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Learn Helpful Tips & Tricks from the Community

OK, you have decided to get a stove or an insert, and are needing a place to put it. You may already have an existing fireplace, or you may be creating an entirely new installation.

This article is intended to deal ONLY with the Hearth, or the floor surface that the stove or insert is sitting on. The walls around and behind the installation are a separate subject, and are discussed in this article and a second article as well as in many threads on our forums. This article is an effort to summarize these topics and come up with a list of general “best practice” recommendations on how to design a hearth that works well and promotes maximum safety.

As usual all the standard disclaimers apply - while we attempt to give the best advice possible, we can’t see your setup or tell what will work in every case. Your local code enforcement folks (AHJ) have the final word, and we advise consulting with them and other qualified building professionals about the details of your particular installation. Neither Hearth.com, nor any of the contributors to this article accept any responsibility or liability for the results of your installation, as you alone are responsible for the results of your work.

A Finished Hearth (details on this hearth)

The hearth structure is also sometimes referred to as a “Hearth Pad” or just “pad” for short, the terms will be used interchangeably throughout this article.

If one is installing on top of a concrete or other inherently non combustible floor, little in the way of a hearth pad is needed, other than possibly for aesthetic reasons. However most of us are going to be installing on or...
Glossary of Common Hearth and Heating Terms - Our thanks to Quadrafire, Majestic, Temco and others who contributed to this list.

Please submit new words to webinfo@hearth.com

ABSORPTION—Amount of water a masonry unit will absorb when completely submerged in either cold or boiling water for a set length of time. Absorption amount is expressed as a percentage weight increase.

ABSORPTION RATE—Weight of water absorbed by masonry unit (usually brick) in one minute.

ACCELERATOR—Material added to mortar to speed up setting time.

ACTIVE SOLAR HEATING—Indirect solar heating; solar heat is circulated mechanically (by pump or fan) from solar collectors outside the building.

ADD-ON—Solid fuel furnace or boiler that shares a heat distribution system and links controls with the existing conventional fuel appliance.

ADJUSTMENT SCREW—Part of pressure regulator used to regulate gas pressure. It should only be set with a manometer or pressure gauge.

AFUE - annual fuel utilization efficiency The AFUE rating is a measure of how much of each dollar’s (or units) worth of fuel burned by your appliance goes toward heating your home. Electric heat (radiant) is nearly 100% efficient since there is no chimney loss. Stoves, however, do put some heat and some unburnt fuel up the chimney. This is all figured into the AFUE.

AIR CONTROL—See Air Inlet Control.

AIR INFILTRATION—Typically, the passing of air into the house through small cracks or gaps inherent to the structure. Affected by temperature difference between the inside and outside of the structure, and air pressure factors (e.g. wind, the operation of solid fuel appliances or electrical appliances such as fans).

AIR INLET—The designed port(s) of entry for combustion air in a controlled combustion, solid fuel burning appliance.

AIR INLET CONTROL—The means by which the amount of air entering the air inlet is regulated. Also referred to as air control.

AIR SUPPLY—Broadly, the air that is supplied to the...