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Choosing a Wood Heating System: The Open Fireplace

A chimney is first of all a pleasure fire. The presence of an open fire in a living room brings a warm atmosphere of intimacy. The friendly atmosphere thus created invites relaxation, conversation. We enjoy the view of dancing flames, we feel the heat (nearby), we smell the smell and we can hear the crackling.

The charms of the live fire

Always be very vigilant in front of an open fire because of the risk of embers (firewall of adequate size, protection of the floor) and keep at a reasonable distance, seats, sofas and carpets.


Modern heating appliances (gas, electricity) are far from possessing this fascinating power of the home in which crackling logs burn. This is why we are witnessing the return of chimneys in the interiors. Modern homes often have a fireplace in the center of the living room.
In old buildings, there is a tendency to renovate and refurbish old chimneys, including internal casing when the duct is still in condition or outside when it is not.

Poor performance

The big chimneys of the old farms and country houses were wasting a lot of wood. Their performance is often considered to be no more than 10%.
Comfort side it was not ideal, but we used to group around the hearth (when it was not in the fireplace itself!).
Consumption sideThis posed no real problem because the inhabitants had wood at will and cheap. But fuel is rarer today and the era is no longer wasteful.
The designers have had to make clear progress in this area. Most open fireplaces built today are designed to limit calorie losses and recover them for redistribution in the form of hot air flow or calorie transfer.
The calculation of the shape and size of the fireplace is done at best, taking into account the volume of the room and the openings. Despite this, the performance of open fireplaces rarely exceeds 30%.

Open hearth

Open hearth

For some, only the open hearth allows true visual and olfactory contact with the wood fire, even if it only heats the duct and... small birds. It must also be admitted that a chimney heats up according to the amount of fuel it is given to burn.
Maintaining fire is one of the conditions of his performance. And also one of his difficulties. In addition, the precautions to be taken to ensure a minimum of security. Height of the flames in the hearth, fire screen etc.

Fireplace diagram

Fireplace diagram

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