Conventional Firebrick fireplaces are built with special made firebrick, which tend to reflect the heat of the fire out into the room. The main advantage of the firebrick fireplace, over the heatilator fireplace, is its durability. The heatilator fireplace tends to rust over the years, requiring it to be replaced.
Heatilator fireplaces use a metal firebox as opposed to the conventional firebrick firebox. The heatilator firebox is made to draw cool air into a jacket, where it is heated by the fire. The warm air is then forced out into the room by fans. Although, the heatilator fireplace is more heat efficient, it requires the installation of a cover over the flue to prevent water from entering the chimney and rusting the metal unit.
The Rumford Fireplace is primarily designed to be a more heat efficient fireplace than either the Conventional Fireplace or the Heatilator fireplace. The Rumford Fireplace has an opening that is essentially square or roughly as tall as it is wide. The throat on a Rumford Fireplace is smaller than Conventional Fireplaces, typically about 4 inches, as opposed to the other types which are about 8 inches. The Fireplace Detail Page shows the Conventional and Rumford Fireplace design differences. Superior Clay Corporation has a web site at www.superiorclay.com. They can supply the entire Rumford Fireplace in a kit. Step by step instructions and details on construction of the Rumford Fireplace can also be be downloaded from this site.
Note: Some of the information on this page is taken from the Masonry Fireplace and Chimney Handbook, Second Edition, James E. Amrcheim, S.E., Copyright 1995 by Masonry Institute of America.
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