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Choosing a wood heating system: the closed fireplace

The idea of ​​somehow placing a glass door stove in the open hearth of a fireplace is not new and has developed strongly since the 1970s, following the first crises of energy. The distinction between insert and fireplace is very thin.

The characteristics of wood heating

The yield

An insert is a fireplace that is adapted to a fireplace, while a closed fireplace is a fireplace around which one builds a fireplace...

The first insert-type devices made it possible to increase the efficiency of the chimney by 30 to 50%, often by combining them with heat recovery units
Current devices have further pushed these limits, with yields of 70 to 85%. At the same time, there has been a considerable improvement in autonomy, reduced to a few hours for an open fireplace, and up to 10 hours or more with closed fireplaces.

The insert

It brings a very clear improvement in the efficiency of a chimney and the possibilities of heat distribution. This device has been popular with DIYers, seduced by the apparent simplicity of its location in an existing home. However, a multiplication of accidents, sometimes dramatic, led to regulate this installation, especially on several points, and in particular:

  • thermal insulation between the walls and walls of an appliance whose temperature can rise up to 400° C and compliance with a fire spread of 16 cm;
  • a flue capable of evacuating gases heavily laden with water vapor, in accordance with the regulations in force;
  • the provision of an evacuation circuit for the pockets of hot air that form around the drain;
  • a supply of fresh air regular and completely independent of the ventilation of the housing.

Closed hearth

It is a heater originally designed as such, with its aesthetic surroundings - traditional chimney hood and jambs supporting a beam or masonry gully or contemporary metal structure embedded in a wall or in a doubling, and no longer a complement for an existing fireplace.
Indeed, it is the chimney that is built around the fireplace closed, respecting technical constraints that ensure the optimal operation of the combustion device. In addition, many closed fireplaces are equipped with a lift door that allows them to operate with open fire without too much degradation of their performance. The installation of this type of device requires to provide:

  • the connection of hot air outlets to pipes that will distribute it to other rooms;
  • the supply of air to be heated by a completely separate circuit from that supplying combustion air to the fireplace;
  • the insulation and internal ventilation of the appliance inside the masonry that encloses it.

Inserts and fireplaces

Diagram of an insert

Diagram of an insert

Three styles of fireplaces

The rustic, the classic, the contemporary and the same technology: the closed fireplace.

Choosing a wood heating system: the closed fireplace: system

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