There are several types of fireplaces with different mechanisms for burning and creating heat. Fireplaces are one of the oldest sources of heat and cooking and have been around for centuries.

What types of fireplaces are there?

Different types of fireplaces include gas burning, wood burning, and electric.

  • Electric fireplaces draw in air, heat it internally using a coil, and push the warm air back out into the room via a fan.
  • Gas burning fireplaces use sealed combustion to burn. Fireplace doors block all outside air from entering the space, and a gas insert has its own flue that goes up the chimney.
  • Wood burning fireplaces are relatively straightforward. Wood is arranged in the bottom of a fireplace and ignited with a match or lighter. Hot air and smoke from the fire floats up the chimney naturally and out of the building.
When were fireplaces invented?

The first fireplaces made their appearance in castles in the twelfth century. With smoke allowed to escape a room naturally through a chimney, fireplace logs could heat entire rooms in a contained manner. Danger of materials or people catching on fire was decreased, and people were free to decorate their fireplaces however they pleased.

What are the components of a fireplace?

Fireplaces have a few simple parts to them.

  • The fire box is a fireproof container where the actual fire burns. It is most commonly made of metal, brick, or stone.
  • A chimney vents the smoke and combustion products from the fire outside.
  • Ventless propane fireplaces use indoor air to stoke the fire.
  • Dampers limit the amount of oxygen that can reach the fire. This slows the rate of burn, allowing your wood to last longer and your house to stay warm for a longer duration with each refill of logs.
  • Vents bring fresh air into the fire for combustion.
  • Doors keep fires safely behind glass or chains to reduce fire risk. Glass doors and metal chain curtains are two common fireplace door types.
  • Automatic lighters are propane vents that allow you to do push-button lighting for both propane and wood burning stoves.
What are some options for placing fireplaces in homes?

In a home, there are a few common places where you will find fireplaces.

  • In the kitchen, especially in older homes where they were once a critical part of cooking.
  • In living rooms or great rooms, where they can be an aesthetic attraction.
  • In bedrooms of larger, older homes. This is especially true in colder climates where the homes were not well-insulated.
  • Outside in backyard barbecue areas.