QandA Posted By QandA, Jun 17, 2007 at 7:00 PM

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  1. QandA

    New Member 2.
    Staff Member

    Nov 27, 2012

    Hello, Received your e-mail address from Jim Butchart (webmaster@hearthassoc.org) who thought you might be able to answer a few questions regarding firebacks. My husband and I recently bought a 12 year-old home with a beautiful arched fireplace in the living room (our first fireplace). Many friends have told us that when burning a fire we are losing much more heat up the chimney than the wood is generating. We knew from the start that we did not want to cover up the fireplace with doors (don't know if that would be possible anyway with the arched top) and that we enjoyed the natural fire and ambiance. Looked into blowers, which were quite loud and also take away from what we think of as the beauty of our fireplace. Recently we heard about firebacks--cast-iron plates to put in the back of the fireplace that reflect the heat into the room. Do you know how efficient these are, if they really do work, or do you know of anyone who may have one in use? Since they run around $200 we did want to investigate before making such a large purchase.


    They are definitely works of art that also serve a function. Since $200.00 puts it in the same category of what I might spend on a nice print or wall hanging, the function might be secondary. My meaning is that, although a fireback will improve your heat and protect the fireplace, the heat "upgrade" will not be an extensive one. You are still losing the room air up the chimney. However, the fireback is radiating additional heat in to the room. So, instead of 5-10%, maybe your fireplace is now 15% efficient, still not a great Miles Per Gallon (or log).

    If you like the natural fire, get a nice grate and fireback...you'll have a beautiful view, but it will not really heat the home to any extent.
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