If you have a gas fireplace in your home, you know there’s nothing better than gathering around the warm, flickering flames on a cold winter day. But gas fireplaces often struggle to evenly heat large, open concept rooms. The cozy fire may roast your chest while your toes turn blue across the room.
Adding a blower to your gas fireplace can transform its heating abilities. A properly installed fireplace blower acts like a fan, circulating hot air around the fireplace before pushing it out into the room. This simple upgrade can turn an underperforming gas fireplace into a heating dynamo.
How Does a Fireplace Blower Work?
A fireplace blower is a fan mounted externally on the fireplace facade or internally within the firebox. As the fireplace heats up, the fan pulls cool room air through vents at the bottom of the unit. It circulates this air around the hot fireplace exterior before pushing it back out into the room through upper vents. This constant circulation of warming air helps give your fireplace a heating boost.
Fireplace blowers don’t actually increase the BTU output of your gas fireplace. BTUs (British Thermal Units) measure the total heat energy produced by the fireplace. Blowers simply circulate the existing heat more efficiently throughout the room. While they don’t make your fireplace hotter, they do a better job distributing warmth exactly where you want it.
Benefits of Adding a Blower to Your Gas Fireplace
Adding a blower fan to your gas fireplace offers several benefits that can significantly improve your fireplace’s heating performance:
- Increases airflow and heat circulation around the room
- Pushes warm air into distant corners and eliminates cold spots
- Makes the fireplace more effective for heating large, open concept spaces
- Allows you to lower your thermostat setting while still feeling comfortably warm
- Distributes heat more evenly so you feel warm throughout the room
- Maximizes heating efficiency from existing fireplace BTU output
Without a blower, your fireplace relies solely on natural convection to circulate air. Warm air rises from the fireplace, but often gets trapped near the ceiling. A fan actively pushes air around the space, keeping you cozy on even the coldest winter nights.
What Types of Fireplaces Can Have Blowers Added?
Blowers can be added to most gas and wood burning fireplaces, inserts, and stoves. If you are installing a brand new fireplace, you can often order it with an integrated blower right from the factory. Retrofitting an existing fireplace is also possible, provided there is adequate space for mounting the blower inside or outside the unit.
Built-in units with restrictive enclosures may present some challenges for installing a blower. Always verify your specific fireplace model is compatible. Check manufacturer guidelines or better yet, hire a certified gas fireplace technician to assess your setup. Proper installation is key to maximize heating benefits.
When Should You Add a Blower?
The ideal time to add a fireplace blower is during the initial installation of a new gas fireplace. Having the blower professionally installed at the same time eliminates extra construction and wiring work later on. It also allows the technician to strategically position the blower for optimum airflow.
For existing fireplaces, adding a blower makes the most sense if your current fireplace fails to adequately heat your space. Warped heat, cold spots, and high thermostat settings are signs your fireplace could use a circulation boost. Remodeling your home layout to a more open concept also increases heating demands that a blower can help address.
Costs of Gas Fireplace Blowers
Fireplace blowers range in price from $100-$300 or more depending on the CFM (cubic feet per minute). CFM indicates the blower power and resulting airflow. Consider your fireplace’s BTU rating and physical size when choosing a model. You want adequate airflow but not more than necessary.
Installation costs typically run $100-$500+ depending on the complexity. Retrofitting an existing fireplace generally costs more in labor than adding a blower during new construction. Overall costs for purchase and professional installation are generally $200-$800.
How to Choose the Right Blower
To select the best blower for your gas fireplace, you’ll need to consider:
- Fireplace dimensions – Size the blower for adequate CFM to circulate within fireplace interior
- Room size – Calculate required CFM to heat total room area
- Noise – Quieter blowers enhance ambiance
- Controls – Choose variable speed or thermostatic modes
- Efficiency – Some models offer greater energy savings
- Special features – Options like auto shut-off and remotes
Getting an accurate assessment of your space will ensure you get a powerful enough blower to warm your room without overspending on an oversized model.
Can I Install a Fireplace Blower Myself?
Technically, it is possible to install a gas fireplace blower on your own if you’re fairly handy. But extreme caution is warranted given the electrical and gas components involved. Incorrectly wiring or positioning the blower can lead to excessive noise or even dangerous operating conditions.
That’s why it’s strongly recommended to have a certified gas fireplace dealer or licensed contractor handle the installation. Their expertise ensures your blower performs optimally for years of cozy warmth.
Operating a Gas Fireplace Blower
Follow these tips for using your new fireplace blower:
- Allow the fireplace to reach operating temperature before turning on the blower
- Adjust fan speed as needed to achieve desired airflow and circulation
- Use variable speed modes for precise control over heat distribution
- Always turn the blower off before extinguishing the fireplace flames
Starting the blower too early or leaving it on after the fireplace is off can lead to premature wear or operational issues. Adjust vents and fan speed to find your ideal heat circulation.
Maintaining Your Gas Fireplace Blower
Simple maintenance is required to keep your fireplace blower operating smoothly:
- Use a soft brush to keep fan blades and housing clear of dust and debris
- Lubricate the blower motor according to manufacturer specifications
- Check wiring connections to ensure they are tight and corrosion-free
- Replace the motor immediately at any sign of trouble to prevent larger issues
Take care of minor maintenance yourself, but leave major repairs to qualified fireplace technicians. Proper care ensures maximized performance and longevity.
Adding a blower fan can completely transform an ineffective gas fireplace into a room-heating dynamo. Improved heat circulation eliminates cold spots while allowing you to lower your thermostat. Warm, even heat throughout large spaces makes your fireplace the cozy gathering place you always wanted.
If your gas fireplace fails to warm up your whole room, it’s time to upgrade. Contact a professional to assess your fireplace and install a high-quality blower for toasty warmth this winter.