Well, three years have passed since Metro Brick first introduced a revolutionary "new" fireplace system to give design professionals, builders and especially homeowners a safer and more efficient way to enjoy a crackling fire in a cozy den. And we went two hundred years into America's past to accomplish this.
In 1796, Count Rumford of Woburn, Massachusetts, the man who coined the term "radiant heat", developed a taller fireplace for the home with side walls angled 135 degrees to radiate more heat into the room while sending smoke and combustion gases straight up through the chimney. (He is also credited with inventing the kitchen range and drip coffee maker.) He left us a nice legacy - even if he did have to flee the country for being an English loyalist.
Today, Metro Brick, in conjunction with Superior Clay Products of Urichsville, OH and the Buckley Rumford Fireplace Company of Port Townsend, WA offers the time-tested benefits of true Rumford fireplaces to the homebuilding and remodeling customer. In doing so, we are recognizing (and actively promoting) some fundamental rules of safe fireplace use and enjoyment.
Refractory firebrick should be joined with heat resistant refractory fire clay - not regular mortar.
A streamlined throat promotes a superior fireplace with better chimney draft qualities.
Overheated and defective flues are one of the chief causes of house fires.
Flue lining must withstand rapid fluctuations in temperature and the corrosive action of flue gases.
In the Jan/Feb 2000 issue of "This Old House" magazine, the Rumford fireplace is described as a "marvel of efficiency". With its shallow depth and flaring side walls, "Rumfords radiate two to three times more heat directly into a room than ordinary fireplaces and produce less pollutants, according to independent tests." They are permitted even in those communities that prohibit ordinary wood burning fireplaces for pollution reasons.
They are safer because their flue sections don't "unsnap" as can happen with some metal chimney pipes due to ground movement or improper installation. I know, you only want to burn gas firelogs in your fireplace. But what about the guy that buys your home sometime in the future? He just may have other ideas. And he may want the "real thing".
Bill Deal, March 2000
Metro Brick Company
For more information: www.rumford.com
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