What Is A Combustion Fireplace?

Fireplaces come in pretty enormous variety nowadays. One of the most popular around the world is known as a combustion fireplace—but just what is a combustion fireplace?

Combustion fireplaces are open or closed system fires, typically with a solid metal firebox, which retains a lot more heat than an open fireplace. They usually have controlled airflow that brings in oxygen from the building to create the combustion. Wood burning stoves are the most common example.

In a lot of ways, combustion fireplaces are a more efficient way to heat your home. Having a closed system means a great deal more of the heat can be captured.

There’s a lot to talk about with combustion fireplaces, so let’s get to it.

What are combustion fireplaces?

A combustion fireplace is an enclosed chamber that burns fuel by feeding the fire oxygen through combustion chambers from the rest of the home. Airflow in the combustion chambers is regulated and usually has manual airflow controls. Combustion fireplaces are typically made from solid metal fireboxes. These boxes retain more heat than other open fireplaces.

Combustion fireplaces are different to open fireplaces that burn fuel in an open hearth to warm a room. The heat in a combustion fireplace is refracted and the combustion temperatures can be much higher. Rather than the heat being sucked out into the room or up a chimney, the word burns cleanly and completely in a combustion fireplace chamber. This makes a combustion fireplace good for any kind of home, including a rural house build.

There is a range of combustion fireplaces available such as closed and wood-burning stoves.

What is a closed combustion fireplace?

How do combustion fireplaces work?

Closed combustion fireplaces have external air supplies that fuel the fire, rather than using airflow from inside the house. This means that the way air is flowing inside the house won’t have much effect on how the fire will burn. The source of the airflow for a combustion fireplace is the main distinguisher between open and closed combustion fireplaces. Open combustion fireplaces draw their oxygen from vents through the house. This can help spread the heat from the fireplace throughout the house more.

Often, for open combustion fireplaces, having windows open along with the use of an extractor hood can create a vacuum. This interrupts the oxygen supply, and you can end up with smoke coming back into the living area. The airflow for closed combustion fireplaces isn’t affected in this same way. This is why more people opt for a closed combustion fireplace. But, in case of emergencies of vent failure in your fireplaces, make sure to have a fire fighting pump nearby.

How do combustion fireplaces work?

Whether it’s an open or a closed combustion fireplace, they work by drawing oxygen into a sealed chamber. This feeds the fire, keeping the wood-burning. The heat from that fire is then dissipated into the room.

The fuel and oxygen are used much more efficiently than in a typical fire, burning slower and producing more optimal heat output.

Flue pipes are an important part of a combustion fireplace, too, for creating an updraft to extract smoke.

Combustion fireplaces typically come with primary and secondary air controls. The primary controls are for letting air in to fuel the fire. The secondary controls are generally for the air wash system, to push out smoke. Tertiary controls are sometimes also featured, for aiding with secondary combustion. This involves burning off smoke produced from the initial fire.

Are combustion fireplaces dangerous?

Are combustion fireplaces dangerous?

Again, though, if used correctly, the air pollution is minimal. If you do have a history of lung disease, though, you may want to think carefully about whether a fireplace is right for you.

Combustion fireplaces, when used properly and with caution, aren’t dangerous and are a great addition to your house. There are always risks associated with fireplaces, but a combustion fireplace can be one of your safer fireplace options. The glass doors prevent sparks and most smoke from entering the room that the combustion fireplace is in. This makes a combustion fireplace safer than most open fireplaces in this way.

However, combustion fireplaces still release some particles into the air from the smoke. When breathed in, these particles stay in your system for a long time. One study has found that these inhaled fire particles can be in your body for up to three months and risk respiratory and cardiovascular illness.

Outside of these aspects and the need to be careful when moving around the fireplace, combustion fireplaces aren’t dangerous.

Is the glass on a combustion fireplace safe?

The glass on a combustion fireplace is safe, specifically designed to handle high temperatures. Glass on combustion fireplaces has been tempered to withstand much greater heat pressures than regular glass. Usually, tempered glass is safe for sustained temperatures of up to 244 degrees Celsius.

Over long periods of time, the glass will gradually weaken. Maintaining the glass on your combustion fireplace is really important. You need to clean it regularly with a ceramic glass cleaner to remove built-up soot. This will prolong the lifespan of the glass on your combustion fireplace.

Can you leave a closed fireplace burning overnight?

Can you leave combustion fireplaces burning overnight?

It’s never a good idea to leave a closed fireplace burning overnight, or any fire for that matter. You shouldn’t leave a burning fire unattended at any point. Even tiny gusts of air have the potential to reignite or increase the burning of the fire. For a combustion fireplace, you would need to leave the air vents open to keep the fire burning. By leaving the vents open, a strong air current could reignite the fire in the combustion fireplace. While combustion fireplaces are safe, you can never be sure of your safety with an unattended fire burning overnight.

It can be tempting to leave the combustion fireplace burning overnight to keep yourself warm. But it isn’t worth the risk of the unknown.

Combustion fireplaces can be a great investment for your home. They certainly have benefits over open fireplaces by using external airflow systems. Combustion fireplaces are considered more efficient, safer, and generally easier to clean and maintain than other fireplaces.

If you found this article helpful, check out our other guides such as ‘how to get bushfire smoke out of your house.’ For quality gardening and construction tools, visit our Canberra Diamond Blade shop today!

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