Fireplace
Overview
 
A fireplace is an architectural
Architecture
Architecture is both the process and product of planning, designing and construction. Architectural works, in the material form of buildings, are often perceived as cultural and political symbols and as works of art...

 structure to contain a fire for heating and, especially historically, for cooking. A fire is contained in a firebox
Firebox (architecture)
A firebox or firepit is the part of the fireplace where fuel is combusted, in distinction to the hearth, chimney, mantel, overdoor and flue elements of the total fireplace system. The firebox normally sits on a masonry base at the floor level of the room...

 or firepit; a chimney
Chimney
A chimney is a structure for venting hot flue gases or smoke from a boiler, stove, furnace or fireplace to the outside atmosphere. Chimneys are typically vertical, or as near as possible to vertical, to ensure that the gases flow smoothly, drawing air into the combustion in what is known as the...

 or other flue
Flue
A flue is a duct, pipe, or chimney for conveying exhaust gases from a fireplace, furnace, water heater, boiler, or generator to the outdoors. In the United States, they are also known as vents and for boilers as breeching for water heaters and modern furnaces...

 allows gas and particulate exhaust to escape. Fireplaces are a central household feature, as the flames and crackling sounds are comforting, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Fireplace&action=editeven when not necessary for heat or cooking.
Encyclopedia
A fireplace is an architectural
Architecture
Architecture is both the process and product of planning, designing and construction. Architectural works, in the material form of buildings, are often perceived as cultural and political symbols and as works of art...

 structure to contain a fire for heating and, especially historically, for cooking. A fire is contained in a firebox
Firebox (architecture)
A firebox or firepit is the part of the fireplace where fuel is combusted, in distinction to the hearth, chimney, mantel, overdoor and flue elements of the total fireplace system. The firebox normally sits on a masonry base at the floor level of the room...

 or firepit; a chimney
Chimney
A chimney is a structure for venting hot flue gases or smoke from a boiler, stove, furnace or fireplace to the outside atmosphere. Chimneys are typically vertical, or as near as possible to vertical, to ensure that the gases flow smoothly, drawing air into the combustion in what is known as the...

 or other flue
Flue
A flue is a duct, pipe, or chimney for conveying exhaust gases from a fireplace, furnace, water heater, boiler, or generator to the outdoors. In the United States, they are also known as vents and for boilers as breeching for water heaters and modern furnaces...

 allows gas and particulate exhaust to escape. Fireplaces are a central household feature, as the flames and crackling sounds are comforting, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Fireplace&action=editeven when not necessary for heat or cooking. Fireplace mantel
Fireplace mantel
Fireplace mantel or mantelpiece, also known as a chimneypiece, originated in medieval times as a hood that projected over a grate to catch the smoke. The term has evolved to include the decorative framework around the fireplace, and can include elaborate designs extending to the ceiling...

s are a focus for interior decoration.

Types of fireplace

A fireplace may have: a foundation, a hearth
Hearth
In common historic and modern usage, a hearth is a brick- or stone-lined fireplace or oven often used for cooking and/or heating. For centuries, the hearth was considered an integral part of a home, often its central or most important feature...

, a firebox
Firebox (architecture)
A firebox or firepit is the part of the fireplace where fuel is combusted, in distinction to the hearth, chimney, mantel, overdoor and flue elements of the total fireplace system. The firebox normally sits on a masonry base at the floor level of the room...

, a fireplace mantel
Fireplace mantel
Fireplace mantel or mantelpiece, also known as a chimneypiece, originated in medieval times as a hood that projected over a grate to catch the smoke. The term has evolved to include the decorative framework around the fireplace, and can include elaborate designs extending to the ceiling...

, an ashdump door, a chimney crane
Chimney crane
Chimney Cranes, aka fireplace cranes and pot cranes, are a feature of the homes of the American Colonial period. Although the chimney crane may be thought by some to be a Yankee invention, it was common in both British and American houses of the era...

, a cleanout door, a grate
Grate
*A grate is a frame of iron bars to hold fuel for a fire.*It may also refer to a covering of a drain, also called a grating.*The act of using a grater, a kitchen utensil.- People :*Don Grate US sportsman....

, a lintel, a lintel bar, overmantel, a chimney breast
Chimney breast
A chimney breast is a portion of a wall which projects forward over a fireplace. Chimney jambs similarly project from the wall, but they do so on either side of the fireplace and serve to support the chimney breast. The interior of a chimney breast is commonly filled with brickwork or concrete....

, a damper
Damper (architecture)
A damper is a valve or plate that stops or regulates the flow of air inside a duct, chimney, VAV box, air handler, or other air handling equipment. A damper may be used to cut off central air conditioning to an unused room, or to regulate it for room-by-room temperature and climate control. Its...

, a smoke chamber, a throat, a flue
Flue
A flue is a duct, pipe, or chimney for conveying exhaust gases from a fireplace, furnace, water heater, boiler, or generator to the outdoors. In the United States, they are also known as vents and for boilers as breeching for water heaters and modern furnaces...

, a chimney chase, a crown, a cap, a shroud, or a spark arrestor.

Fireplace types:
  • Masonry
    Masonry
    Masonry is the building of structures from individual units laid in and bound together by mortar; the term masonry can also refer to the units themselves. The common materials of masonry construction are brick, stone, marble, granite, travertine, limestone; concrete block, glass block, stucco, and...

     fireplaces made from brick or stone.
  • Manufactured ("prefab") fireplaces with sheet metal fire boxes.


Masonry and prefab fireplaces can be fueled with wood
Wood
Wood is a hard, fibrous tissue found in many trees. It has been used for hundreds of thousands of years for both fuel and as a construction material. It is an organic material, a natural composite of cellulose fibers embedded in a matrix of lignin which resists compression...

, natural gas
Natural gas
Natural gas is a naturally occurring gas mixture consisting primarily of methane, typically with 0–20% higher hydrocarbons . It is found associated with other hydrocarbon fuel, in coal beds, as methane clathrates, and is an important fuel source and a major feedstock for fertilizers.Most natural...

, biomass
Biomass
Biomass, as a renewable energy source, is biological material from living, or recently living organisms. As an energy source, biomass can either be used directly, or converted into other energy products such as biofuel....

 and propane
Propane
Propane is a three-carbon alkane with the molecular formula , normally a gas, but compressible to a transportable liquid. A by-product of natural gas processing and petroleum refining, it is commonly used as a fuel for engines, oxy-gas torches, barbecues, portable stoves, and residential central...

 fuel sources.
  • Ventless Fireplaces (duct free/room-venting fireplaces) that are fueled by either gel, liquid propane, bottled gas or natural gas. In the US, some states and local counties have laws and ordinances regarding these types of fireplaces. They require the least installation and are the most efficient fireplace. The gas burning version of a vent-free fireplace, while using less fuel, burns it at close to 100% efficiency. They must be sized appropriately to the area to be heated. Aside from the heat output there are also air quality control problems due to the amount of moisture they release into the room air, and oxygen sensor and carbon monoxide sensors are safety essentials.


Chimney and flue types:
  • Masonry
    Masonry
    Masonry is the building of structures from individual units laid in and bound together by mortar; the term masonry can also refer to the units themselves. The common materials of masonry construction are brick, stone, marble, granite, travertine, limestone; concrete block, glass block, stucco, and...

     (brick or stone fireplaces and chimneys) with or without tile-lined flue.
  • Reinforced concrete
    Reinforced concrete
    Reinforced concrete is concrete in which reinforcement bars , reinforcement grids, plates or fibers have been incorporated to strengthen the concrete in tension. It was invented by French gardener Joseph Monier in 1849 and patented in 1867. The term Ferro Concrete refers only to concrete that is...

     chimneys. Fundamental flaws (the difference in thermal expansion rates between steel rebar
    Rebar
    A rebar , also known as reinforcing steel, reinforcement steel, rerod, or a deformed bar, is a common steel bar, and is commonly used as a tensioning device in reinforced concrete and reinforced masonry structures holding the concrete in compression...

     and concrete which caused the chimney flues to crack when heated) bankrupted the US manufacturers and made the design obsolete. These chimneys often show vertical cracks on the exterior.
  • Metal-lined flue: Double or triple walled metal pipe running up inside a new or existing wood-framed or masonry chase.


Newly constructed flues may feature a chase cover, a cap, and a spark arrestor at the top to keep small animals out and sparks from exiting the chimney cavity.

History

Ancient fire pits were sometimes built in the ground in the center of a hut or dwelling. Smoke escaped through holes in the roof. Smoke would be blown outside or back into the room. Chimneys, invented much later, partially fixed this problem, venting smoke outside.

In 1678 Prince Rupert
Prince Rupert of the Rhine
Rupert, Count Palatine of the Rhine, Duke of Bavaria, 1st Duke of Cumberland, 1st Earl of Holderness , commonly called Prince Rupert of the Rhine, KG, FRS was a noted soldier, admiral, scientist, sportsman, colonial governor and amateur artist during the 17th century...

, nephew of Charles I
Charles I of England
Charles I was King of England, King of Scotland, and King of Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649. Charles engaged in a struggle for power with the Parliament of England, attempting to obtain royal revenue whilst Parliament sought to curb his Royal prerogative which Charles...

, raised the grate of the fireplace, improving the airflow and venting system. The 18th century saw two important developments in the history of fireplaces. Ben Franklin developed a convection chamber for the fireplace that greatly improved the efficiency of fireplaces and wood stoves. He also improved the airflow by pulling air from a basement and venting out a longer area at the top. In the later 18th century, Count Rumford designed a fireplace with a tall, shallow firebox that was better at drawing the smoke up and out of the building. The shallow design also improved greatly the amount of radiant heat projected into the room. Rumford's design is the foundation for modern fireplaces.

One famous tradition in the United States during the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

 was President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's "fireside chats
Fireside chats
The fireside chats were a series of thirty evening radio addresses given by United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt between 1933 and 1944.-Origin of radio address:...

", weekly radio addresses in which he made use of the family gathering time to state his views.

Many homes no longer have open fireplaces, they are often replaced by what is considered to be more efficient ways of heating, such as central heating
Central heating
A central heating system provides warmth to the whole interior of a building from one point to multiple rooms. When combined with other systems in order to control the building climate, the whole system may be a HVAC system.Central heating differs from local heating in that the heat generation...

, or electric heaters. The social function of the fireplace is often substituted by the home entertainment center. Some fireplaces have been closed off, preventing use but reducing draughts. Some have been made unable to be used by feeding a telephone
Telephone
The telephone , colloquially referred to as a phone, is a telecommunications device that transmits and receives sounds, usually the human voice. Telephones are a point-to-point communication system whose most basic function is to allow two people separated by large distances to talk to each other...

, television
Television
Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...

 antenna, cable TV or satellite TV wire down them. For home-owners that want the ambiance of a fireplace without the fire, there are several alternatives. One is to install a 'fake fire' or gas fireplace, which offers the fireplace effect. For people with existing fireplaces, the alternative to simply closing them up is to install a gas, wood or biomass fireplace insert
Fireplace insert
Invented in 1869 by Joab R. Donaldson of Oliphant Furnace, Pennsylvania, USA. The fireplace insert is a device inserted into an existing masonry or prefabricated wood fireplace....

. Some governments have a partial ban on solid fuel burning fireplaces due to air pollution
Air pollution
Air pollution is the introduction of chemicals, particulate matter, or biological materials that cause harm or discomfort to humans or other living organisms, or cause damage to the natural environment or built environment, into the atmosphere....

. Ventless fireplaces have received attention recently: they are free standing, requiring no chimney and no hearth. Prefabricated
Prefabrication
Prefabrication is the practice of assembling components of a structure in a factory or other manufacturing site, and transporting complete assemblies or sub-assemblies to the construction site where the structure is to be located...

 fireplaces are popular because of their lower construction cost and some considered them to be safer and more reliable. Brick or stone fireplaces can be designed to meet exact specifications for opening size, depth, and facing material. The open brick or stone fireplaces can cost more to build and usually require regular cleaning or maintenance.

Changes Over Time

Over time the design of fireplaces has went from one of necessity to one of visual interest in a space. The first fireplaces were more fire pits than actual fireplaces like we have today. They used for warmth on cold days and nights along with cooking. They were also the center for the gathering of people. These fire pits were in the center of an area. This allowed for the maximum number of people to gather around and experience the heat.

Over time many flaws were found with the fireplaces commonly used and when the industrial revolution came there was a need for many changes and improvements to be made. The industrial revolution led to large scale housing developments that brought about the standardization of fireplaces. The best known fireplace designers of this time were the Adam Brothers architects. They perfected a style of fireplace that was used for generations. It was a smaller and visually lighter fireplace and the emphasis was now placed on the quality of the material instead of the size.

By the 1800’s there was a basic placement and form of the fireplace. It consisted of two parts, the surround and the insert. The surround is the mantle and sides and was usually made of wood, marble and granite. The insert is the part of the fireplace where the fire is burned. This part was constructed of cast iron and sometimes decorated with various tiles. “The Victorian era viewed fireplaces as adding a cozy, quaint environment to homes. A beautiful fireplace added a touch of class to the home."

The Art Deco movement focused on function over form. It emphasized modern aesthetic values and fireplaces built during this period reflected this trend. Then because of World War II there became a need for housing and with that started the development of prefabricated electric fire and fireplaces. The fireplace became more of a decorative statement in the home instead of a heat source. But there was a focus to importance of a hearth to family and home which redirected fireplace design on more traditional fireplace design. After all the change in the design of the fireplace there was still the basic reasons, providing heat and a place to have a social gathering

Heating efficiency

The heating effect of a fireplace is largely due to radiative heating, by which objects surrounding the fireplace are heated up, and some of this heat is transferred to the air. It is a common misconception that a fireplace leads to energy savings by reducing the heating load on a home. In fact, a fireplace moves large amounts of air out of the home which must be replaced by outside air. The outside air, presumably at a lower temperature, must be heated by the home's heating, ventilation, and air conditioning
HVAC
HVAC refers to technology of indoor or automotive environmental comfort. HVAC system design is a major subdiscipline of mechanical engineering, based on the principles of thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, and heat transfer...

 system. Some fireplace units incorporate a blower which aims to transfer more of the fireplace's heat to the air via convection, resulting in a more homogenously heated space and a lower heating load.

Conventional wood fireplaces are extremely inefficient , averaging between -10% and +10% energy efficiency (by comparison, the gas and oil furnaces sold today operate at better than 80% efficiency). Tests have demonstrated that, in most instances, on cold winter days the use of conventional fireplaces will actually result in an increase in fuel consumption for heating. The primary reason for this inefficiency is that large amounts of heated household air flows through the fireplace and up the chimney when a fire is burning. A conventional wood fireplace will use up to ten times the amount of air required by a typical oil or gas furnace. Only a small amount of the air drawn into a fireplace is actually used for combustion; the rest, known as excess or "tramp" air, escapes to the outdoors.

Advanced combustion fireplaces achieve over 70% efficiency by using a separate air source from outside the house that feeds both the primary combustion chamber and immediately above the main fire to capture and ignite the incomplete combustion products that would otherwise be released into the chimney, such as creosote
Creosote
Creosote is the portion of chemical products obtained by the distillation of a tar that remains heavier than water, notably useful for its anti-septic and preservative properties...

. Air from inside the house never enters the fire place and is instead drawn though a heat exchanger by a fan to be blown back into the room.

The most effective fireplaces in terms of heating efficiency of over 80% are modern wood burning masonry fireplaces (German: Kachelofen)
Masonry heater
A masonry heater is a device for warming a home that captures the heat from periodic burning of fuels , and then radiates that heat over a long period at a fairly constant temperature. The technology exists in many forms from the Roman hypocaust to the Austrian/German kachelofen...

. Modern masonry fireplaces are often equipped with a large fire window enabling an efficient heating process in two phases. During the first phase the initial heat is provided through a large glass window while the fire is burning. During this time the structure, built of refractory bricks, absorbs the heat. This heat is then evenly radiated for many hours during the second phase. Masonry fireplaces without a glass fire window only provide heat radiated from its surface. Depending on outside temperatures 1 to 2 daily firings are sufficient to ensure a constant room temperature.

Accessories

A wide range of accessories are used with fireplaces, which vary between countries and regions, and historical periods. For the interior, common in recent Western cultures are grate
Grate
*A grate is a frame of iron bars to hold fuel for a fire.*It may also refer to a covering of a drain, also called a grating.*The act of using a grater, a kitchen utensil.- People :*Don Grate US sportsman....

s, fireguards, logboxes, andiron
Andiron
An andiron is a horizontal iron bar upon which logs are laid for burning in an open fireplace. They are usually used in pairs to build up a firedog, sometimes called a dog or dog-iron. In older eras An andiron (older form anderne; med. Lat. andena, anderia) is a horizontal iron bar upon which logs...

s, pellet baskets, and fire dog
Fire dog
A fire dog is a device of metal or ceramic intended to hold logs above the hearth , or to hold skewers above the fire for cooking....

s, all of which cradle fuel and accelerate burning. Heavy metal fireback
Fireback
Fireback is a Filipino low-budget action movie directed by Teddy Page and starring Richard Harrison, Bruce Baron, James Gaines, Ann Milhench, Gwendolyn Hung, Mike Monty, Ronnie Patterson, and Ruel Vernal.- Characters :...

s are sometimes used to capture and reradiate heat, to protect the back of the fireplace, and as decoration.

In the last few decades tubular grate heater
Grate heater
A tubular grate heater is any grate or heat exchanger for a fireplace designed from metal tubing. Through the tubing is circulated home air, that becomes heated by the fire. The air is then vented back into the room and home. It is a heat recovery device that improves the efficiency and ability of...

s have become an increasingly popular accessory to significantly increase the efficiency of a fireplace and hence the amount of heat that makes it from the fireplace out into the home. They work by having a naturally-convected or fan-forced tubular metal heat exchanger that is heated by the fire. They draw in cold air from the floor and blow heated air back out into the home. This adds an element of conductive and convective heating to the radiant heat typical of a basic fireplace. Grate heaters have been called many things: heatilator, hearth heater, fireplace blower, fireplace grate heater, and others.

For fireplace tending, tools include pokers, bellows
Bellows
A bellows is a device for delivering pressurized air in a controlled quantity to a controlled location.Basically, a bellows is a deformable container which has an outlet nozzle. When the volume of the bellows is decreased, the air escapes through the outlet...

, tongs
Tongs
Tongs are used for gripping and lifting tools, of which there are many forms adapted to their specific use. Some are merely large pincers or nippers, but the greatest number fall into three classes:...

, shovels, brushes and toolstands.

See also

  • Carbon monoxide
    Carbon monoxide
    Carbon monoxide , also called carbonous oxide, is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that is slightly lighter than air. It is highly toxic to humans and animals in higher quantities, although it is also produced in normal animal metabolism in low quantities, and is thought to have some normal...

  • Chiminea
  • Wood-burning stove
    Wood-burning stove
    For a list of stove types see Stove .A wood-burning stove is a heating appliance capable of burning wood fuel and wood-derived biomass fuel. Generally the appliance consists of a solid metal closed fire chamber, a grate and an adjustable air control...

  • Fire
    Fire
    Fire is the rapid oxidation of a material in the chemical process of combustion, releasing heat, light, and various reaction products. Slower oxidative processes like rusting or digestion are not included by this definition....

  • Electrical Fireplace
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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