Chimneys And Fireplaces

Chimneys and fireplaces can be of masonry construction supported on a suitable foundation. Lightweight, factory-built chimneys and fireplaces requiring no foundation are becoming more common. A chimney must be capable of producing sufficient draft to maintain the fire and carry off the products of combustion.

Since an ordinary fireplace has a very low heating efficiency, its chief value Is decorative. Its efficiency can be increased, however, by use of a factory-made metal unit incorporated in the fireplace structure. In addition to direct heat from the fire, the room is also heated by air circulating through the unit. To be most effective, the unit should have draft-tight doors and a separate air supply directly from the exterior to aid combustion.

The inefficiencies of wood burning and the air leakage characteristics of fireplaces are somewhat offset when wood stoves are used. The fire safety requirements for wood stoves are similar to those for fireplaces.

Both the chimney and the fireplace must be carefully built to be free of fire hazards. Where possible, chimneys and fireplaces should not be located on outside walls. When located entirely within the house, they offer substantial advantages:

• heat that would otherwise be lost up the chimney and outdoors stays in the house;

• there will be less deterioration of the masonry from condensation of flue gases;

• if located near south-facing windows and of masonry construction, they will contribute to the thermal inertia of the house by storing solar energy gained during the day, and releasing it to the house during the night; and • due to its warmer temperature, the chimney will have a better draft and thus exhaust flue gases more efficiently.

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