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Fireplaces

A fireplace is the one of the earliest methods used to heat homes around the world. Because today's modern homes are well-equipped with heating systems, fireplaces are now considered inefficient heating sources. Today, fireplaces are less about keeping a home heated and more about status, entertainment, and beauty.

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Fireplaces are famous for being one of the most romantic places to cuddle. They are also a popular gathering place for friends and family, as the crackling and dancing of the flames is believed to have the power to relax the mind and warm the soul.

Fireplace Construct

A fireplace is a square, rectangular, or arched opening, usually in a wall at the base of a chimney, lined with stone or masonry and used for an open fire within a structure. There are two types of fireplaces:

  • Masonry
  • Prefabricated (prefab).

A masonry fireplace can weigh 6 to 7 tons and it is made up of a:

  • Foundation
  • Ash dump
  • Hearth
  • Firebox dumper
  • Lintel
  • Smoke shelf
  • Smoke chamber
  • Flue
  • Mortar crown.

Prefab fireplaces have only been around for several decades. Unlike masonry fireplaces which are believed to be practically indestructible, certain components of a prefab fireplace will deteriorate in time. A prefab fireplace consists of a:

  • Lightweight sheet metal firebox
  • Metal chimney
  • Hearth
  • Firestop
  • Flashing
  • Chimney cap.

Types of Fireplaces

There are three types of fireplaces:

  • Traditional
  • Gas
  • Faux.

Traditional fireplaces are 100% wood burning. Split wood or wood chips may be used to build the fire. Commonly found in older homes, traditional fireplaces require consistent cleaning to control the build-up of flammable by-products such as creosote. If a home doesn't already have a traditional fireplace, adding a new one can be costly, which is why most modern constructions opt for a gas fireplace.

A gas fireplace uses propane or natural gas as the main fuel source. Artificial logs are built into the fireplace for effect and the fireplace is typically controlled by a switch or remote. Gas fireplaces are typically considered lower maintenance than traditional fireplaces, but natural gas is more expensive than wood chips or logs. While a gas fireplace is considered safer than a traditional fireplace, some would agree that the fire from a gas fireplace isn't as aesthetically pleasing as a traditional fireplace.

Faux fireplaces are purely decorative and they can be made out of wood, stone, marble, or brick.