The fireback is a traditional heat shield for a stove
When the wall behind a wood stove becomes excessively hot, it poses a risk of damage or fire. Replacing the back wall with heat-resistant materials, like heat-resistant stones or a specialized wood stove heat shield, can be cumbersome and aesthetically displeasing. A simpler, more elegant solution is to use a cast iron fireback as a heat shield for the wood stove. Not only does this protect the wall, but the cast iron's slow heat conduction and radiation improve the stove's heat efficiency. The effectiveness increases with the thickness of the fireback.
Choosing a fireback for your wood stove involves the following three steps:
Step 1 | How large should the fireback be?
The fireback should ideally be slightly larger than the rear of the wood-burning stove for optimal protection. Smaller sizes also afford protection. In fireplaces, the back wall's dimensions should guide the choice. For more on selecting the right size, see: Which size of fireback fits in my open fireplace?
Step 2 | Which fireback fits best with the fireplace, with my wood stove and with my interior?
Personal taste plays a big role here. It's often beneficial to match the style of the stove, interior, and any existing fireplace to create a cohesive look. However, a contrast between an antique fireback and a modern stove or interior can also be striking. Consider the visual impact you desire for your fireplace. Using a fireback with a crack is still functional and will not compromise its protective qualities.
Step 3 | How do I install the fireback behind my wood stove?
Securing a fireback in place, whether as a wood stove heat shield or within a fireplace, is best achieved with mounting brackets. For detailed instructions, read: How do I install a fireback?.
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