Wood Fireplaces: Radiant vs Convection

Wood Fireplaces: Radiant vs Convection; Woodpecker are experts in the design and installation of all home heating & cooling, let us assist!

Wood Fireplaces: Radiant vs Convection

When choosing a new wood fireplace, a question we are often asked is “do I need a fan?” Often the answer is “it depends”. Let us break down the key differences to help figure out the best solution for you.

There are three ways to move heat, conduction, convection, and radiation. Conduction being when something is heated by touching something hotter than itself and is an element required for both convection and radiant heating.

Radiant heaters rely on the conduction of the heat from the fire to the outer skin of the fireplace which is why there is usually only a thick piece of steel or cast iron between the fire and everything else. This allows that outer skin to get super-hot and gently radiate the heat out in all directions; warming up the walls, furnishings, and people around them; much like the heat from the Sun when it peaks around a cloud.

It might take a little longer to reach optimum temperature but is a more sustained heat, and it keeps everything down around the floor area where it is needed most. Most radiant heaters can heat areas up to 150m², plenty for most open plan living and dining areas! A side effect of this design is the need for large clearances to combustible material around the unit.

Convection heat is best understood as the heating of the air around the firebox by conduction, and then moving it throughout the room. Sometimes assisted by an electric fan, convection heaters come more often in larger sizes to service bigger areas. As the air heats up, it expands and rises out of the shielding around the unit. This can end up with more heat pooling up at the ceiling where it likes to stay, a ceiling fan on a low setting can be a great help in moving it down longer rooms and harder to reach areas.

Woodpecker is a family business in which we pride ourselves on our customer service, the products we sell, and our installation work; as we have for over 30 years. Woodpecker are experts in the design and installation of all home heating, cooling and BBQ needs, and can assist you in finding the right solution for you and your home.