This section is from the book "A Treatise On Architecture And Building Construction Vol4: Plumbing And Gas-Fitting, Heating And Ventilation, Painting And Decorating, Estimating And Calculating Quantities", by The Colliery Engineer Co. Also available from Amazon: A Treatise On Architecture And Building Construction.
Fireplaces. The open fireplace is an exceedingly inefficient form of heating apparatus. It passes so much air up the chimney that the heat radiated from the fire is quite insufficient to warm the fresh air rushing into the room to take its place, to a sufficient degree to be comfortable. It is impracticable to warm rooms satisfactorily by means of the open fireplace, if the external temperature is much below 32°.
When the thermometer falls to 10° or lower, it appears as if the room becomes colder the more the fire is made up, until it seems as though the inmates would eventually be frozen. In some cases, fireplaces are constructed so as to warm the fresh air before entering the room, by passing it through a heating flue; but all such arrangements are faulty in principle, and are unable to remedy the trouble to such an extent as to be of any value. The fresh air is delivered so near to the fireplace that it passes almost immediately into the fire, and thus leaves the remoter parts of the room to freeze as before.
The ordinary fireplace wastes 90 per cent. or more, and even the most improved varieties are believed to waste not less than 80 per cent. of the heat given out by the fuel. It is obvious, therefore, that their use is restricted to places where expense is not objected to, and to localities where the temperature does not descend below the freezing point.
They may be employed to good advantage, however, in colder climates, by using them as auxiliaries to the principal heating apparatus, putting fires in them only when the weather is extremely cold.
Summer Ventilation. During warm weather, when the heating apparatus is not required, a building can be abundantly flushed with air by opening the doors and windows. But it is necessary, nevertheless, to make provision for proper ventilation during stormy weather, when all outer doors and windows must be closed.
To accomplish this, a register should be provided near the ceiling of each room to provide for the escape of foul air, in addition to that near the floor, because the latter is practically inoperative at this season. These top or ceiling registers are suitable only for summer use, and should be tightly closed at the end of the season when the heating apparatus is started up.