Firebacks - Never Waste That Heat!!
one needs to be reminded of just how much our average energy costs have
increased in the past five years. While gasoline prices are
frightening enough, even scarier is the fact that the cost of heating
the home has also seen a dramatic surge during this same time
period. It doesn’t matter whether you use natural
gas, fuel oil, or even electricity to heat your home—the
simple fact is that prices are going up dramatically faster than
average annual wage growth. But, a fireplace can help
drastically reduce heating costs even for those of us who must go out
and buy the wood—so long as it has a fireback.
firebacks originated in Europe and were exported to the
Americas during the Colonial period. At first, it was common
for recycled stove plates to be used as a fireback as they were both
more plentiful and cheaper to use. Eventually, formal plates
were designed and made in blacksmith shops in New England.
the recycled stove plate era had ended, formal plates tended to be
rather formal in design. It was not uncommon to see the front
of the plate adorned with a coat of arms. Other common themes
related to agriculture and might feature farm animals like roosters on
the front of the plate. It was not uncommon to see plates
that had arched, ornamental tops and thus they often enhanced both the
form and the function of the hearth area.
iron firebacks are the most common because the iron itself
helps to retain heat. Rather than simply allowing the
majority of the BTU’s to simply escape from the chimney, the
cast iron absorbs heat. Then, for several hours after the
fire has died out, the fireback will still be sending heat into the
surrounding space. While this may seem insignificant, the
truth is that the hot cast iron prevents rapid heat loss commonly
experienced once the fire has gone out. Plus, firebacks
can greatly enhance the decorative appeal of the hearth so there really
is no downside to having one of these beneficial hearth accessories.
of us are already carpooling, installing installation, and making sure
to keep our furnaces clean to boost efficiency and cut down on energy
costs. A fireplace that has one of these decorative yet
functional accessories will retain heat for hours after the fire dies
out and thus significantly reduce your heating costs. While
it may seem insignificant at first, the energy savings will literally
pay for the cost of the fireback if you use the fireplace often
enough. Plus, being made from cast iron, you can be sure that
the fireback will be retaining heat and adding character to your
fireplace for many, many years to come!