Fireplaces not only bring comfort to a house but also add elegance. It is a function that the majority of homeowners desire. Traditional masonry fireplaces with wood-burning inserts have an unmistakable appeal. However, the quality of air exchanged indoors is becoming increasingly concerned as a result of wood burning. As a result, gas fireplaces have been the preferred choice. They are energy-rich, low-maintenance, and can be deployed almost anywhere.
The fireplace is distinct from the chimney and has its structure, but both require skilled chimney cleaning at least once a year. Are you familiar with your fireplace’s different components? It’s possible that you’re not even aware of how your fireplace works and that by reading this, you’ll be able to make more use of it.
The fireplace is complex, and it involves more than the firebox, which is where you can see the movement of the smoke because of its visibility. Get to know more about the parts of your fireplace. You might not need the details to pass an examination, but it may come in handy in the future, especially when talking with a chimney sweep about any issues or questions you might have.
In This Article
The foundation for a fireplace is usually made of durable brick or cinderblock. This durable feature is designed to withstand heat from hot ash and provides structural protection for the chimney.
A fireplace’s hearth is the area underneath the firebox that usually stretches into space. For a wood-burning fireplace, a non-flammable hearth is needed since it prevents the floor from sparking and, as a result, the house from fire damage. For a more authentic experience, many people still add a hearth with a gas-burning fireplace, but it is not needed. Hearths may be elevated or flush with the surrounding flooring. Stone slabs or tiles are sometimes used to build hearths. They are often made larger, deeper, and taller than they ought to be to act as a space table.
The Firebox or Inner Hearth
The firebox is also called the inner hearth. This is the fireplace component where the burning of fuel takes place and where the visibility of smoke occurs. This is also the only way into the inside of the chimney that is easily visible. A heat source, oxygen or air, and fuel (typically wood) are the three components that form the combustion triangle and are extremely required for a fire in the firebox.
The Outer Hearth
The Fireplace outer hearth is made of heat-resistant steel and lies directly on the floor at the opening of the firebox. The outside hearth helps to keep the house safe from explosion.
The Fireplace Surround
The Fireplace surround simply refers to the Immediate area around the inner hearth. Non-flammable objects should be held next to the firebox in most situations. Outside of this non-flammable environment, however, homeowners have more design options for the surround. Some people choose wood panels or legs that connect to the mantle above. Others opt for decorative tiles in the room. The surround is the part of the fireplace that gives it its personality, and each style is different.
In America, the fireplace mantel has historically been a focal point of the fireplace, but more recent styles have a more streamlined look and frequently do away with the mantel entirely. The mantel used to play a significant part in catching smoke. The mantel’s use has long since died, except for aesthetic purposes.
The Fireplace Face
The face of the fireplace is located underneath the mantelpiece and top of the firebox. This part must be durable and able to withstand the high temperatures produced by the fireplace. This face is commonly made of stone.
The lintel’s function is to support the weight provided by the inner hearth opening. This functionality can also be seen in window, door, and archway openings.
The throat is the opening above the firebox in which the fireplace’s venting mechanism starts. A throat damper is normally installed during the fireplace’s construction. The throat’s requirements have recently increased, requiring it to be at least 8 inches above the inner hearth, up from 6 inches previously. When the firebox starts to emit smoke into the house, it’s a sign that the fireplace’s throat isn’t built properly or requires any kind of repair and maintenance.
A movable metal door that closes off the fireplace from the outside by being installed over the chimney’s throat and in the flue is known as the chimney’s damper. When using the fireplace, the chimney’s damper should always be opened to allow the smoke and fumes to escape your house. Most times, the damper should always be closed to avoid debris from entering the building.
The firebrick, which is usually made of fire clay, is located at the rear of the firebox. These special bricks are designed to resist the firebox’s temperature without it being affected.
The Ash Dump and Ash Dump Door
The ash dump door is in the center of the firebox, which makes the ash removal from the firebox convenient. To drive the ash into the ash pit, the dump door is opened. The ash dump is the area immediately under the ash dump trap, where the ash drops once the door is opened.
The Ash Pit
The ash pit, which is under the ash dump, is where spilled ash gathers. The ash pit can be drained regularly. This reduces the risk of flammable byproducts accumulating.
The footing is the plane surface below the ash pit. Typically, this component of the fireplace is found in the foundation.
The Clean Out Door
The clean-out door of the fireplace, which is mostly found in the basement, aids in the process of flushing the ash dump.
Each of these core parts of a fireplace can be customized to suit your style and budget. Since a fireplace is often the center of attention in a room, it requires extensive planning to make the most of this architectural function.