Fireplace Blowers Explained – How Fireplace Fans Work

October 27, 2020

How Fireplace Blowers Work to Distribute Heat

Fireplace blowers and fans are often misunderstood. They are highly effective tools for better utilizing the warmth created by a fireplace and pushing warm air into the room's furthest reaches. Unlike a space heater, fireplace fans work on cycling the entire rooms air and increasing the ambient temperature by cycling the air around the hot firebox. Below are some of the most common questions about how fireplace fans work if you can add fireplace fans after installation, and how they affect your fireplace's efficiency (hint: they don't):

What is a Fireplace Blower?

A fireplace blower is a fan mounted on the exterior of the fireplace or inside the unit but outside the firebox itself. It is used to circulate air around the unit's hot exterior before pushing it back into the room. Fireplace fans help to circulate warm air and increase heat penetration into the room. However, they do not increase the fireplace's total BTU output; instead, fireplace blowers simply move air more effectively to increase the amount of airflow around the fireplace and the entire room’s ambient temperature.

How Does a Fireplace Blower Work?

A fireplace blower pulls air in from the room and forces it through a channel on the fireplace's exterior. As the air travels around the hot fireplace, it heats up, and by the time it is released into the room, the air is much warmer than the rest of the room. Because of the warm air's convective properties, the now warmer air will rise in the room, settling near the ceiling and causing the cooler air to be pushed down towards the fireplace. 

This movement of air helps to circulate the air in the room. The entire process is much more than just a fan pushing warm air back into the room. Instead, it helps to cycle the room's air through the fireplace on an ongoing basis. The previously heated air gets replaced by newly heated air, increasing the air's overall ambient temperature and, therefore, the room's temperature.  

Without a fan, a fireplace relies on radiant heat to warm up a room. Radiant heat is when a fireplace warms up everything in its direct path, including people and furniture (and the air surrounding the fireplace), which in turn radiate that heat back into the room. Radiant heat is how all fireplaces warm an area. The addition of a fan/blower helps force air movement around the fireplace and throughout the room– combining convective and radiant heat to produce unmatched warmth and comfort! 

Can You Add a Fireplace Blower to an Existing Fireplace?

Yes, you can add a fan/blower to most gas and wood fireplaces, inserts, and stoves. You will need to find a fireplace rated fan that will fit your fireplace and follow all instructions for installation in the unit's manual. You will likely want a certified fireplace dealer to install your fan to ensure it is done correctly, is level, and doesn't rattle.
When shopping for a fireplace you will want to search for a unit that has the option for a blower. Even if you decide against adding one during initial installation, fireplaces that are compatible with fans provide greater flexibility in the future and allow you to add a blower in a few years if you decide you want one. Better yet find a fireplace where the blower comes standard on the unit and if you don’t want or need to use it you don’t have to, but you won’t have to pay extra for it! Fans come standard on Regency’s entire lineup of Gas Fireplace Inserts so you don’t have to make the choice to do it now or later!

Can I Run My Fireplace Without the Blower?

Yes, you can run your fireplace without a blower. Since the blower is on the unit's exterior, it does not affect the unit’s fuel efficiency or drafting. It is a tool to help circulate the heat and provide warmth further into the home. A fireplace without a fan will still work safely and effectively utilizing radiant heat to warm up the room & home. During a power outage all wood and direct vent gas fireplaces, Inserts and stoves will continue to work safely producing radiant heat without the need for a fan. With Regency products you and your family can stay warm and worry-free during winter storms. 

What Does a Wood Stove Airmate Do? 

An airmate is an accessory for freestanding wood stoves that directs the air from the blower into the room. With fireplaces and inserts, there is a channel between the outside of the firebox (including the top) and the exterior of the fireplace for the air to travel through. With freestanding stoves, this channel does not cover the top, so the airmate acts as this channel and helps funnel air from around the stove's exterior back into the room. 

Does a Blower Affect My Wood Stove Burns?

No, a blower does not affect the efficiency, burn times or heat output of a wood stove. Instead, it pushes air around the stove's exterior, heating it and releasing it back into the room. Blowers/fans are always mounted on the outside of stoves and will not push air into the firebox. Therefore, it will not affect the draft or burn rate of the stove. 

Why Do I Need a Blower for My Fireplace?

A blower helps circulate the air in the room and pushes warm air out while pulling cooler air into the fireplace's air channel. The released air from the blower helps increase the ambient temperature of the air in the room and, therefore, increases the fireplace's effectiveness, insert, or stoves heating. It does not increase the heating capacity of the unit. The unit will always produce the same amount of heat; instead, it spreads the warm air out over a greater area. The whole room is a comfortable temperature instead of the immediate area beside the unit being really hot, and the far corner of the room is much cooler. 

Are Fireplace Fans Loud?

Fireplace fans are not inherently noisier than other fans in your home. Think of the fan in your hood vent above your stove or the fan in your bathroom – these always make some noise and are never completely silent. Unfortunately, a fan's reality is that it requires a motor to run and that motor will make some noise. Add the requirement for it to push large amounts of air through it, be as small as possible, and be heat-rated to withstand the fireplace. Today's modern fireplace fans are actually quite exceptional compared to those even 10-15 years ago. They are smaller, quieter, more powerful, and last longer than ever before.

How Do You Fix a Loud Fireplace Fan?

If your fireplace fan is rattling, you should contact a certified fireplace service center to come to inspect the unit. A common cause of rattling with the fireplace fan is caused by vibration against the fireplace itself. A fireplace service expert can adjust the placement or add appropriate buffers between the fan and fireplace to reduce the noise.

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