Why did my fireplace door glass shatter

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I have a 15 year-old glass SEARS fireplace door, made up of four door sections, each section is about 8" wide by 20" high, with a metal frame around each door. Two doors on each side with a piano type hinge between the pair of doors, and two pin type hinges at the outside points. Last night, while reading on the sofa in the family room, with the fire slowly getting lower as I was letting it burn down for the night, I heard what sounded like a cap gun type of noise. When I looked up, one of the four door glass panes had shattered into small shards. It was obviously tempered glass by the way it broke up.
I took the shards out of the frame today, and the frame is not warped and shows no signs of anything that could have triggered the breakage. The glass is about 7/16" thick. The fire was burning very low, and there were no sparks or anything that I am aware of that triggered the breakage. Before I shell out big $$$ bucks for a new pane of tempered glass, I want to make sure it doesn't happen again. What would happen if I just replaced the glass with two thicknesses of regular window glass?
Has anyone else had this sort of problem, and what did they do?
TIA,
Bob Hofmann
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hr(bob) snipped-for-privacy@att.net wrote:

... just uneven cool down? We purchased tempered glass for our kitchen, which was very reasonable. Regular window glass would be dangerous, it seems.
I made the mistake recently of placing an empty pyrex pie plate on our glass cooktop, thinking the burner was off. We sat down to dinner in the dining room and a minute later heard glass break in the kitchen. The pie plate had just exploded, all over the kitchen, with long, sharp shards clear across the room. It would have been bad news, had anyone been standing nearby.
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It was time for it to break.
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hr(bob) snipped-for-privacy@att.net wrote:

Either a defect/imperfection or uneven cooling by a squirt of water from wet wood/rain/spit.
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wrote:

DO NOT USE PLAIN GLASS!!
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Do NOT use regular glass. Aside from less strength, it can break in large shards that can be a danger if you fall against it. Shards that can pierce your body and kill you. That is why doors must have tempered glass;people have died from injuries.
Tempered glass is tough stuff, but glass is brittle and a lot of things can cause a break. It may have had a tiny scratch two years ago and the right amount of heat was enough to pop it. Uneven heating and/or cooling can do it. A splash of cold water on a hot glass.
Gas grilles used to have glass windows so you could see the food cook. The were eliminated because so many of the broke after a few months of use from either a bump when letting the lid down hard, or rain drops when it was very hot.
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Cap gun is weird- I've heard tempered glass go a couple times and it was more like a shotgun. Most recent was a glass door on an entertainment center. Nobody had touched it in several hours- and no one was closer than 3 feet to it when it blew. Pretty dramatic after you're sure nobody has glass in their eye.
-snip-

Glass is cool stuff. It might have gotten dinged years ago and just sat there waiting for the right moment.

Wouldn't survive the first fire.

Go to a glass/fireplace shop and buy the right glass.
Jim
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On Sun, 7 Dec 2008 09:23:58 -0800 (PST), "hr(bob) snipped-for-privacy@att.net"

Well obviously it lost its temper. You're welcome!
I am the real ftwhd and I approve this message.
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On Sun, 07 Dec 2008 14:35:17 -0800, ftwhd wrote:

Must have been a heated incident.
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Thanx for the replies, I really wan't planning on using regular glass, but was curious if others were as concerned as I was aboiut the possibility of its breaking. I'll be calling my local glass company tomorrow morning and see how their price compares with a piece of glass from Sears Parts.
Bob H
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hr(bob) snipped-for-privacy@att.net wrote:

incidents with that model. Good luck!
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hr(bob) snipped-for-privacy@att.net wrote:

glass? We bought glass for a kitchen project, approx. size 2' x 5'. It had to be cut in two pieces, due to the pressed pattern. The glass shop cut it to size, ground edges, returned it to mfg. to be tempered. We picked it up from the shop and installed it. Total about $50.
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Sears wants $70 according to my son who checked it, I am calling them today to see it that's right. Going to a local glass store also.
Bob H
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"hr(bob) wrote

Local glass store will probably be cheaper. Thats gonna be a pretty standard sized piece for them.
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Went to local store, only $45. they cut the glass, then send it out to be tempered. About a week overall.
Bob H
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On Sun, 7 Dec 2008 09:23:58 -0800 (PST), "hr(bob) snipped-for-privacy@att.net"

No way to do that. We had screens like that when I was a kid, and I remember several of them breaking, one on a day with no fire in the fire place. If you want to fix this right, get a fireplace insert with a screen to watch the fire through and real doors with no glass in them that you can close. You'll get more heat from less wood.
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THis fireplace has outside makeup air, so the doors have to be closed to pull in the outside air. There is fan-forced airflow around the firebox and out the top to pride a great deal of heat with a fairly low firebox temperature.
Bob H
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Replace the insert with one that has ceramic glass.
wrote:

THis fireplace has outside makeup air, so the doors have to be closed to pull in the outside air. There is fan-forced airflow around the firebox and out the top to pride a great deal of heat with a fairly low firebox temperature.
Bob H
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Was it always left open when the fire was on? It should be. Only ceramic glass can handle the heat of a closed fireplace.

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Art wrote:

Who leaves the doors open? That's not only dangerous, but it prevents the fireplace from doing useful heating. The glass can shatter, it happens as this one did, but is rare. My grandmother's wood stove glass shattered once, but it had worked fine for over a decade and the replacement glass has been fine for around 15 years since that happened.
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