Glass fireplace doors are quite a hit because they provide both a safety barrier from fireplace flames as well as add aesthetic beauty when the fire is on or off.
The Why in Glass Fireplace Doors
The fireplace can look and function even better when spotting glass doors. The beauty of this option is that the doors are hinged to frames and act as screens. However, the glass and doors can close and open at will, unlike fire screens.
Glass doors present an exquisite look and integrate perfectly into the frame of your hearth. Other than the beauty that glass doors offer, they also are a practical solution that can improve the efficiency of your fireplace in the home. How can fireplace glass doors achieve that?
Fireplace owners often have to install Dampers are metal plates that regulate airflow in your chimney. When these dampers are newly installed they work to perfection because they fit like a glove. However, give them a few years and they will warp which then allows extra air to pass into the chimney.
Introducing glass doors to your fireplace will help complement dampers and knock off precious dollars of your heating and cooling bills. Fire glass doors will improve your fireplace zone heating efficiency by preventing warm air from escaping your home during the winter, and keeping cool air inside the home during the summer.
Will Any Glass Do For Your Fireplace Doors?
But with your venture of introducing glass doors to your fireplace, you will want to enlighten yourself on safe options that will serve you well and ensure the safety of those you love.
Transparent glass panels may look alike but often have different properties in terms of heat retention and the ability to withstand heat.
You may see a gorgeous fireplace with glass doors in an interior décor magazine or blog and be sold on the look. In your mind, you may think that you can achieve the same using normal glass. While your idea and desire to install glass doors in your fireplace is good, your choice of glass is misguided.
The ordinary glass should never be used for making fireplace glass doors. That’s because normal glass is guaranteed to shatter as the heat in the hearth mounts. Shuttering or exploding of glass as a result of heat exposure is dangerous to both you and those you love including kids and pets in the home.
It’s worth noting that ordinary glass will break when exposed to pressure amounts of 6000 PSI. Whereas, the most common type of glass used in fireplaces; tempered glass—can stand up to 24,000 PSI.
Tempered glass is ordinary glass panels that have undergone a tempering process that uses chemical or heat treatment to achieve reinforced strength.
Are Tempered Glass Doors Applicable to All Fireplaces?
Tempered glass is quite strong and will not succumb to pressure below 24,000 PSI. However, while tempered glass doors will work with most fireplaces including zero clearance fireplaces, masonry or corner fireplaces whether they are wood-burning, electric or propane driven options, they are not recommended if the heat production of the fireplaces exceeds 18,000 BTU as the pressure of such units is also likely to exceed 24,000 PSI.
For perspective, consider that the general British Thermal Unit (BTU) range for propane-driven fireplaces is between 8,000-60,000 BTU.
Wood burning fireplace units tend to generate a heat output of anywhere between 20,000- 40,000 BTU.
That’s why, if you run a wood-burning fireplace, you will be safer with a highly resistant option beyond tempered glass. The solution for higher heat intensity producing fireplaces that surpass the heat-resisting threshold of tempered glass is ceramic glass.
Tempered Glass Alternative For Fireplaces
Ceramic glass is a highly resilient option that can stand up to temperatures well beyond 1400 degrees. Ceramic glass is not truly glass but transparent ceramic. The product is made from the same raw materials used to create glass but the process is different.
Ceramic glass manufacture features two steps and involves a nucleating agent that promotes crystallization in the glass.
The end product has the transparency of glass but comes with superior heat-resisting properties that exceed those of tempered glass.
To choose between tempered and ceramic glass doors, you will need to know what heat output your fireplace is capable of.
Ceramic glass doors are recommended for wood-burning fireplaces and for propane-driven fireplaces that exceed 18,000 BTU.
Benefits of Using Glass Doors on Your Fireplace
Other than an appealing and clean fluid look that adds to your fireplace aesthetics and general décor, other numerous benefits come with installing glass doors. They are as follows;
- Enhanced safety for you, those you love, and pets in the home
- Savings on heating and cooling bill
- Glass doors promote a better heating efficiency
- They help keep the smoke out of your living room
Over and above the BTU of your fireplace, other factors that might influence your choice between tempered and ceramic glass will include the shape, size, fireplace type as well as cost.
Tempered glass is favored because of its availability and relatively affordable price.
Ceramic glass on the other hand is more costly but offers exceptional safety standards, longevity and resilience even in the face of high-intensity heat-producing fireplaces.
Safety Precaution When Using Fireplace Glass Doors
Whether you have installed tempered or ceramic fireplace glass doors, it’s recommended to always keep the glass doors open whenever the fire is raging at a full blaze.
This is for the simple reason that the heat of the fire may overwhelm the door frame and glass. Keeping the door open when the fire is at full blast also prevents the glass door finish from becoming discolored.
You are however free to leave the doors open when the fire has died down considerably.
Now you know that using ordinary glass for fireplace doors is a NO NO!!! Tempered glass doors are a great option for fireplaces with a BTU of below 18,000.
For any fireplace whose heat rating is above 18,000 BTU, one should consider ceramic glass doors as they are stronger and have a higher threshold for heat resistance. When in doubt about which option will work best, contact a fireplace accessory vendor for verification.