Who doesn’t love to sit near a fireplace in a chilly winter’s night? Think about the ambiance and warmth you get by striking that match and watching the flames go up. A fireplace is built to provide sufficient heating in our homes, especially in winter and cold seasons.
Whether it’s gas or wood, the degree of heat produced is determined by the heating mode, construction and installation, as well as insulation. But just how hot can a fireplace get? How hot is too hot, and what can you do when it gets too hot?
How Hot Does a Wood Fireplace Get?
A wood fireplace will heat up based on several factors, including the type of wood used. Generally, the wood begins to burn at 600 degrees Fahrenheit and can go as high as 1,700 degrees if you leave it to burn continually.
Generally, hardwoods like oak, birch and maple generate more heat because they burn slower. On the other hand, softwoods like cedar and pine may not generate as much heat because they burn out quicker.
Asides the type of wood, the age of the wood is another factor that determines how hot it burns. You may have noticed that fresh green wood takes longer to burn than dry, seasoned wood.
When you try to burn fresh wood, the fire will first vaporize the liquid in the wood before proper burning begins. When you use drier wood, there’s no water to vaporize, so heating is faster to achieve. It is safe to say that drier wood will give you more heat.
On average, we can say wood fireplaces can burn as hot as 1,500 Fahrenheit. However, the efficiency of wood-burning is not so high, so the surrounding frame and hard surfaces may not heat up beyond 1000 degrees.
How Hot Do Gas Fireplaces Get?
Gas is regarded as a more efficient heat source. Although the gas-powered fireplace may not burn hotter than 1,000 degrees, the walls and grates can heat up as high as the heating apparatus as well, which often peaks at 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
But the good thing about gas fireplaces is that they also have more consistency. Temperatures can be maintained over long periods, compared to wood that burns out and loses heat over time.
However, it is not safe for the gas fireplace to get too hot beyond Controllable levels.
How Hot Do Electric Fireplaces Get?
A typical electrical fireplace will produce approximately 5,000 BTU of heat. Most units peak at 4,600 BTU but there are some at 220/240V that can produce as much as 8,900 BTU. The infrared model can give off a little over 5,000 BTU.
What To Do If Fireplace Is Too Hot?
While the heat from a fireplace may be all you want during chilly nights, it is important to watch it. It can be a problem when your fireplace burns too hot. So, what do you do? First things first, cool things down.
It is important to know that fire needs fuel, heat and oxygen to burn. To cool a wood fireplace, you’ll need to deprive it of these things.
Using water to douse the heat is not advised as that can create a lot of smoke and mess. Also, it is not practical to take all the burning woods out of your home and wait for them to cool off.
You should only use water or a thick wet blanket when the fire is out of control. The best way to cool a wood fireplace is to spread out the logs in the fireplace. Ensure they are as far from one another as possible. So, here is a simple process to follow;
- Open the door of the stove box and spread out the logs and embers using a poker.
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- Spread ashes over the hot embers as they begin to form. This can help to smother the fire and keep oxygen away.
- If you only want to reduce the heat and not put out the fire altogether, only cover some parts with ash. But if the plan is to put out the fire completely, cover it all up with ash to prevent the logs and embers from taking in oxygen.
- Close the fireplace door vents (if any) to the degree which you want to reduce the heat. If you want to put it all out, shut the vents completely.
- Some people sprinkle baking soda on the fire or shovel some dirt on it. You could do that do, but this is more suitable for outdoor fire pits.
If you own a gas fireplace that’s burning too hot, it is even easier to control. Most gas fireplaces have a remote control or at least a thermostat mode control attached to the unit.
They have temperature levels, from the lowest heat to the highest heat. You can simply turn it down by using a button on the remote or a switch on the unit.
There are also gas fireplaces that feature automatic thermostats. This way, heat is regulated. The appliance scans the indoor climate and only provides the amount of heat needed at every point in time.
Important Tips To Ensure Fireplace Doesn’t Become Too Hot
The best way to keep your fireplace heat at reasonable levels is to ensure it is properly installed with the right clearance. Also, there are some tips you have to take note of, and these include;
1. Using a fireplace that has an automatic thermostat
This is mostly possible when it’s a gas or electric fireplace. However, there are modern wood fireplaces that are also equipped with a programmable thermostat. With this, only the amount of heat needed is produced at every point in time.
2. Install a programmable thermostat
Technology has also made it possible to install a thermostat on an existing unit and have it control heat production.
3. Do not use continuously for long hours
Another very easy way to prevent your fireplace from getting too hot is to turn it off occasionally. You can leave it on for 6 to 9 hours and turn it off for 3 hours or more before it is turned back on, especially if it’s a gas unit.
4. Use heat-resistant fire box
If you also want to prevent your fireplace from getting too hot, it’s important to purchase or build a fireplace designed with fire-resistant materials. Refractory bricks are a good choice to keep the surface heat low.
5. Check regularly
If you have a fireplace that doesn’t have a programmable thermostat, you would need to check in frequently to monitor the heat.
If you notice it’s getting too hot, pull the legs slightly apart and sprinkle ash on some parts of the logs and embers. If it’s gas, turn it low as often as you need to.
Just to emphasize, a wood fireplace can get as hot as 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit or more with the surface and frame heating up as high as 1,000 degrees, while a gas fireplace will generate heat as much as 1,000 degrees F and its external components heating up to as high as 1,000 degrees as well.
Sometimes, heat can be too much and this post has been able to show you how to keep your fireplace heat in check.