Friday 23 July 2010

Gallery Fireplaces

If you’re thinking of buying a new fire or heat supply for your home, have you considered an open fire or cast iron stove?

Often when thinking of stoves or fire baskets it conjures up thoughts of old fashioned fireplaces, located in a farm house or maybe a cottage, with drafts from fires burning with bad efficiency, well, the gallery collection from gallery fires will surely alter this picture, at least it has altered it for me.

Gallery Fireplace KendalOn a visit to a showroom the gallery collection was shown to me, and also a brochure given, this is a collection of modern stoves, baskets- modern and traditional, mantels and accessories. These products are to be used with electric, gas or multi fuels, however if a product is stated that it is a wood burner, then it should be used for burning wood, and the correct wood as this is what they are designed for, the burning of other fuels may cause you serious problems which could result in serious expense, something nobody wants.

Gallery Fireplace StourheadA stove, generally, seems to be of cast iron construction, sturdy and authentic. These are very fuel efficient, mainly due to the fact that they have doors, or windows on the front of them, which when closed prevent drafts, because the heat that goes up the Chimney creates drafts. However, with the doors being closed, it keeps the air flow from venting the whole room. How the airflow on a stove works is via an intake and in modern stoves they may have more than one. These intakes let the air into the stove to supply the fire with oxygen, these intakes within the stove, create airflow. The primary intake and air flow usually comes from underneath the fire. If you had a coal fire, for example, you would want the coal to receive oxygen from underneath for an effective and hot fire. Usually at the front of the stove towards the bottom there will be some means of controlling the amount of airflow, some knobs to turn or a slot to slide, these are vital for achieving a high efficiency for your fire, or for making a really roaring fire either way, most important.

Gallery Fireplace HeritageAnother type of air intake, which creates air flow within the stove, is secondary. The controls, and usually the openings for this intake are found most commonly at the top front of the stoves. This directs the oxygen to the top of the fuel in the stove; this encourages the fuel to be burnt from the top, which in the case of log burners can make the fuel burn more efficiently and effectively. Another type of air flow is tertiary, now my understanding of this is limited, so bare with this description. With tertiary air flow the used fumes of the fire, which have combustion capabilities, are recycled around the stove and reintroduced to the flames to burn more effectively and thus more efficiently as the potential heat is not just lost up through the chimney. Clever stuff, and not the sort of technology found in the old multi fuel burners back in the day, which is probably where my interest in these stoves comes from, memories of early mornings waiting for the fire to get going to in turn get the radiators warmed up before the day could begin.

Similarly, like in the old days, these stoves can be used to heat up your radiators, and hot water, working in tune with your existing heating supply. Not being an expert on this, my thinking is that this too makes a stove more efficient, because it will be using its heat output more effectively. Apparently the heat can also be used to warm a swimming pool, but having no famous football friends this can’t be confirmed!

When viewing these stoves at a local showroom the gadget or tool which most interesting was the riddling systems. What these entail of is a moveable piece located near the front of the either a knob for turning or pulling. When being operated, they shake or move the surface underneath the fuel source, helping to remove the used embers or cinders. Some of these systems, although basic, are quite ingenious, and a great addition to a stove. Underneath the fire there should be an ash pan, and this will help to collect the ash, from this hopefully an optimum fire can be maintained.

With reference to the ash pan, this is what is considered to be a major down point to an open fire or stove. The cleaning, no matter how many ingenious additions to a stove or fire grate, you still have to get down and dirty and clean. However this is obvious to anyone who has had an open fire of some kind, the novelty factor can soon wear thin when regular cleaning is needed. Yet, as a child it was one of my chores to do this, and though not a good reason to have children, if you can delegate this responsibility elsewhere, all the better.

To negate the cleaning aspect, there are gas and electric versions available for fires needing less cleaning, they use coal or wood effect fuels. These are lovely effects and seem to have all the benefits of the more traditional stoves and open fires. This should make it a win, win scenario, but for me an imitation fuel beds starts to loose the nostalgic and rustic appeal of an open fire or a cast iron stove. My view is that stoves, for me, were not an option, assuming they were no longer available, but they are, and they are suitable for the more modern homes too, after all you shouldn’t be buying this item for your home on a regular basis, and make sure you get the right finish to your room. It couldn’t be justified changing the whole look of a room, just for reminiscing, but if you require a feature to design the room from then for me a stove would be an excellent starting point. Gallery Fireplace(s)

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