Once an integral part of nearly every home, a wood burning fireplace is still a wonderful way to add ambiance and a touch of class to nearly any room design. But more than adding aesthetic appeal or set a relaxing, romantic mood, a fireplace helps supplement heating during cold winter months.
Although more contemporary versions are available – such as a modern electric fireplace or ventless gas fireplace – a traditional wood burning fireplace is still a very popular option. Fireplace design and construction are important.
A safe and efficient wood burning fireplace is well-built, durable, and fireproof. Although specific designs may differ and additional features may be present, masonry fireplaces all have an inner and outer shell.
Because its main functions are to control fire, heat, and smoke, the inner shell is made from fireproof materials. The outer shell supports and surrounds the inner shell, providing structural stability. It is made from brick or other type masonry product, and consists of the following:
Despite their popularity, one setback of traditional fireplace construction is that approximately 90% of the heat from burning wood goes right up the chimney. This problem can be reduced and energy efficiency increased with the introduction of an airtight wood burning fireplace insert.
This type insert is basically a wood stove, designed to breathe new life into old drafty fireplaces. They are easily installed and use the existing chimney. Standard features include a brick-lined firebox, a blower (to circulate heat into the room), and a faceplate. Make sure the one you select is Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommended; clean burning and highly energy efficient.
Some homeowners have the skill level required to construct a masonry fireplace that is both efficient and safe. Skills required include:
Once the project is completed, a smoke test should be conducted to insure the fireplace is safe to use.
If time restrictions or lack of required skills prevent you from undertaking this type project on your own, hiring a contractor is your best bet.
A brick layer or other type professional fireplace builder will be privy to building codes, and the importance of precise fireplace construction and design. He or she will insure that corners are square, measurements accurate, and that each aspect of fireplace construction is according to specified dimensions so it will function safely.
Whether you require the services of a local chimney cleaner, licensed mason, or a chimney cleaning repairing builder contractor, find just the right professional at HandyAmerican.com.
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