Now, as I write this article, firewood crackles in my fireplace and the soft warmth emanating from them from time to time makes me involuntarily turn around and admire the mesmerizing dance of fire…

On this cold snowy day, the fireplace is perhaps the only element of the interior that enlivens it, creating the mental and physical comfort of my home.

Perhaps this is the reason for the centuries-old popularity of this type of hearth.

However, a fireplace is not only romantic, but also gray everyday life, when this expensive attribute is idle in anticipation of your favor.

Therefore, instead of an ode to the fireplace, today I want to consider the question of the expediency of having it in the house and how to find the golden mean between “I want” and functionality.

I’ll start with:

  • a fireplace is expensive (and therefore respectable);
  • a fireplace is a heavy structure and requires either a massive and separate foundation, or the ceiling under it must be designed for such a high load;
  • a fireplace without a chimney is unthinkable, if it is not a decoration or a bio-fireplace;
  • a room with a fireplace must be at least 20 m2;
  • an open hearth is located in a place where there are no drafts.

If your family leads an active lifestyle, then most likely you will rarely remember about the fireplace, with the exception of holidays. In this case, it is better to abandon the traditional structure in favor of decoration (false fireplace, electric fireplace, bi-fireplace).

A traditional fireplace is most appropriate in a country house or in a country house with seasonal residence. People come here to rest, which means there will be time to kindle and admire the dance of fire.

A closed hearth fireplace is a great solution for a permanent residence if you like to gather guests and lead a measured lifestyle. In this case, meetings with friends will take place in a friendly atmosphere and the fireplace will become the central figure of the living room. In the festive bustle, a safe closed firebox will come in handy.

The option of a thermofireplace (combined with heating) is ideal for any permanent residence, if you still have time and like to sit by the fireplace.

There is another interesting use of a traditional fireplace – for cooking on fire. Perhaps it is the most ancient and the hearth in those ancient times was made huge, located in the dining room and almost everything was cooked in it.

To be honest, I don’t know how things were in this case with the smokyness of the room, but I think you can try to make a hearth with a skewer in a closed summer kitchen. Moreover, you can cook on it, like on the grill or barbecue.

OPEN FIREPLACE this is a prototype of the hearth in the homes of our ancestors and may look like this:

  • a niche (without a door) made of heat-resistant material (refractory bricks, ceramic blocks),
  • stand-alone building on the podium.
The fire radiates heat, which spreads from the furnace into the room. If we talk about energy efficiency, then for this type of furnace it is small. The efficiency is only 15-20%.

Most of the hot air literally “takes out” into the pipe. But you will more than enjoy the aroma of burning logs and the dance of flames.
Naturally, such a fireplace does not have a flame force regulator and there is a need for additional fire protection (protective screen and refractory material of the platform near the fireplace).

IMPORTANT The most unpleasant moment of the open version of the furnace (it is present in all furnace structures) is the dependence on the state of the atmosphere.

The temperature difference can form a plug of cold air in the chimney and then there will be a “reverse draft” – the smoke will simply pour into the room. Therefore, it is absolutely impossible to equip sleeping places in the fireplace room.

This dangerous moment will be prevented by careful insulation of the chimney pipe and the mandatory presence umbrella over it.

NUANCE: when the fireplace is on the first floor of the house, and the pipe passes through the walls of the second level, fungus may appear at the junction of the chimney to the wall. The reason lies in the lack of a heat-reflecting wrap around the chimney. It should envelop the pipe along its entire length, even if it is brick.

This way, and only this way, you will avoid the ingress of moisture from condensation, which penetrates through the walls, creating ideal conditions for mold. You need to know about this at the design stage of the fireplace.

A SUSPENDED METAL FIREPLACE is an easy (in every sense) solution to the problem small space and lack of foundation. Such a fireplace has an open firebox with all the ensuing consequences.

The design itself is relatively light, but expensive (within reason). Looks very modern and stylish.

CLOSED FURNACE The fireplace is, first of all, safe (both in terms of smoke and flying sparks). But the main advantage of such a hearth is its high efficiency (about 65-80%).

And the secret of such energy efficiency is not in the presence of the door, but in particular the inner lining of the firebox. It is made of cast iron or ceramic-coated steel, it can be either smooth or ribbed (which increases the heat reflection area).

The walls, when heated, give off heat directly into the room. That is, all elements of the furnace plus the flame are involved in the heating process.
The presence of grates (a metal grate under the firewood) provides an additional flow of air and the firewood burns better.

FURNACE-FIREPLACE – a replica of a potbelly stove, but very stylish, modern and improved.

The order of prices from democratic to “biting” 🙂 But keep in mind that this cute attribute heats up only while it is turned on and has not had time to cool down yet.


Inclusion in The “work” of the fireplace walls made it possible to use it not only as a heating device, but also as a water heating system.

Similar designs are called thermofireplaces. The system includes a water circuit (water jacket), which is able not only to simply heat the water, but, if there is a pump, also “send” it through the heating system.
In summer, the room heating function can be turned off and the thermofireplace can only be used as a boiler. The temperature in this case is maintained at a constantly low level.
Fireplaces with a closed hearth additionally have such virtues as regulation of the intensity of the flame and absolute safety. True, for all these “pleasures” you will have to pay a tidy sum (which will definitely justify itself).

The house under construction should already be brought under the roof. Atmospheric precipitation is the enemy of any furnace structure under construction.
Since the masonry is carried out by the “wet” method, a stable positive temperature is required for drying.
For a fireplace on the first level of the house, a separate (!) Foundation is required. On the second and above – the base is a reinforced concrete floor, designed for the weight of the fireplace masonry. Given the complexity and baboutSince the second option is more expensive, homeowners prefer the first one.
To remove smoke, a chimney is required. Its dimensions depend on the parameters of the firebox and its functional purpose.

The HEIGHT of the PIPE above the roof ridge should be at least 50 cm. If the roof slopes are very steep, then the height of the pipe can be reduced by installing a deflector (“umbrella”, “mushroom”) on the head. The total length of the chimney from the outlet of the furnace to the end of the pipe varies between 6.5 – 10 m.
IMPORTANT: in any case, the help of a specialist will be required to calculate the parameters of the fireplace. And if you can handle the laying of an open fireplace (if you have a ready-made and proven scheme) on your own or trust a private master, then installation of a closed fireplace insert can only be entrusted to specialists. They will give a guarantee for their work, after which you can “ask” them if something is wrong.
FIREPLACE SIZE the floor is calculated based on the area of ​​​​the room, it should be at least 1/50 of the interior, provided that the latter is at least 20 m2.

FIREPLACE POWER determined based on the volume of the room. So, with a ceiling height of 2.5 m by 10 m2 1 kW is required.

Hardwoods and coal are used to fire the fireplace. The choice of wood requires a special approach and here you can give a few recommendations:
  • resin tree species are not suitable just because they will crackle, splashing sparks (which is dangerous with an open firebox), their second drawback is the increased release of soot deposited on the chimney,
  • birch firewood “sin” the same, tar clogs the chimney when burned,
  • the best choice would be solid “grades” of firewood: oak, aspen, alder, maple, beech, you can improve the aroma of burning wood by throwing juniper or twigs of fruit trees into the fire.

The size of firewood is chosen based on 2/3 or 3/4 of the minimum linear size of the firebox.

Firewood is well dried and stored on the street in a firewood shed (under a canopy) or in an auxiliary, but always well-ventilated room.

The chimney, regardless of the type of wood you choose, will still need to be cleaned periodically. The following trick will help stretch the interval between cleanings: at the end of the firebox, throw potato peelings into the burning coals. Their combustion contributes to the exfoliation of soot deposits from the inner surface of the chimney.
The first kindling after laying the fireplace is carried out no earlier than a month after the installation is completed.
To avoid a sharp temperature contrast in an array of fragile masonry, the first few kindlings are made not intense and short.
Before starting kindling, it is advisable to warm the chimney with a burning torch or a long fireplace lighter – just bring the lit flame to the base of the pipe and hold for several minutes.
Best of all, firewood will take on a flame if you put it in a “hut” or “well”.

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