Fireplace and use of doors...or not

Hello. The house we bought has a fireplace and this will be our first winter where we can actually make use of it. As we've never had a fireplace before I want to make sure I use it correctly. I've checked out several sights on the net about how to build fires and how to prime the flue, etc.
One question I have is on the use (or not) of fireplace doors. My fireplace has two glass doors (no screens). From what I can tell the most common recommendation is to leave any doors open while the fire is burning.
Thoughts on this? When should/could the doors be closed? Do you think it would be a good idea to obtain a screen for the from of the fireplace?
Thanks, Walter
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I have a fireplace with glass doors. You will need a screen sparks will exit the firebox. I burn with the doors open. If I am leaving it unattended (i.e. going to bed) I close the doors. This not only for safety but to save house heat from going up the chimney till I get up in the morning and close the damper.

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calhoun" <builderpaul@"pants wrote:

For efficiency the doors should be closed. People are fooled because close to the fire it is warmer with the doors open, but the rest of the house is being cooled by all of the heat being pulled up the chimney.
If you think about it the fireplace already has a flu door that can be closed when the fireplace is not being used so what practical purpose do glass doors serve? Are they merely an alternative to the flu door? If not, then what possible purpose would they have if the only time they are closed is when the fire is not burning?
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On Sat, 22 Jan 2005 11:22:45 -0600, "Rick Brandt"

I have glass doors that have brass decorative openings running across the top and bottom, with metal louvers you can pull open and closed. The idea is to keep the doors closed, but to open one or both screens to control the amount of room air that enters the firebox. You leave the actual fireplace chimney damper open while using the fireplace. Mostly I keep the two screens nearly closed and the damper halfway open. Makes a nice whistling noise. This fireplace, built in 1921, has no outside air vent -- ie., no source of outside air other than what it gets from the inside the house.
I installed the doors when I realized that the draft from the fireplace was so strong that it sucked all the heated air from the entire house, all three stories worth, and blasted it up the chimney. Indeed, the draft is so intense that I sometimes wondered if it would shoot small tables, footstools, and cats up the chimney.
Not wishing to attempt to heat the neighborhood, I found the doors to be a nice, cost-effective investment. It doesn't make the fireplace an effective heating device, but it does keep more of the PSE&G bought-and-paid-for heat inside the house. The fire is nice to look at.
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My fireplace doors have an air-intake panel along the bottom, with a sliding baffle to let you adjust the amount of air. I burn the fire with the glass doors closed and in this way I lose less heat up the chimney as the fire dies down and we go to sleep.
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Yes, I neglected to mention I have this also. So I'll burn the fire similarly - with the doors closed and adjust the baffles.
Thanks, Walter

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Walter Cohen wrote:

Normally it is more efficient heating to use the doors closed. The only issue is air supply to the fire. Some applications will have an outside air supply within the fireplace, more require at least some room air. Many doors have adjustable air vents.
Using room air will cause cold air from outside to get into the house somewhere cooling that part of the house.
Limiting the air to the fire will slow it down and the wood will last longer. It also may cause it to create more deposits on the chimney and that can be dangerous.
--
Joseph Meehan

26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math
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I too have always heard it is more efficient heating with the doors closed. I do think this is true after the fire burns down low, or out, as you don't want the heat left in the room to escape up the flue. But, just how is it more efficient heating with the doors closed, when the fire is going strong ?
Just where does the heat come from , if the doors are closed ? My question assumes there is no ventilator.
--James--
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James Nipper wrote:

The heat moves (radiates) through the glass. Again at close range not nearly as much as with the doors open, but you avoid the draft that is pulling all of the warm air from your house and sending it up the chimney.
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closed.
don't
it
strong
question
Fire heats the room via radiant heat, through the glass. The hot air from the fire is going up the stack. Fireplace fires are mainly psychological anyway. They are a lousy way to heat a house, and will suck the heated air from the house right up the chimney, if you let them, even while fire is burning. If you want a fireplace to be a backup heatsource, you need to forget about looking at the pretty flames, and get good tight glass doors with an outside air source and a heat exchanger that blows room air through a sealed pipe built into the firebox, or better yet, an insert or woodstove coversion kit. There was a reason people invented furnaces.
aem sends...
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Get an airtight insert and turn your fireplace into a real heater. You can probably find a used one for under $200.

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Advice from Rick, Carol, and Meehan is right on. Keep those doors closed, or what little warm air is in the house will quickly be sucked out. Re a screen, it is useful when first starting the fire, where you want max. air flow, but no live coals on the rug..... Once well started,. pull the screen back out of the way, and close the glass doors. If the screen is left in place while the doors are shut, you get more smoke/tar deposits left on windows, and end up blocking a lot of useful radiation into the room. Another really good source for info on fires and home heating is newsgroup alt.energy.homepower. It is well attended by many who have expertise in home heating with wood stoves and fireplaces.
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It is ridiculous to think of a fire place as an efficient heat source. It is for aesthetics. I like to look at and hear my fire so I leave the doors open. If I wanted to look at one though the glass I could get one of those Yule log tapes for the VCR. If I wanted to heat with wood I would get a stove.

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calhoun" <builderpaul@"pants wrote:

A valid viewpoint, but why then not just remove the doors entirely?
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Like I stated in an earlier post when I am ready to go to bed, and the fire is still burning, I can just close the doors. Since I can't close the damper with the fire still burning this will prevent my house air from going up the chimney when the fire goes out. Then in the morning I can shut the damper.
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wrote:
-> Hello. -> The house we bought has a fireplace and this will be our first winter where -> we can actually make use of it. -> As we've never had a fireplace before I want to make sure I use it -> correctly. -> I've checked out several sights on the net about how to build fires and how -> to prime the flue, etc. -> -> One question I have is on the use (or not) of fireplace doors. My fireplace -> has two glass doors (no screens). From what I can tell the most common -> recommendation is to leave any doors open while the fire is burning. -> -> Thoughts on this? -> When should/could the doors be closed? -> Do you think it would be a good idea to obtain a screen for the from of the -> fireplace?
Just adding to what has already been said: Check your fireplace to see if it has a fan. Mine has a little push-button switch in the lower right hand corner of the fireplace. The fan sucks in cool air at the bottom of the fireplace and blows out warm air from the top. Yours may not have a fan, but I thought you'd want to check.
--
8^)~~~ Sue (remove the x to e-mail)
~~~~~~
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susie, does the use of that fan heat your room?
--
1-22-05
http://www.infoshout.com/iraq%20death%20toll.htm
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I find my fireplace works most efficiently when I leave the doors open while the fire is roaring. Once the fire dies down and you basically have just hot coals left, then close the doors and the coals will last longer and thereby heat longer. By all means get a screen!!! Wood has a tendency to pop and throw sparks. If you have carpet or there is anything nearby that is flammable you are asking for trouble if you don't have a screen. It only takes one of those sparks to burn that new house down.

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