I was excited to learn about Rumford fireplaces recently. As you may or may not know, an open fireplace is typically one of the most inefficient ways to burn wood for heat. Many fireplaces are a mere box in the wall that only allows wood heat to project directly straight outwards. Even worse, some fireplaces are sunken behind a short brick wall, completely blocking any possible radiant heat from reaching your feet!
A Rumford fireplace addresses many of the inefficiencies of a typical open fireplace. Rumford fireplaces are unfortunately somewhat uncommon, but they are very easy to construct. Most are built of brick, but you can use stone, or even cob. You can even build them outdoors, replacing your backyard fire pit with an even more efficient (and beautiful) fireplace to warm up with your friends.
A Rumford fireplace is designed to let heat project outwards at a wide angle, producing far more radiant heat than a boxy fireplace. Not only that, Rumfords burn more cleanly, providing more heat for less wood. The chimney opening in a Rumford fireplace is very small to increase the updraught, creating a cleaner and less smoky fire.
If you have any reliance on open fireplaces for winter heat, you may consider converting your current fireplace to a Rumford. It may take a little bit of engineering, but the results should surely be worth it.
Ultimately, Rumford fireplaces make for warmer bodies for less wood!