Wood burning fireplaces have always been a top choice when it comes to ambiance. The crackle, warmth and smell of burning wood creates an inviting space ideal for cottages and rural settings. If you are considering a wood burning fireplace in your next build, here are some things to consider.
Use, Care and Maintenance
For best results, the wood used should be dry and seasoned firewood. This will ensure the fire creates less smoke and emissions. Burning unseasoned wood will produce a lot of smoke and can generate creosote. Creosote is a flammable chemical that can build up on the side of your chimney flue over time and potentially cause a fire. Regardless of the type of wood used, it is recommended that the fireplace and chimney be professionally cleaned and maintained annually to avoid creosote build-up.
Fun fact, the extra ashes left over from a fire can be used to melt ice in the winter.
One of the biggest deterrents of an open masonry wood burning fireplace is its inefficiency. As the fire burns, it draws warm air from inside the house up the chimney and out of the home. That isn’t to say that you can’t have it all. With a few alterations, you can have a wood burning fireplace and efficiency too. Here are some design solutions we like to incorporate to create a more efficient wood burning fireplace:
Tempered Glass Doors
Installing tempered glass doors in front of the fireplace will help increase the temperature in the chimney and reduce the amount of warm air the fire draws from the room.
Alternatively, if you prefer the look of an open masonry fireplace without glass doors, a fan heat exchanger can be installed to blow heat back into the room and prevent heat loss up the chimney.
A simple solution, ideal for existing open masonry fireplaces, is to place a metal fireback at the back of the fireplace. As the fire burns, the fireback stores the heat and releases it into the room even after the fire burns out.
While gas and electric fireplaces continue to be a popular choice for new construction because of their ease of use and minimal maintenance, nothing beats the cozy feeling of a real fire, especially in our Canadian Winters!