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The fireplace, once considered the "heart" of the home around which the family gathered, has been the sole source of heating for centuries, and it has been so in every ancient home. Even in our times, a fireplace embodies a timeless fascination, it can evoke a unique atmosphere, although it has undergone necessary changes compared to traditional wood-fired fireplaces. Fireplaces today are available in various options that depend not only on the aesthetics or size, but also on their performance, combustible material and type of installation.

Besides wood: how to choose a fireplace?

Undoubtedly, wood fireplaces have an unquestionable charm. However, there are some disadvantages - firing up or extinguishing cannot be programmed, the fire is given manually, it is not easy to store wood - which meant that other types of combustible materials are also used. The most important alternative to wood fireplaces are certainly pellet fireplaces, highly heat-efficient, ecological and clean, available in easy-to-transport bags and obtained from wood processing waste. Since it must be connected to electricity to work, the great advantage of this type of fireplace is that it can be electronically controlled, lighting and dimming can be programmed even remotely and is more economical compared to traditional fossil fuels. A good alternative to wood and pellets, apart from gas, are natural fuels such as corn, nut shells or sunflower seeds, and bioethanol, an ecological fuel produced in the process of fermentation of green substances that do not emit smoke or odors. The main advantage of bio-fireplaces is that they do not have ventilation, which makes them easy to install in any space, also outdoors.

Where to locate the fireplace in the design phase

Unless you decide to use a bio-fireplace , especially in residential buildings, the installation of a designer fireplace is closely related to the availability of a chimney, the characteristics of which correspond to precise rules. Once the location of the chimney has been established, the living room is usually the environment that is best suited than others to place the fireplace as it is the most used room and the place where we welcome our guests. Depending on the model you choose, fireplaces can be installed on the wall, in the center of the wall, in a corner or, if the size of the room allows, centrally touching the floor or even suspended for a striking stage effect. Two-sided or even three-sided fireplaces are elegant and have a remarkable visual effect. They are used to visually separate two areas or divide two spaces in the same area according to their function - for example, the dining room and the living area. Fireplaces can also be used outdoors. Outdoor fireplaces are available in several models and allow you to enjoy the outdoor space also at low temperatures.

A fireplace as an alternative to a classic heating system

A fireplace is not only an aesthetic choice, but can also provide a good alternative to a classic heating system. When looking at different types of fireplaces, it is worth noting that the hearth, i.e. the place where real combustion takes place - therefore it is called the "combustion chamber" - can be open or closed. In the first case, the heat is distributed by irradiation or convection and therefore significantly dissipated; in the latter case, the ceramic glass makes the fireplace safer from sparks and even more efficient in terms of heat dissipation. A fireplace is generally only used to heat the room in which it is situated, unless there is a boiler fireplace which, branched into a pipe system, supplies heat to the entire home. It can be powered by air and water, so it connects to a traditional heating system based on radiators or heating panels; In the most advanced versions, boiler fireplaces also produce domestic hot water, thus fully replacing the classic boiler with a great impact on energy efficiency.

Fireplaces in history. From the hearth to the modern piece of equipment

Until the Middle Ages, fireplaces were placed centrally in the room to allow the heat to spread evenly. Around 1000 this setting caused numerous fires, some of them devastating (as in London and Lübeck) because the houses were built mostly of wood and straw. To end these accidents, stone and brick houses were built. It was then possible to move the fireplace to walls that were no longer flammable, and place one in each room for heating, but also for cooking. Wall-mounted fireplaces also had some drawbacks, especially related to fumes and inhomogeneous heat radiation. However, they remained on the wave until the 14th century, despite minor changes that led to the creation of a semi-built model that was built until 1600. It wasn't until the end of 1700 scientific studies that it was possible to delve into a variety of techniques and materials to increase the efficiency of fireplaces and safety, until we got to the modern fireplaces we know today.

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