Fireplace anatomy is what we seek to discuss.
Not only will we be mentioning the parts of a fireplace, but we’ll also discuss the functions of each component. This knowledge is key to understanding the basic operation of a fireplace.
We’re confident that this article will be highly informative.
The fireplace is one of the most visible parts of a chimney. It’s mostly found indoors and may be located in multiple rooms in a home. All fireplaces are designed for combustion purposes and have various components.
About Fireplace Anatomy & Components
In our bid to list and discuss the parts and functions of a fireplace, it’s only proper to have a brief introduction about this chimney component.
In a simple definition, a fireplace is basically an open area built specifically to contain combustion.
Such combustion is carried out to generate heat. It’s usually located or built in a wall.
Fireplaces are mostly decorated to beautify their surroundings. There are various types of fireplaces depending on the fuel burned.
They include wood-burning fireplaces, electric fireplaces, ethanol burning fireplaces, and gas-burning fireplaces.
Under each of these are subtypes but that’s as far as we’ll go on fireplace types.
Let’s return to our main point of discussion; fireplace components.
Parts Of A Fireplace
A fireplace has several parts each contributing to effective functioning. It’s important to note that that the fireplace connects to the chimney. In other words, it’s part of the chimney system.
However, we’re restricting our discussion to the fireplace.
Parts of a fireplace include the hearth, mantel, face, and firebox. Others are the lintel, chimney throat, surround, back panel, and damper.
What are the parts of a fireplace called?
Let’s take a further look at each of these parts for purposes of better understanding.
One easily observable fireplace part is the hearth. It forms the base of a fireplace and even projects outward into the room. Combustion occurs right on the hearth.
Sometimes, a grate is placed on the fireplace hearth to help limit direct heat on the hearth.
In some quarters, a further distinction is given with names such as the inner and outer heart. Inner hearth refers to the hearth lying inside while outer hearth refers to the projected area.
So, what materials are fireplace hearths made from? These are made from non-combustible materials.
What more? Only poor heat conductors are used for hearth construction. This limits the likelihood of thermal damage to a home.
Some of the materials commonly used include stone, ceramic, granite, marble, and quarry tiles among others.
The mantel of a fireplace is in the form of a shelf. Now, it’s important to know that fireplaces are designed to be a bit more versatile than they used to be.
As such, the fireplace mantel serves as a platform for placing decorations alongside other items.
So, is that the only function of the fireplace? Not at all! These same fireplace parts serve to block smoke from escaping the chimney or coming into your room. You’re likely to find your fireplace mantel made of concrete.
As you’d expect, the fireplace face is actually the part that’s readily seen.
Most times, you’d find that materials used for hearth construction are also used for fireplace face construction. Sometimes, the fireplace surround is used in place of a fireplace face.
The enclosure where combustion occurs is known as the firebox. Surrounding this area are firebricks built to withstand high temperatures. The shape of a firebox varies from one fireplace to the other.
The two predominant shapes are rectangular and square.
Areas surrounding the firebox include the hearth which consists of the firebox base and the chimney throat above. It will be needless to say that the open space at the front of the firebox is called the fireplace opening.
Some fireplace openings are fitted with screens, glass doors, or both. Additional fireplace features such as these depend on the design and make.
Like a building lintel designed to hold and distribute weight, a fireplace lintel does the same. This fireplace component is located between the fireplace surround and the chimney throat.
It’s a basic structural necessity for a fireplace to function normally.
Much like the human throat located close to the mouth, the fireplace throat is found close to the opening. To be precise, you’ll find the chimney throat at the chimney and fireplace intersection.
You only need to look up the top of your firebox to see the chimney throat.
While some fireplaces only have such throats without additional components, most chimneys have an added component known as the damper. Such a damper is used for opening and closing the fireplace.
In many respects, the fireplace surround looks resemble the fireplace face. The only difference is in its purpose.
The fireplace surround is mostly installed for decorative purposes. Despite being a part of a fireplace, you might come across a fireplace surround that isn’t made of non-combustible materials.
Fireplace Back Panel
When the aim is to enhance the visual appeal of a fireplace, one component that’s mostly incorporated is the fireplace back panel. The back panel fits into the space between the surround and fireplace opening.
Cast iron is among the materials used in making the fireplace back panel.
Most fireplaces have dampers. There are three types of damper; throat dampers, top-sealing dampers, and woodstove dampers. However, for our discussion, the most relevant of these is the throat damper.
It’s only logical that the material used in making a throat damper be heat resistant.
By taking a brief into the chimney throat, you’re likely to find the damper. This fireplace component comes with either a lever or handle that can be used to close and open the damper.
Before igniting any fire, it’s necessary to have the damper opened first. This helps with smoke expulsion while also allowing air intake to support combustion.
These fireplace parts are critical to the functioning of a chimney.
However, their presence alone doesn’t guarantee fireplace efficiency. You’ll need to have them maintained when necessary. The expertise of a chimney sweep should be relied upon for proper maintenance.
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