A hearth, or fireplace, is a fire-containment structure made of bricks, stone, or metal. In a household, the fireplace can be used for a variety of functions. Fireplaces are used to heat a room as well as to create a relaxing environment. Modern fireplaces' heat efficiency varies depending on the design.
Historically, they were once used to heat a house, cook, and heat water for laundry and other household needs. A fire is contained in a firebox or fire pit, and the exhaust gas is evacuated by a chimney or other flue. A fireplace may include a chimney crane (used in kitchen and laundry fireplaces), a grate, a lintel, a lintel bar, an over mantel, a damper, a smoke chamber, a throat, a flue, and a chimney filter or afterburner.
On the exterior, a corbelled brick crown with projecting brick courses acting as a drip course to keep rain from running down the outside walls is prevalent. Rainwater in the chimney is a far bigger issue in chimneys lined with impervious flue tiles or metal liners than it is in traditional masonry chimneys, which soak up all but the heaviest rain. Some chimneys have a spark arrestor integrated into the crown or cap.