If you’re thinking about installing a glass door in your fireplace or if one is already installed but you want to understand why glass is known for shattering, then you have come to the right place. Let’s dig into the details of what possibly causes a glass fireplace door to shatter.
It is not uncommon for glass to shatter in a gas fireplace, which can be quite dangerous. This leads us to the question:
Why Are Some Gas Fireplaces Designed with Glass Fronts?
The answer is: because they look amazing. It’s a question of style and aesthetics. Glass fronts make fireplaces look more modern, elegant and simple. It just works when you want your fireplace to be unique.
Fire place fronts or glass doors are usually made from tempered glass, which is heat resistant up to 450 degrees. This is the kind of measure that’s taken to make sure there are no accidents, but glass can still shatter when users don’t take the right precautions. Some fireplace glass doors are made with pyro ceramic glass, which can withstand heat over 2000 degrees, which is a lot better. But the standard is tempered glass.
Even though tempered glass can withstand the heat up to a certain point, it’s important never to keep both glass doors closed when the fire is burning. You can keep them closed when there’s no fire at all or your fire is just embers, but keeping both glass doors closed when there’s a roaring fire is a recipe for disaster.
Then Why Does the Fireplace Glass Still Sometimes Shatter?
There are many different reasons that can cause a fireplace glass door to shatter. For one, the glass can withstand damage from daily life without you noticing it. Toys can be thrown at it, elbows can hit the surface, and many other things can happen that cause the glass to nick, crack or scratch. All it takes is a little scratch, and then the heat will expand it and cause the glass to shatter. Prevent this by making rules about playing near the fireplace and being careful yourself when you spend too much time around it.
Like I mentioned above, tempered glass can only withstand so much heat (up to 450 degrees). Even though it can withstand high temperatures, it’s still vulnerable. So, if your fireplace glass door is continuously exposed to temperatures of 600 degrees or more, they will shatter. Why? Because of thermal expansion and contraction. If the glass expands too much, it will give and shatter into tiny pieces. The solution is to keep the doors open when there’s a roaring fire and monitor the temperature of your fire to prevent the glass from shattering.
If the glass is not tempered properly, it can also cause your fireplace glass door to shatter. When the glass is tempered, it’s exposed to heat so that its properties can change and it can be more resistant. But if this process is not done properly, the opposite will be achieved and the shattering can even be more dangerous because it would produce large shards of glass instead of little pieces.
Precautionary Measures to Prevent the Glass from Exploding
When you have a fireplace with a glass front or glass doors, there are several things you can do to prevent the glass from exploding or shattering. The first thing you can do is make sure that no damage comes to the glass doors. This means that children shouldn’t be allowed to play around it, you should be careful not to cause nicks, scratches or cracks, etc. However, accidents are bound to happen, so if you inspect your glass doors and find damage, the best thing you can do is replace it immediately.
And last but not least, you need to stop closing the glass doors while there’s a roaring fire. This is not just because your fire needs air to have better combustion and to prevent smoke from occurring, it’s also because keeping the glass doors open will prevent the build-up of heat.
Remember that tempered glass can only withstand up to 450 degrees, so by keeping the doors open, you prevent the glass from reaching its limit and from being exposed to higher temperatures which can cause it to shatter or explode. Your glass doors can only be closed when the fire is dying out or when there’s no fire at all. Otherwise, keep them open and keep the mesh in place to prevent any debris from coming out.
Should We Use Fireplace Glass or Not?
Gas fireplaces with glass doors or glass fronts are incredibly gorgeous and you should have them if they’re what you want for your home décor. Glass can shatter, of course, but not if you take the precautions we have presented to you. You need to remember that if your fireplace is built with glass components, these glass components will be resistant to heat and nothing bad will happen because there are considerations in place, such as the kind of material that’s used and the precautions that you must follow as a user.
Glass doors don’t only look incredible, they’re necessary to help your fire be a lot more efficient. 80% of the heat that your fireplace produces will go up the chimney, and only 10% of that energy will actually heat up your home and help you create a cozy environment. By having glass doors, you make sure the glass absorbs and radiates the heat even better than air itself.
Glass fireplace doors will also allow you to reduce the cost of heating bills because they’re much more efficient than other barriers. When you have glass doors, you will prevent heat from escaping and the winter cold from entering when you’re not using your fireplace. Your wallet will thank you greatly for that because you’ll save a lot more on utility bills.
If you decide to go with glass doors for your fireplace, you will eliminate the issues caused by downdrafts, which can be quite dangerous. What’s more, you will keep your children and pets safe because glass doors (coupled with protective screens) will prevent them from coming near the fire.
Glass doors on a fireplace don’t only look classy and elegant, they also prevent many different things from happening and they will make your life a little easier.