Tag Archives: fireplace

Chimney Cowls Reduce The Chances Of Back Flow From Your Chimney Into The Home

chimney cowlsA chimney cowl is a covering over a chimney shaped like a hood that is designed to increase the draft that goes down the chimney in order to prevent back flow. The cowl chimney is often made from a variety of materials, however, the most common material used is galvanized iron. Galvanized iron is very effective in stopping any release of smoke from blowing back down into the house. Manufactured and used by many for centuries the chimney cowling for the fireplace resembles the cowl garments worn by monks.

Fires are built in fireplaces and as it burns the smoke rises up through the flue and then works its way up the chimney cowl at the top of the chimney or on the roof of the house. It is at this point when it hits the cowl chimney that the smoke is dispersed into the air to keep it from harming those in the home. It is at this point the chimney cowling does its job and prevents any of this smoke from coming back down the chimney and blowing through the house putting the family at risk from smoke inhalation and making the furniture dirty from the smoke dust.

There was a time prior to the Clean Air Act was voted into place when raw coal was used to build fires instead of wood. When raw coal was used in the fireplace there was a very large amount of smoke let off the fire, it was at this time that the chimney cowl was an essential item for homeowners to have in order to protect their families safe. Today smokeless fuel can be used in fireplaces thus there isn’t as much a need for cowl chimney, however, a chimney cowling is not required but it is helpful to protect the home from high winds and rain causing a back draft of smoke back down the chimney and into the home.

Building An Outdoor Fireplace

outdoor fireplaceBuilding a fireplace in your backyard is an affordable luxury and one that can bring a great deal of enjoyment to the whole family all year round.  When building this amenity in your backyard, you have many options to choose from.  You can make the structure very basic or very elaborate, incorporate it into a setting filled with other amenities or you can make it a standalone structure.  You also have many options of material choices and accessories to decide on when building your fireplace.

One very popular option for building a fireplace outdoors is to use travertine tiles.  The natural stone provides interest to the facade of the fireplace and the stone is durable enough to stand up to the heat of the fire.  There are of course other types of stone you can choose from as well, or you can use bricks, concrete and other types of materials.  The possibilities for materials you can use are vast and are limited only by their flammability factor and your budget.

Another consideration is the size and shape of the structure.  You can make the fireplace as large or small as you would like and don’t have some of the constraints as you have indoors in relation to size and style.  As long as you have the space and have a method of venting the fireplace through a flue and chimney, you can build to your heart’s content.
Accessories are also important, so you need to make sure you choose from among the right size and shape of fireplace grates to accommodate the size of your firebox and the type of fires you plan to make.  You will also need to consider other accessories such as a screen, and other tools such as a poker, brush, scoop and anything else you will need to keep your fire going and to keep the area around the fire safe.