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What Is a Grate Heater?

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  • Written By: Victoria Blackburn
  • Edited By: Jessica Seminara
  • Last Modified Date: 23 April 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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A grate heater is a device that is used in a wood burning fireplace to make it more efficient. Instead of warming a whole room, wood burning fireplaces often lose a lot of heat up the chimney. To combat this problem, modern fireplaces have fans built into them that can blow the warm air out into the room, instead of allowing it to be lost to the outside air. While the benefit is increased warmth in the room, the downside is that these fans can use a lot of electricity, making them costly to use. Grate heaters also have electric fans, but they use a lot less power than those installed in the fireplace.

Every fireplace contains a grate to keep the wood off the ground and allow air to reach the burning embers. Without enough oxygen, a fire will not burn, which is why it’s important for air to circulate all around and through burning wood. To install a grate heater, all that needs to be done is to replace the current grate within the fireplace with the heater unit.

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Grate heaters are also referred to as heat exchangers due to how they work to improve the efficiency of a fireplace. Hollow metal tubes are used to make grate heaters, and it is within these tubes that heat is exchanged. Cold air is pulled into a grate heater at its base. As it passes through the fire, the air is warmed and travels up through the tubes. At the top, it is blown back out into the room instead of being allowed to escape up the chimney.

There are significant advantages to having a grate heater installed within a fireplace. The installation is very easy and the owner of the fireplace should be able to do it without any professional help. This is particularly important with older fireplaces that do not have fan units built into them. Adding a fan unit to a fireplace involves pulling some or all of the firebox down and then rebuilding the brick after the fan has been installed. With grate heaters, all that needs to be done is to replace the current grate with the heater.

Another benefit is that electricity and heating costs should be decreased. By making a fireplace more efficient and improving its ability to heat a room, or even a floor of the house, the homeowner will be able to reduce the use of other heating devices. Also, the grate heater usually uses less electricity than other fan units within the fireplace, reducing the costs of running it.

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