Adding An Ember Retainer - Fireplace Grate Prep - Fall 2020
Each of the last few seasons, we've swapped out the wood holding grate in our fireplace. I've bought some commonly-available ones from big-box stores. They're made of steel (and not cast iron) and, frankly, while they appear beefy, they're not super heavy-duty. And that's been a fine trade-off. Buying one for $20 to $25 for the family room fireplace and it lasts for the one burning season. Some call it Fireplace Grate Melt - but what happens is that a couple of places come loose and larger openings start to appear in the grate.
I've posted recently about the prep work done by ordering, sorting and stacking all the firewood on the racks this year, but I also wanted to get ahead of the firewood season by dealing with the grate. I looked around and settled on the grate that I think is right for us: this 28" wide x 15.5" deep (they call it Deep) "extra heavy-duty" grate. It comes with what they bill as a lifetime guarantee to not 'burn out'. From the description:
Does your grate burn up after a year or two? Is it constantly breaking? Are you sick of buying a new one every season? We have the solution to your grate troubles. The Deep Forest Lifetime Grate...it is the last grate you will ever buy. It's made of 1" wide steel bars that create durable support for holding your wood and coals.
Deep Forest Lifetime Grates are made of the finest steel to withstand intense heat and everyday usage, which is why they are guaranteed by the factory not to burn out for a lifetime. This heavy-duty grate has a lifetime guarantee by the factory not to burn out. It will withstand intense heat and everyday usage.
That grate is $149.99 - which if it *is* indeed the last grate we'll buy is a good deal. But, I didn't pull the trigger on it yet.
Why? Because while I was looking around at the grates on that site, I also came across something called an ember retainer. I ordered one and am thinking this might be something useful in my fight against grate melt.
You can see in the photo at the top of the post the ember retainer when it arrived - it was sheet-wrapped to a piece of cardboard. Here's the link to the listing (no affiliate link, btw) and the description:
This handy Ember Retainer can be used in any grate to keep embers from falling through. It keeps the embers close to the firewood to keep your cozy fire burning bright. Simply lay the Ember Retainer in the bottom of the grate and build the fire right on top of it.So, you use this retainer in combination with a grate to keep the embers from falling to the ground.
Here - below - shows the tag that lists the dimensions of the one I bought: 20" long x 10" wide (or deep).
As the description makes it clear, it is, ummm, easy to install. Below, you can see our grate and the 'grate melt' that occurred last year. Big holes in the middle.
With the ember retainer? No holes for the embers to drop through. Easy, peasy.
Will it hold up? Only time will tell. This is a $26.49 shortcut. I'll upgrade the grate later this Fall, but this will get us started with the firewood/fireplace season.