Why do fire grates melt - A handy guide to prolonging the life of your grate.
We are often asked by customers why their fire grate has bent, warped or even melted.
The quick answer is "your grate is getting too hot to the point where the cast iron is starting to melt". This overheating can be caused by a number of factors which we have detailed below in order of importance.
- Remove ash from underneath the grate everyday - The absolute number 1 reason fire grates melt is simply that the ash underneath the grate is not being cleaned out often enough. A build-up of ash underneath the grate prevents cooler air from being drawn through the grate bars. When cooler air is not drawing from under the grate this creates a gradual increase in temperature until the fire grate fails. Grates need a direct flow of air from underneath to prevent overheating so ensure ash is removed every day or at the very least keep make sure ash does not build-up so it is anywhere near the grate bars.
- Mixing fuels and smokeless fuels - The number 2 reason fire grates fail is due to the amount of fuels which are now available to burn, the main culprits being some smokeless fuels and manufactured fuels. To get into this subject would require a whole new article being written but these are the things you need to know. Any fuel which is "manufactured" such as manufactured coals or smokeless fuels have had parts taken out and added to them to add certain characteristic to the fire such as burning longer or being smokeless. When buying fuel pay attention to statements such as "burns 40% hotter", although this sounds good this is terrible for the lifespan of your fire grate. You can mix fuels or use manufactured fuels however be aware this WILL reduce the lifespan of a grate due to the additional heat created.
- Temper the metal on your first fire - Starting with a small fire when using a grate for the first time will prolong its life.
- Pull out the ashpan cover - If there are no air gaps in your ashpan cover air will not draw from underneath causing overheating as detailed above.
- Don't put fuel all in one spot - Spreading out fuels evenly prevents hotspots in the grate and will increase the lifespan.
- Do not use water to put your fire out - The sudden decrease in temperature will reduce the lifespan of the grate.