Blog Post

An open fire or a closed combustion fireplace? Which is best?

A fireplace not only brings cosy cheer on a chilly winter’s night, it also adds value to your home. So choosing the right one should take some careful consideration. Let’s start with the first question you’re likely to ask yourself: Which fireplace system would suit my home best? An open or a closed combustion fireplace?

Wood burning stoves (free-standing closed system fireplaces) have become extremely popular. The way a wood burning stove and its flue works offers major advantages over an open fire.

A closed combustion wood burning fireplace is an attractive, efficient and environmentally sound heating solution.

What is a closed combustion fireplace?

Closed combustion fireplaces have a contained firebox made of steel or cast iron. Every fireplace needs air to burn effectively, but closed combustion systems have a distinct advantage: you can control the amount of air that enters the firebox. In effect, you control the heat output and wood consumption.

What are the benefits of a closed combustion fireplace?


Closed combustion systems offer more than twice the heat output of an open fireplace. It’s heat output is further enhanced by the exposed flue, which radiates substantial heat.  


Because you are able to control airflow to the firebox, your wood will burn longer. You’ll use roughly half the amount of wood an open fireplace would.


Most closed combustion fireplaces have a large glass door to contain sparks and smoke, while still providing you with an uninterrupted view of the glorious flames.


If you choose a high quality closed combustion fireplace, you’ll only have to empty ash once or twice a month.


If your closed combustion fireplace is properly installed, you won’t have to worry about windy, smoky downdrafts.


Closed combustion fireplaces create a cleaner burn. Fewer harmful pollutants are dispelled.


Easy to load. Quick to light. Simple to clean.


What should you look for in a closed combustion fireplace?

When evaluating the wide variety of closed combustion fireplaces available, take these important aspects into account:


While both materials do the job, cast iron is more robust and stainless steel usually offers more modern design.


There are a wide range of designs available, from classic to contemporary. Choose a design that suits your home decor.


Ensure that the heat output of the closed combustion fireplace matches the demands of the space you need to heat.


Consider going with a double combustions system for increased heat output, slower wood consumption and an even lower impact on the environment.


Ask about radiation heating: the heat emitted by the metal and glass of the fireplace; and convection heating: the air heated in a compartment within the fireplace and then distributed into the room via vents. Fireplaces with both of these are best for maximising heat output and ensuring an even distribution of heat in your room.


Get an expert who follows these 8 Rules for Proper Installation of Your Fireplace to install your closed combustion fireplace. 

Browse our site to find our more about our fireplaces or pop in to The Fire Works at 28 West Street, Newton Park, Port Elizabeth. We’d be most happy to chat about our fireplaces to help you decide on the best one for you.