Monday, December 10, 2012

Some Chimney and Fireplace Keyterms

Sometimes knowing the lingo to your chimney and fireplace can help when you are shopping for items, cleaning, or explaining things regarding your chimney and/or fireplace.

Air-to-Fuel Ratio: The ratio of air to fuel in an appliance that burns solid fuel. If you are burning 1 pound of wood you typically need 35 pounds of air.

Andirons: Two pieces of metal that are usually decorative in nature that support your firewood in the firebox.

Ash Pit: Typically located in the chimney base, it is a storage compartment for ashes. There is usually an Ash Pit Door that allows access to clean it out, the ash pit door is also called the Clean Out Door. Most wood stoves also feature an Ash Drawer, it serves the same purpose as the Ash Pit.

Back Puffing: this occurs when there is a negative pressure draft created in a venting system.

Blower: a fan that forces air that is under pressure.

BTU: British Thermal Unit. One BTU is the amount of heat energy that is  needed to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. It is approximately the amount of heat produced by one lighted kitchen match.

Burn Rate: number of pounds of fuel that is consumed in one hour of combustion.

Chimney: One or more vertical passageways for conveying flue gases outside of the home.

Chimney Cap Or Flue Cap: a factory-fabricated appliance that is installed on the top of the chimney in order to protect it from water intrusion, birds, leaves, and other debris.

Clearance:  the minimum distance that is required between a wood stove or fireplace and any combustible materials. This is defined in your local fire and building codes.

Combustion: rapid oxidation of fuel that gives off heat and light. Also known as burning.

Creosote: deposits in the chimney and/or flue that originate as condensed wood smoke having three stages. 1st stage is soot, 2nd stage is lumpy and crisp, 3rd stage looks like roofing tar and is smooth as glass.

Damper: A moveable blade located in the throat of the fireplace. Designed to disrupt the air flow into the chimney.

Double Wall: chimney constructed of an inner liner and outer shell, reducing conduction of heat to the outside. This allows the chimney to be installed without the danger of combustion to support materials.

Draft: pressure difference caused by rising gas, which draws combustion air into the appliance and expels the exhaust gas outside through the chimney.

Efficiency: expressed as the percentage of heat that goes toward actually warming the room as opposed to being vented outdoors.

Firebox: The area that contains the grate or andirons upon which the fuel is arranged for burning.

Firebrick - heat refractory brick used in the construction of a firebox.

Fireplace - includes the hearth, firebox, fascia, and chimney.

Flashing - sheet metal used to make a water-tight seal between the chimney and the roof.

 Flue: passage in the chimney that moves the products of combustion up and out of the chimney.

Flue Collar: main point of connection between the chimney and the vent.

Flue Liners: materials that add protection to the inside of the chimney, protecting it from intense heat.

Grate: a raised grid-like metal (most used metal being cast iron) structure where fuel is placed in the firebox.

Hearth: area that surrounds the stove or fireplace, mostly created from non-combustible brick or tile.

Seasoned Wood: wood that has been allowed to dry from 6 to 12 months. This type of wood burns more easily and emits fewer particulates than freshly cut wood, which results in less creosote build up.

Vent: continuous passage from the flue collar to the draft hood. Flue gas temperatures at the outlet do not exceed 600 degrees.

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