All glass fireplace doors are typically designed to grant oxygen some access to the firebox. Your fire needs this air circulation in order to burn. This area of entry is called the damper.
There are three different damper options for fireplace doors:
This is the most common style on many stock door models. It is designed for use with doors that feature very narrow frames and a large glass viewing area. However, this term can be somewhat misleading as the damper is not literally hidden. The bottom rail of the main door frame tends to be situated slightly higher than the side rails to accommodate air intake. Even if it was only 1/4” high by 36” wide, that's 9 square inches that are open for oxygen to approach the flames and promote a generous burn.
If you've ever noticed the ornamental design on the top (and sometimes on the bottom) of your fireplace door frame, this is referred to as a filigree. These areas are in place to allow airflow. The damper is situated behind the filigree to help control the amount of air coming in to the fireplace.
Stock doors include either a hidden or non-hidden damper. However, custom doors give you the option of not having a damper installed. Keep in mind that without these inlets for your door, your fire will need to obtain oxygen from another source – generally some kind of combustion intake that gets air from the outdoors. Otherwise, your fireplace doors would need to remain open during the entire burn process so that the flames are capable of receiving an adequate draft.
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