Proper basic fireplace design is the key to efficiency
Successful fireplace design must be planned right, with each element correctly proportioned in relation to the others. When you stick to proven structural principles of fireplace design, you will have more pleasure and more heat.
In the simplified drawing, you can see the different elements of a fireplace. These are: (1) the hearth
with built-in ash dump, (2) the firebox
of proper shape for reflecting maximum heat, (3) the throat
fitted with a damper as wide as the fireplace opening, (4) the smoke chamber
with smoke shelf in back of the damper, and (5) the flue
that connects to the smoke chamber and is encased in a masonry chimney of necessary height. More than one flue can be built into the chimney, but each fireplace or other home facility served by the chimney should have its own.
and here are the reasons why
The flue is a vent that carries the products of combustion out of the house. Its size governs the volume of smoke it can handle; its height determines the production of draft.
This is the space extending from the top of the throat, or damper, up to the bottom of the flue, and between the side walls. Generally triangular in shape, it serves to funnel the smoke into the smaller area of the flue opening.
A horizontal shelf as wide as the throat and extending back from the top of the throat to the line of the flue wall. It diverts downdrafts and causes them to eddy into the rising air currents.
A metal frame that shapes the throat and is provided with a hinged lid, or valve, to regulate the draft and to close the throat when the fireplace is not in use.
The chamber which actually contains the fire, constructed of firebrick or metal, with the sides splayed and the back sloped to reflect maximum heat into the room.
This part of fireplace design is the bottom of the firebox, or the area on which the fire is built. It should be of firebrick or other fireproof material. Its extension into the room is also called the hearth, and should be a fireproof area not less than the width of the fireplace opening plus 16 inches, projecting at least 16 inches from the chimney breast.
A metal frame with a pivoted plate, located flush with the hearth surface and usually centered towards the rear. It is a convenient means by which ashes can be dropped into a pit below.
An ashpit can be built into the fireplace base below the hearth to serve as a storage place for ashes.
A necessary opening into the ashpit wall to provide a means of cleaning out the accumulation of ashes. The door should be of metal and should close tightly.
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