Remember that time when I tackled my wife's Instagram design dreams by tiling around our new gas fireplace (complete with battery-operated starter)? We got it installed right before we hosted family for the holidays and I finished up the surround myself afterward.

We still love it, but I recently learned something I'd like to pass onto you: December and January are NOT the best months to buy fireplaces or wood-burning stoves. RIGHT NOW actually is ideal.

Summer typically is a slower time for stove and fireplace installation, so shopping now means you can take advantage of last season's prices. I know Pro Fireplace, which installed my fireplace, is offering a free vent kit with gas units and a free blower with wood units. They also have several display units on sale at HUGE discounts.

If you're thinking about upgrading your home with a fireplace or wood-burning stove, here are some things to think about before you start shopping, as I gleaned from this This Old House article:

1) Do you want to reliably generate heat or is your main goal ambiance?

2) What options do you have for venting? Gas inserts can be added to existing fireplaces, and gas zero-clearance fireplaces "can be built into almost any wall and exhaust directly out of an exterior wall," according to

Once you have a few ideas about what you want to do, head down to Pro Fireplace on Southwestern Boulevard between Union and Michael on the border of Orchard Park & West Seneca.

Mike and Wayne did our installation and they did an incredible job. If it weren't for the beautiful fireplace there in my living room when I got home, I wouldn't know they were even there. They installed the fireplace, framed it in, ran electric, and even ran the electric for my TV so I could mount it above the mantle.

Here's a look at some of their other work: