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Nothing beats relaxing on a chilly evening with a cup of something warm and a fire in the hearth. Traditionally a place to cook and a way to heat a home, today’s fireplace serves more as an accessory than a necessity—but a coveted one at that.

A fireplace is a safe place for a fire, lit to give off light and heat. Generally made of brick or stone, a fireplace includes a firebox to contain the fire, a chimney to channel smoke and toxic gas out of the space, and several other key elements.

Key Elements of a Fireplace
Here are the main parts of your fireplace that you should know:

Ash pit—a cellar under the fireplace grate where ashes collect. It’s accessed through a cleanout door in the basement or on the outside of the chimney
Ash pit cover—a grate in the floor of the firebox that allows ashes, but not wood, to fall into the ash pit below
Chimney—an architectural structure made of masonry, stone, or brick that channels the exhaust gases and smoke produced by the fire out of the home
Chimney cap—an elevated cover that prevents moisture from snow or rain and animals, like birds, from entering the flue
Crown—the top of the chimney
Damper—a movable covering in the throat of the chimney that separates the firebox from the flue. In the closed position, it prevents cold outside air from coming into the home.
Firebox—the cavity where the fire burns
Flue—a duct or liner made of terracotta clay or stainless-steel pipe that runs through the chimney
Foundation—a concrete pad under the house that supports the weight of the fireplace and chimney
Hearth—the floor of a fireplace and the extension that protrudes into the room
Lintel—the horizontal architectural member that supports the weight of the chimney above the firebox
Mantel—a shelf that hangs over the top of the fireplace opening. If the mantel surrounds the entire opening of the fireplace, the vertical sides are called pilasters or legs with plinths at the bottom. The shelf brackets are corbels.
Surround—the fireproof wall covering that surrounds the fireplace
Smoke chamber—the area that connects the firebox and the flue. The bottom of this chamber is called the smoke shelf. It blocks rain or soot from dropping into the fire and helps to prevent downdrafts.
Spark arrester—a metal screen that covers the top of the flue to prevent burning ash from escaping.
Throat—a narrow passageway between the firebox and the smoke chamber

Can you use insulation around a fireplace?
Resultado de imagen para fireplace and insulation
Install insulation without misalignments, compressions, gaps, or voids in all exterior wall cavities behind fireplaces. Cover the wall cavities with a fire-proof rigid air barrier or other supporting material to create a continuous thermal barrier and prevent a fire hazard, we recommend to go to First Defense Insulation for more information.