Fireplaces, Part II: Keeping Yourself Warm in Winter

If you have a fireplace stationed in your home and want to make use of it but have resisted because of the heat loss equation, it is possible to have a fire box put into your existing one. It’s recommended to have a professional check to be certain it is alterable. Naturally an expert would have to do the installing. 

Consider in your design choices that a Wood Burning Stove will gulp up 20 cubic feet per minute of air compared to the 500 cubic feet of a Wood Burning Fireplace. They also don’t need to be next to a wall.

Adams Design Construction - FireplaceBefore you get started, here are the basics. In general, a wood burning fireplace is made up of the Hearth which is the fire proof area extending beyond the fireplace. The Surround protects the walls around the fireplace, sometimes topped with a mantel.

Not as easy to see is the Flue, the passageway at the top through which smoke & gasses travel for exit. The Chimney surrounds the flue to contain heat & contact to flammable materials. It is the Smoke chamber that connects fireplace and flue. The Smoke shelf is at the bottom of chamber and deflects down draughts, rain or soot from dropping into the fireplace.

Beneath the smoke shelf is Damper, the movable covering that separates the firebox from the space above. It’s what prevents cold air from moving into house when fire is not burning.

Every fireplace needs a Spark arrester, a metal mesh that fits over the top of flue to prevent the exiting gases from carrying burning materials on to the roof. The Chimney cap prevents moisture & animals from entering the flu.

The grate and/or Andirons are what the logs are set to burn on. The fire screen helps contain the burning debris at the hearth. You got the basics. Is it time to call the experts? Are you ready to call us to help with the next steps?

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