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Q&A

Why do old houses have fireplaces in the basement?

Why do old houses have fireplaces in the basement?

Basement hearths in early America were frequently associated with inns and taverns. They could also be found in houses of the wealthy that had domestic service. Most often, if a basement contained a fireplace, it was used as a kitchen for food preparation and cooking.

Can a wood stove in the basement heat the whole house?

A basement is not a good location for effective space heating. Unfinished basements are particularly bad locations because too much of the heat is absorbed by the walls and lost to the outside. Unlike fireplaces, wood stoves can heat a whole room or possibly even your whole house, depending on its layout.

Why do new builds not have chimneys?

Building a chimney adds to the cost of a new house, so to keep them affordable, they are often left out. In addition to this is the fact that many new builds are designed to be as efficient as possible. This means that drafty old-fashioned chimneys are no longer preferred. Then there comes the issue of air pollution.

Why do houses not have chimneys?

Modern homes do not have enough draft in order to keep a wood fireplace lit. They will go out. This is because space heaters replaced fireplaces for energy efficiency, so new forms of insulation have replaced asbestos and fiberglass such as foam.

Can you make an old fireplace work again?

Old-house fireplaces that have been decommissioned can be brought back to good working order with some thoughtful repairs. The restored fireplace, with a new insert and two cast-in-place flue liners in the chimney, now safely vents two appliances—hot water heater and boiler—in addition to holding a crackling fire.

What is an ash pit in a fireplace?

Ash pit—a cellar under the fireplace grate where ashes collect. It’s accessed through a cleanout door in the basement or on the outside of the chimney. Ash pit cover—a grate in the floor of the firebox that allows ashes, but not wood, to fall into the ash pit below. Firebox—the cavity where the fire burns.

Do all fireplaces have a cleanout?

Many chimneys must have a cleanout. This is a metal door on the flue that’s at least a foot lower than the lowest combustion area. Although a fireplace can also serve as a cleanout in some areas, a wood stove needs a cleanout below the area where the stovepipe enters the flue.