A fireplace is a structure made of brick, stone or metal designed to contain a fire. Fireplaces are used for the relaxing ambiance they create and for heating a room. Modern fireplaces vary in heat efficiency, depending on the design.
Historically they were used for heating a dwelling, cooking, and heating water for laundry and domestic uses. A fire is contained in a fireboxor firepit; a chimney or other flue allows exhaust to escape. A fireplace may have the following: a foundation, a hearth, a firebox, a mantelpiece; a chimney cane(used in kitchen and laundry fireplaces), a grate, a lintel a lintel bar, overmantel, a damper, a smoke chamber, a throat, and a flue.
On the exterior there is often a corbeled brick crown, in which the projecting courses of brick act as a drip course to keep rainwater from running down the exterior walls. A cap, hood, or shroud serves to keep rainwater out of the exterior of the chimney; rain in the chimney is a much greater problem in chimneys lined with impervious flue tiles or metal liners than with the traditional mansory chimney, which soaks up all but the most violent rain.
Types of fireplaces
When considering ways to remodel a home, many people consider adding or restoring an indoor fireplace. They do so much more than merely heat up a room; fireplaces change the feel of a room as well, making it more romantic and cozy. There are several different types of indoor fireplaces you can purchase, but they basically fall into the broad categories of wood burning, gas burning, ethanol burning or electric. Here is some fireplace information for you to consider while you’re making your decision.
1. Traditional Open Hearth
These are the types of fireplaces that have existed for centuries. Typically made of stone or brick, when you are close to them, you can really feel the heat, smell the wood burning and hear it crackling away. They feel the most authentic, however, they often are not as effective at heating the room as some of the more modern varieties. Also, if you do not already have a fireplace in your home, it will require a fair amount of construction work to put in both the opening itself and the chimney for proper venting.
2. Enclosed Fireplaces
Rather than being open, these indoor fireplaces are enclosed. Traditionally, this type of fireplace features a large glass panel enabling you to enjoy the ambiance of fire as it burns. This design is such that you have less heat escaping up the chimney and more entering the room so you stay warmer while still having the cozy feel of a wood burning fire.
3. Fireplace Inserts
These are inserts that are made to fit into your existing fireplace simply by sliding it into the opening. They are enclosed, enabling you to easily turn an inefficient open hearth heating system into one that is more fuel efficient and effective.
4. Wood Burning Stoves
Although not technically a fireplace, wood burning stoves are an alternative that allows you to burn wood for heating without needing a fireplace. It will, however, require a pipe to vent the smoke through a chimney to the outside.
5. Direct-Vented Built-in Fireplaces
The direct-vented variety can be vented through an existing or newly constructed chimney, however, you can alternatively use a pipe so that less changes in the house’s structure are necessary and it can be installed in any room. The flame is yellow so it has more of the feel of a wood burning fireplace.
6. Ventless Built-in Fireplaces
Ventless built-in indoor fireplaces are the simplest to install as there is no need for a chimney or vent. With this type, the flame color is the blue typically associated with burning gas. Although every effort is made to keep them clean burning, it is possible that some contaminants will enter your home with the use of a ventless built-in fireplace.
7. Fireplace Conversion
If you have an existing fireplace, you can get an ethanol burning insert that will slide right in, making use of the space and the current aesthetics. There are different options available depending on whether you want something that is more traditional looking or if you want to upgrade it to have a bit of a more modern appearance.
8. Wall Mounted Fireplaces
With this style, you can actually hang your fireplace on any wall that you choose, making it double as both a heating source and a piece of art. It’s the perfect alternative to a television for the centerpiece of a room.
9. Tabletop Fireplaces
These come in different sizes, enabling you to make use of them in a variety of settings. They are easily portable, especially the smaller models, so you can take them from one room to another or move them if you need to use the table or other piece of furniture for a different purpose.
10. Mantel Electric Fireplaces
Mantel electric fireplace are meant to mimic a built-in wood-burning fireplace, but they do not require any venting or chimney access. This allows you to incorporate the elegance and tradition of a mantel fireplace in any room of your house without a lot of hassle or expense.