Wood Burning Fireplaces
There is nothing quite like a fire in the fireplace to stir the soul and warm the heart. Contrary to what you might think, you do not need a professional mason or a large investment to add a fireplace to your home. There are however, several different types of fireplaces to choose from. Factory-built or zero clearance fireplaces, high efficiency units, clean burning open fireplaces, and brick or stone masonry units.
Factory-built fireplaces are pre-constructed and ready to be framed into virtually any room in your home. Basically, factory-built (commonly referred to as "zero-clearance") fireplaces are metal fireboxes with an insulated cabinet built around them. Spacers allow them to be installed against wooden framing materials and on combustible floors. A metal chimney attaches to the top of the unit and runs to the top of the building.
High efficiency wood burning fireplaces heat like a stove, and are installed like a pre-fab fireplace. They have gasketed doors, controlled combustion air, and allow the option of dumping extra heat into other nearby rooms. The fireboxes are smaller than a conventional fireplace but will provide 75% heating efficiency compared to about 12% with an open fireplace. Many options are available with these types of units including face / surround options, blowers, door design, and more.
The Renaissance Rumford Fireplace manufactured by ICC is the cleanest wood burning fireplace on the market....and we have it burning in our showroom! With the guillotine door closed, no room air is utilized to burn the wood (outside air is provided directly into the firebox) , the smoke is re-burned in the "throat" area inside the five foot tall cabinet and virtually no smoke is exiting the chimney outside. The flame visual is tremendous and the radiant heat through the glass is an added benefit. This unit is cutting edge technology.
In summary....An open wood burning fireplace like a pre-fab or masonry fireplace with a full charge of wood burning is about, on average, 12% efficient. More of a looker than a heater. When the fire dies out, the efficiency actually drops to about -27%. The damper cannot be closed yet, or you'll get a room of smoke, so heat is escaping up the chimney, putting you in the negative efficiency. Installing glass doors will keep you out of the negative column, but will not add heat into the room. Glass doors will prevent heat loss but do not provide any extra heat.
A high efficiency wood burning fireplace is about 75 - 80% efficient (the same as a woodstove) and is EPA approved for clean burning.
The Renaissance Rumford Fireplace meets the requirements for clean burning, although there is no standard at this time for "open fireplaces."
Stop on by to discuss how and where a fireplace may fit into your house. Bringing in blueprints / plans / pictures will help us in determining what will work and be safe. Whether new construction or a remodeling project, the addition of a fireplace will add pleasure, warmth and value to your home.