Thursday, 14 June 2018

Fireplaces in Australia

Australia seems to have a long tradition of building fireplaces which are stupid beyond belief. I can only assume its because most people (not just Australians) don't and perhaps can't think.

Lets take this old abandoned farm cottage as an example.

In this, the vast majority of the benefits of the fireplace are wasted. Sure it may be cosy to actually have the fire going in the evening, but you'll only get a tiny portion of the benefit from it; the direct radiation from the fire. This of  course only warms when the fire is still burning.

In contrast the back and sides of the (quite substantial thermal mass) fire place will probably remain warm for most of the night. And people wonder why their dogs and cats snuggle up to it when tossed outside for the night.

Now people will argue that they build them like this because of the fire hazard; more evidence of a complete lack of the capacity for thinking ... which side will most likely cause a fiire hazard the stones of the back and sides or the actual burning fire?

FFS ...

In Finland (and from what I saw the rest of Scandinavia) they build them more like this:

Note that the entire thing covered in tin sheet is essentially the stack of bricks in the Australian one, and note that its in the middle of the house (so that it can uniformly warm the entire place). The door to the right is the bedroom (its a small cottage) and so the back wall of that fireplace is right by the bed.

As well that steel door is an oven as well as where you build the fire. So you can put stuff in there to cook and "voila" no cooking fumes in the house!

Because its an enormous thermal mass the outside remains warm for pretty much the whole day, and at night after dinner till the next morning. The smaller doors at the bottom are for getting out the ash that's left behind and the top doors for heating smaller things.

That this one is covered in tin is just to cover the surface of the bricks as its nearly 50 years old and the original paint is flaking and the edges of the bricks cause a little dust. Tin was just the quick fix to make it look neater cheaply. Tin is not an insulator so it then just radiates out into the house.

Here is another one in a log cottage under construction, this one will be rendered with a covering and also tiled to look nicer.

in front of it is the kitchen and behind it is the living room.

Smart use of energy ... using your brain I'd say.


Noons said...

Hehehe! Good point!

I reckon the problem is we never get sufficiently cold winters here.

Otherwise people would learn quick fast how to build fireplaces that actually are efficient!

It's not only here in Australia. I saw these fantastic "outside fireplaces" a little bit all over Mediterranean countries, starting with Portugal.

Same root cause, I reckon! ;)

gnarlydog said...

Trust me that if Australia got invaded by Scandinavia instead of the Brits things would look indeed different.
It seems that the Vikings are a much smarter lot, and not just around fireplaces :-)