How do Fireplaces Work?


Everybody loves a nice fireplace in their home, the way it adds a romantic air to the room. There seems to be an association of such device with family, love and warmth. In many parts of the world in addition to the visual appeal of flames tango dancing together that produces almost a hypnotic effect, it is a method of survival, in locations where there is no electricity it is an invaluable tool to stay warm in the winter months.

In this article you will discover how exactly a fireplace works and what elements produce the effective warmth of such invention.

The heat generated by the fireplace is based on the principal of energy radiation. It is not air that is being warmed as many might think. Radiation is defined as transfer of thermal energy threw the vacuum of empty space. The Sun is the most predominant example of radiation that travels millions of light years away to bring warmth to our existence. It occurs when an atom disintegrates which then has no mass and travels in waves to an object of lower temperature then its own. How does this all happen in a fireplace?

Where there is a lot of thought, art and science that goes into fireplace design. A fireplace is made of key elements to channel that energy:

The hearth: is the fire resistant foundation on which it is built on. Is job can also be to conduct heat to be radiated to an area, it is commonly what you see that extends beyond the fireplace box enclosure.

Some fireplaces have a foundation that connects it to a basement or directly outside allowing more intake of air and generate heat without using resources from the area it’s heating.

Firebox: is where the wood is to be placed

Ash dump allow for the collection of ash and avoid it being sent out to the area it resides.

Damper: Regulates the draft up the chimney to control the amount and direction of which it flows. One common mistake that people make is trying to start a fire while the damper is closed, which in-turn causes the fire not to start or to extend the combustion into the room.

Smoke Shelf: stops smoke from reversing back into the room

Flue: controls gases out of the chimney to the outdoor flow.

Caps: Stops objects particles and Santa from coming down the chimney.

One important component that is often overlooked is the spark screen, it is what stops spark debris from entering a room.

Some of the contributors to the effectiveness of a fireplace include Prince Rupert, Ben Franklin, count Rumford and human ingenuity that continues to improve our way of life.


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