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A flue is a duct, pipe, or opening in a chimney for conveying exhaust gases from a fireplace, furnace, water heater, boiler, or generator to the outdoors. Historically the term flue meant the chimney itself.In the United States, they are also known as vents for boilers and as breeching for water heaters and modern furnaces. They usually operate by buoyancy, also known as the stack effect, or the combustion products may be 'induced' via a blower. As combustion products contain carbon monoxide and other dangerous compounds, proper 'draft', and admission of replacement air is imperative. Building codes, and other standards, regulate their materials, design, and installation.
Flues are adjustable and are designed to release noxious gases to the atmosphere. They often have the disadvantageous effect of releasing useful household heat to the atmosphere when not properly set—the very opposite of why the fire was lit in the first place.
Fireplaces are one of the biggest energy wasters when the flue is not used properly. This occurs when the flue is left open too wide after the fire is started. Known as convection, warm air from the house is pulled up the chimney, while cold air from outside is pulled into the house wherever it can enter, including around leaking windows and doors. Ideally, the flue should be open all the way when the fire is first started, and then adjusted toward closure as the fire burns until it is open just enough to slowly pull smoke from the fire up the chimney. After the flue heats up from the fire, they are easier to move, but also hotter. Hands should be protected when operating the flue lever; and if a new log is added to the fire, the flue must be adjusted again to ensure that smoke does not billow out into the house.
In some countries, wood fire flues are often built into a heat preserving construction within which the flue gases circulate over heat retaining bricks before release to the atmosphere. The heat retaining bricks are covered in a decorative material such as brick, tiles or stone. This flue gas circulation avoids the considerable heat loss to the chimney and outside air in conventional systems. The heat from the flue gases is absorbed quickly by the bricks and then released slowly to the house rather than the chimney. In a well insulated home, a single load fire burning for one and a half hours twice a day is enough to keep an entire home warm for a 24-hour period. In this way, less fuel is used, and noxious emissions are reduced. Sometimes, the flue incorporates a second combustion chamber where combustibles in the flue gas are burnt a second time, reducing soot, noxious emissions and increasing overall efficiency.
The term flue is also used to define certain pipe organ pipes, or rather, their construction or style.
Roman thermae constructed centuries ago had flues.
Another use of the term is for the internal flues of a flued boiler.
Flue types include:[ citation needed ]
A boiler is a closed vessel in which fluid is heated. The fluid does not necessarily boil. The heated or vaporized fluid exits the boiler for use in various processes or heating applications, including water heating, central heating, boiler-based power generation, cooking, and sanitation.
A furnace, referred to as a heater or boiler in British English, is a heating unit used to heat up an entire building. Furnaces are mostly used as a major component of a central heating system. The name derives from Latin word fornax, which means oven. Furnaces are permanently installed to provide heat to an interior space through intermediary fluid movement, which may be air, steam, or hot water. Heating appliances that use steam or hot water as the fluid are normally referred to as a residential steam boiler or residential hot water boiler. The most common fuel source for modern furnaces in North America and much of Europe is natural gas; other common fuel sources include LPG, fuel oil, wood and in rare cases coal. In some areas electrical resistance heating is used, especially where the cost of electricity is low or the primary purpose is for air conditioning. Modern high-efficiency furnaces can be up to 98% efficient and operate without a chimney, with a typical gas furnace being about 80% efficient. Waste gas and heat are mechanically ventilated through PVC pipes that can be vented through the side or roof of the house. Fuel efficiency in a gas furnace is measured in AFUE. Furnaces primarily run on natural gas or electricity. Furnaces that are used to boil water are called boilers.
A chimney is an architectural ventilation structure made of masonry, clay or metal that isolates hot toxic exhaust gases or smoke produced by a boiler, stove, furnace, incinerator or fireplace from human living areas. Chimneys are typically vertical, or as near as possible to vertical, to ensure that the gases flow smoothly, drawing air into the combustion in what is known as the stack, or chimney effect. The space inside a chimney is called the flue. Chimneys are adjacent to large industrial refineries, fossil fuel combustion facilities or part of buildings, steam locomotives and ships.
The Franklin stove is a metal-lined fireplace named after Benjamin Franklin, who invented it in 1742. It had a hollow baffle near the rear and relied on an "inverted siphon" to draw the fire's hot fumes around the baffle. It was intended to produce more heat and less smoke than an ordinary open fireplace, but it achieved few sales until it was improved by David Rittenhouse. It is also known as a "circulating stove" or the "Pennsylvania fireplace".
A stove is a device that burns fuel or uses electricity to generate heat inside or on top of the apparatus. It has seen many developments over time and serves the main purpose of cooking food.
A central heating system provides warmth to the number of spaces within a building and optionally also able to heat domestic hot water from one main source of heat unlike heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system which can both cool and warm interior spaces.
A fireplace or hearth is a structure made of brick, stone or metal designed to contain a fire. Fireplaces are used for the relaxing ambiance they create and for heating a room. Modern fireplaces vary in heat efficiency, depending on the design.
A pilot light is a small gas flame, usually natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas, which serves as an ignition source for a more powerful gas burner. Originally a pilot light was kept permanently alight, but this wastes gas. Now it is more common to light a burner electrically, but gas pilot lights are still used when a high energy ignition source is necessary, as in when lighting a large burner.
A smokebox is one of the major basic parts of a steam locomotive exhaust system. Smoke and hot gases pass from the firebox through tubes where they pass heat to the surrounding water in the boiler. The smoke then enters the smokebox, and is exhausted to the atmosphere through the chimney. Early locomotives had no smokebox and relied on a long chimney to provide natural draught for the fire but smokeboxes were soon included in the design for two main reasons. Firstly and most importantly, the blast of exhaust steam from the cylinders, when directed upwards through an airtight smokebox with an appropriate design of exhaust nozzle, effectively draws hot gases through the boiler tubes and flues and, consequently, fresh combustion air into the firebox. Secondly, the smokebox provides a convenient collection point for ash and cinders ("char") drawn through the boiler tubes, which can be easily cleaned out at the end of a working day. Without a smokebox, all char must pass up the chimney or will collect in the tubes and flues themselves, gradually blocking them.
An air preheater is any device designed to heat air before another process (for example, combustion in a boiler With the primary objective of increasing the thermal efficiency of the process. They may be used alone or to replace a recuperative heat system or to replace a steam coil.
Cockenzie power station was a coal-fired power station in East Lothian, Scotland. It was situated on the south shore of the Firth of Forth, near the town of Cockenzie and Port Seton, 8 mi (13 km) east of the Scottish capital of Edinburgh. The station dominated the local coastline with its distinctive twin chimneys from 1967 until the chimneys' demolition in September 2015. Initially operated by the nationalised South of Scotland Electricity Board, it was operated by Scottish Power following the privatisation of the industry in 1991. In 2005 a WWF report named Cockenzie as the UK's least carbon-efficient power station, in terms of carbon dioxide released per unit of energy generated.
A pellet stove is a stove that burns compressed wood or biomass pellets to create a source of heat for residential and sometimes industrial spaces. By steadily feeding fuel from a storage container (hopper) into a burn pot area, it produces a constant flame that requires little to no physical adjustments. Today's central heating systems operated with wood pellets as a renewable energy source can reach an efficiency factor of more than 90%.
The difference between atmospheric pressure and the pressure existing in the furnace or flue gas passage of a boiler is termed as draft. Draft can also be referred to as the difference in pressure in the combustion chamber area which results in the motion of the flue gases and the air flow.
A masonry heater is a device for warming an interior space through radiant heating, by capturing the heat from periodic burning of fuel, and then radiating the heat at a fairly constant temperature for a long period. Masonry heaters covered in tile are called cocklestoves. The technology has existed in different forms, from back into the Neoglacial and Neolithic periods. Archaeological digs have revealed excavations of ancient inhabitants utilizing hot smoke from fires in their subterranean dwellings, to radiate into the living spaces. These early forms have evolved into modern systems.
A kerosene heater, also known as a paraffin heater, is typically a portable, unvented, kerosene-fueled, space heating device. In Japan and other countries, they are a primary source of home heat. In the United States and Australia, they are a supplemental heat or a source of emergency heat during a power outage. Most kerosene heaters produce between 3.3 and 6.8 kilowatts.
Forced-air gas heating systems are used in central air heating/cooling systems for houses. Sometimes the system is referred to as "Forced hot air".
A flue-gas stack, also known as a smoke stack, chimney stack or simply as a stack, is a type of chimney, a vertical pipe, channel or similar structure through which combustion product gases called flue gases are exhausted to the outside air. Flue gases are produced when coal, oil, natural gas, wood or any other fuel is combusted in an industrial furnace, a power plant's steam-generating boiler, or other large combustion device. Flue gas is usually composed of carbon dioxide (CO2) and water vapor as well as nitrogen and excess oxygen remaining from the intake combustion air. It also contains a small percentage of pollutants such as particulate matter, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides. The flue gas stacks are often quite tall, up to 400 metres (1300 feet) or more, so as to disperse the exhaust pollutants over a greater area and thereby reduce the concentration of the pollutants to the levels required by governmental environmental policy and environmental regulation.
A boiler or steam generator is a device used to create steam by applying heat energy to water. Although the definitions are somewhat flexible, it can be said that older steam generators were commonly termed boilers and worked at low to medium pressure but, at pressures above this, it is more usual to speak of a steam generator.
A wood-burning stove is a heating appliance capable of burning wood fuel and wood-derived biomass fuel, such as sawdust bricks. Generally the appliance consists of a solid metal closed firebox, often lined by fire brick, and one or more air controls. The first wood-burning stove was patented in Strasbourg in 1557, two centuries before the Industrial Revolution, which would make iron an inexpensive and common material, so such stoves were high end consumer items and only gradually spread in use.
A rocket mass heater (RMH), also known as rocket stove mass heater, is a form of slow-release radiant heating system, designed to primarily heat people and secondary to warm areas in line of sight around it. Variations of RMH can also be extended for the functions of cooking, heating water, and producing warm air for distribution.
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