Fireplaces & Chimneys
Types of fireplaces
A Rumford style fireplace has been around for over 200 years and considered state of the art. This type of fireplace is efficient and clean-burning and have a smaller and shallower firebox with angled covings to reflect the heat. The Rumford throat or choke was designed to eliminate turbulence and carry away the smoke with little loss of radiant heat. In order to control cold air entering the room, the back wall will have a shelf just behind the breast. The breast should be rounded thus making the smoke go up the chimney while the room air coming in over the fire does not mix with the hot products of combustion.
Straight without smoke shelf
Fireboxes such as the straight firebox claim to have more exhaust flow and although this is true there is a loss of radiant heat. The damper is installed at the top of the chimney with a chain dropped down through the chimney and able to open and close at the firebox. The reason for installing a straight firebox is perhaps the existing fireplace was built incorrectly by not installing enough insulation around the flues or the smoke shelf is not producing enough turbulent air flow. Masons today are lacking the skill for building fireplaces. The straight firebox is proven effective but the reason for the need of a straight firebox is the existing Rumford or modern firebox was built incorrectly. There is exhaust flow and perhaps this will come useful if your home is airtight or the fireplace is in a bad location.
Modern fireboxes are built with a large firebox much deeper than the Rumford but not as tall. The modern fireplace is widely built and has become the standard of today. These fireboxes can also be built incorrectly. In a modern fireplace, the firebrick in the back is sloped forcing the combustion products to come forward to a drop-down pocket of several inches and then turbulently mixing with smoke then up the chimney. This will also prevent smoke entering the room. A damper is installed during installation with a rounded smoke shelf thus making another turbine. Very complex system but its work great if built correctly.
There are Building kits for fireplaces but this is not the same as the Original. keep in mind you are limited to what you can have with the prefabricated fireplace. The cost of a kit will be about the same cost as the guts of a real fireplace and as for both the exterior will be added later once the firebox and flue are installed. Depending on what you would like prefabricated kits are great and really can’t go wrong with the assembly. A concrete footing will also be installed like any other fireplace. Firebrick can be installed in the prefab firebox but remember when you pick out a kit imagine the box a little bit smaller due to the firebrick. Its all about your preference if you want a prefab or real fireplace. Both offer the outdoor fireplace feel. Firebrick radiates heat.
My opinion about real masonry versus aesthetic prefab masonry is the longevity of it. Pick out a well-made prefab kit like Firerock or Paverstone to name a few. Harsh cold and extreme heat, as well as the fire causing expansion and the shrinking after cooling, can cause damage over time. The fire must be contained in the firebox and not generate heat through the exterior. We can install and take care of everything for you if you like.
If your thinking of fireplaces and it is not what you are looking for we also we build Fire Pits.
If your fireplace does not draw chances are it was not built to code, we get calls like this all the time even on new fireplaces. Sometimes It is said that Builders or the Masons stop building chimney chases to Code to save money or didn’t know the code, therefore, creating a downward flow of air causing the fireplace to not function properly. Also, An existing fireplace at one time that did function properly but over time has been obstructed by taller buildings, homes and growing trees has stopped the fireplace from working properly.
NOTE: If your fireplace is not drawing the first step to take is to check the damper and see if it is open if it is the next step to take is to check the flue or chase for anything that can obstruct the airflow such as a squirrels nest or birds nest or a caved-in wall inside the chimney.
Smoking fireplace – chimneys
A smoking fireplace is a drawing problem as well. If you have a smoking fireplace there are many possibilities it could be such as the flue wasn’t primed before the fire causing the cold air to drop or sink into the house making the smoke follow. The chimney might have caved in or debris got inside the flue. You may have too much of a sealed home. If you have smoke entering your home and the fire is burning low and your fireplace is on an exterior wall then the cold might be affecting the flues temperature causing the flue to be cold again. You might have two flues and one needs to be sealed etc..
It is a must to build a fireplace the right way due to pressure from heat and gas buildup etc. If not properly built the fireplace could cause damage and harm and also not function.
Repairing Fireplaces – Chimneys
Building a Fireplace should be done by a Highly skilled Mason. An improperly repaired chimney can be unsafe and an eye sore. If left unattended your fireplace and chimney can release dangerous, toxic, and unhealthy gasses into your building or allow flames and sparks to escape and come in contact with potentially combustible materials in and on your building and home causing a fire hazard. A fireplace and chimney left unattended will allow loose masonry materials to fall and potentially cause damage to property or people.
If you are not wanting to spend a lot but want a sustainable fire in your backyard for entertaining, warmth or grilling we can design and build you a Fire Pit of any size and design.
The Wendland Masonry & Construction Companies are professional fireplace and chimney builders. We build fireplaces in existing homes & do Rebuilds. Also, we repair and fix all fireplace and chimney problems.