7 Steps for the Perfect Wood Burning Fireplace

7 Steps for the Perfect Wood Burning Fireplace

1. Heating To Match Room Size

Getting the right amount of heat to suit the size of the room should be high on agenda.  Modern stoves produce more heat and less cinder.  Improving the energy performance is beneficial, economically as well as ecologically. Incomplete combustion releases pollutants.  Emissions are minimized with complete combustion.

2. Positioning And Placement Of The Fireplace And Chimney

Smoke outlet is an integral part of a wood fireplace.  The outlet pipe should be vertical, insulated and properly capped.  The diameter should be sufficient to handle the smoke emanating from the fireplace and integrated into the building.  The smoke pipe should not be allowed to be cooled by outside air, resulting in lesser heat inside the room.  Positioning of the fireplace determines the amount of heat generated, the heat throw and distribution.

3. Selecting The Appropriate Fireplace

Wood fireplaces can be a wood stove, fireplace insert or the conventional wood fireplace.  Wood burning fireplace is a fairly straight-forward and easy to install system.  It is a stand-alone system fitted with heat storage system to distribute the warm air around the building.

Fireplace inserts are meant to enhance the efficiency of an existing fireplace.  They can convert an old inefficient chimney into a safe fireplace with a little amount of work.  They reduce the hassles and structural modifications required for the installation of a wood fireplace.

Traditional fireplaces require a lot of work and masonry and in many cases require pre-planning while constructing the house.  Their customization options are numerous and integrate well into the house.  The fireplaces have heat resistant material for the interior walls to augment heat retention capabilities.

4. Air For Proper Combustion

Obviously air is a vital ingredient for proper combustion. Once the required warmth is obtained, the temperature can then be regulated by the amount of wood.  Air can be collected directly via air inlet system or for closed fire systems, the air inlet could be through a wall or floor etc.  In closed systems, we have to ensure that there is enough air for both the occupants of the building and fire.

5. Clean Soot For Proper Heat

Burning of wood leaves a lot of soot in the stove and flue pipe.  The soot layer reduces conduction of heat and reduces the warmth.  Certain wood like pine leaves more soot and require cleaning more often.  Cleaning the stove, chimney and outlet pipe once or twice a year (depending upon the wood used) is desirable.

6. Watch Out For The Smoke

Smoke indicates the level of combustion and the heat generated.  When the combustion is not optimal, dark and dense smoke emanates.  This could be due to various factors such as less intense burning of the stove, wet wood, lack of air etc. Smoke is comprised of the gases not burned.  Taking a look at the smoke coming out from the chimney is a good idea.  If there is minimum smoke, it means the fireplace is working to the optimum levels.

7. Feed More Than One Log

Always put more than one log in fire at a time.  Burning a single log at a time will make it burn out quickly.  Burning generally happens in three stages and one log cannot maintain all three stages at a given point of time.  In stage 1 of combustion, heating and evaporation takes place.  At 100C (the boiling point of water) the water molecules start to boil.  In the second stage the temperature can reach around 300o C to around 600o C.  This is the heat generating stage.  A lot of combustible gases are released in this stage which is also burnt in the process.  Adequate air supply is vital for proper combustion in the second stage.  In the third stage, after all the gases are exhausted, charcoal is formed.   This is also important as charcoal burns for a long time with low heat.  Higher number of logs keeps the chain of combustion going to obtain optimal energy.