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Outdoor Fireplaces: How to Design Your Outdoor Fireplace For Superior Performance

By Matt Blanchard

There is nothing better than sitting in front of an outdoor fireplace and enjoying the warmth and glow that radiates from the hearth on a cool autumn night as you roast marshmallows with the kids or enjoy some cocktails with family and friends as you entertain in your backyard paradise.

If you enjoy spending your time outdoors entertaining, then an outdoor fireplace is the perfect investment to add to your backyard patio. Fire-pits are nice but you are constantly moving your chair around the fire in an attempt to avoid the smoke blowing in your face. Most of us that have sat around a fire-pit can attest to the fact that it is nearly impossible to avoid the smoke even on a calm evening. This is what makes masonry fireplaces so great and unique. Most custom-built outdoor fireplaces, if properly designed, will funnel the smoke up away from your outdoor entertaining area so you can enjoy the ambience of the fire with your family and friends without the hassle of trying to avoid the smoke in your face.

Now I say custom-built outdoor fireplaces because there are a lot of outdoor fireplace kits that you can buy that I find do not divert the smoke properly. These kit fireplaces are too short and the fire-boxes are not the correct size. Also, They lack a proper smoke chamber and smoke shelf that is needed to draw the smoke up the chimney. Custom built masonry outdoor fireplaces have taller chimney stacks that help to funnel the smoke creating a vacuum effect which sucks the smoke up the chimney.

Another important aspect of an outdoor fireplace design is making sure the firebox opening does not exceed 30 inches in height. This is important because you are burning outside and the wind changes direction often and can suck the smoke out the front of the fireplace. I have found that taller fire-boxes have a higher frequency of this happening. It is best to have a shorter firebox which will funnel the smoke quicker and reduce the chance of smoke leaking out the front and into the outdoor living room.

Bigger isn’t always better. Some may think that a larger firebox means more heat, that couldn’t be further from the truth. A properly constructed fireplace will produce more than enough heat to heat an outdoor living area. Honestly, a larger firebox can lead to heat loss and inefficiency, especially if you are burning a small fire in a large firebox. The wall area ends up being too far away from the fire to have the heat radiate off of it efficiently and the heat is lost up the chimney. A good example of this is an open fire- pit. When you are next to the fire in a fire-pit you are warm but step back a few steps and it can be quite cool. With a properly built fireplace the heat radiates off of the fireplace walls into the patio area. In fact, the masonry structure of the fireplace by nature retains heat and helps to radiate it into the outdoor patio area providing more warmth than a typical fire-pit where all the heat is lost to warm the stars in the sky.

When you are searching for an outdoor fireplace builder make sure you hire a professional fireplace mason that understands the anatomy of a fireplace and how it works. There is a lot of landscaping companies or general contractors that are selling outdoor fireplace kits but have no clue as to how a fireplace works. If you are investing in an outdoor fireplace make sure you hire a professional masonry contractor that has the experience and understands what it takes to make your outdoor fireplace function properly so that you can enjoy the ambience and make lasting memories. The alternative can cost you your entertaining enjoyment at the price of smoke in your face.

For more information on outdoor fireplaces or outdoor kitchens visit http://www.outdoorfireplacecontractor.com

For more information on masonry visit [http://www.minneapolismasonrycontractor.com]

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Matt_Blanchard/1815757