Can You Install an Electric Blower on a Wood Burning Fireplace?

Posted on: 23 January 2018

While fireplaces and other wood and gas burning appliances have been used for direct and passive heating for centuries, adding an electric blower to the mix increases the heating value of the fireplace significantly. These blowers are commonly integrated into modern wood stoves, gas fireplaces, and fireplace inserts, but they're also available for retrofitting in existing fireplaces that burn traditional wood logs. Find out what's different about installation and why you might want to add a blower to your fireplace.

Retrofitting a Blower

Many homeowners only decide they want a blower years after having a pre-built or custom masonry fireplace installed. This requires quite a bit of work to cut into the base of wood burning fireplace to create a new raised floor and space for the blower installation. Since a fireplace blower sucks in cooler air from your home and pushes warmer air out, there needs to be enough space for air circulation under your fireplace. For retrofitting projects, this is accomplished with a lot of hard work to enlarge your fireplace and create new channels for the equipment and air.

Designing with a Blower in Mind

It's far easier to design a new wood fireplace with heat circulation in mind. Circulating masonry or pre-built fireplaces include the space for a blower, but you can easily cover it with a matching panel if you don't want the equipment at first. This is why circulating designs are widely recommended for all homeowners, even the ones that don't want blowers.

Benefiting from Heat Circulation

If you have a ready supply of inexpensive or even free firewood, a blower can make a wood burning fireplace efficient enough to supply a secondary source of heat in the winter. While you may not completely replace your furnace, you'll reduce the total need for heat from your furnace each day you burn a fire and run the blower. Blowers move enough heat out into the room to warm a room significantly. Your furnace or other heating equipment runs less often and for shorter times, resulting in noticeable savings on your monthly bills.

Installing an Insert

For the most effective and easiest forced air system, choose an insert with a built-in blower. This helps you quickly retrofit an existing fireplace or create a new installation. These inserts are sealed to make the most of each unit of fuel whether you choose a gas or wood burning insert.