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Fireplace Doors: Open or Closed? – We’re Setting the Record Straight

Glass Doors of Fireplace - Open or Closed

Fireplace glass doors might be one of the least understood accessories of your typical fireplace thanks to the way various manufacturers have portrayed them. Originally fireplace doors were designed for practicality not look, but that seems to have gone out the window. Today’s fireplace doors have been tweaked to be visually appealing, as most of us only want to purchase something that we think would look good and fit in with the scheme of our home décor. What has been lost by history is that fireplace doors were not primarily designed to upgrade the look of the fireplace. They were designed for a practical purpose: to keep heat inside your home when your fireplace isn’t actively being used.

If you pay close attention to the pictures of fireplace glass doors online you will notice several manufacturers show the fire burning brightly behind a set of CLOSED doors. It is these misleading images that are “fueling the fire” in regards to a question we get from our customers all the time: “Should the glass doors on wood-burning fireplaces be open or closed while the fire is burning?”

These images strongly suggest that the doors can be closed while the fire is burning, but that is far from the truth. Here at Brick-Anew we are doing our part not to fuel these rumors by trying to show our customers images of fireplace glass doors that are open. Because of our reliance on manufacturer images, however, even we are guilty of having a few misleading pictures on our website. That being said,  we make every effort to present our customers with an image of  what the doors will look like as they are intended to be used, rather than the artificial beauty of a fake fire behind closed doors.

What are the arguments for leaving the doors opened or closed

One of the questions people have is “Does closing the fireplace glass doors keep the fire burning longer?” Closing the doors is not going to allow the fire to burn longer because the fire needs oxygen to burn, shutting the doors impedes how much oxygen reaches the fire.  Better airflow is another benefit to leaving the doors open and the better the airflow the better the combustion, so your fire should burn hotter if the doors are being used as intended.

Open fireplace doors

Keeping fireplace glass doors closed to heat the room radiantly (as opposed to directly) is another argument we frequently hear. The truth is that fireplace glass doors were not designed to help heat the room radiantly, if you are only interested in radiant heat, you can get a gas log fireplace called a “vented” fireplace, which uses a single pane of non-removable glass to radiantly heat a room. Fireplace glass doors were originally designed to prevent heat loss from inside your home when the fireplace was not in use. If you left your fireplace doors open while not burning a fire you would notice in just a few short hours a drastic temperature drop because all of the hot air would get sucked up the chimney. Shutting the doors when the fireplace isn’t in use prevents warm air from being sucked out of the room. Closed doors also prevent warm air from being pushed into the room. With the doors shut all that hot air goes right up the chimney.

This same question is often asked about masonry manufactured fireplaces with tempered glass doors, but the issue is still the same. Tempered glass doors were designed to be opened when the fire is burning, as tempered glass is not made to withstand the high heat of a full fire. The flames licking the glass can actually cause the glass to break. Glass doors should only be shut when there are just a few embers burning at the end of the night, and you are ready to head to bed.

If you are interested in upgrading your fireplace doors, contact one of our customer service representatives today at 1-800-897-7175. Our customer service representatives are available to answer any questions you have Monday through Friday from 9 am to 4:30 pm.