Why I want a masonry fireplace

Fireplaces have been featured in homes forever. Originally, they were necessary in order to provide heat for the home during the cold months; however, they have gradually become more and more a luxurious staple in the home, rather than a necessity. And to be honest, Who doesn’t enjoy them? Living in Idaho, I’ve come to appreciate a good fire in the middle of winter. They’re amazing to stare at and create a wonderful spot to huddle around while reading a book.

Drawbacks

Their only real drawback is that they generally are low on the efficiency scale for heating your home, and sometimes, actually lose heat instead of gain heat in the home. There have been many different designs when it comes to fireplaces that can either improve or decrease their efficiency and functionality.

To name a few types:

  • gas igniting (wood burning)
  • gas burning
  • woodburning
  • gel burning
  • stoves (pellet, and wood-burning)

Each of these can have different features that can help improve the efficiency of the home.

Which one is better?

So, which one is the best? Well, most would argue that it’s not always about efficiency, and you must also factor in user experience and enjoyment. While this is true in most common choices (debating efficiency vs luxury), there is one (possibly more) that is able to combine both.

Masonry fireplaces have been around for centuries. The reason for this is stone and masonry’s unique ability to conduct heat and radiate that heat for extended amounts of time. With a masonry fireplace, one is able to heat an average home well, by simply burning wood once per day, and possibly a second at night.

The burning process

The temperatures of these fireplaces get to over 1000ºF in the firebox, and the gasses endure a secondary “burning” to reduce emissions as well as improve efficiency of the burn. What’s left of the smoke, is then slowly fed through smoke channels in the masonry, transferring this massive amount of heat into its walls. These walls then radiate that heat for hours and hours after the burn has finished. Creating a constant source of heat long after the fire has gone out.

Not only are these fireplaces extremely good at radiating heat (unbeatable by any other style of fireplace), they are also amazing to watch and enjoy the warmth around. There have been many names for these fireplaces; Finnish, Russian, Masonry, etc.

Masonry fireplace walkthrough on Youtube

I must say, that while I have been intrigued by these fireplaces for awhile, I wasn’t completely sold until I saw this guy’s youtube video (click here). He does a fantastic job of explaining these beauties, and demonstrating how they work.

Have you found your dream fireplace?

Home Inspection ID would love to hear what your favorite type of fireplace is! You can let us know why it’s your favorite in the comments (please include a picture!). If you are in the market for a home in Boise, Idaho, that features one of these or any other type of fireplace, you will want to get it inspected by a professional. Though a home inspection is a great start, it’s also a good idea to have a specialist inspect it a bit more thoroughly.

Different types of chimney inspections

There are different levels of chimney inspections; levels 1,2, and 3. Level 1 is a non-invasive inspection (similar to what a home inspector does). Level 2 is a little more invasive (but not usually destructive). And level 3 includes all of the visual examinations of 1 and 2, but may also include removing parts of the building in order to examine further. These different levels of inspection are warranted based on past/current problems, concerns, or noticeable damage. A level 1 is always recommended, however if there are any major concerns, a level 2 or 3 may be advised.

 

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