More in Fireplaces

Retrofitting an Old Fireplace

An innovative idea for getting some heat out of a non-functioning fireplace

Richard Trehewey holds a toilet

I have a turn-of-the-century home with a fireplace that is beautiful but not functional. Is there a way to retrofit an old fireplace as a radiator? Does anyone make fireplaces that are actually radiators? I think my problem is typical. People want the warmth and beauty of the fireplace but so many are too small, too inefficient, simply too old to function.

– Kurt, Chicago, Illinois


Richard Trethewey replies: I think you may have something there. However, I don't know of a radiator made expressly for installation into old fireplaces. Many old fireplaces have poor or dangerous chimneys that would not be worth fixing, yet the fireplace has always been subliminally looked to for heat. Look for a good heating contractor that does old houses. He might be able to pipe in an old radiator. Maybe we can start a trend!


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