A fireplace can add a lot of value and ambience to a home, not to mention produce heat during cold months. A cozy fire is often the place in the home where people meet, relax, read, dream and communicate, and forms the hearth of a home. Most images of home in winter will involve a fireplace in one stage or another, and the smell of the smoke and colour of the flames add to the atmosphere.
The traditional fireplace consisted of a basis, a hearth, a box in which the fire was made, a chimney and a screen was often placed in front of the fire to prevent shooting sparks or small coals from igniting or damaging the surrounding furniture or coverings.
Traditionally people had fireplaces in their homes to provide heat and to cook food. In old houses, especially in Europe, there are fireplaces in every room, and often the fireplaces in kitchens are larger than in the rest of the house. This was to enable the coals to be moved around for various heating options, and for room for pots on the sections of coal. Quite often an iron bar is built in horizontally across the top of the fireplace. These served to hang pots from.
Wood, coal and anthracite fireplaces are not used or built into residential areas any more as they create air pollution. However there are other options available now which allows for the same degree of warmth and coziness but with very little smoke or pollution. Fireplaces today include fireplaces that work with gel, electricity and gas. Some wood fireplaces still exist but these are scarce.
Fireplaces that work with electricity or gel generally do not have any smoke, and sometimes even have no fire! The electric fireplace will sometimes consist of a very realistic synthetic display which simulates fire, set with an electric element which will produce heat like a fire would.
A gel fireplace actually generates real flames but burn with a gelled fuel which is smoke free. They also do not leave masses of ash to fly around the room on any breeze to be cleaned the next day. Propane or gas fireplaces are similar but burn with piped gas.