A fireplace grate blower is an electrical machine designed to warm cool air using the heat generated by a fire before blowing it safely back into the room. Using this device in the home can improve the energy efficiency of the fireplace. Traditional masonry fireplace designs often cause the majority of the heat a fire produces to be sucked away from the house through the chimney. The purpose of the fireplace grate blower is to redistribute this warm air back into the home, while allowing dangerous smoke to be sucked safely outside.
This type of unit is designed to fit directly inside of the fireplace, and can be used while a fire is lit. The fireplace grate blower works with both traditional heating sources, such as wood burning fireplaces, and more energy efficient ones, such as gas fireplaces. It is placed directly into the brick lined area before any grates or wood are placed inside. Glass and mesh screen doors can be closed securely once the blower has been placed inside.
Each fireplace grate blower consists of a network of air filled tubes housed inside a metal heating unit. The exterior unit absorbs the heat of the fire directly from the source and heats the air located inside the individual tubes. This warmed air is then pushed gently back out into the room where the fireplace is located. New, colder air is sucked into the bottom of the tubes and heated before being returned to the room.
This air exchange method allows the grate blower to maintain hotter temperatures inside the fire than traditional designs. Fresh oxygen is consistently brought to the heart of the fire where it feeds existing flames and embers. Wood can burn at hotter temperatures, and is more quickly consumed. These hotter temperatures are then transmitted to the air held inside the tubing of the grate and dispersed to the colder areas of a room.
Most units typically require access to an electrical outlet to function properly. The cord is designed to extend from the front of the unit, away from the fire. It is usually sheathed in fire-resistant materials that protect the inner wiring from extreme temperatures.
The machinery may also be equipped with an internal thermostat which can be programmed by the home owner. The user can select the desired temperature for the room prior to building his fire. The internal fan mechanisms which redistribute hot air back into the home turn off once the optimum temperature has been reached. If the air in the room begins to cool significantly, the fans are programmed to resume operation.