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  1. #1
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    Default Homemade fireplace?

    This is from a 1925 house and obviously has been rebuilt.... Here's what I conclude or am wondering:

    The grout joints are pretty large and I don't know if that's the right type of brick for a firebox.

    The throat is barely 2" deep. I've seen some pretty small ones on older places but this just seems ridiculous (the picture is pretty much useless but may help convey the idea).

    The cap is home done.

    Any input or other things anyone sees?

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Homemade fireplace?

    oops.... forgot one picture

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  3. #3
    Philip's Avatar
    Philip Guest

    Default Re: Homemade fireplace?

    I might be wrong on this, I am sure to be corrected by some very knowledgeable people on this site, but that fire box looks like it was built to throw heat into the room and the cap looks they all should look, if you could afford to make them that way.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Homemade fireplace?

    Looks like Rumford design. The throat should not be less than 3" nor more than 4". As for the firebox, looks ok to me. No cracks, mortar is tight and no sign of drafting problems.

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Homemade fireplace?

    Quote Originally Posted by Philip View Post
    and the cap looks they all should look, ...
    All the caps should look that way?

    if you could afford to make them that way.
    You mean it costs a lot of money to make those caps?

    I doubt those caps are approved for that use, hopefully, Bob Harper will see this thread and photo and respond.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Homemade fireplace?

    Does not look like a Rumford to my eye. The proportions of the cheeks and rear to the front opening are wrong for a Rumford. A Rumford would have longer, shallower cheeks sloping back to a smaller rear.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Homemade fireplace?

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Foster View Post
    Does not look like a Rumford to my eye. The proportions of the cheeks and rear to the front opening are wrong for a Rumford. A Rumford would have longer, shallower cheeks sloping back to a smaller rear.
    Might be a hybrid? You know, runs on electricity part of the time

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

  8. #8
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    Cool Re: Homemade fireplace?

    All masonry fireplaces are "home-made", aren't they? ;-)

    This looks nothing like a true Rumford Fp. Rumfords are very shallow with a typical splay of 135* angles and a 4" throat width and 12" throat depth. The throat opening must be at least 1/20th the opening of the fireplace. It's hard to tell what's going on from these pics but it looks like you have some severe offsets and angles to negotiate. It should be a smooth aerodynamic funnel into the smoke chamber and flue.

    The code no longer restricts what type of bricks to line a firebox with but does reward the use of firebrick by reducing the minimum wall thickness by 2". BTW, hard to see but I hope these firebox walls are thicker than what is shown.

    The code does not really address rain caps per se. It does prescribe certain requirements for "spark arrestors" which this does not appear to be. Therefore, as goofy as this cap may seem to some, I don't see a prohibition of it in the IRC. At least they have a cap...

    As for the no signs of drafting problems, if this was burning properly, you would not see soot stains on the sidewalls of the firebox. You would only see a truncated inverted cone at the rear wall with the cone apex at the throat and the soot only as wide as the grate and not imbalanced as this is. Very likely an issue with a nearby competing air source/ exhaust that pulls the flame to the right in this case.

    You cannot inspect or service a Fp with a throat less than 4" not to mention it will draw like a 2 yr old with crayons. I would suspect CO spillage issues with this Fp as well.

    Is that chain in front controlling the damper?

    More pics?

    Keep the fire in the fireplace.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Homemade fireplace?

    Thanks Bob (and others).... no more pics..... that was all I took.

    The damper did work but was closer to the fireplace opening than the throat than typical (another thing that made me suspicious).

    As for the front showing no signs of smoking... I think the front bricks had been very recently replaced so I'm not sure it would be visible.

    Basically, this is an odd and uncommon setup at best and I told my clients as much. I figure I'm not expected to be a fireplace designer. It looks like nothing I've ever seen and seems odd. Basically, if this were my own house I'd have somebody else look at it before I'd use it or trust it so that's what I told my clients to do.

    I like to run things like this by the group here just be sure I'm not out of line.... thanks all.


  10. #10
    Philip's Avatar
    Philip Guest

    Default Re: Homemade fireplace?

    Could not the soot marks be caused by the first fire of the winter when everything is cold? And yes, the flue cap is ugly, but it has character.


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