Adding a grate to your wood burning fireplace can help improve the quality and efficiency of your fires. However, having the wrong sized grate can have the opposite effect; a grate that is too large can actually cause smoking and drafting issues.

Fireplace Grate - Shreveport LA - New Buck ChimneyHow grates affect your fires

Many homeowners believe the grate is simply a convenient place to stack wood before starting a fire. In actuality, the type of grate used can have a major impact on the quality of your fires; likewise, using the wrong size of grate can also cause smoking and drafting issues. There are three main types of grates.

– Steel bar: Steel bar grates are typically used in wood-burning fireplaces. Steel bar grates look like racks with bars running across; while heavy use can be hard on steel bar grates, the thicker and wider the bars are the longer the grate will last.
– Cast iron: Generally used for wood and coal, cast iron grates more closely resemble a metal basket. This allows the grate to hold onto embers and keep them close to the wood as opposed to falling down into the ashes below; this can help the fire burn longer with less stoking. Heavier cast iron should be used in frequently used fireplaces, while homes with lighter use can use lighter cast iron.
– Grate heaters: The most expensive kind of fireplace grate, grate heaters work by using fans to blow heat directly from the hollow tubes on the grate into the room. Some grate heaters are even equipped with thermostat control, allowing wood-burning fireplace owners to control the heat similar to a gas fireplace.

The positioning and size of your grate can also have an impact on how well your fire burns. In order to prevent drafting issues, grates should always be pushed to the far back of the fireplace; this places the fire directly under the flue and minimizes the chance for smoke to blow out and into the room. Grates should also have legs that are at least four inches long to reduce updraft by raising the fire closer to the flue. Likewise, make sure the grate is correctly sized for the firebox. A grate that is too large can overwhelm a smaller flue with a too large fire; this can lead to smoke and gasses backdrafting into your home.

Benefits of using a grate

Using a fireplace grate is essential to getting the most out of your fireplace. The following are just a few of the benefits of using a grate.

– Better burn quality
– More complete burn
– Protect the masonry of the firebox from direct heat
– Improved drafting
– Less stoking needed to keep the fire burning

When properly sized for the firebox, a fireplace grate can help improve the quality and efficiency of your fires. If your fireplace grate is causing smoking issues, contact New Buck Chimney Services today for more information on how changing the size of your grate can improve drafting problems.