Before chimneys were invented, most houses would use a hole in the roof, a hole in the wall or a window to release the smoke from fireplaces and ovens. These holes were built specifically for the smoke to escape. The furthest historians can trace back, chimneys popped up in 12th century Europe. The designs and engineering of chimneys have changed drastically over the centuries.
Whether opting for a wood-burning fireplace with a warming fireplace opening, a full chimney flue, or a masonry chimney that uses natural gas or an open fireplace with hot embers and a fireplace grate, installing a chimney in your home requires several considerations and mostly depends on the placement of your fireplace (or wood oven). There are so many factors you need to keep in mind before taking this big step.
So that you can make an educated decision when installing a chimney as well as embracing fireplace safety tips, we’ve decided to break down what you need to know. Depending on the type of chimney you want, we’ll cover fireplace placement, chimney placement, and safety tips to using both.
We’ll learn everything we need to know about chimneys. So, let’s get started!
The Placement of Your Fireplace
The placement of your new cozy fireplace can be tricky.There are a few things to consider and the questions you need to be asking yourself about the placement of your fireplace. You should be asking yourself these questions first and foremost:
- What room do you see yourself cuddled up in, in front of a glowing fireplace?
- What type of fireplace do you want? A wood fireplace or a gas fireplace?
- What structure of fireplace are you envisioning in your home? A corner fireplace or a floating fireplace? A fireplace in the middle of your chosen room?
- When locating the perfect place for your fireplace, there are even more serious considerations to take in. So, let’s dive deeper into these serious subjects.
The Levels of Your Home
First, how many levels does your home have? If you only have a single-story home, it’s going to make your fireplace placement super easy. With a single-story home, you can place the fireplace wherever your heart desires.
However, if your home has more than one story things get more difficult. You’ll have to consider how you’re going to run the chimney through the other levels of your house. You’ll have to maneuver through obstacles.
Your Present Heating System
In most modern homes, there’s already a heating system you use. So, I’m going to assume you have one too.
More than likely your heating system uses vents to disperse heat. For safety and functional reasons, you’ll want to try to avoid placing your fireplace in a room with these vents or at least avoid placing it too close to your heating vents.
It’s pointless to have your fireplace heat fighting with your heating system.
Backdraft is one of the most common problems when dealing with a fireplace and chimney. Backdraft is when air flows backward through your chimney. This can result in a mere annoyance of the chimney blowing ash inside your house to the potentially scarier problem of your home catching fire.
Of course, you want to cut down on any backdraft that’s possible with your chimney.
You want to choose an area where there’s the most pressurized air or where the airflow is the best. This will be the coldest and windiest side of your home during winter. The pressurized air effect ensures the air is flowing up your chimney instead of blowing down the chimney.
A draft in the room with your fireplace is best to prevent most backdrafts.
The Placement of Your Chimney
Now that you’ve figured out the placement of your fireplace, you can finally choose the best placement of your chimney. Of course, your chimney has to match up with the location of your fireplace. So, the biggest factor to think about is whether you want your chimney installed through the inside of your home or on the outside of your home.
Placing Your Chimney Inside vs. Outside
You always want your chimney installed inside of your home! There are zero excuses to install the chimney outside of your house.
When a chimney is built on the outside of a house, the stack effect can happen. The stack effect is when hot air rises in cold weather. When this happens, low pressure is created towards the floor, high pressure is created towards the ceiling, and there’s neutral pressure in the middle of the room. Hence, a stacking effect of air pressure.
These different levels of pressure can cause chaos. When your fireplace isn’t being used, cold air can seep through your chimney making a chilly room. To top it off, strange odors leak through your chimney.
When your chimney is installed inside your home, the chimney is kept warm at all times, preventing the stack effect from happening.
Safety Tips of Using Your Chimney and Fireplace
Once you have your warm and cozy fireplace installed and your chimney is ready to flow that air outside of your home, it’s time to learn the basics of safety for maintaining your new fireplace. These tips can prevent a headache and possibly even keep you alive.
Adding an inviting fireplace and chimney into your home can make winter nights more bearable and bring your family together. A fireplace can also bring a new and fun aesthetic look to your home. So, get to surveying your home for the perfect placement!