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Make my own wood burning fireplace grate

Discussion in 'Firewood, Heating and Wood Burning Equipment' started by Savaging, Nov 12, 2012.

  1. Savaging

    Savaging ArboristSite Lurker

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    I have a masonry fireplace and I'm looking to get more of the fire heat into my family room. I don't like the idea of a large insert which would surely work but at a significant cost. In searching around the web the heater grates with a blower motor seem like the option I prefer. The blower options are limited so I think I'm going to weld up my own with rectangular steel tubing. Anyone one go down this road that can offer advice? I'm thinking thick steel as I'd hate to have burn through and blow it out of the fireplace.
     
  2. H-Ranch

    H-Ranch AboristSite Guru

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    I welded this grate up and used a blower and manifold that was designed for this purpose (the original grate rusted out years ago.) Father-in-law used to use it at the old farm house they lived in with a natural stone fireplace and said it worked good. It does provide a little more heat than the fireplace by itself, but not nearly as good as I was hoping. I don't know what the original grate was made of but I used 1.5" DOM with 0.125" wall (or something close to that anyway).

    Sorry for the dark pic. I can try to get more detailed shots if you are interested.
    [​IMG]
     
  3. Savaging

    Savaging ArboristSite Lurker

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    Thanks H-Ranch. Bummer it doesn't increase heating that much. I'm going to change from the design you have by changing to rectangular tubing for increased surface area for heat transfer and, with what you said, probably a closed single loop that carries the fresh air from the manifold to the top of the fireplace and then bends back down to the bottom of the fireplace to exhaust. Hopefully that will give the air more time to heat. I'll post what I come up with.
     
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  4. zogger

    zogger Tree Freak

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    If it is for primary heat, I guess what you are doing would be an OK stopgap solution, but really, the difference in heat output and wood savings is off the chart open fireplace to a proper heater or insert.

    I don't claim to have any exact figures or formulae to give a real number, but I have used both, it's proly at least a 10-1 advantage (more heat plus less wood and longer burn times) to go to a real heater.
     
  5. Savaging

    Savaging ArboristSite Lurker

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    I bet your 10-1 advantage is accurate. It's not for primary (whole house) heating....only for the 15x30' room the fireplace is in. Thanks.
     
  6. H-Ranch

    H-Ranch AboristSite Guru

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    Oh shoot - in that case it will probably make a difference. I was thinking whole house also.
     
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  7. bentring

    bentring ArboristSite Member

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    I don't even bother with a grate, just a bed of ashes. Our fireplace is more of a steel box and has has some large tubes that have a forced exhaust from above the opening. Basically a larger version of what's pictured.

    Anyway, it does make quite a difference concerning the heat output if the fans are blowing or not. And it keeps the house warm enough that the unit very rarely kicks on (set at 68) when the fire is going good, and since the fireplace is in the middle of the house, the upstairs unit doesn't seem to run much either.

    I'm curious to what you end up doing so update after you finish up. :msp_biggrin:
     
  8. Patrick62

    Patrick62 Addicted to ArboristSite

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    good luck with that one

    You will get a insert eventually.
    The traditional fireplace is fantastic for semi functional decoration.
    The wood insert has so many advantages... I don't know where to begin...

    Now with a fireplace you are on track to try and get some heat with the tubes and fan. More tubes, more surface area. Might get some heat into the room.

    When I was a kid I would wake up at 5am to the crinkling of newspaper. The ol' man was lighting a fire. The fireplace was all we had and he somehow managed to get a incredible blast outta that thing. Would roar and I could feel the heat off the end of the hallway radiating into the bedroom. I can only imagine relative efficiency at the time. Like a locomotive. 2% at best. I bet that is how that brick got cracked....

    Several years ago we installed a small insert into the fireplace. That little fella has cut the electric heat by over 1/3 !!!! and We burn just about a cord a year. Keep the thing fired and the living room actually gets a little over heated.
     
  9. Savaging

    Savaging ArboristSite Lurker

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    That's what I'm trying to get to for my kids...I always loved how the room with the fireplace was warmer than the rest of the house and the family would gather in there in the evenings to be together. Anyways, after hearing from you all I'm pretty sure I'll end up with an insert. But the fabricator in me wants to play around to see what I can make that will get the heat into the room. It must also be asthetically pleasing enough to pass the muster of my wife. God bless her. I'll post what I come up with this weekend assuming I can get the tubing without having to order it.
     

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