Hearth Heaters - anyone have any experience?
We're looking at having the wood fireplace stretch out the heating budget a little bit, at least in the late fall/early winter and again in late winter...with the price of fuel oil, I'm looking at it as a little more than keeping my wife happy with a few crackling flames...
I've seen basically two types of user-installable hearth heaters; the "bent pipe" type (where the glass doors need to be left open and heat is exchanged from both the coals and the gasses) and the grate-only type (heat picked up from coals only, but doors can remain closed - both carried by Northline, and other places on the Net). I'm wondering if anyone has any experience with either type and might be able to make a recommendation...it'll be at least a year, and possibly more, until I can put a "real" insert into the thing, so these are pretty much my only options for the near-term.
Seems to me the "Fireplace Hearth Heater" would probably pump more heat into the room, but with the doors open, more would escape up the flue, too (the main reason we currently only use the fireplace in spring/fall, and more for decoration than getting any heat out of it). The "Wood Burning Cozy Grate Heater" allows the doors to be closed, but it's only capturing heat from the coals, and has no radiant reflector as does the "Fireplace Hearth Heater." (*sigh*) I'm wondering if either one of 'em would actually add any heat to the room. (I dismissed the "Emberair Grate Heater" - that device doesn't look like it would pull in much heat at all, even if it is substantially less expensive...)
(And yes, I know if I'm serious about extending the fireplace use deeper into winter I'm going to need to deal with getting an outside source of combust air into it, but that's going to require discussions with a mason, so I'm tabling that for the short term.)
Anyway, any experiences/recommendations would be greatly appreciated.