Anatomy of a Fireplace

If you have a fireplace or are thinking of adding one to your home, it is good to understand the terminology.

  • Outer hearth – The part of the hearth that extends into the room
  • Inner hearth – Inside the opening
  • Firebox – The place you build the fire on the inner hearth
  • Fireback – Rear wall of the firebox
  • Damper – A plate or valve that closes the flue (top of the fireplace).  It should be closed when the fireplace is not in use but open before lighting the fire.
  • Throat damper – A damper located just above the firebox operated by either a handle inside the firebox or a knob above the fireplace opening.
  • Smoke chamber – The space above the throat of the fireplace leading to the flue
  • Flue – Vertical passageway inside the chimney
  • Ash dump door – In some fireplaces, it is a metal door on the inner hearth.  It leads to an ash pit.
  • Ash pit – A space under the firebox intended for ashes.  It usually has a door to facilitate cleaning.