White Mountain Hearth

History of the company

Empire manufactures White Mountain Hearth indoor and outdoor fireplaces, inserts, logs & burners, cast iron stoves, and mantels at the company’s two manufacturing facilities in Belleville, Illinois, just outside of St. Louis.  The company has provided jobs to southern Illinois residents for more than 100 years – both in the original sheet metal shop dating back to 1911 and in the manufacturing facility that opened in 1932.  The children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren of some of the original employees still proudly work to produce our products, truly making this a family business.

Today, Empire employs hundreds of people in manufacturing, office staff, sales, marketing, engineering, accounting, administration, and management.

Mission and values

White Mountain Hearth’s mission is to provide exceptional hearth products that enhance the comfort, beauty, and enjoyment of homes. They aim to create innovative, reliable, and efficient fireplaces, stoves, and hearth products that meet the needs and exceed the expectations of their customers.

In terms of values, White Mountain Hearth is committed to several key principles:

Quality: They prioritize the highest level of quality in their products, ensuring durability, performance, and safety. They strive to deliver products that meet rigorous industry standards and customer expectations.

Innovation: White Mountain Hearth values innovation and continuously seeks to improve their products and processes. They invest in research and development to stay at the forefront of technological advancements in the hearth industry.

Customer Satisfaction: The company places great importance on customer satisfaction. They aim to provide excellent customer service, assist customers in selecting the right products for their needs, and offer support throughout the entire buying and ownership experience.

Environmental Responsibility: White Mountain Hearth is committed to environmental responsibility and sustainability. They design and manufacture products that prioritize energy efficiency, reducing environmental impact while providing optimal heating solutions.

Collaboration: The company values collaboration and maintains partnerships with distributors, dealers, and industry professionals. They work closely with their network to ensure effective communication, product availability, and support for their customers.

These values guide White Mountain Hearth in their operations, product development, and customer relationships, reflecting their dedication to creating high-quality hearth products and providing a positive experience for their customers.

Overview of product line

Fireplaces: White Mountain Hearth provides a variety of fireplace options, including:

Wood-Burning Fireplaces: Traditional and rustic wood-burning fireplaces that offer the authentic crackling and cozy ambiance of a real wood fire.

Gas Fireplaces: Efficient and convenient gas fireplaces that provide instant warmth and adjustable flame settings. They are available in various styles, such as traditional, contemporary, and linear designs.

Electric Fireplaces: Easy-to-install electric fireplaces that offer flame-like effects and supplemental heat. They provide a hassle-free alternative to traditional fireplaces, without the need for venting or fuel.

Outdoor Fireplaces: Fireplaces designed specifically for outdoor use, allowing you to create an inviting gathering space in your backyard or patio.

Stoves: White Mountain Hearth offers a range of stoves, including:

Wood-Burning Stoves: Traditional and efficient wood-burning stoves that provide warmth and a cozy atmosphere. They come in various sizes and styles to suit different spaces.

Gas Stoves: Gas-powered stoves that provide the convenience of clean-burning fuel and adjustable heat settings. They are available in freestanding and insert models.

Inserts: White Mountain Hearth offers fireplace inserts that can be installed into an existing wood-burning fireplace or a masonry fireplace. These inserts transform inefficient fireplaces into efficient heating sources while preserving the aesthetic appeal of the original fireplace.

Log Sets: They offer a range of realistic gas log sets that can be used with gas fireplaces or as log inserts for existing fireplaces. These log sets provide the appearance of a traditional wood-burning fire without the hassle of wood.

Accessories: White Mountain Hearth provides a selection of hearth accessories, including mantels, surrounds, shelves, and decorative media options (such as logs, stones, and glass) to customize and personalize your fireplace or stove.

Features and benefits of White Mountain Hearth Fireplaces

Energy Efficiency: White Mountain Hearth fireplaces often incorporate energy-efficient technologies, such as direct vent systems and high-efficiency burners. These features help maximize heat output while minimizing heat loss, resulting in efficient heating and potential cost savings on energy bills.

Multiple Fuel Options: Depending on the model, White Mountain Hearth fireplaces may offer multiple fuel options, including wood-burning, gas, and electric. This allows you to choose the fuel type that best suits your preferences and needs.

Stylish Designs: White Mountain Hearth fireplaces come in a variety of styles and designs to complement different home aesthetics. Whether you prefer a traditional, contemporary, or modern look, there are options available to match your desired décor.

Convenience and Control: Gas and electric fireplaces from White Mountain Hearth often offer convenient features such as remote controls, programmable thermostats, and adjustable flame settings. These features allow you to easily control the heat output and flame appearance, providing a hassle-free fireplace experience.

Safety Features: White Mountain Hearth fireplaces prioritize safety and may include features such as tempered glass doors, automatic shut-off valves, and flame monitoring systems. These safety measures help ensure the secure operation of the fireplace.

Ambiance and Comfort: Fireplaces from White Mountain Hearth create a warm and inviting atmosphere in your living space. The flickering flames, realistic logs or media options, and radiant heat contribute to a cozy and comfortable ambiance.

Customization Options: Some White Mountain Hearth fireplaces offer customization options such as decorative surrounds, mantels, and media choices (such as log sets, stones, or glass). These options allow you to personalize the appearance of your fireplace and tailor it to your taste.

Comparison to traditional fireplaces

Efficiency: White Mountain Hearth fireplaces, especially gas and electric models, are designed to be highly efficient. They often incorporate technologies such as direct vent systems and high-efficiency burners, which maximize heat output and minimize heat loss. Traditional fireplaces, on the other hand, can be less efficient as they lose a significant amount of heat through the chimney.

Convenience: White Mountain Hearth fireplaces offer convenience features like remote controls, programmable thermostats, and adjustable flame settings. These features make it easy to control the heat output and flame appearance. Traditional fireplaces require manual effort to start the fire, maintain it, and control the heat.

Fuel Source: White Mountain Hearth fireplaces provide flexibility in terms of fuel options. They offer gas, electric, and wood-burning models. Traditional fireplaces primarily rely on wood as the fuel source, which requires gathering, storing, and handling firewood.

Safety: White Mountain Hearth fireplaces often incorporate safety features such as tempered glass doors, automatic shut-off valves, and flame monitoring systems. These features enhance safety by preventing accidental fires and monitoring the flame for any irregularities. Traditional fireplaces can pose safety risks due to sparks, smoke, and potential chimney fires.

Installation and Maintenance: White Mountain Hearth fireplaces are designed for easier installation compared to traditional fireplaces. They often come as complete units that can be installed without the need for extensive masonry work. Maintenance of White Mountain Hearth fireplaces is also generally simpler, as they require less frequent cleaning and maintenance compared to traditional fireplaces.

Aesthetics and Design: Both White Mountain Hearth fireplaces and traditional fireplaces can offer aesthetically pleasing options. However, White Mountain Hearth provides a wider range of styles, designs, and customization options to suit various home aesthetics and personal preferences.

It’s important to note that traditional fireplaces have their own charm and appeal, especially for those who enjoy the authentic crackling and aroma of a wood-burning fire. The choice between White Mountain Hearth fireplaces and traditional fireplaces depends on individual preferences, priorities, and the specific needs of the space where the fireplace will be installed.

Manufacturing Process

Sustainability practices

Energy Efficiency: Hearth product manufacturers, including White Mountain Hearth, strive to develop and offer energy-efficient products. This includes utilizing advanced technologies, such as high-efficiency burners and insulation materials, to maximize heat output and minimize energy waste.

Emissions Reduction: Manufacturers focus on reducing emissions from their products by developing clean-burning technologies. This involves the use of low-emission burners and efficient combustion systems to minimize the release of pollutants into the atmosphere.

Sustainable Materials: Hearth product manufacturers may incorporate sustainable materials in their products. This can include using recycled or renewable materials in the construction of fireplaces, stoves, and inserts, reducing the environmental impact of production processes.

Packaging and Shipping: Companies often work to minimize packaging waste and optimize shipping methods to reduce carbon emissions. This can involve using recyclable or biodegradable packaging materials and implementing efficient logistics strategies to reduce transportation-related carbon footprint.

Environmental Compliance: Manufacturers aim to meet or exceed relevant environmental regulations and standards. This includes adhering to emissions limits and ensuring their products are certified and compliant with industry standards and codes.

Materials used

Steel: Steel is a commonly used material in the construction of fireboxes, frames, and other structural components of hearth products. It offers strength, durability, and heat resistance.

Cast Iron: Cast iron is often used in the manufacturing of wood-burning stoves and fireplace inserts. It has excellent heat retention properties and can withstand high temperatures.

Ceramic Fiber: Ceramic fiber is used for insulation purposes in fireboxes and other areas where heat retention and insulation are crucial. It helps improve the efficiency of the fireplace or stove by minimizing heat loss.

Tempered Glass: Tempered glass is used for fireplace doors, inserts, and viewing windows. It is designed to withstand high temperatures and provides safety by reducing the risk of shattering if exposed to rapid temperature changes.

Refractory Materials: Refractory materials, such as firebricks and refractory cement, are used in fireboxes and liners to withstand high temperatures and provide insulation.

Decorative Media: For gas fireplaces, manufacturers often use ceramic logs, stones, or glass as decorative media options. These materials are designed to withstand the heat produced by the gas burner and provide an aesthetic appeal to the fireplace.

Production methods

Design and Engineering: Hearth product manufacturers, including White Mountain Hearth, employ design and engineering teams to create innovative and functional products. This involves conceptualizing product designs, creating 3D models and prototypes, and ensuring compliance with safety and performance standards.

Materials Sourcing: Manufacturers source the necessary materials and components from suppliers. They establish relationships with trusted suppliers who provide quality materials that meet the specifications required for the production of hearth products.

Fabrication and Manufacturing: Once the design and materials are finalized, the fabrication and manufacturing process begins. This typically involves various techniques such as cutting, bending, welding, and forming the materials to create the components of the hearth products. Assembly lines or specialized workstations are often used to streamline the production process.

Quality Control: Throughout the production process, manufacturers implement quality control measures to ensure that the products meet strict standards and specifications. This involves inspections, testing, and quality assurance procedures at different stages of production to identify and address any defects or issues.

Finishing and Coating: After the fabrication process, hearth products may undergo finishing and coating processes to enhance their appearance, durability, and protection against corrosion. This can include processes like painting, powder coating, or applying heat-resistant finishes.

Testing and Certification: Prior to distribution, manufacturers conduct rigorous testing on their hearth products to verify performance, safety, and compliance with industry standards and regulations. This may involve conducting tests related to heat output, emissions, efficiency, and safety features.

Packaging and Shipping: Once the products pass quality control and testing, they are packaged appropriately to ensure safe transportation. Manufacturers may use recyclable or eco-friendly packaging materials to minimize waste. Efficient logistics and shipping methods are employed to deliver the products to distributors and retailers.


Energy efficiency

High-Efficiency Burners: Many gas fireplaces and stoves incorporate high-efficiency burners that optimize the combustion process to maximize heat output while minimizing fuel consumption.

Direct Vent Systems: Direct venting is a common feature in gas fireplaces and stoves. This system draws in outside air for combustion, while also venting the exhaust gases directly outside. It improves efficiency by reducing heat loss and preventing drafts.

Zone Heating: Zone heating involves heating specific areas of a home where occupants spend the most time, rather than heating the entire space. It allows for more efficient use of energy by avoiding heating unoccupied areas.

Programmable Thermostats: Programmable thermostats enable users to schedule temperature settings and control when the fireplace or stove operates. This helps optimize energy usage by aligning heating with actual occupancy patterns.

Insulation and Sealing: Proper insulation and sealing around the fireplace or stove help prevent heat loss and air leakage. This ensures that the heat generated by the hearth product is effectively directed into the room and not wasted.

LED Lighting: Electric fireplaces often incorporate energy-efficient LED lighting. LED lights consume less energy compared to traditional incandescent or halogen bulbs and can provide long-lasting illumination.

Energy-Efficient Motors and Fans: For products with built-in blowers or fans, manufacturers may use energy-efficient motors and fans that consume less electricity while effectively distributing heat throughout the room.

Energy Star Certification: Some hearth products may carry Energy Star certification, indicating that they meet or exceed stringent energy efficiency criteria set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or other relevant authorities.

Cost savings

Reduced Energy Consumption: Energy-efficient fireplaces, stoves, and inserts consume less fuel (such as gas or electricity) to produce the same amount of heat compared to less efficient models. This can result in lower energy bills over time, especially during the colder months when heating demands are higher.

Zone Heating: Energy-efficient hearth products allow you to practice zone heating, where you heat specific areas of your home instead of the entire space. By focusing on occupied rooms and reducing heating in unused areas, you can save on heating costs.

Programmable Thermostats: Many energy-efficient hearth products come with programmable thermostats, allowing you to schedule heating times and temperatures. This means you can adjust the fireplace or stove to turn on or off automatically based on your daily routines, avoiding unnecessary energy usage.

Reduced Maintenance Costs: Energy-efficient hearth products are often designed with advanced technologies and materials that require less maintenance. This can lead to reduced maintenance and repair costs over the lifespan of the product.

Lower Emissions: Energy-efficient hearth products typically produce lower emissions, especially gas and electric models. This not only benefits the environment but can also result in cost savings, as some jurisdictions offer incentives or rebates for using eco-friendly appliances.

Long-Term Investment: While energy-efficient hearth products may have a higher upfront cost compared to less efficient models, they are often a more cost-effective long-term investment. The energy savings and potential incentives can help offset the initial purchase price over time.

Increased Home Value: Energy-efficient features, including energy-efficient hearth products, can enhance the overall value of your home. Buyers are often willing to pay more for homes with energy-saving amenities, making it a wise investment if you plan to sell your property in the future.

Environmental impact

Fuel Source: The choice of fuel used in the hearth product can significantly impact its environmental footprint. Wood-burning fireplaces and stoves emit particulate matter, carbon monoxide, and other pollutants into the air, contributing to local air quality issues. Gas and electric fireplaces, on the other hand, can be more environmentally friendly, especially if they use clean-burning natural gas or electricity generated from renewable sources.

Emissions: The combustion of fuels in hearth products can result in greenhouse gas emissions, such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4), which contribute to climate change. Manufacturers often work to minimize emissions through the use of low-emission burners and technologies that improve combustion efficiency.

Energy Efficiency: Energy-efficient hearth products consume less fuel or electricity to produce the same amount of heat. Higher energy efficiency translates to reduced greenhouse gas emissions and lower overall environmental impact, as less energy is required to provide the desired heating.

Materials: The materials used in the manufacturing of hearth products can impact their environmental footprint. Opting for sustainable and recyclable materials helps reduce the ecological impact and promotes resource conservation.

Waste Generation: The manufacturing process may generate waste materials, such as packaging materials and manufacturing by-products. Efforts to minimize waste generation and promote recycling and responsible disposal can reduce the environmental impact.

Sustainable Practices: Manufacturers can adopt sustainable practices throughout the product lifecycle, including responsible sourcing of materials, energy-efficient manufacturing processes, and eco-friendly packaging and shipping practices.

End-of-Life Management: Proper disposal or recycling of hearth products at the end of their lifecycle is essential to reduce environmental impact. Some manufacturers offer take-back programs or promote the recycling of old units to minimize waste.

Certifications: Environmental certifications, such as Energy Star and other eco-labels, can help consumers identify hearth products with reduced environmental impact and higher energy efficiency.

Considerations for Buyers

Installation requirements

Venting: For gas fireplaces and stoves, proper venting is crucial to exhaust combustion by-products safely. Direct venting systems are commonly used, which involve two pipes—one for fresh air intake and the other for venting the exhaust gases outside. The venting configuration may vary based on the product model and the layout of your home.

Clearances: All hearth products have specific clearance requirements, which define the minimum distances that must be maintained between the appliance and combustible materials, such as walls, floors, and furniture. It’s essential to adhere to these clearances to prevent fire hazards.

Combustible Floors: Some hearth products require the use of non-combustible floor protection, like a hearth pad or a fire-resistant material, to protect the floor from heat and potential sparks.

Framing and Support: Depending on the product type and installation location, proper framing and support may be necessary to accommodate the weight and size of the hearth product.

Gas Line or Electrical Connection: Gas fireplaces and stoves require a gas line connection, and electric fireplaces require an electrical outlet. Ensure that these connections are done by a qualified professional according to local codes.

Clearance to Ceiling: Some fireplace models require a specific clearance to the ceiling or overhead structures. Make sure to comply with these requirements to avoid overheating or damage.

Professional Installation: To ensure the safety and proper operation of your White Mountain Hearth product, it is recommended to have it installed by a qualified and licensed professional familiar with local building codes and regulations.

Permits: Some jurisdictions may require permits for hearth product installations. Check with your local building department to determine if any permits are necessary.

Maintenance and care

Regular Cleaning: Regularly clean the exterior surfaces of your hearth product to remove dust, dirt, and debris. Use a soft cloth or brush and mild household cleaners recommended by the manufacturer. Avoid using abrasive cleaners or harsh chemicals that may damage the finish.

Glass Cleaning: If your hearth product has a glass viewing window or doors, clean them regularly to maintain visibility. Use a non-abrasive glass cleaner or a mixture of mild dish soap and water. Avoid using abrasive materials or cleaners that may scratch or damage the glass.

Chimney or Vent Cleaning: For wood-burning fireplaces or stoves, regular chimney cleaning is necessary to remove creosote buildup and ensure proper venting. Consult a professional chimney sweep for thorough cleaning and inspections at least once a year or as recommended by local regulations.

Gas Component Inspection: If you have a gas fireplace or stove, have a qualified technician inspect the gas components, burners, and connections annually. They can check for any leaks, ensure proper gas flow, and clean the burner as needed.

Pilot Light Maintenance: If your gas fireplace or stove has a pilot light, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for maintenance. This may involve periodic cleaning and inspection to ensure proper ignition and flame stability.

Air Vents and Intake Cleaning: Keep the air vents and intake areas clear of debris, dust, or obstructions. This ensures proper airflow for combustion and ventilation, especially for gas fireplaces and stoves.

Replacement of Parts: Over time, certain parts of your hearth product may wear out or become damaged. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for replacing any worn-out or malfunctioning components. It is important to use genuine replacement parts recommended by the manufacturer to ensure compatibility and safety.

Professional Service: It’s recommended to have your White Mountain Hearth product serviced and inspected by a qualified technician on a regular basis, especially for complex maintenance tasks or repairs. They can address any issues, perform necessary adjustments, and ensure the continued safe and efficient operation of your hearth product.

Cost and budget

Visit White Mountain Hearth’s official website or contact their authorized dealers: Check the manufacturer’s website for product details, specifications, and, if available, pricing information. You can also reach out to authorized dealers in your area to request quotes or get more information about their product offerings.

Compare different models and features: Take a look at the various hearth products offered by White Mountain Hearth and compare their features, efficiency, and aesthetics. Consider what is most important to you in terms of performance, design, and energy efficiency.

Factor in installation costs: If you plan to have a built-in fireplace or stove, consider the installation costs, which may include venting, framing, labor, and any additional materials required.

Set a budget: Determine how much you are willing to spend on your hearth product and installation. Keep in mind that investing in a more energy-efficient model might result in long-term cost savings on energy bills.

Consult with professionals: If you have specific installation requirements or need advice on product selection, it’s a good idea to consult with hearth professionals or contractors who can help you make informed decisions based on your budget and preferences.

Look for deals and promotions: Manufacturers or dealers may offer promotions, discounts, or financing options that can help you stay within your budget.

Recommendations for potential buyers

Determine your needs: Assess your heating requirements, aesthetic preferences, and available space to narrow down the type and model of hearth product that best suits your needs.

Research product options: Explore the range of hearth products offered by White Mountain Hearth. Consider factors such as fuel type (gas, wood, or electric), size, style, efficiency, and available features to find a product that aligns with your preferences.

Read reviews and ratings: Look for customer reviews and ratings of the products you are interested in. These can provide valuable insights into the experiences of other buyers with the products you’re considering.

Consult with a professional: If you have specific installation requirements or questions about product features, consult with a hearth professional or authorized dealer. They can provide expert guidance and help you choose the right product for your home.

Consider energy efficiency: Energy-efficient hearth products can save you money on energy bills and reduce your environmental impact. Look for models with high energy efficiency ratings or certifications, such as Energy Star.

Check for safety features: Ensure that the hearth product you choose has appropriate safety features, such as tempered glass doors, automatic shut-off valves, and proper ventilation systems.

Compare prices and budget: Compare prices from different sources, including White Mountain Hearth’s official website and authorized dealers. Set a budget and consider not only the initial purchase cost but also potential long-term savings on energy and maintenance.

Review warranty and after-sales support: Check the warranty coverage offered by the manufacturer and ensure it provides sufficient protection for your investment. Also, inquire about after-sales support, including service and parts availability.

Visit showrooms if possible: If possible, visit local showrooms or retailers to see the hearth products in person. This can help you get a better sense of their design, build quality, and how they fit within your home’s decor.

Consider local regulations: Be aware of any local regulations or building codes related to hearth product installation and fuel type. Ensure that your chosen product complies with these requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions

A: White Mountain Hearth offers a variety of fireplaces, including wood-burning fireplaces, gas fireplaces, electric fireplaces, and outdoor fireplaces to suit different preferences and needs.

A: Yes, many White Mountain Hearth fireplaces incorporate energy-efficient technologies, such as high-efficiency burners and direct vent systems, maximizing heat output while minimizing energy waste.

A: Yes, zone heating is possible with White Mountain Hearth fireplaces, allowing users to heat specific areas of their homes efficiently, avoiding the need to heat the entire space.

A: White Mountain Hearth uses materials such as steel, cast iron, ceramic fiber, tempered glass, and refractory materials in the construction of their fireplaces, ensuring durability and safety.

A: Regular cleaning is recommended to maintain optimal performance. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for cleaning the exterior, glass, and, if applicable, gas components.

A: Depending on the model, White Mountain Hearth offers fireplaces suitable for various spaces. Check the product specifications and clearance requirements for safe installation.

A: Warranty coverage varies by model and type. Refer to the product documentation or contact White Mountain Hearth’s customer service for specific warranty details for a particular fireplace.

A: Yes, White Mountain Hearth provides customization options, including decorative surrounds, mantels, and media choices like log sets, stones, or glass to personalize the appearance of your fireplace.

A: White Mountain Hearth provides a range of fireplaces suitable for various locations, but it’s essential to check the product specifications and consult with professionals to ensure compatibility with high-altitude conditions.

A: White Mountain Hearth offers certain models that are compatible with smart home systems or thermostats, providing users with convenient control options for adjusting heat settings and flame appearance.