What Is A Refractory Panel And Why Is It Important?

A refractory panel is a sheet of brick in prefabricated metal fireplaces located on the rear and sides of the fireplace. Its job is to keep the heat from the fire from penetrating the firebox and damaging it.  As with other parts of a fireplace/chimney, it can deteriorate over time, especially if not maintained properly.  Small, hairline cracks may appear over time.  This is normal because of the repeated heating and cooling.  However, if larger cracks develop, the panel will need to be replaced. When you have a new refractory panel installed, you should always build small fires for the first 24 hours after installation to allow for the panel to cure.  Building large, hot fires right away may cause the panel to crack.  Always avoid throwing large pieces of wood against the panels.  Take the time to place the wood in the fireplace as to avoid any unnecessary repairs


Refractory Panels to keep the fire in its place made of brick and steel
Burning fire with refractory panels on the back and both sides of the firebox

What Is A Heat Reflector And Why Is It Important?

Originally heat reflectors were called firebacks and were made of cast iron.  Now, a heat reflector is a sheet of metal, usually stainless steel, that sits at the back of the fireplace flat against the back wall and should be stable when placed on its feet.  Its purpose is to reflect or bounce heat created by the fire back into the room.  It also reduces the amount of heat that the refractory panel is exposed to, extending the life of the refractory panel.  Even though they protected the refractory panels for excessive cracks, the cast iron firebacks were less efficient than the ones made today.  The iron absorbed the heat instead of reflecting it.  A professional chimney sweep company like us will recommend a heat reflector if there are any small, hairline cracks in the refractory panel in order to stop further cracking of the panel.  Heat reflectors can also be used in masonry fireplaces and are one way to get the most out of your chimney/fireplace. Contact us today!