Firebacks reflect heat from your fire back into your home, making your fireplace more efficient.
Technology evolves over generations, but some simple innovations from the past just cannot be beat. One such time-tested essential is the fireplace fireback. Of all the many inventions over years to return more heat from a wood or gas fireplace, the fireback is the most cost effective. A fireback is a flat piece of metal—traditionally cast in iron—that sets against the back wall of the fireplace, either on the floor of the fireplace or on feet to keep it in place. Stainless steel firebacks have recently become more popular, giving a modern take on the cast iron classic.
Cast Iron Fireback
Cast iron firebacks have been used for centuries to improve the efficiency of fireplaces. They are made of thick, heavy cast iron, which allows them to not only reflect heat, but also retain it and radiate it over time. Cast iron firebacks come in a variety of designs, including both traditional and modern motifs.
Cast iron firebacks have a classic look, so they’re perfect for older or colonial style homes. Because cast iron is heavy, these firebacks weight a lot and can be difficult to move around. For more modern or easier to handle firebacks, consider one made of stainless steel.
Stainless Steel Fireback
The modern alternative, steadily becoming more widespread, is the stainless steel fireback. It is a sheet of stainless steel, tempered, gently curved and fastened to supports that will hold it in place inside the fireplace. It captures and radiates the heat of fire, too, but unlike the cast iron fireback, its surface is highly reflective. It doubles the light of the fire and makes the room appear much larger and brighter.
Stainless steel firebacks weigh only a fraction of iron firebacks the same size. Stainless steel firebacks are not, however, recommended for gas fireplaces, as they are so able to intensify heat that they can damage gas shut off valves.
Both types of fireback have the potential to make the heating energy from your fireplace more efficient and save you money on fuel. Either one of them will help protect the back wall of your fireplace from soot and erosion. And each one is able to accommodate a specific look and style and a certain desired ambience.
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