What fireplace consists of
Fireplaces may contain: a foundation, hearth, firebox, fireplace mantel, an ash dump door, chimney crane, clean out door, grate, lintel, lintel bar, over mantel, chimney breast, damper, smoke chamber, throat, flue, chimney chase, crown, cap, shroud, or a spark arrestor.
For a visual representation of the components of a fireplace, see the diagram below.
Types of fireplaces:
- Masonry (brick or stone fireplaces and chimneys) fireplaces are popular due to their nostalgic qualities
- Manufactured ("prefab") fireplaces with sheet metal fire boxes
- Vent less Fireplaces (duct free/rom-venting fireplaces) that are fueled by either gel, LP/bottled gas or natural gas. 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, burns fuel at close to 100% efficiency. They must be sized appropriately to the area of the chimney to heat properly. Aside from the heat output there are also air quality control problems due to the amount of moisture they release into the air, making oxygen and carbon monoxide sensors safety essentials.
Masonry and prefab fireplaces can be fueled with wood, natural gas, biomass and lp/propane fuel sources.
Chimney flue types:
- Masonry with or without a tile lined flue
- Non-reinforced masonry chimneys cannot withstand earthquakes very well
- Reinforced concrete chimneys have fundamental flaws (the difference in thermal expansion rates between steel re-bar and concrete which caused the chimney flues to crack when heated) that bankrupted the US manufacturers and made the technique obsolete. This is evidenced by vertical cracks on the exterior of concrete chimneys.
- Metal-lined flue: Double or triple walled metal pipe running up the inside of a new or existing wood framed or masonry chase
Newly constructed flues may feature a chase cover, cap, and a spark arrestor at the top to keep small animals out and sparks from exiting the chimney cavity