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How Do Closed Combustion Fireplaces Differ from Open Fireplaces?

How Do Closed Combustion Fireplaces Differ from Open Fireplaces

If you’re in the market for a fireplace, you may be wondering whether it is best to go with a closed combustion fireplace or an open fireplace. Aside from the obvious differences such as design, many are unsure what the difference is between these two in terms of efficiency, cost-effectiveness and functionality.

How Do Closed Combustion Fireplaces Differ from Open Fireplaces? - Blog posts Fireplace Selection

How do the two compare side by side, and which is the best option for your home? Join us today on the blog as we take a look.

Closed Combustion Fireplace vs Open Fireplace

To get an idea of what each type of fireplace has to offer, consider the following:

  • Closed combustion fireplaces include wood burning stoves. These fireplaces have become a popular choice for homeowners all over the world, and for good reason. Aside from their excellent fuel efficiency, they have a look that integrates well in a variety of homes, from modern to old-fashioned. Many are made of cast-iron, with some of the modern models also made in steel. This type of fireplace is closed, meaning that it has a glass or metal door which prevents the fireplace from sucking out warm room air up the chimney (creating a vacuum cleaner effect). As the fire is closed, heat is refracted, thus creating very high combustion temperatures. Thanks to this very high combustion temperature, wood burns cleanly and fully, with hardly any smoke through the chimney. Just 20-25% of heat is lost with this type of fireplaces, which have an efficiency rate of up to 80%.
  • Open fireplaces need no introduction. These fireplaces come in a huge variety of styles and sizes. What they all have in common is that the front of the fireplace is left open. Wood is placed in a grate, with smoke mostly released through the chimney. Smoke often escapes however, leading to a distinct fire smell. Rooms with open fires in them typically always have a light smoky smell. Wood and coal can be used in an open fireplace, with a great deal more ash left once the fire goes out. In a traditional open fireplace, just 30% efficiency is achieved, with about 70% of potential heat being lost due to the open design. These fireplaces can be a pain to clean, with a built up of coal, ashes and unburned wood typically found after use. Sparks and ash can also escape onto the floor in front of the fireplace, making this type not quite as safe as a closed fireplace especially when children and pets are concerned.

As you can see, from a heating and efficiency point of view, closed combustion fireplaces almost always outperform open fireplaces. While the initial upfront investment may be higher in some cases, the fireplace quickly earns its keep. These fireplaces are available in a range of styles, including free-standing wood stoves and built-in fireplaces that can be integrated into a wall. Depending on your preferences, budget and d├ęcor style, you could opt for an old-fashioned cast iron stove that is small and compact, or you could choose a contemporary built-in fireplace that seamlessly blends into your home’s style.

Interested in learning more about wood stoves? We have a number of useful articles on the Hydrofire blog that cover a range of topics, from choosing a fireplace to selecting your wood and cleaning a wood stove. If you’d like to know more about our range of top quality closed combustion fireplaces, simply contact us today and we will assist however we can.