It’s funny how you can have a big house with tons of stuff to do, but when the weather gets cold, everyone seems to gravitate to the fireplace. Oh – you don’t have a fireplace? Then it’s time to get one. Here are some important things to know about installing a new fireplace or wood stove.
Everyone loves fireplaces that look beautiful and operate safely and efficiently. And the level of efficiency will depend greatly on where the fireplace is set. Don’t be like some people and try to conserve interior floor space by installing the fireplace so that most of it juts outside beyond the house wall. Likewise with the chimney. Cold air in the fireplace and chimney can create a backdraft that makes for cold air in the room and difficult fire starting. Sacrifice a little space, and build the fireplace “inside” the house.
Because venting a wood-burning appliance is a bit more complicated than venting a gas-driven unit, it’s best to place the new fireplace under or near to the peak of the home. A central location is best for wood fireplaces. This helps keep the chimney warm and reduces wind effects by having the top of the chimney higher than patches of turbulence.
You can include an exhaust fan in your fireplace or stove, but go easy: Fans that operate at high volume can mess up the natural drafting process and send cold air into the house. Avoid using these fans when starting a fire, because the mixing of two air flows can cause exhaust gasses to enter the room.
Chimneys can be built to a variety of heights, but for the most efficient operation, they shouldn’t be overly short, because it will be difficult to achieve a strong, natural draft. When the draft is working right, fires burn hotter and better. As a rule of thumb, consider the minimum height of a chimney to be about 15 feet for single-level homes, taller for homes with additional stories.
If at all possible, have your chimney constructed straight up and down. This will provide a better draft system, allow for quicker starting and limit smoking. Also, straight chimneys are simpler – and therefore less-expensive – to clean.
The goals of warmth, money-saving, safety and ambiance all come into play when having a new fireplace or stove installed in your home. Follow these best practices to achieve all of these goals.
Marsh’s Stoves & Fireplaces of Toronto is standing by to help you select the ideal fireplace or wood stove in either a wood- or gas-burning model. Speak with a hearth expert at our showroom located at 3322 Dundas Street West. Or give us a call at (416) 762-4582.