Bringing heat into the room with an open fireplace

Bringing heat into the room with an open fireplace

Already some eight centuries ago, an open fireplace was often used as a fire pit. He served not only as a source of heat for a room, but also fulfilled the function of a cooking place. Once he stood in the middle of the room and the exhaust fumes could spread throughout the house. With the development of building technologies, he moved first to the outer walls and later to inner walls, where an open fireplace was coupled with a purpose built smoke flue. Basically, a chimney is suitable as a sole heating, as a supplementary heat demand and heating of water.

An open fireplace and its operation

The laws of physics cause heated gases to rise upwards. As a result, an open fireplace directs the flue gases upwards into the chimney. The chimney itself creates a suction, which in turn causes the subsequent flow of air, which brings along the necessary oxygen for combustion. But this is also associated with a disadvantage, which is reflected in the fact that a fireplace has a very low efficiency. It can be increased by, for example, using metal pipes as a smoke outlet. These dissipate the heat to the outside. This way, rooms on the upper floors can also benefit from the waste heat of a fireplace.

What is an open fireplace used for?

As a traditional heating material, an open fireplace uses wood. The wood species that can be used as firewood include ash, beech, alder and oak. They are available today as prepared logs as well as in the form of wood briquettes. In addition, an open fireplace is provided with kindling woods. These are very small logs or bags of chips that catch fire especially easily. Even chemically produced chimney lighters are available, which, however, have the disadvantage of an odor nuisance. In the meantime, dealers in the category of open fireplaces also find models that can be filled with gas or flammable liquids. They are available as stationary and mobile variants.

How safe is an open fireplace?

The fact that an open fireplace brings with it a higher risk of building fires than a closed stove is not an inevitable fact. There are various accessories that can significantly reduce the risk of fire. These include fireplace grills, metal chimney tents and a safety glass chimney guard, which prevents sparks flying into the surroundings. In addition, the safety is positively influenced by intensive maintenance of the fireplace. This includes the regular removal of the ashes as well as the regular cleaning of the smoke extractors . It should also be kept in mind that rooms with an open fireplace often need to be ventilated.

What must be considered in the construction?

The design possibilities are almost limitless. However, an open fireplace in Germany may only be connected to a chimney for which there is a special permit. It is given by the district chimney sweep after an intensive examination. One of the most important requirements is usually that no other stove is connected to this chimney. The chimney must not be cracked and must have good resistance to the deposits caused by the chimney. In addition to the traditional masonry fume hoods, smoke extractors made of stainless steel are often used today. They have the advantage that existing buildings can also be well retrofitted if a cozy fireplace is desired as a cozy extra for a room.

Article picture: © MNStudio / Shutterstock


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