A grate or hearth at the base of a chimney is defined as a fireplace. The construction is generally made of stone, brick, or metal, and designed to surround a fire. In days gone by fireplaces were used for cooking, heating water for bathing and laundry, and warming the home!
Nothing beats the vibrancy of a real fire and they’re a standard feature in most older properties – and are frequently a must-have in new homes. Fireplaces and chimneys can be intricate, and knowing how they function and how to maintain them will keep you safe and warm.
What are the parts of a fireplace called? Read on…
Traditional Fireplace Components
Parts of a fireplace include the surround which protects the walls around the fireplace and the hearth which extends out beyond the fireplace itself. The names of fireplace parts comprise of the:
- Chimney – this structure carries the gases and smoke from the fire upwards and out into the atmosphere. The chimney’s main function is to produce the draft that draws combustion air into the appliance and safely exhaust it to the outside.
- Chimney crown – the crown, often known as the wash, is sloped at a downwards angle. This is designed to seal the top of the chimney as well as directing any rain or snow away from the chimney itself.
- Chimney cap – chimney damage can be prevented by the installation of a chimney cap. This cover will keep birds and animals out
- Chimney damper – generally operated by a lever or a cable this moveable plate when closed stops cold air or downdrafts from entering the house when there’s no fire. When open it lets the smoke rise and exit.
- Smoke shelf – this also deflects downdrafts as it’s located at the bottom of the smoke chamber which connects the flue to the fireplace.
- Flue – made of stainless steel or baked clay – this is the passageway at the top where the smoke and gases exit. Effectively a duct, pipe, or opening in the chimney from the fireplace.
- Flue lining – this is the interior lining that protects the chimney walls. They’re often made of clay, metal, or ceramic.
- Firebox – this is the interior of the fireplace which contains the fire and collects the smoke
- Fireplace doors – these can be made of metal or glass, and they shut off the air when the fire has died down or not in use. If these doors are closed when the fire is burning the airflow is interrupted and can cause the temperature to rise dramatically – a viable alternative to protect from flying embers is to set up a mesh screen that lets the heat out.
- Mantel – fireplace mantel parts come in two sections – the lower mantel and the optional overmantel. The main parts of a lower mantel include the shelf, legs, header, inner trim, and hearth. The overmantel parts are the crown and wadding tiles.
Anatomy of a Gas Fireplace
Modern fireplaces offer flexibility in terms of design with a great amount of freedom, and are also cost-effective. With gas fires, there’s a huge diversity of designs and materials to choose from. And they don’t require a hearth unless there was previously a wood-burning fire there.
Parts of a gas fireplace include the:
- Pilot light – this is used to light a large burner. When the gas is released as the fire is turned on the small, blue light ignites. The pilot light works in conjunction with the thermocouple and thermopile to ensure your fireplace is kept in good working order – and is safe.
- Thermocouple – this is basically a safety device that measures heat. It’s normally made of two different metal such as iron and copper, and is able to recognise if the pilot light has gone out due to lack of heat. This results in the shutdown of the gas supply which prevents any gas build-up.
- Thermopile – thermopiles are larger and consist of several thermocouples joined together. Their role is also to detect and measure radiant heat and cut off the gas supply if the pilot light goes out. They need to be cleaned and well-maintained to achieve maximum effectiveness.
Fireplace Installation Services
If you’re looking for a completely new fireplace with Mr Gas Fires, choose trusted, local independent installers with years of industry experience. You’ll be able to select a traditional or contemporary design with made-to-measure options. And get all the help and advice you need in making your distinctive fireplace the focal point of your home.