Key Elements of a Fireplace
Here are the main points about your fireplace that you should know:
- Ash pit – a cellar under the fireplace grate where ashes collect. It’s accessed through a clean-out door in the basement or on the outside of the chimney.
- Ash pit cover – a grate in the floor of the firebox that allows ashes, but not wood, to fall into the ash pit below.
- Chimney – an architectural structure made of masonry, stone, or brick that channels the exhaust gases and smoke produced by the fire out of the home.
- Crown – the top of the chimney.
- A Damper – a mobile covering in the throat of the chimney that separates the firebox from the flue. In the closed position, it prevents cold outside air from coming into the home.
- Firebox – the cavity where the fire burns.
- Flue – a duct or liner made of terracotta clay or stainless-steel pipes that run through the chimney.
- Foundation – a concrete pad under the house that supports the weight of the fireplace and chimney.
- Hearth – the floor of a fireplace.
- Hearth extension – is the extension that protrudes into the room.
- Lintel – The horizontal architectural member that supports the weight of the chimney.
- A Mantel – a shelf that hangs over the top of the fireplace opening. If the mantel surrounds the entire opening of the fireplace, the vertical sides are called pilasters or legs, with plinths at the bottom. The shelf brackets are corbels.
- Smoke chamber – the area that connects the firebox and the flue. The bottom of this chamber is called the “smoke shelf.” It blocks rain or soot from dropping into the fire and helps to prevent downdrafts.
- A Spark arrester – a metal screen that covers the top of the flue to prevent burning ash from escaping.
- Throat – a narrow passageway between the firebox and the smoke chamber.
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