Upgrade Your Prefabricated Chimney to a Modern, Safer One
A chimney on a masonry fireplace, built strong with resilient bricks and mortar, can last for decades. But its counterpart, a prefabricated chimney, is like most other appliances in a home and eventually will need repair work and finally replacement. Prefab chimneys simply aren’t constructed in a way that allows them to keep on running decade after decade. If you have a factory-built chimney, here’s why it might be time to look into upgrading to a new model.
Prefabricated chimneys are growing in popularity
Prefab fireplaces and chimneys began appearing in greater numbers in American homes in the 1960s. Since then, they’ve become quite popular and now account for about 75% of all fireplaces/chimneys in homes in the U.S. Made for both gas and wood, these units are much less expensive and time-consuming to install than traditional masonry styles. With low price and convenience, however, comes a system that has a shorter lifespan.
Homeowners usually know if their system is prefabricated, but if there’s any doubt, a chimney sweep can tell you immediately.
How long should a prefabricated chimney last?
The simple answer is between 10 and 20 years. This is if no destructive event has happened, such as an earthquake, chimney fire, lightning strike, major wind damage and the like. It’s important to note that chimney fires often happen without the people in the house being aware of it – they start and then go out on their own. The sound of rumbling or crackling noises within the fireplace are signs there may be a fire going on. If you suspect a fire in your chimney, extinguish the fire immediately and call 911 or your local emergency services number.
When is it time to upgrade to a new prefab chimney?
Indicators that a chimney is failing can vary, but a common sign is leaking. As to the fireplace, cracks appearing in the refractory panels within the firebox are a sign that repair or replacement is necessary. A thorough inspection by a professional chimney sweep will tell you if the damage can be repaired, which is sometimes the case. In other cases, a prefabricated chimney or fireplace may have had multiple previous repairs and is at the point where damaged parts or sections can’t be easily and safely replaced.
Continuing to use a system that is letting in water can result in serious water damage. Cracks in various places within the system can expose surrounding wall materials to extreme temperatures, which can lead to a fire.
Upgrade for efficiency
Lots of homeowners upgrade to a new prefabricated chimney or fireplace because newer models come with higher efficiency ratings from the EPA. Prefab units on the market today also are made to release fewer toxins into the atmosphere, a definite incentive in the minds of many.
Upgrade for ambience
A final reason to consider replacing your old prefabricated fireplace and chimney is to enhance the décor of your home. Modern prefab units are available in an amazing variety of sizes, colors and finishes, making it easy to increase the beauty and ambience of your fireplace area.
Chimney Specialists of Highland, Wis., can tell you everything you need to know about upgrading to a new, more efficient, better looking and safer prefabricated fireplace and chimney. Get the right answers by calling (608) 929-4887.