Fireplace Installation Terms: Chase, Clearances, Cool Wall

Fireplace Installation Terms: Chase, Clearances, Cool Wall

Fireplaces are some of the most unique home appliances out there, combining aesthetics and function in ways very few other home fixtures do. Many new fireplace owners will be looking to educate themselves on several related areas, from basic safety to installation and maintenance needs, and one broad theme that's often helpful here is a knowledge of important fireplace terminology.

At Comfort Solutions Fireplace, not only do we offer a robust selection of modern fireplaces, fireplace inserts and other products, but we're also happy to provide basic pieces of education and information to our clients. There are many areas of fireplace terminology where it pays to have some basic knowledge, and one of these is within the realm of fireplace installation and finishing. In this two-part blog series, we'll go over a number of important terms within this theme.


The chase of a fireplace refers to the space that is built above the fireplace, and contains venting. Fireplaces from previous generations would use the chimney itself as the chase, whereas today's fireplaces use a separate construction area.

Clean Edge

During clean edge fireplace installation, your installer will bring finished materials directly to the edge of your fireplace, requiring no frame. This brings a sleek, modern look to your fireplace, showcasing the design of the appliance.


Clearances, which are found in several home areas including the fireplace, refer to the minimum distance required between objects and a source of heat. Clearances ensure that nothing will come in contact with the heat, and it is important to make sure they are respected during fireplace installation.

Combustible Materials

Combustible materials refer to those such as wood, drywall and other similar items that can be burned. These types of materials must always be kept and distance and should never come into contact with the heat source of a fireplace, such as the glass door. Fireplace tools are also considered combustible materials, and it is important to keep this in mind when choosing your set.

Cool Wall

For some fireplaces, a cool wall will be used -- this is a special chase framing that allows for combustible materials to be kept in close proximity to the heat without being affected by it. A cool wall allows for the modern look of a frameless fireplace installation while also keeping combustible materials held safely away from the heat source. There are specific venting needs for cool wall installation, so be sure to inquire about it ahead of time if you're interested.

For more on the various terminology it pays to know within your fireplace's installation and finishing, or to learn about any of our gas or electric fireplace and insert options, speak to the staff at Comfort Solutions Fireplace today.

Differences Between Utah Fireplaces and Fireplace Inserts

Differences Between Utah Fireplaces and Fireplace Inserts

For any homeowner looking for a beautiful fireplace area in any part of their home, there will generally be two broad options at your disposal: Full-on fireplaces and fireplace inserts. While both these options offer robust practical and aesthetic themes to meet your needs, they differ in a few important ways that might make one or the other the prudent choice for you.

At Comfort Solutions, we're happy to offer a wide range of fireplace options in Utah, plus several gas and wood fireplace insert selections as well. What are fireplace inserts, how do they differ from standard fireplaces, and how can you tell which is present in your home if you've just moved in? Here's a primer.

Gas Fireplace Vs Gas Fireplace Inserts

There are a few basic ways to differentiate a gas fireplace from gas fireplace inserts. The first is the size of the fireplace itself. Gas inserts are typically smaller than a more traditional fireplace design, so you can fit these into spaces that would be too small for an entire structure.

For this reason, you'll often see fireplace inserts installed into a masonry structure or opening that was obviously created for a different original purpose. If the gas fireplace is built into the wall without evidence of a preexisting structure, on the other hand, it's likely a full-on fireplace.

Another big factor to consider: Is there a chimney in place? If you have an existing brick chimney, it's likely your home is using gas inserts. On the other hand, if there's a vent on the side of the home that releases exhaust, this is more commonly a sign that the gas item in place is a full traditional fireplace. This is because gas fireplaces use either direct or natural venting for their exhaust, and do not require the use of a chimney.

Wood Fireplace vs Wood Fireplace Insert

Differentiating between traditional fireplaces and inserts is a bit tougher with wood, as many wood fireplaces are built to mimic a stone or brick aesthetic and can be tougher to tell apart. If you can't tell if yours is built-in or not, a good way to test it out is the method for which the fireplace receives and expels air.

Wood units both need vertical ventilation, but how they accomplish this often tells the difference. If your chimney has a wood cap on it, for instance, you likely have a wood insert; if, on the other hand, your roof has a pipe protruding from it serving as an exhaust vent, this is more typically a sign of a traditional wood fireplace.

For more on how to tell fireplace inserts apart from traditional fireplaces, or to learn about any of our fireplace options throughout Utah, speak to the staff at Comfort Solutions today.