Fireplace Design Increases Its Efficiency




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Most home buyers have a fireplace on their wish list. In many cases, it is the appearance of the fireplace that makes it so desirable. Of course, a fireplace is also a place for a fire and, therefore, heat. As the prices of electricity, natural gas and heating oil rise, more people look to their fireplaces for additional heat. Many fireplaces use the same fuel as the homeís central heating system. If you want to get all the heat you can from your fireplace fuel, look to the fireplace design to make sure itís as efficient as possible.

Air, Fuel, Heat

Fire is made from three components: air, fuel and heat. Increasing the efficient use of these three elements will make your fireplace a more efficient source of heat. A wood-burning fireplace with a chimney presents special problems for the air part of the equation. Most fireplaces are found in a home with central heating. That means that if the fireplace design draws the air from the room, it is taking in warm air, heating it up and sending much of it out of the chimney into the cold. As more cold air is drawn into the home to be heated by a furnace, drawn into the fire and sent up the chimney, a net loss of heat occurs.

The fireplace design to combat this situation includes an air intake unit that draws air for the fireplace from outside combined with glass fireplace doors and a blower to direct the heat into the room. The addition of a fireplace insert can go far in making a fireplace design more efficient. The addition of an air intake unit will also help by adding air that hasnít been warmed by another, equally expensive fuel. The intake should be located on an outside wall. Fireplace inserts are available that include outside air intake.

Heat doesnít only come from the fire. A fireplace design should have a mass of masonry on the outside wall to keep heat from escaping through the wall. The masonry of the fire box or the design of the insert should absorb heat while the fire burns and release it after the fire is out. This will only work if the heat is not lost through the chimney. If you donít already have a fireplace, you might consider a stove type that is entirely within the room. This type of fireplace design doesnít lose any heat through the wall and most modern stoves are designed to limit chimney heat loss. If you want to use your fireplace as a source of heat, remember to examine the fireplace design for efficiency.


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