If your fireplace heat seems a bit too hot for you lately, then there may an issue at hand. The heat that comes from your fireplace should be consistently warm, but there is a threshold as to how much heat your fireplace should be producing. Read the following information about how to assess your fireplace's heat and what you can do should there be excess heat emitted from the fireplace.
Excess Heat Can Damage
With a wood fireplace, the excess heat can severely damage the inside and outside of the fireplace. The chimney can heat up to a point where it can crack. Additionally, a cozy fireplace is anything but if you’re so warm you’re uncomfortable. If your wood fireplace feels hotter than usual, lower the heat emission before damage occurs. Additionally, gas fireplaces that are too hot can cause some cracking in tiles in the fireplace and possibly in the hearth floor. The good thing about gas fireplaces, compared to wood-burning fireplaces, is that in most models the gas will shut off if the heat gets too high. This internal control keeps the fireplace from producing a dangerous amount of heat.
Check the Surrounding Area Temperature
If the bricks or tiles around your fireplace show damage such as pitting or blackening, your stove may be burning too hot. Damage to nearby walls or flooring can actually start fires so it's important to monitor the heat frequently and never leave a fire burning when no one is home. One way to check if your fireplace heat is too high is to place a probe type thermometer (the kind for checking meat in the oven) directly on the hearth. Anything over 100 degrees Fahrenheit will feel hot to the touch and is the threshold as to how hot your fireplace should normally sit. By monitoring the temperature in the surrounding area of your fireplace, you'll be able to prevent any kind of fire hazard should the fire begin to create excess heat.
If you determine that your fireplace heat is in excess, then check your manual for ways to turn it down and keep it under control. Gas fireplaces typically have an easy way to turn the heat up or down, such as a control on the front or a remote. Wood fireplace heat can be controlled by monitoring the airflow through the vents, damper, and door. Also check that all clearances are being followed according to code. If not, then you will need to fix this as soon as you can.
Adding a fireplace hood to your fireplace can help control the heat and provides a layer of protection for your mantle and surrounding area. Fireplace hoods are easily found online and at local fireplace providers. If a hood is not available for your model, you could make one with some simple sheet metal.