Why Do I Need a Blower Fan on My Fireplace?

This comes up quite frequently in retail fireplace shops.  To thoroughly answer this question, it helps to understand the basic ways that heat can transfer from one object to another.

Three Types of Heat Transfer

There are three ways heat can transfer from a warmer object to a cooler object . . .  through:

  1. Convection
  2. Radiation
  3. Conduction

A typical forced air furnace will use convective heat to warm your home.  A heat exchanger, normally made with steel or stainless steel, is warmed by burning a fuel, either gas, oil, wood or electricity.  Once this heat exchanger is hot, a blower fan cycles to blow air through it and distribute the warm air throughout the house via the ductwork.

Radiant heat is how the sun heats.  Have you ever been driving down the highway with the sun shining through one side of the car and not the other?  The person sitting in the sun feels this radiant energy.  The person sitting next to you does not.  Another good example is dining outdoors in a restaurant during a cool evening.  Radiant heaters from above or portable units keep customers cozy while dining. The heat is delivered directly from a hot object to a cooler object in the room through infrared radiation.  Radiant heat, heats objects.

Conduction is probably the most common type of heat transfer and happens when you physically touch a hot object.  Have you ever left a metal spoon in a pot of boiling water?  It can get very hot.  The temperature flow will always go from the hottest to the cooler object.  Once the temperature is the same between the two objects, the transfer of heat stops.

How Does This Relate to a Blower Fan on My Fireplace or Stove?

Single Cage Universal Fireplace Fan

Single Cage Universal Fireplace Fan

Your fireplace or stove, whether it’s wood or gas, can be operated with or without a fan.  Without a fan, you will get the radiant heat from the glass and the front of your fireplace.  Without a fan, you will get radiant heat from the front, both sides, the top and even the back of your stove.  But by adding a fan to your appliance, you will enjoy convective heat in addition to the radiant heat.

As air from the room moves through convective air chambers designed in the fireplace or stove, heat is transferred from the hot surfaces.  The fan then circulates the warm air back into the room.  Most fans on fireplaces and stoves use a rheostat to vary the amount of air the fan is moving.  Turn the fan up and a higher volume of air is moving through the appliance.  By turning the fan down, less air is picking up heat and blowing into the room.  Fan adjustments can be done manually, or with many gas fireplaces today, can be done with a multi-function remote control.  Fans will increase the heat transfer efficiency of your fireplace or stove.

Dual Cage Universal Fireplace Fan

Dual Cage Universal Fireplace Fan

Most blower fans on fireplaces and stoves will move air in the range of 75 – 250 cubic feet per minute.  In the low end of this range, that’s roughly the amount of air a bathroom fan will exhaust.  And keeping air moving in your house, even a small amount of air, will help maintain consistent temperatures throughout the house, minimizing cooler or warmer areas of the home.

Fans today are relatively quiet, especially on the lower settings.  However, keep in mind whenever a fan is operating by moving air, there will be some noise.  A calm day is much quieter than a day with the wind blowing 25 mph.  Same with the air moving through your stove or fireplace.  Noises from fans other than air moving (squeaks, squeals or hums) indicate a scenario that a dealer would likely want to get involved with.  A problematic fan can normally be easily replaced.

Forced Air Kit

Forced Air Kit

Blower fans will not operate, of course, in the event of a power outage but you will still get the benefit of radiant heat.  If reliability of power is a concern to you, or if you are off the grid, there are specific models of fireplaces and stoves designed to be strictly radiant heaters.

So, the question comes up again:  Do I need a blower fan on my fireplace or stove?  It’s all about comfort, based on your circumstances.  But most dealers are big fans of fans!

Below is a list of fireplace and grill stores that service Virginia (VA)

Mechanicsville, VA

Hearth & Home Shoppe
8151 Mechanicsville Tpk
Mechanicsville, VA 23111

Visit Store Page

Roanoke, VA

Dixie Building Products Inc.
3342 Melrose Ave NW
Roanoke, VA 24017

For more information, contact your local fireplace and grill store..

14 Responses

  1. Joe, We have a R. H. Peterson real frye vent free gas logs G18-2 series 30 in. Our fireplace is open see through on both sides of the dining room and the great room. We currently use a standing fan to blow out the hot air into the room. Our dealer was not much on putting in a blower when we first put it in. I called the company and they do not recommend a blower. Looking at this website gave me so hope that maybe there is a way to put in a blower that would accommodate our needs. In reading this article it appears you have your doctorate in fireplaces. Thanks, Mark
    • Dominique Page
      Good morning! Thanks for your message. A fan is a good idea for a sealed fireplace. It can also be a good idea for some decorative fireplace that are factory built. But they are not a good idea for masonry open fireplaces. The risk being that the exhaust fumes would be transferred inside the home, with a risk of CO levels increasing to a point where it can be dangerous. Not knowing exactly what your fireplace is like, it is hard to make a judgement call. But if the fireplace expert did not feel good about it, I would follow their advice. Using the blower to blow air 'away' from the fireplace inside your home sounds scary to me. Do you have a CO detector near your fireplace? That would be a good idea.... Stay safe and warm! Dominique
  2. I am installing a vented gas log system to an existing outdoor fireplace and the customer would like to be able to feel more than just radiant heat, I suggested using gas log blower that is quiet and efficient before doing research, can you help me with a product that may work for this application
    • Dominique Page
      Good morning! Thanks for reaching out! We don't really recommend that type of fan. they tend no to be reliable and we don't like to push back the 'exhaust' that contains CO back onto people. That is simply our viewpoint. Radiant heat can be however, increased when using a vent free gas log set, as these are designed to burn cleaner with no CO. All the best!
  3. We are building a new house with a Radiant gas fireplace...First question is do we need a blower to actually feel any heat from this setand can it be added after closing..Second can a radiant fireplace set be converted to a ventless gas log insert...
    • Dominique Page
      Good morning! Thanks for reaching out. This sounds like a nice project! Most fireplaces will offer the option of the fan being installed later. But the cost of doing it later is significant. Most gas fireplaces now come with the fan included. This allows to reduce the cost of the fan, as it is installed in the factory. It also makes the fan 'operable' with the remote. We prefer to get the fan right from the get go... Now your question on conveting to 'ventless' logs is a good question. We're somehow biased on this one. We find, that 'vented' fireplaces and logs will provide a much nicer flame pattern. Ventless ones have to burn super clean and will tend to have to be more of a 'boring' and unrealistic fire. This is simply our opinion...We think what making sure to choose the right fireplace to start with is better. I hope this answers your question. Stay safe!
  4. We have 2 blowers in our sealed wood burning fireplace. The fans are in the back bottom and are a bit loud at the high setting. However, I assume the fans are drawing in air from the bottom vent and pushing it up behind the fireplace. There is very minimal air coming back out the fireplace. Seems a bit strange. It is possible to mount the fans at the top back of the fireplace so the air directly blows out or could the wires melt being that high up?
    • Dominique Page
      Hi John Thanks so much for your comment. Your question is a good one. Moving the fans on top of the fireplace could indeed make you feel more air flow. However, fireplace manufacturers have pretty much always put the fans underneath the firebox or on the side. Placing the blowers on top of the firebox would expose the blower motor to high heat. Those motors are rated to run below a specific temperature. If blowers were exposed to temperatures above their 'limit', it would not only damage the blower itself, but it could become a fire hazard. I wish I could offer a solution to make you feel more airflow. Maybe if you reached out to the manufacturer of the fireplace, they could point you in a different direction. Thanks again for reaching out! Stay safe and warm! Dominique
  5. Hello. We have a propane fireplace in our living room. The heat from the fireplace immediately rises (of course). Our second floor is open to the first floor and the second floor becomes very warm. However, the heat barely reaches those sitting in front of the fireplace. In recent years we haven’t used the fireplace and have actually hung our tv above it. We would like to use it again but know that it may over heat our tv and still provide little heat to the room itself. Is a fan the answer? Should we just plan to buy a mantle to protect the tv and live with the hot upstairs and cool downstairs? Thank you!
    • Dominique Page
      Hi Bridget Thanks for reaching out. Your question is very good! First, as you state so well, heat rises! We cannot change this natural law. However, keep in mind the other side of that law...cold air travels down. I don't how your home is setup. But the 'cool' air from upstairs is certainly travelling down somewhere. If you can provide a way for the air travelling down to be on the opposite side from where it is travelling up, it will bring more balance in the temperature between upstairs and downstairs. If you have a warm air furnace or AC, you may want to keep the fan on the circulation mode. The better the air will move in your home, the better the comfort in your home. Now, as per the TV, the answer is yes, you need to protect it. You will need to put in a non-combustible mantel shelf. That is very important. It cannot be made of wood. There many options. You may want to look at this one: https://ambiancefireplaces.com/mantels/ These are non-combustible and yet, we would swear it is real wood. They are great and affordable! Hope this answers your question! Dominique
  6. Hi I have a GRUF 36C-R vent-free fireplace that does not have louvers. I bought a HBLOT blower do have to install louvers for this to work? And if so will louvers on the bottom be enough? Thank you Michael
    • Dominique Page
      Hello Michael Thanks for reaching out. I am not sure I understand what we're looking at. Where will the blower be installed, if there is no opening, no louvers? Normally, you need the bottom louvers to be open to draw air, and top louvers to push hot air into the room. You would need both for the proper circulation to happen. Dominique
  7. Hello - We have a gas fireplace with a bult in blower. I was wondering if plugging that into a 15amp outlet would be okay. I was told there could be a chance of circuit breaking, but I assume that is more for electric fireplaces than gas. I guess what I am asking is how many amps does a typical gas blower use. Thanks
    • Dominique Page
      Hello Zach. Thanks for reaching out. A gas fireplace blower draws very little amperage, typically under 2amps. It is okay to use on a 15-amp circuit. All the best! Dominique

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