For those interested - Grate Wall of Fire Review(s?)

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Nov 20, 2020
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Had trouble finding much consolidated discussion on this particular product across the forum, just a couple good reviews and a couple bad reviews. I bought this for my prefab fireplace with the 26" fireback that just about perfectly covers the back refractory panel of my fireplace. Were I to do this again, I'd probably look for a local shop that could cut me a 1/2" steel fireback and weld a couple feet on, but that's beside the point. The Grate Wall of Fire fireback is perfectly good (though a bit pricey as they don't charge for shipping, which must be a hit to them). Note that I mostly bought this fire grate to reduce the amount of maintenance/attention my fires needed throughout the burn.

Now for the grate! It's... Nice. It looks VERY good in the fireplace. I don't have any of the decorative stuff, but have a more industrial/rough finish look to the surround and mantel anyway. For those with more decorative touches or neat and orderly brick surrounds and hearths, I think the additional accessories would probably help dress it up. As far as function, it requires a LOT less attention than a traditional grate as it kind of self-feeds and keeps the wood on a hot bed of coals with a little less air supply so there's not a pressing need to rotate the logs to provide fresh fuel because one side has burnt out quickly. I never had a problem with smoking as my chimney drafts quite well, so I can't comment on that quite as much. I will say it does locate the fire farther back toward the back wall where my flue is located, so a lot of the heat produced by the flames is right under the flue.

Now on heat production. I KNOW that Grate Wall of Fire's claims about efficiency are nonsense. It's actually one of the biggest issues I take with the product. It is absolutely absurd to suggest that a wood burning fireplace could be an alternative source of heat for anything but the room it is in. I still have an issue that their website seems to claim it can take the place of a wood stove. That's just a bald-faced lie. In fact, I have found that, unless I have my air handler fan on pulling against the chimney draft the Grate Wall of Fire grate produces LESS heat than my traditional grate. Probably because it helps reduce the amount of oxygen the fire gets, making the burn lower and slower and in turn making it require a lot less tending than a normal open-burning fireplace grate. My chimney sweep saw that I had this grate and said that it will produce a lot more creosote than my normal grate and I can't help but absolutely agree with that. It's apparent in how much more smoke is produced, the noticeable blackening of the refractory panels (they were usually completely clean with the normal grate, definitely darkened wih the Grate Wall), and how much less heat is produced. To remedy this I will probably burn every third fire on the traditional grate to get a nice hot fire going and HOPEFULLY keep any creosote build up to a minimum. I still check the chimney visually before each burn and get it cleaned once a year even if it is mostly clear, so I'm hoping that will mitigate any additional creosote caused by the grate.

Hopefully this will help others looking for some input on the Grate Wall of Fire grate. Note this is my individual experience with a FACTORY BUILT FIREPLACE that has never had a smoke issue. I don't really trust reviews on product sites (especially those that imply a fireplace can be like a stove), so I definitely feel like it would be nice to have a specific thread that is just a review or collection of reviews rather than a scattershot few comments and a lot of other discussion. Mods, if this is NOT the appropriate thing to do please merge this thread with another relevant thread.
 
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