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What Kind of Fireplace Do You Have?

With our cold and snowy winter climate, fireplaces are still one of the most popular features buyers look for when purchasing a home in Amherst and throughout the Greater Buffalo and Rochester, NY, region. Now that you are settling into your beautiful home, you are probably wondering what kind of fireplace you have. Although there are essentially two main types – masonry and manufactured, identifying the type of heating appliance and fuel source may not be readily apparent.

Wood Burning Fireplace in Buffalo NY

A spectacular array of new modern designs and the realism that many gas, wood-burning, and electric fireplaces offer, it can be challenging to distinguish which one is heating your home. Knowing the type of fireplace installed in your home is important. It will determine its care, maintenance, and operation, so you can keep your home and family safe while enjoying the glow of a warm fire. You will also need to know this if you decide to make repairs, remodel its design, or change the fuel source, such as converting it from gas to a wood-burning fireplace.

Types of Fireplaces

Although fireplaces are available in many appealing styles, designs, and fuel options, they are typically either a masonry fireplace built onsite or a manufactured fireplace made in a factory and installed onsite. Here’s how to tell what kind of fireplace is in your Western New York home.


A masonry fireplace may be gas or wood-burning but is recognizable by a brick, stone, or block chimney and damper inside the firebox. The damper controls the airflow, so poisonous carbon monoxide exhaust and other harmful contaminants can vent out of your home through the flue. When you look up the chimney inside a masonry firebox, you will notice a narrow tunnel or upside-down funnel area above the damper. This area is the smoke chamber, another common feature of a masonry fireplace that helps direct combustion gases up the flue. A masonry fireplace may also have glass doors or an open hearth with a spark screen or curtain.


From a distance, your gas or wood-burning manufactured fireplace may look just like its masonry cousin. However, its steel firebox, metal flue, and chase cover with a termination cap indicate that you have a manufactured fireplace. In addition, the metal may be covered by removable refractory panels that look like brick or stone. Another distinguishable characteristic of a manufactured fireplace is its metal identification plate attached to the appliance indicating the manufacturer, model, and serial number.

Chimney Cleaning and Inpection, Buffalo NYBuffalo Chimney Inspection & Cleaning Services

Although it may be tempting to do otherwise, you must have a chimney inspection and cleaning before lighting the fireplace to ensure that it is safe to operate. For example, flammable creosote, animal nests, or other obstructions could block the flue. The last thing you want to have to happen is for smoke, black soot, and toxic carbon monoxide gas to suddenly pour out of the fireplace due to an undetected and correctable problem.

Call Felgemacher Masonry and Chimney at 716-907-4914 or 585-308-4914 to schedule a chimney inspection and cleaning. You can also contact us online. Our certified professionals will also help you get the most out of the fireplace in your home and reduce energy costs.