Intro to fireplace blowers or fans
Fireplaces are a great way to heat up a room, enjoy a crackling fire, and add beauty to a home. But in most cases the majority of the heat rises through the chimney and disappears into the air, which can increase the cost of heating the home if the fireplace is used frequently.
Fireplace blowers or fans circulate the hot air throughout the room, both drawing colder air toward the fire and blowing warm air back into the room. This not only warms the entire room with the warmth of the fire, but reduces the amount of fuel needed to produce adequate heat for the room, which can add up to greater savings in the long run, especially in houses that see frequent fireplace use. Some fireplace blowers are even said to increase fireplace efficiency 500%.
Some fireplaces have a blower already installed, so you should check ahead of time to see if one is already there. Also, fireplace blower installation is generally easier if performed during construction of the fireplace, so you’re planning on building or installing a fireplace it’s a good idea to think about adding the blower during construction, though many products can still be installed later.
Size and installation of fireplace blowers
Fireplace blowers are designed to be powerful enough to heat up rooms of a particular size, meaning the fireplace blower you buy should be appropriate to the room where you wish to install it. Products should be labelled with this information on the box or on the website describing the product.
Fireplace blowers require a power supply, so if there is no nearby outlet, an extension cord might be necessary. Some fireplace blowers have cord attachments on both sides to accommodate outlets on one side of the fireplace or the other.
Depending on the model, fireplace blowers can be installed in different places around the fireplace, so they remain invisible, or even on the doorway if the intention is to draw the heat from the fire out of the room and heat the rest of the house. Depending on how the fireplace is used, it will be a different model requiring different installation procedures. Installation is generally not complicated, though it may require some basic tools depending on the model.
Types of fireplace blowers
Different types of fireplaces work with different types of blowers. These should be clearly labelled on the box, with gas fireplace blowers different from wood fireplace blowers, with some working for fireplace inserts and some for zero-clearance fireplaces, and so on. Again, just like with the sizing information, check carefully to make sure it will work with the fireplace it will be installed with.
Many types of fireplace blowers are available; some resemble long, cylindrical fans, which are fairly common. Grate-replacement models are also available, which essentially are fireplace grates with hollow tubes and a fan; the fire is built directly on top of the fireplace blower’s rods, and the heated air is circulated through the rods back into the room by the fan, usually installed off to the side, outside of the fireplace. These are perhaps the lowest profile option, despite being larger than other models, as they essentially operate as both a fireplace blower and grate, and aside from the external fan are rather unobtrusive and do not take up much additional space. However, for obvious they cannot be installed over a doorway.
Several types of fireplace blowers feature automatic heat detection, which will activate the fan; simply build a fire directly on top of the grate, and the machine will detect the heat, and begin circulating the air. When the fire goes out and the air cools, the device will automatically shut off once the heat drops below a certain threshold. These low-hassle models can be quite useful, especially for homeowners who like to forget what sort of appliances they have around the house, preferring simply to have them work.
Prices tend to fall around $500, though plenty are available at higher or lower prices, but remember that efficiency is the purpose of a fireplace blower, and you will want to choose the proper model for your fireplace rather than a cheaper one which may not be suitable for your exact needs.
Also, many fireplace blowers can be noisy, so if this is a concern be sure to find a quieter model, especially if you enjoy the silence of wistful evenings by the crackling fire.
Properly selected and fitted, a fireplace blower can be a great addition to a home, potentially lowering heating bills and make a fireplace a much more enjoyable way to heat the home.