It gets put to us that 70 or 97% of the energy from the wood we burn in an open hearth system goes straight out the chimney into the atmosphere, that thin gaseous layer encompassing Earth, sustaining life. I say, it’s a good thing to keep that in mind, at all times too.
Here’s the original construction I have uncovered, a pit, bricked on bottom and sides to make a box under the burning fire for containing ash. It would have had a cast iron cover with a removable grate under the fire that let ash and cinders fall through. These cast iron covers, they take time, dedication and so much money to find and acquire that I have gone to plan “B”, fill it in, but in a way to preserve it.
So I put a not cast sheet of iron, cheap & easily bought, lid on sealing the ash bunker off and giving me relief from the cold and damp ground under there.
Then I dump a bunch of junk, empty glass bottles, on top of that and then filled it with sand, good for bedding in my old tiles, “Blues” they are called because part way through the kiln burn the tile makers had cut off the oxygen flow to the fire so it would just smoulder and this
turned the red clay blue. These ones have been around this house a while, now I’ll put them back where they go best.
Back to the so-called inefficiencies of this system. I doubt it, and what irritates me about the claim is the smugness. We attach these magical numbers 7o% 97% and look back in such disdain at the ones who thought up chimneys. But when I look, what I see is far from a simple chute funnelling smoke and heat to the air outside. As much as for heating it is a food preservation and cooking system which alone punches some big holes in the efficiency equation propagated by the ecologists.
This pig thing has come up unexpectedly and has diverted me necessarily from the restoration work in the front room
at hand because in order to smoke the pig I’ve got to get the fireplace in order. Still, seen from the holistic point of view it’s all part of the same process.