How Hot Does A Fireplace Get? Types and Tips

A fireplace is an integral part of any home, especially in areas with harsh winters. However, the amount of heat you can get from a fireplace varies due to several factors.

So you might end up asking yourself, how hot does a fireplace get? Well, the answers are all here in this article for your convenience.

Types of Heat

To understand how hot a fireplace can get, you first need to understand the types of heat that can transfer through heat. There are three main types of heat –

Types of Heat

1. Convection

In convection heating, the air is circulated through a heating device and then distributed to nearby locations. Examples of devices that use convection heating include hairdryers and direct vent gas fireplaces.

2. Conduction

Heat transfer by conduction is described as when heat transfers from a more heated item to a less heated item. The process is a bit slower compared to the other two systems. Examples of device that use conduction are irons

3. Radiant

Radiant heat transfer is the process where heat is transferred from a source of heat to another object. There is no need for any medium to transfer this kind of heat. Fireplaces usually transfer radiant heat.

Burning Temperature of Wood

Now that you have a better understanding of how wood transfers heat through the fireplace, it’s time to get acquainted with different types of wood and their burning temperatures. This will help you understand which one is best for igniting purposes.

Burning Temperature of Wood

1. According to Density

Usually, porous trees burn more intensely but do not result in a high burning temperature. The maximum temperature you can get from these kinds of trees is 500 degrees Celsius.

In contrast to this, woods that are dense in nature, such as ash, has a burning temperature of 1000 degrees Celsius. Woods such as pine usually burn at about 650 degrees Celsius.

2. According to Heat Energy

Different firewood are categorized below according to their heat energy per unit of cord-

Heat-energy equivalent of 200 -250 gallons of fuel oilHeat-energy equivalent of 150-200 gallons of fuel oilHeat-energy equivalent of 100 – 150 gallons of fuel oil

Apple

Cherry

Redwood

Birch (yellow)

Douglas Fir

Pine

Hickory

Elm

Cottonwood

Beech

Birch (white)

Spruce

Red Oak

Tamarack

Aspen

Ironwood

Hemlock

White ash

Red Alder

Maple

3. According to BTU Per Unit

The amount -1 BTU describes how much heat is required to heat one pound of water to one degree Fahrenheit.

Species

Weight Per CordBTU

Apple

4,140

26.5

Paper Birch

3,179

20.3

Red Oak

3,757

24

White ash

3,689

23.6

Cherry

2,880

19.9

Cottonwood

2,108

13.5

Soft maple

2,924

18.7

Pine

2,236

14.3

Hemlock

2,482

15.9

Beech

3,757

24

Aspen

2,295

14.7

Hackberry3,247

20.8

Besides all thee, here are a few burning temperatures for some common wood types –

Wood Type

Wood Burning Temperature

Spruce

620 °C  or 1148 °F

Redwood

364 °C  or 687.2 °F

Oak

900 °C  or 1652 °F

Western Red Cedar

354 °C or 669.2 °F
Beech

950 °C or 1742 °F

Radiata pine

349 °C or 660.2 °F

Birch

816 °C or 1500.8 °F

Victorian ash

311 °C or 591.8 °F

Douglas fir

350 °C or 662 °F

 How Hot Does Wood Burn?

Besides knowing when different types of wood start burning, it is important to know the different phases of wood burning to get a general idea about which temperature will lead to maximum efficiency while heating up your fireplace.

i) The Initial Phase

In the initial phase, as the wood is heated by an external source, the internal structure of the wood begins to change, and eventually, it begins to ignite. Depending on the type of wood, the temperature required for this phase is usually 200 – 350 degrees Celsius.

ii) The Second Phase

The wood starts to decompose in this phase and creates smoke. The temperature in this phase is usually 350 to 500 degree Celsius

iii) The Final Phase

In this phase, the wood turns into coal. The heat required for this phase is in the range from 500 degrees to 700 degrees Celsius.

Factors Affecting How Hot Wood Burns

To understand how the burning of wood is influenced, you can keep an eye on the following factors;

i) The Grade of Wood

You can use either hardwood or softwood for burning purposes. While hardwood emits much more heat than produced by the same amount of softwood, softwood is cheaper and burns cleaner. It is best to use softwood in climates where the winter is not too harsh.

But remember that although the initial expense of softwood might be less, you will need more amount in order to heat up your house. Therefore it might be wiser to supplement hardwood with softwood while heating up the house.

ii) The Volume of Air

Here, the volume of air refers to the air entering the furnace. If you want the wood to burn in the best method, then it is suggested to keep the air inlet of the furnace open.

iii) Moisture Content

All wood has a specific moisture content. While a moisture content of 50% can be worked with, moisture over 65% can lead to problems. To ignite this sort of wood, you will have to use double the wood just to get the amount of heat that you would have gotten from some dry wood.

Hence, when it comes to value, wet wood poses problems as opposed to wood with acceptable amounts of moisture content. Because of this, it is in your best interest to dry the wood before heating it if the moisture content is above specified levels.

Conclusion

Understanding how hot does a fireplace gets is a crucial step to ensuring that your fireplace is operating effectively. We hope that this article has provided you with enough information to make a well-informed decision regarding the kind of wood to use and the factors to consider while heating up your fireplace.