Potential Dangers of Remodeling Factory Built Fireplaces
Factory built fireplaces are popular alternatives to the more expensive masonry fireplaces, but there are potential dangers involved with remodeling a home with a pre-fab unit. The biggest advantage of a factory-built fireplace is that the manufacturer fully tests the units before installation. Each prefabricated fireplace is designed, assembled complete with a chimney, and tested. The potential compromise comes if remodeling changes are made without strict adherence to manufacturers’ instructions. Read on for more insights on remodeling around factory-built fireplaces.
The primary safety issue associated with remodeling your home that is equipped with a prefab fireplace is the proximity of combustibles to fireplace components. Remodeling changes that may seem insignificant could actually place your home and family in great danger. Manufacturers of these factory-built fireplaces provide strict guidelines that determine how close combustible materials can be to the fireplace while ensuring safety, so it’s important to pay attention to guidelines.
The danger occurs when the radiant heat from a heating appliance causes combustible materials to undergo a process known as pyrolysis. What happens is that materials such as wooden beams are changed by the heat exposure, and the temperature at which they will ignite is lowered. Suddenly and without warning in this type of circumstance, the combustible materials of a home will catch fire, which quickly spreads throughout the structure, placing occupants in danger.
During the professional installation of a factory-built fireplace, a qualified, experienced chimney sweep installs the unit strictly according to instructions provided by the manufacturer. The entire purpose of hiring a professional is to ensure both the safety and efficiency of the appliance. When remodeling changes have been made in homes in the U.S. many thousands of times in the past, referencing manufacturers’ guidelines of an existing pre-fab fireplace has been neglected, resulting in dangerous home fires.
Therefore, a priority for any remodeling in close proximity to a factory-built fireplace is to locate installation instructions. If you no longer have the installation manual for your specific fireplace, the first thing to try is looking on the data plate of the firebox. Information on the data plate includes the model of the fireplace and the manufacturer. When you have these two bits of information, the manual can typically be located online. If, however, the data plate is missing, painted over, or not visible, contact your trusted chimney sweep experts. They are more likely than anyone else to help.
Other Factory-Built Fireplace Issues
Although they cannot last a century like masonry fireplaces, there is a greater assurance of efficiency with a factory-built fireplace as opposed to trusting a brick mason who does not specialize in fireplaces. The expected lifespan of a prefab fireplace that is used according to recommendations is approximately 20 to 25 years.
The following are issues that can shorten the lifespan of a factory-built fireplace:
- Rust and water damage caused by a chimney leak
- Chimney fires
- Burning hot, large fires that are too big for the appliance
- Soot and creosote buildup
Contact Chimney Specialist, Inc.
The chimney sweeps at Chimney Specialists, Inc. are NFI-certified, which indicates that they have special training and experience in the installation of factory-built fireplaces. As certified experts, they can help you avoid pitfalls related to remodeling a home with a factory-built fireplace. Maintain your peace of mind about the safe operation of your fireplace in a new home or in the process of home remodeling. Contact Chimney Specialists Inc., located at 869 Main Street in Highland WI, at (608) 929-4887. If Dubuque is more convenient for you, call our Iowa location at (563) 582-5156 today.