Maximizing heat from your outdoor fireplace
I found this out by accident.
You can double (or more) the heat from your fireplace by insulating the walls and using thicker firebrick.
Here's how I found out. I have a ~5 foot wide outdoor fireplace. I had it lined with 1/2 thick firebricks. The firebricks weren't enough to protect the CMU from the heat and the CMUs stated cracking.
To remedy the heat issue, I pulled out the splits, insulated with 1" KFAC-19, then put a layer of full size firebricks to line the fireplace.
I had the fireplace in operation for one year in the old configuration so I have a pretty good gauge of the heat output. With the new configuration, I can honestly say there is a minimum of 2X the amount of heat output.
Obviously I don't have any controlled tests of scientific before and after tests, but it is WAY hotter.
I am guessing it is a combination of the almost zero heat loss through the sides and back combined with the heat retention of the full size bricks.
Regardless, If you are building new, I would suggest spending a few extra bucks and insulating full bricks. The heat benefit and protection from potential problems down the road are way worth it.
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