Having a fireplace inside your home is equally relaxing as it is enjoyable to look at, but before you get too cozy by the fireside, you may want to know how hot your fireplace can heat up. So, how hot can a fireplace get?
A wood-burning fireplace typically reaches temperatures of 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas the surface around wood-burning fireplaces don’t get hotter than 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. Gas fireplaces reach lower temperatures, reaching around 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. Your fuel source also influences how hot your fireplace burns.
This article will explain how hot different types of fireplaces can get and what factors can influence a fireplace’s temperature, such as the quality and age of a fuel source. We’ll also walk you through key parts of a fireplace and explain how hot they can get, too. Finally, this all-inclusive guide wraps up explaining whether or not a fireplace can get too hot.
How Hot Can A Fireplace Get?
On average, a fireplace can get as hot as 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit. Wood-burning fireplaces can reach temperatures of 1,700 degrees, while gas fireplaces burn a little lower at around 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Additionally, electric fireplaces tend to give off the least amount of heat while burning at a lower temp – usually generating about 5,200 BTUs.
Due to gas fireplaces burning more efficiently than wood-burning ones, the temperature inside gas fireplaces doesn’t have to get as hot. Natural gas fireplaces are now often equipped with heat-efficient technology that wood-burning fireplaces naturally can’t compete with.
For one, fireplaces that use wood or other solid fuel sources need a chimney to vent, and chimneys lose a lot of heat (up to a whopping 80%) despite becoming incredibly hot from the smoke and flames.
On the other hand, electric fireplaces usually have a controllable heating element separate from the real flames produced when the device is in use. How hot an electric fireplace can get depends on the size of your room and the make and model of your homey device; however, they’ll generally put out around 5,200 BTUs. This amount of heat energy is typically enough to warm a large bedroom at around 250 square feet.
How Hot Can A Wood-Burning Fireplace Get?
A wood-burning fireplace can reach temperatures up to 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit. The inner hearth and firebox can reach about 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
In general, upon starting a fire under normal humidity conditions, wood tends to start burning around 575 degrees Fahrenheit. However, it can reach scorching temperatures around 1800 degrees once the flames have gotten some gusto.
How hot a wood-burning fireplace can get depends on the type of wood being burned since different species of wood burn at different temps.
Let’s look at some factors that affect a fireplace’s potential temperature.
Variables The Affect A Wood-Burning Fireplace’s Temperature
Several variables affect how hot a wood-burning fireplace can reach, such as the type of wood used, the age of the wood, and the fuel type.
- Type of Wood
Whether or not a tree is porous or non-porous affects how it burns (“porous” refers to the tiny vessels inside a tree that produce sap; these are called pores). Porous trees such as pine, redwood, and cedar burn very intensely but tend not to get as hot as non-porous wood.
Here’s a quick rundown of common types of wood used in wood-burning fireplaces and what temperature the wood burns at:
|Ash, Elm, Beech, and Hornbeam||1832 degrees Fahrenheit|
|Birch, Larch, and Oak||1652 degrees Fahrenheit|
|Pine, Redwood, and Spruce||1157 degrees Fahrenheit|
- Age of Wood
How old a piece of wood is can affect how much heat it can produce. For example, seasoned dry wood burns faster than freshly cut green wood since the drier the wood, the hotter the fire. Green wood doesn’t generate as much heat as seasoned wood because the water inside the wood will vaporize before the wood itself begins burning.
One thing to note if you have a wood-burning fireplace is to reach for drier wood when lighting your fire; it’ll burn more efficiently than with moist wood.
- Fuel Type
Lastly, the type of fuel used to light the fire can affect how hot the temperatures reach. Hardwoods tend to burn at a slower, steadier rate than softwoods, and that slow, full burn generates more heat.
Softwoods such as cedar and pine don’t create as much heat as hardwoods like birch, oak, or maple. Keep in mind the type of wood you’re using if you prefer more or less heat from your fireplace.
How Hot Can An Electric Fireplace Get?
An electric fireplace gives off around 5,200 BTUs (British Thermal Units) of heat, which is usually less heat than what gas or wood-burning fireplaces produce. Remember that electric fireplaces must be plugged into an electrical outlet in order to work.
Many electric fireplaces have the heating element as a separate control from the flames, making the temperature easier to adjust.
Depending on the type of electric fireplace you have, the maximum temperature may differ. The three types of electric fireplaces and how hot they can get are listed below.
Wall-Mount Electric Fireplaces
Generally, a wall-mounted electric fireplace can heat up a 400 square foot room with 4,000 – 5,000 BTUs. For visualization purposes, a 400 square foot space is about the size of a two-car garage or an apartment’s kitchen and bedroom areas.
How hot a wall-mounted electric fireplace can get depends on the design of the fireplace and the room space. Wall-mounted electric fireplaces are contemporary in style and may be mounted directly onto the wall or cut into the wall and then mounted. They may also come in horizontal or vertical designs.
Electric Fireplace Mantels
Electric fireplace mantels that house a conventional fan heater can generally heat a room that’s about 400 square feet.
Certain types of electric fireplace mantels – such as those that use infrared or ceramic heaters – can heat larger rooms up to 1,000 square feet.
Electric fireplace mantles are great for when you want to create the ambiance of a fireplace without the sooty clean-up of a traditional fireplace since they can be mounted on virtually any wall inside your home. They don’t need a chimney for ventilation since there are no real – only artificial – flames.
Electric Fireplace Inserts
Lastly, electric fireplace inserts will become hot to the touch only when the heater is on. Electric inserts can often produce enough heat to warm a 400 square foot room, which is about the size of a two-car garage.
How Hot Can A Gas Fireplace Get?
A gas fireplace can reach temperatures up to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The firebox can get as hot as 1,000 degrees. A gas fireplace can get as hot as anywhere between 7,000 – 60,000 BTUs.
There are three styles of gas fireplaces. Let’s have a quick look at each so you can determine which one you have.
Built-In Gas Fireplace
Built-in gas fireplaces are freestanding fireplaces that are enclosed with a wall and frames. They are similar to inserted gas fireplaces; however, there is no need for a chimney or even an existing fireplace with built-ins.
Built-in gas fireplaces can be unvented or vented. Unvented built-ins are designed with a fixed panel screen, whereas ventilated versions vent exhaust through an exterior wall.
Inserted Gas Fireplace
Inserted gas fireplaces have two metal boxes with one inside the other. One box holds the log burner set while the bigger metal box surrounds it. Heat is created between the space between the metal boxes.
Log Set Gas Fireplace
A log set gas fireplace is a little kit of a fireplace, consisting of a fireplace burner, burner pan, and valve system – though decorative stones, ceramic gas logs, or glass panels may also be part of the package. There are vent-free and vented gas log sets, the latter of which can give off 25,000 BTUs of heat. Some log sets, however, may give off no heat.
Be sure to do your research before buying!
How Hot Can Fireplace Inserts Get?
A fireplace insert can reach temperatures ranging from 1,200 degrees to 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit and emit 30,000 to 85,000 BTUs. The inner hearth may only heat up to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit due to a large flow of air continually circulating the flames. How hot a fireplace insert can get also may depend on the type of insert, namely electric, gas, or wood.
To put how hot fireplace inserts can get into perspective: if we compare a wood-burning fireplace insert to a conventional brick or stone furnace, an insert produces much more heat than a traditional fireplace!
How Hot Do Certain Parts In A Fireplace Get?
Certain parts of a fireplace get hotter than others. The chimney, flue, cap, and firebrick can get as hot as 750 – 2,100 degrees, depending on the type of fireplace, fuel, and material used. A mantel and hearth can reach temperatures that are uncomfortable to touch by hand.
Now that you know how hot different types of fireplaces can get, let’s break down the parts of a fireplace and learn how hot each part can get. This is good information that will help you understand better how a part of your fireplace could potentially malfunction or break inside your fireplace and how to diagnose and potentially fix it.
Though when in doubt – we recommend always calling a professional fireplace repair service!
Most chimneys are required to withstand scorching temperatures of up to 2,100 degrees Fahrenheit without damage.
A chimney is a vertical pipe that vents gaseous combustion and smoke from a fireplace, usually through the roof. The chimney encloses the flue.
Chimney caps can exceed temperatures beyond 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit as well.
A chimney cap is a protective outer covering that is placed over the top of a chimney to protect your chimney and fireplace from rain and downdraft (to note, a downdraft is a downward-moving current of air that is caused by daytime heating of the ground being mixed with cooler air.).
The flue pipe usually reaches a high temperature around 750 – 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
The flue (also known as a flue liner) can be found inside your chimney. The flue is actually the part that combustion and smoke touch as it vents upward through the chimney since the difference between a chimney and flue is that a chimney houses the flue.
Firebricks can withstand temperatures as high as 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit.
Firebricks are specially-made bricks designed to withstand the intense heat generated by a firebox without sustaining damage. They can be located at the back of a firebox and are made from fire clay. Fire clay is a type of refractory clay used in manufacturing ceramics. Refractory clay is a term used to describe materials that do not melt or deform under industry-norm kiln temperatures.
The fireplace surround’s temperature can get pretty hot to the touch due to being so close to the firebox. While the temperature depends on the type and model of fireplace you own, you can expect a surface temperature around 190 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything above 100 degrees Fahrenheit will feel hot to the touch.
A fireplace surround is the outer fireplace in its entirety, excluding the firebox – so the surround includes the mantel, returns, and legs.
A mantel is typically not supposed to become overly hot since it can function as a shelf, but that’s not to say it can’t get hot to the touch. Typically, mantels can only withstand temperatures up to 117 degrees Fahrenheit or so.
A mantel is like a shelf above a fireplace, though some mantels may not have enough depth to function as a shelf. Many people often see this when they walk into a house, as many fireplace homeowners love to decorate their mantels.
A hearth can get as hot as the temperature of the fire inside the fireplace. For wood-burning fireplaces, the hearth temperature could reach 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit; for gas-powered fireplaces, the hearth can reach around 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
A fireplace hearth is the floor area within a furnace, though it may extend past the front of the fireplace and out towards the sides into a room. Hearths must be made from non-combustible material like brick, concrete, or stone since it encases the fire.
Can A Fireplace Get Too Hot?
It is possible for a fireplace to become too hot, and damage can occur to parts of your fireplace when that happens.
Gas and wood fireplaces that become too hot (as well as too big or not positioned properly) can create cracks inside your fireplace or hearth, which is more apt to occur if it’s lined with breakable material like tile.
House fires can happen if cracks in the refractory panels transfer excess heat from the metal firebox to the fireplace’s framing, causing that part of the fireplace to heat up too, which can catch surrounding household objects on fire.
For example, a wood-burning fireplace can reach high temperatures up to 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit. With enough air circulation, a fire can start and soon reach temperatures well over 1,000 degrees.
But what about electric fireplaces that must be plugged into an outlet in order to work? Electric fireplaces can become overheated too. They usually overheat due to restricted airflow – such as via a blocked or clogged fireplace inlet – which in turn prevents the heating element from being adequately cooled.