vents the exhaust out of the home as well.

A ventless (or vent-free) fireplace uses room air from the home for combustion. The exhaust products are released into the home. These units must be properly sized and installed for problem free use and can be the most beneficial and efficient heating source for the home.

How do I convert my wood fireplace to propane or natural gas?
Everyone loves the coziness and warmth of a crackling wood fire, but as wonderful as wood is, there may come a day when you’d like to convert to gas. The convenience of gas means no more stacking and hauling wood, no more ash to clean up, and no more strategy required to start a fire. A remote control or wall switch magically ignites the flames. Homeowners often find they “make” more fires and enjoy their fireplace more frequently after converting to gas.

If you are contemplating converting, there are multiple options.

  • A direct vent gas insert is essentially a complete fireplace installed within the firebox of the existing wood-burning fireplace.  It is dramatically more efficient than wood. Instead of losing heat and energy from the draft of an open-masonry hearth, they are closed systems that propel warmth into the room, and even better, they’re controlled with the flip or a switch or the tap of a remote. 
  • An electric fireplace insert is installed in much the same way as a gas insert, with the exception that it does not need to vent to the outdoors, making it an excellent choice for nonfunctioning chimneys. There is no actual fire in an electric fireplace, but newer models are available with highly realistic LED “flames” for ambiance. 
  • Vented gas logs are less expensive then the gas inserts. Gas logs are ceramic appliances that mimic a real wood fire. In these conversions, existing dampers in masonry fireplaces are clamped open for safety so that gas fumes are not directed into the homes. 
  • A pellet insert is cleaner burning than wood, wood-pellet stoves can provide a lot of heat and are relatively inexpensive to operate. They do require electricity to run the hopper, which feeds wood pellets into the fire. Some chimneys may need to be outfitted with a metal insert for safety.



Why a ceramic smoker?
Ceramic smokers have sides and domes that absorb heat and radiate it back like a professional brick oven. They are easy to start in all weather conditions, the insulation means that they need very little charcoal or oxygen. The thick sides retain and radiate heat very efficiently. When meat heats up a lot of liquid evaporates from its surfaces, and the more airflow the more the meat dries out. Since ceramics have low airflow, meat remains juicier Ceramics are so well insulated and the interior absorbs and radiates heat so evenly that they are very good at holding steady temps. The meat is usually higher up above the coals than normal charcoal grills, so there are no flare-ups, and temperature control is easy once you get the hang of it with intake dampers down low and outflow dampers on the top. Although ceramic smokers may have the biggest learning curve of all outdoor cookers, they supply the most gratifying and best tasting food for all types of cooking.
Do I really want a sear burner?
What is Searing?
The purpose of searing meat is to create a flavorful crust that locks in the meats juices throughout the cooking process. Searing is authentically done at a temp of about 1800 degrees. All of the famous steakhouses across the United States cook their steaks at this temperature. Currently, Napoleon Grills are the only brand in our local market to offer an 1800 degree sear burner standard on a grill, allowing you to sear your steaks just like the pros. Don’t be fooled by other brands “searing” claims. Most do not even get to 1000 degrees.
How do we use it?

Using the Sear Station is simple, but there are a few things to keep in mind. 
Once the grill has come up to temp it’s time to put the food to be seared onto the Sear Station. Depending on what is being cooked, you’ll need to sear each side of the food anywhere from 1 to 4 minutes, but don’t be afraid to experiment with searing times to get the results that work best for you. When you have finished searing, you can move the food to a different part of the cooking grates, where the heat is lower, to finish the cooking process.
 Some people like to employ the “reverse sear” method, in which the food is cooked almost to completion over a more lower temperature, and then moved to the Sear Station just before it’s done to sear it.
Searing is what produces those classic grill marks on food, and it provides a texture and taste contrast that make any food more interesting to eat.
How many BTUs do I really need?
In the past this question would probably be answered differently, 100 BTUs per square inch was the goal of many companies. Newer models of grills are more efficiently designed and typically do not need as high an output. For a standard gas grill it is recommend looking at how the lid fits to the body. If it is a close fit and the components, like the cooking grates, are heavy the grill should heat hot and fast with a BTU rating of 80 to 100 per square inch.
How big of a grill should I actually have?
The question comes down to how much cooking surface you will need. If you will only be cooking a couple burgers at a time, you probably do not need a large grill. There are models that have a cooking area that’s only 285 square inches, but will cook just as well as grills with larger cooking areas. The problem is that you can’t cook large quantities of food at once and if you plan to do a lot of large cookouts, consider the extra time and fuel that will be required if you can’t fit more than a few burgers on your limited surface area.
In order to determine and compare grills, start by looking at the number of square inches of primary cooking surface. That’s the main cooking grate. Some manufacturer’s list total cooking area and that includes the warming rack suspended above the primary cooking area. Square inches are calculated by multiplying the length by the width of the primary cooking surface. When deciding how much surface you need, remember that you do not want to crowd a grill, that you should leave at least an inch between steaks or other things being cooked.
Other than price, what is the difference between inexpensive big box store grills and a Tevis Home grill?
The two things Tevis Home stands for is quality & warranty. The basic Napoleon gas grill will cost more than the typical gas grill from a big box store. But with this initial cost comes materials that are a better quality. In addition a grill purchased at Tevis Home comes with the backing of Tevis as well as that of our manufacturers. Tevis Home is available to help with any issues that may arise with your grill. You will speak to a knowledgeable professional who can supply you with home service if necessary and desired.
How about the difference between Napoleon and Weber?
Napoleon & Weber are direct competitors. All of their products offered are mirrors of each other. You will find yourself asking, why Napoleon? If you take the time to compare lines, you will find that Napoleon packs slightly better features for your dollar, and comes with a much better standard warranty.