Cast iron fireplaces — advantages and disadvantages

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Pre­vi­ous­ly, fire­places were cre­at­ed only from refrac­to­ry types of bricks. Nowa­days, they began to pro­duce cast-iron fire­places, which can not only warm the space of the house, but also be an orig­i­nal inte­ri­or dec­o­ra­tion in any style.

Varieties of cast iron furnaces

In accor­dance with the prin­ci­ple of heat gen­er­at­ed, a dis­tinc­tion is made between:

  • con­ven­tion­al fire­box­es;
  • fur­naces with long burn­ing.

With the help of cast-iron fire­places, you can heat the air in the room very quick­ly, while they are unable to main­tain the tem­per­a­ture for a long time. In this regard, the devel­op­ers have found a solu­tion to give the fire­place a long burn­ing func­tion. They hold high tem­per­a­tures for 5 hours or more.

This is due to the her­met­i­cal­ly sealed design of the fire­box. Inside the cham­ber, fire­wood does not just burn, but slow­ly smol­ders. The gas emit­ted in this case is sent to a spe­cial cham­ber, where it is addi­tion­al­ly burned. This effect leads to the release of a large amount of heat. Thus, the effi­cien­cy is much high­er than con­ven­tion­al designs.

In accor­dance with their pur­pose, fire­places are divid­ed into the fol­low­ing types:

  • heat­ing;
  • heat­ing and cook­ing;
  • addi­tion­al pos­si­bil­i­ty of heat­ing hot water;
  • monoblock fire­places, heat­ing the room, dec­o­rate the inte­ri­or. Can be equipped with hobs and oven.

If a cast-iron fire­place insert is addi­tion­al­ly equipped with a hob, then it can be used for heat­ing or cook­ing.


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There are many ther­mal char­ac­ter­is­tics to con­sid­er when choos­ing the right equip­ment. Each design has its pos­i­tive and neg­a­tive sides. Care­ful­ly study and weigh all the para­me­ters of cast iron fire­places for the home.

Advantages and disadvantages of cast iron structures

Cast iron has the abil­i­ty to retain heat for a long time, even after burn­ing fire­wood, it con­tin­ues to heat the room.

One of the main advan­tages can be called the ease of instal­la­tion and ease of oper­a­tion of such fire­places. Pre­vi­ous­ly, to install brick struc­tures, it was nec­es­sary to per­form a lot of prepara­to­ry and con­struc­tion work, but now fire­places with a cast-iron fire­box are installed inde­pen­dent­ly. In addi­tion, the advan­tages are:

  • high rates of effi­cien­cy;
  • eco­nom­i­cal fuel con­sump­tion;
  • mod­ern design;
  • mobil­i­ty and easy trans­porta­tion;
  • main­tain­ing the tem­per­a­ture of the set lev­el for 10 hours — only for long-burn­ing fire­places.

The dis­ad­van­tages of the equip­ment can be called

  • increased require­ments for the instal­la­tion of the chim­ney;
  • The declared char­ac­ter­is­tics are valid only when using dry fire­wood.

The principle of heating a cast iron structure

The cast-iron fire­place looks like a pot­bel­ly stove. Heat­ing occurs not by trans­fer­ring hot water through the heat­ing pipes, but by con­vec­tion of hot air. Each closed-type fire­place has voids for heat­ing the air mass­es around the hearth. Some mod­els, such as Buleryan or like Bren­er­an, the voids are made in the form of pipes, while in oth­er fire­places it is a rec­tan­gu­lar cham­ber with holes. These designs heat the premis­es very quick­ly, and main­tain the tem­per­a­ture in the space for a long time. It is pos­si­ble to heat neigh­bor­ing rooms thanks to spe­cial air ducts.

What should you pay attention to before buying a fireplace?

There are many fac­tors to con­sid­er when choos­ing the right stove. And we are talk­ing not only about the range and vari­ety of appear­ance, but also about var­i­ous prac­ti­cal pur­pos­es. Some need to car­ry out the heat­ing func­tion, for oth­ers, heat­ing is car­ried out by a sta­tion­ary heat­ing sys­tem, and fire­places are installed as a dec­o­ra­tive ele­ment.

When choos­ing cast iron fire­places, com­pare its para­me­ters with the specifics of the appli­ca­tion. The choice of mod­el may depend on the space in which the struc­ture will be installed and how the instru­ment will be used.

  1. When choos­ing cast iron fire­places, con­sid­er the type of fuel used. Not only fire­wood is suit­able for them, but also waste obtained dur­ing the pro­cess­ing of wood, as well as coal. Char­coal is usu­al­ly used in areas where fuel is plen­ti­ful or read­i­ly avail­able com­pared to wood.
  2. The con­fig­u­ra­tion of the hearth affects the process of heat­ing the room. The fire­box deter­mines where the fire­place will be installed, and what fin­ish­ing mate­ri­als will be used for dec­o­ra­tion.

Depend­ing on the type of fire­place inserts, one can dis­tin­guish

  • closed fur­naces;
  • open fur­naces.

Open type of fur­naces. They are found in sim­ple appli­ances, in which heat is direct­ed towards the heat­ed room and is car­ried out thanks to the nat­ur­al ener­gy of fire. The effi­cien­cy indi­ca­tor is 10 — 20%, which is sig­nif­i­cant­ly less than the effi­cien­cy of closed fur­naces.

The advan­tages of such struc­tures are:

  • The oppor­tu­ni­ty to enjoy an open fire in the hearth.

The dis­ad­van­tages include:

  • small effi­cien­cy;
  • dur­ing con­stant use, oxy­gen from the room is burned, so you need to reg­u­lar­ly open win­dows or cre­ate a forced sup­ply of oxy­gen;
  • a sig­nif­i­cant lay­er of soot set­tles on the walls of the chim­ney, the pipe must be cleaned reg­u­lar­ly;
  • usu­al­ly the por­tals of such fire­places are fin­ished with refrac­to­ry bricks, which have low ther­mal con­duc­tiv­i­ty, and take on some of the heat;
  • con­stant access to oxy­gen affects the rapid com­bus­tion of fire­wood, this affects the cost and fuel con­sump­tion.

Closed type of fur­naces. The effi­cien­cy of such struc­tures is much greater than that of the pre­vi­ous type. The effi­cien­cy can reach up to 90%. The prin­ci­ple of oper­a­tion of a closed struc­ture is as fol­lows: the fur­nace heat­ed air warms the walls of the por­tal and the cladding, trans­fer­ring heat into the space.

There are mod­els equipped with slow-burn­ing fire­wood sys­tems. Thanks to this, it is pos­si­ble to heat the space with one lay­ing of fire­wood for 10 hours or more.

The advan­tages include:

  • fuel econ­o­my due to high effi­cien­cy;
  • reg­u­lar and sta­ble oper­a­tion of the struc­ture;
  • immu­ni­ty to exter­nal fac­tors, such as a gust of wind or an unex­pect­ed draft;
  • a wide range of dif­fer­ent mod­els com­pared to open fire­box­es;
  • addi­tion­al fea­tures, even small cast-iron fire­place stoves may have a hob. Such a stove is need­ed for cook­ing or heat­ing food or heat­ing water for domes­tic needs;
  • if nec­es­sary, repairs can be car­ried out with­out dam­ag­ing the por­tal;
  • long ser­vice life;
  • min­i­mal risk of fire from acci­den­tal sparks, as the door pro­tects against fire enter­ing the space;
  • safe oper­a­tion, there is no need to con­stant­ly look after the hearth. Com­bus­tion occurs inde­pen­dent­ly and there is no need to con­stant­ly mon­i­tor it. The main thing to watch out for is that there is always fire­wood in the fire­box;
  • the abil­i­ty to con­trol the com­bus­tion process by adjust­ing the sup­ply of oxy­gen to the fur­nace;
  • man­u­fac­tur­ers pro­duce portable struc­tures that are light­weight;
  • ash is col­lect­ed in an ash pan, while the heat­ed area is not pol­lut­ed;
  • due to the tight­ness of the design, the stan­dards for the para­me­ters of the chim­ney are much sim­pler than for the open type.

When choos­ing a fire­place, it is worth con­sid­er­ing its loca­tion in the house, they are:

  • wall-mount­ed;
  • island;
  • cor­ner.

The best option for a small room would be a cor­ner design, and for spa­cious rooms, you can install an island fire­place.

Pay atten­tion not only to the exter­nal data and dimen­sions of the unit, but also to the pow­er. It can be cal­cu­lat­ed in accor­dance with tech­ni­cal stan­dards, where 1 kilo­watt cor­re­sponds to a vol­ume of 25 meters.

For a liv­ing space with an area of ​​​​50 to 100 meters, a fire­box from 7 to 11 kilo­watts is need­ed. With a larg­er area of ​​u200bu200bthe room, the pow­er is cal­cu­lat­ed accord­ing to the fol­low­ing for­mu­la: 10 square meters of area cor­re­sponds to 1 kilo­watt.

Experts rec­om­mend pur­chas­ing a design slight­ly less than the required pow­er, so fuel con­sump­tion will be more ratio­nal.

For year-round use of the fire­place, long-burn­ing designs are best suit­ed. They are very eco­nom­i­cal and allow you to con­sume a min­i­mum amount of fuel with max­i­mum heat trans­fer.

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In the domes­tic mar­ket, among a wide vari­ety of devices, two groups can be con­di­tion­al­ly dis­tin­guished:

  • elite fire­places;
  • econ­o­my class fire­places.

The first group includes mod­els and brands of for­eign man­u­fac­tur­ers. They are of high qual­i­ty and reli­a­bil­i­ty with a styl­ish and mod­ern design. They have con­sis­tent­ly high prices.

The sec­ond group includes domes­tic or Chi­nese com­pa­nies. Among them you can find inter­est­ing and orig­i­nal designs that have a low price. The main demand is for the prod­ucts of this group.

It is rec­om­mend­ed to pur­chase pop­u­lar stoves-fire­places of the Meta and Ecofire­place brands.

Fire­places “Meta” are made from Euro­pean and Japan­ese parts. This is a guar­an­tee of high qual­i­ty prod­ucts. The price of such units is from 300 dol­lars.

The Ecofire­place com­pa­ny pro­duces uni­ver­sal designs. In the mod­el range there are fire­places with a hob and a heat exchang­er. For fac­ing these devices, mod­ern refrac­to­ry mate­ri­als are used, sim­i­lar to nat­ur­al mar­ble.

Dis­tinc­tive fea­tures of Ecofire­place appli­ances are the con­nec­tion of the chim­ney to the back wall and the pres­ence of a slow-burn­ing fire­wood sys­tem. Anoth­er impor­tant advan­tage is the low cost of equip­ment. At the same time, you can pick up a very good design with­in 200 dol­lars.

Installation of a cast iron stove

Instal­la­tion of a cast-iron struc­ture is very sim­ple, although there are cer­tain nuances that require spe­cial train­ing.

  • The struc­ture must be installed on a refrac­to­ry coat­ing. This con­di­tion should be espe­cial­ly strict­ly observed in wood­en hous­es.
  • In brick build­ings, it is impor­tant to install the equip­ment on a sol­id con­crete pad.

To increase the heat­ing effi­cien­cy, a spe­cial air duct sys­tem is used. They con­sist of cor­ru­gat­ed pipes that force­ful­ly or nat­u­ral­ly sup­ply warm air from the stove to the rooms. Prac­ti­cal expe­ri­ence shows that air ducts allow heat­ing large areas and even two-sto­ry hous­es. The prin­ci­ple of heat­ing such struc­tures: hot air rush­es into the col­lec­tor, and then, with the help of a fan, is dis­trib­uted to all rooms through pipes.

Chimney Requirements

The chim­ney must be con­nect­ed in accor­dance with the man­u­fac­tur­er’s require­ments for fire safe­ty and the rel­e­vant instruc­tions sup­plied with the equip­ment.

For wood-burn­ing wall and cor­ner fire­places, an insu­lat­ed and high chim­ney is required. The main instal­la­tion require­ments are:

  • The total height is at least 3 meters. If the height require­ments are not met, the room may smoke, there may be insuf­fi­cient draft or inef­fi­cient fuel com­bus­tion.
  • Hor­i­zon­tal pipe sec­tions should be kept to a min­i­mum. For the nec­es­sary thrust, no more than 1 meter of hor­i­zon­tal ori­en­ta­tion is pos­si­ble.
  • In the chim­ney, it is nec­es­sary to use insu­la­tion for quick, sim­pli­fied con­nec­tion and with­out addi­tion­al fire safe­ty work.

Hav­ing decid­ed on the main char­ac­ter­is­tics and prac­ti­cal qual­i­ties of the fire­place, you can pay atten­tion to a cer­tain group of cast iron fire­places, which will great­ly sim­pli­fy the selec­tion process.

For those who want to cre­ate a spe­cial style in the house with the help of a cast-iron fire­place, while main­tain­ing high ther­mal per­for­mance, there are many aes­thet­i­cal­ly attrac­tive and orig­i­nal vari­eties of designs. Own­ers who want to heat their home and cook food on an open fire can effec­tive­ly use cast-iron fire­place stoves for this.

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