Get More Fireplace Heat with a Fireback

Stainless Steel Reflective Fireback
What’s a fireplace fireback? And can you really get more heat from fireplace firebacks?

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 flair to the cast iron classic. And black stainless steel firebacks are the most recent take on firebacks.

 

More Heat from Fireplace Firebacks Made of Cast Iron

Firebacks cast from iron in molds have been used for centuries to improve the efficiency of fireplaces. Cast iron firebacks can increase the heat by as much as fifty per cent! 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. The larger and thicker the cast iron fireback is, the more heat it can store and radiate. 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.

More Heat from Fireplace Firebacks Made of Stainless Steel

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.

Black stainless steel firebacks look more like the traditional cast-iron firebacks, without the shine of the stainless steel. They have a baked-on black paint. Because they have less reflective quality, they reflect less heat than the unpainted version. Nevertheless, because they are black and absorb more heat, they radiate more heat than the unpainted stainless steel ones.

You get warmth and heat from all of the types of fireplace firebacks. All have the potential to make the heating energy from your fireplace more efficient and save you money on fuel, although large, thick cast iron firebacks will store and radiate the most heat.  All will help protect the back wall of your fireplace from soot and erosion. Select the one that is best able to accommodate the specific look and style you want.

Click here to read What Size Fireback Do I Need?

Posted in Decorating, Using Your Fireplace Tagged with:

Firewood as Art

Firewood as Art

Think firewood stacks all look the same? Think again! Check out these creative uses for firewood. See firewood as art!

Firewood as Art

Wise Owl. Can you locate the ax?

Firewood as Art

Wood Wall Window Wonder

Firewood as Art

Note the “tiled” roofs!

Firewood as Art

A different take on “If a tree falls in the forest…”

Firewood as Art

It may be shaped like a haystack, but it’s a firewood-stack instead.

Firewood as Art

So how did they get these so tall?

Firewood as Art

This faux hearth oven makes clever use of a sheltered area.

Firewood as Art

Wall storage areas are cleverly incorporated into this firewood wall.

Most of us think just getting the firewood into a stack is artful. But do you have a firewood stack that doubles are art?

 

Posted in Decorating

Smoke Alarm and Safety Tips for the New Year

Smoke Alarm

As the old year draws to an end, it’s a great time to think of safety tips for the new year.

How Old are the Batteries in Your Smoke Alarm?

Batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms should be replaced at least once a year. If you don’t know how old your batteries are, replace them this New Year’s to help you and your family stay safe in the new year. Batteries are cheap and they could save your life.

Cleaning Out the Ash

The light, dusty ash in the bottom of your fireplace seems completely harmless, but hot embers can remain hidden for days, so take care when cleaning it out. Always store fireplace ashes in a metal container with a lid, and keep that container well away from the house and other flammable objects. Douse the ashes with water to be sure there are no hot embers. Wondering what to do with all those ashes? Use them as fertilizer, de-icer, or polish!

Give Space Heaters Some Space

Keep flammable objects at least 3 feet from space heaters. Make sure that the heater also has a “tip sensor,” which turns the heater off if it tips over.

Prepare for the Storm

Keep and emergency kit both at home and in car. Extra blankets or sleeping bags, flashlights, extra batteries, non-perishable food, and bottled water are all essentials for winter emergency kit.

Use these safety tips for the new year to make next year a safe one!

Posted in Safety Tagged with:

Tips for Burning a Wood Fire This Winter

Stack your firewood for winter

The winter season changes our behaviour drastically; we adapt our routines to get through the colder months more comfortably. This can be anything from wrapping up in warmer clothing to heating our homes more. One change that some families make is the use of wood fires to heat their living rooms. This tends to be an effort to create a more comforting environment that has a ‘cozy’ feel to it. Most homes have central heating now, but the addition of a wood fire gives a more traditional and homely feel during winter. This article will go through some tips on how to set up your wood fire safely and efficiently.

First off you need to source your fuel and make sure it is stored correctly. You can buy pre-cut logs from hardware stores, garden centers and garages. Alternatively you can cut down or source your own firewood.  This may take more effort but the results are free and often worth it. The main point to remember is that however you source your firewood you have to make sure that it is stored in a dry place. This would preferably be indoors; as logs that are left outside usually absorb moisture and do not burn well. Having moist firewood also lets off a lot of steam and smoke when burning. If you do not have room to store all of your wood indoors then at least try and have a ‘holding area’. This is where you let the wood dry off for a few days before actually burning it. A lot of people have a small stockpile next to their fire for this purpose.

If you decide to cut your own wood then safety needs to be a priority. Making sure your equipment is up to scratch and you’ve properly protected yourself is vital. The most common tool used for cutting firewood is a chainsaw. You should always give your chainsaw a full safety check before you start to use it. This involves checking the oil levels, fuel levels and chain condition. You’ll also want to wear protective gear in case there is a slip or malfunction. Chainsaw safety gear ranges from ear plugs/protectors to fully lined chainsaw pants. Specially made clothing such as chainsaw pants and jackets contain complex layers of protective materials. These are designed to entangle and minimize the damage of a saw upon impact. They will not completely guard you from harm, but they may save you from losing a limb.

If you decide to cut your own firewood make sure you are protected and the equipment you’re using is safe.

When actually using your open fire you should make sure that a fireplace screen or spark guard is present. This will stop “flying” embers from scorching your flooring and furniture. Sometimes when the burning wood is slightly moist the water will expand and cause violent popping and crackling embers. A screen will see that these do not harm you or your possessions. An open fire can be a comforting and enjoyable addition to any home. However it is important to make sure that both you and your possessions are safe.

This article was written by Peter McAllister who works for SGM. They are a groundcare company that supply protective clothing such as chainsaw safety gear amongst other products see their range at http://www.sgm-uk.com/arboriculture-forestry.html.

Posted in Safety, Using Your Fireplace

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