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Our 1886 house has a fireplace that we occasionally used for fires for ambiance (we know how inefficient it is heat-wise.) However, the chimney sweep suggested that the fireplace is unsafe since it's not lined so we haven't had any fires this winter. I'm considering a wood-burning insert but not sure how this will look. (Note: this is one of four fireplaces in the house, but the one in our main living area- a sitting room near the kitchen.)

My main interest is to generate more heat as the house is very cold, but what holds me back are the looks, the cost of lining an ancient chimney, and the hassle of a maintaining a woodpile.

Has anyone had any experience with this?

Or with putting a wood burning stove in a place where there isn't a chimney? Because I'd really like heat in my kitchen, but there is not chimney option there. I assume venting it would be major construction.

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Alex, This looks very nice.  Does it give off any heat at all?  The parlour I have the ancient chimney in is small and can be shut off from the front and sides.

Everyones' comments have been helpfull and I hope all are staying warm this winter!  Personally, I wear as much wool as possible and top it all wiht a fleece vest. Ladies, sometimes Sierra Trading Post has lovely fine woolen camisoles fom Switzerland -  consider the longterm savings!  And meanwhile, even the hint of fire can warm the imagination and fool the senses: a string of flickering flame-like (electric) lights thrown on a birch log is cozier than a black, empty grate.....

Carol

Hi Carol, thanks! It does give off some heat, but not a lot. It's actually somewhat hard to tell in our room because of the drafty window, large doorways to other rooms, and 10 foot ceilings. I do know that I ended up on climbing a ladder at one point when the fireplace had been lit for a while and it was sweltering hot up near the ceiling. If you can shut the room it may be able to help keep the heat in. But like I said, we wanted it far more for the look than for the function. 

I like the look, but I am having a hard time thinking of using something that looks good, but provides no support to heating.

Which brings me to the metal cast insert in our fireplace above. I wonder if the casting gets heated, which it should, and put out a bit more heat. I will have to dwell on that.

Bill,  I have always assumed the same thing:  The metal casing, brickwork, and, in the cases of marble/slate fireplace surrounds, they all get heated up and contribute to the overall warming...even after the fire/coals have cooled down.  I would never know if this were the case, as I have never allowed a fire to get hot enough in either of my fireplaces.  I think we would all realize how these things are supposed to work if we would just burn some coal and try it out!  ha!

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