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Fireplace Blower

Updated on March 16, 2010

If you've got a fireplace in your house then you know what a nice feature it is to have.  It's nice to sit in front of on a cold night and it can heat a room pretty well, but for most people it's not much of a home heating solution.  A fireplace blower can change that, because it makes your fireplace more effective.  These fireplace insert blowers can send the heat from your fireplace out into the room instead of up the chimney.  Back before 1900 wood heating was the norm for most people.  If you lived in a city then you could heat your house with gas, but wood was cheaper and more available for people living outside the cities.   In fact if you look at houses built in rural areas before 1850 or so you'll often see a fireplace in each room.  Fireplaces do give off a lot of heat, at least burning wood gives off a lot of heat the problem with a fireplace is that most of the heat goes up the chimney.  In fact that's how a fireplace chimney is designed to work.  As the heat rises up the chimney, it pulls the smoke with it, a chimney that does it well is said to "draw" well.  This draw as the heat rises pulls smoke with it.  So not only are you losing smoke (which is good) you'll be losing heat (which is not good).  In fact a fireplace can pull heat from the room and send it up the chimney especially when there's no fire and you have a poor fitting damper.

Wood Fireplace Blower

by Sentrawoods via Flickr Industrial looking but efficient.
by Sentrawoods via Flickr Industrial looking but efficient.

I remember as a kid at my grandparents house they had a fireplace to heat their house. They lived in N. Florida which most people don't think of as cold, but it would get down into the 20's at times. Anyway, they used a fireplace to heat their living room, it worked pretty well, but you did need a fan to circulate the heat. One disadvantage is the copious amounts of wood it would take. My grandfather was a tree farmer so he had access to large amounts of wood. Your average person wouldn't have the time to cut the wood or space to store it or even the availability. You could see the plumes of heat around the chimney, and see how much heat you were losing - very inefficient.

A fireplace blower can be added as an after market device or it can be built into the fireplace itself. Basically the add on fireplace blower grate replaces your regular fireplace grate. My parents fireplace actually has a built in blower, it draws air from the sides and blows it out the top. The add on blower does basically the same thing. The blower motor goes outside of the fireplace and has a tube that goes into the fireplace. You wouldn't want to run an electrical cable into a hot fireplace. There are some built in systems that can heat more than one room the way a furnace can. My uncle has one and it works quite well. It's basically a special cast iron fireplace that fits into the existing fireplace, basically a fireplace furnace. This is something best installed when the house and fireplace are built, but it doesn't have to be, my uncle had his fireplace insert blower added long after the house was built. JUCA is a company that makes wood fireplace blowers. If you don't want to go that route you can use the add on fireplace blower insert. You should always get a professional to install your blower, you don't really want to take chances when fire and electricity are involved. Just remember whatever you do that even a fireplace blower won't stop you from having to cut wood.

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