Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIV, No. 4
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Coldwell Banker Princeton Office

Prudential Fox and Roach, Realtors

Gloria Nilson GMAC Real Estate

Henderson Sotheby's International Realty

N.T. Callaway Princeton Office

Stockton Real Estate, LLC

Weichert, Realtors

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Iris Interiors

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Weather Forecast

It’s New to Us by Jean Stratton

BY THE FIRE: “With rising oil prices, people are trying to supplement their heating, and they are interested in energy-efficiency. Our fireplace and stove business is growing all the time.” John (left) and Chris Tor, owners with Robert Tor, of RPT Specialties, are shown by a direct vent gas stove.

RPT Specialties Stoves and Fireplaces Offers Sales. Service, and Installation

Nothing is quite as cozy as sitting by the fireside on a cold winter day. The aroma of the wood, the warmth of the fire, the colorful flames, and the final glowing embers summon memories of past fires, past winters, past gatherings. A fire creates warmth in more than one way. It is so often a focus for camaraderie, companionship, and conviviality.

Today, with advances in technology, there are many options in fireplaces, wood, pellet, and gas stoves, and the popular gas logs.

RPT Specialties, located at 901 Country Road 579 in Flemington, offers choices in all of these, as well as installation and service. A family-owned and operated business, with Robert Tor and his sons, John and Chris, it has been helping customers with complementary heating needs for 30 years.

“We have had many years of experience in the hearth industry, installing stoves and fireplaces in New Jersey and Pennsylvania,” says John Tor, “and we have had the showroom in Flemington for a year. We can really offer everything now: selling, installation, and service.”


Fireplace inserts, wood stoves, pellet stoves, gas stoves, gas fireplaces, and gas logs are among the specialties available. If you have an old fireplace that is beginning to show its years and is also inefficient, new energy-efficient wood or gas inserts can be retrofitted within the space. Unlike older fireplaces in which heat is often lost up the chimney, the efficiency of these new products can keep the entire area warm.

“A wood insert with a BTU output of 70,000 can actually heat a small house,” notes John.

Gas fireplace inserts are also available, and can be placed in existing fireplaces. These are popular because of their ease of operation — no need for carrying in the wood, getting the fire going, etc. They can be operated with a remote or an on/off switch.

Direct vent fireplaces and stoves can be placed anywhere in the room, and there are also vent-free gas fireplaces and free-standing stoves.

Another Option

Gas logs, placed in the existing fireplace, are another option. With the flick of a switch, these logs, in numerous styles and looking just like real wood, come to life, creating warmth and flickering flames.

In addition to fireplaces, wood, pellet, and gas stoves are increasingly in demand now. They are 75 to 80 percent energy-efficient, reports Chris Tor, with wood and pellet models currently the most popular.

Pellets are compressed sawdust, he explains, and are very energy-efficient (80 percent) and create extraordinary amounts of heat. Many of the stoves also have “Run Quiet” systems, which reduce rotor noise. In some cases, the wood and pellet stoves are so safe, they can be left unattended over night.

In addition, a $1500 tax credit is available for customers who purchase a 75 percent or more energy-efficient wood or pellet stove.

Many Styles

Popular brands at RPT are Napoleon and Enviro (both for stoves and fireplaces). They are high-quality and available in a variety of price ranges. A pellet stove can start at $1995; and gas logs are $995.

Stoves are offered in many styles, sizes, and assorted colors, including black, brown, green, and almond enamel. Cast iron fireplace surround finishes are also available in different colors and styles.

With their long experience in installing fireplaces and stoves, the Tor team is in a unique position to offer special service. “We really are one-stop shopping,” emphasizes John. “We sell the equipment, install it, and service it.”

“We don’t use sub-contractors, and one of us is always present on a job,” adds Chris. “We are all NFI (National Fireplace Institute)-certified. We’ll get the necessary permits, fill out the information, and see that everything is up-to-date. We also do a free consultation, a site-check. The actual installation work typically takes about a day.”

Second Houses

Customers are from all around the area, including many in Princeton. “We get to meet a lot of people and travel to lots of houses,” says John. “We go to the shore — some customers have second houses — and we have even gone to Long Island for jobs. Sometimes, we’ll put two or three stoves in a house.”

Business continues to increase as more and more people become aware of the need for energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly products, and they see the value of these types of stoves and fireplaces.

As the Napoleon information statement points out: “A Napoleon EPA-approved fireplace heats your home more efficiently and with less impact on the environment than any other heating fuel option.”

The RPT Specialties showroom is open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 10 to 5, Sunday 11 to 4. (908) 237-4620. Website:

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