Fireplace grates ensure that you have a warm, satisfying fire. The grate lifts the wood off the floor to allow air to be pulled in from underneath the wood. The fire will be supercharged with air, making it hotter and more efficient. You'll also get a more complete burn because burned pieces of wood fall to the fireplace floor through the spaces in the grate creating a bed of super-hot coals. This allows the wood above to be burned from the bottom up, so you don't need to adjust and move the wood once placed on the grate.
A grate will also add life to your fireplace by keeping the real heat up off the floor, protecting your concrete from the extreme heat of the fire. You'll get better drafting, too. When you lift the fire off the floor you do 2 things; lift the fire closer to the chimney and allow air to move under the fire. By doing this you not only supercharge your fire, but you also help it draft smoke and fumes out the chimney instead of into your home. Sometimes a smoking fireplace can be cured by the use of a grate.
Since most fireplace grates have a front and back that curl up, this will help in cradling your firewood to keep it in one location. This also helps to continuously force the wood to the middle of the grate. So, instead of constantly having to move the wood around, you simply add more when needed. This can help reduce hot embers from popping out and burning your floor as well. Finally, fireplace grates allow air to get under the wood making the fire much easier to start.
Now that we've learned the importance of fire grates, let's go over the different types. There are 3 main types of fireplace grates: steel bar, cast iron and grate heaters. Choosing which one works best for your application is key to getting the most out of your fireplace.
Used for wood, steel bar grates are generally separated by the thickness of the bars used for constructing the grate. A general rule of thumb is the thicker the bars, the longer the grate will last. The main thing you will want to look at is how often you plan on using the fireplace and what type of wood will be burned. If the fireplace will be used rarely (holidays or special occasions) then a lighter duty grate will be fine. If your fireplace will be used once a month or more, then a middle grade grate should be considered. If the use of your fireplace is daily, then you will need the thickest, heaviest grate available. Regarding the type of wood to use, hardwoods such as Maple, Oak, Beachwood, etc. burn hotter than softer woods adding stress to your grate. A thicker steel grate will last longer.
Used for wood and coal, cast iron grates have small gaps on the bottom to allow the coal or wood chunks to stay on the grate longer, therefore burning more completely. The main decision for a cast iron grate is the weight. The heavier the grate, the stronger. Again, you can determine what is right for you by the amount you plan to burn. If the fireplace will be used rarely (holidays or special occasions) then a lighter duty grate will be fine. If your fireplace will be used once a month or more, then a middle grade grate should be considered. If the use of your fireplace is daily, then you will need the thickest, heaviest grate available.
Used for wood, grate heaters produce heat back into the home. While there are various types of these grate heaters, the basic principle is the same. How it works is that the hollow tubing gets hot from the fire and then a fan blows heat through the hollow tubes into the room. Some are thermostatically controlled, so the fan turns on and off automatically once the tubing gets hot. You can expect to get 10,000 to 40, 000 BTU's of heat back into your home from these units, which is enough to heat a large room, plus other parts of the home.
Available in an assortment of sizes and designs. Please note that grate dimensions provided include the legs of the grate.
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