Fireplace Terminology

Fireplace Inserts

Fireplace inserts are usually made from cast iron or steel. In today’s fireplaces, these inserts usually come equipped with self-cleaning glass doors that allow the flames of the fire to be viewed while the doors remain closed.

Fireplace Mantels

Some fireplaces have mantles while others do not. The mantel usually serves two purposes: to improve the heating efficiency of your fireplace, and/or to change the dynamic of your room. Fireplace mantels actually originated in medieval times as hoods that projected over the grate to catch smoke.

If your fireplace does not currently have a mantel, they can always be installed, and there are nearly as many mantel designs as there are personalities. Often these designs incorporate the architecture of two or more periods or cultures. By adding a new mantle or even updating your current one, you can significantly alter the makeup of any given room.

Electric Fireplaces

A relatively new invention, today’s electric fireplaces effectively mimic the visual effect of a wood-burning flame, with the accompanying heat. They may not be quite as realistic as actual flames, but they produce a very similar effect. They are also relatively inexpensive. Further, they are not difficult to install, especially if you already have a traditional fireplace but can’t or don’t want to use it.

Fireplace Screens

Fireplace screens were invented to keep embers and debris inside the fireplace. They still serve this function, as well as improving the air flow and ventilation of the fireplace. But they have come a long way in terms of design. The choices are vast so decide the approximate look you want and enjoy shopping around for the perfect decorative fireplace screen. Fireplace screens should be cleaned at least once a season.

Fireplace Doors

Since fireplaces come in a variety of sizes, it is important to find glass doors that fit your fireplace. A door that fits well will reduce smoke emission, whereas a door that is too large or too small will not work effectively. These doors also serve to prevent the incoming cold air that many old fireplaces and chimneys can have from drafting into the room. The technology has advanced in recent years, and many fireplace doors are now thermally insulated.

Fireplace Tools

For the best results in your fireplace, it is important that you keep it clean and working efficiently. To do so will require some fireplace tools. And while each fireplace is different, there are some common tools that most fireplace owners will want to consider. These tools include the fire poker, broom, tongs, and shovel. Typically, though not always, these are made out of wrought iron and are made to last a long time. These tools will allow you to clean debris from your fireplace, as well as prod the fire when it is simmering.

Fireplace Accessories

People seek out new fireplace accessories for a number of reasons. Some people are looking for something as basic as new cleaning tools. Others are looking to upgrade their outdated grates and doors to something that better matches the rest of the room, or that is more energy efficient. Some people will completely revamp their fireplace by purchasing new (often matching) mantels, grates, doors, tools, andirons, kettles, steamers, matchboxes, ashbins, and boot scrapers.

Propane Fireplace

Propane fireplaces do not burn wood but instead run on propane gas. Because of this these fireplaces do not require a chimney and can be installed in more places throughout the home than a traditional wood-burning fireplace. Propane inserts can come as wall inserts or as freestanding units, which increases flexibility for where you can install your propane fireplace.

Fireplace Grates

Fireplace grates are useful because they help control the fire, and make stacking the wood and fueling the fire much easier. These grates are typically made of cast iron and are designed to hold firewood in a way that will ensure constant burning. Fireplace grates also help keep smoke and debris inside the fireplace. Because of the way they are designed, the wood burns in the grate’s area and not underneath it.