Have you ever wondered what goes in inside your fireplace? Fireplaces rely on the simple technology of air being drawn in from your home to feed the fire and then rising up and out of your chimney thanks to the heat generated by the fire. But to keep the air drawing and the fire burning efficiently, your fireplace has to be perfectly engineered. That means inside, your fireplace actually features a series of components that work together to optimize the draw of air through the fireplace and chimney. To understand how your fireplace works, here’s a look at the overall anatomy of your fireplace.
You’re familiar with your hearth: It’s the structure at the exterior base of your fireplace. In some homes, this might be a raised concrete or stone structure, while in other homes, the hearth might be floor level and lined with stone or tile.
Like your hearth, your firebox is one of the obvious and visible portions of your fireplace. The firebox is simply the portion of your fireplace that houses your fires.
Most people are less familiar with the lintel, but it is one of the visible, exterior components of your fireplace. The lintel is the top front portion of your fireplace, at the roof of the firebox.
The rear of your firebox and your lintel angle inward toward the chimney, creating a funnel that directs smoke up to the chimney. Inside this narrowed portion of the fireplace is your damper. As you likely know, your damper is a metal flap that opens to allow smoke to exit the chimney when a fire is burning and closes to stop drafts and heat loss when the fireplace isn’t in use.
After leaving your firebox, the smoke from your fireplace rises up into the chimney’s smoke chamber. The smoke chamber continues to angle inward to continue to funnel the flow of smoke into the chimney.
At the bottom of the smoke chamber sits a smoke shelf. The horizontal surface prevents water or any debris that might find its way into your chimney from landing in your firebox.
The chimney flue is likely what you think of when you think of your chimney. The chimney flue is the long, hollow portion of the chimney that the smoke travels through so it can exit from your home. Chimney flues are generally either lined with clay tiles or stainless steel liners.
From the flue, your smoke exits your chimney. The final portion of your chimney finishes it from the outside. The chimney crown is a masonry component of the chimney. It seals the inner layers of the chimney walls and helps direct water out away from the opening of your chimney flue.
Your fireplace is a complex system, and it does take care to keep it operating efficiently. If any one of your fireplace components aren’t working properly, or have fallen into disrepair, call Fluesbrothers Chimney Service! We keep your fireplace and chimney operating the way it should.