Question: We live in London. Not too long ago our chimney sweep said there was too much distance from the fire grate to the opening of the chimney in our wood burning fireplace. The dimensions of the hearth is about 3 feet wide and 3 and one half feet high. The grate sits on the floor. Is there a proper distance from the grate to the chimney opening? Answer: It depends on the size of the chimney flue and the construction of the "smoke chamber" - which is the area immediately below and above the damper are. If an opening is too high- or a chimney improperly constructed or too weak- smoke spillage could occur. You could probably get a decorative hood which may effectively lower the fireplace opening by a few inches...but if you are not having a smoke spillage problem- then don't worry about it.