Maintenance and Care of a Factory-Built Fireplace
A factory-built fireplace provides the same cozy ambiance as a traditional masonry fireplace, but the two are significantly different. While the masonry design is built as the home is being constructed, factory-built fireplaces are built at a factory strictly according to engineering design.
The most crucial consideration as regards factory-built fireplaces is installation, though proper care and maintenance are also important.
Installation of a Factory-Built Fireplace
Installation of a factory-built fireplace must be done according to manufacturer’s instructions. Fire hazards can easily occur if installers aren’t careful to follow safety guidelines. A building permit is required when a factory-built fireplace is installed. A building inspector is supposed to examine the unit and confirm that it has been installed according to the applicable building code. It is highly recommended that a professional chimney technician install factory-built fireplaces because they have the experience and training to know about local codes and understand the importance of following manufacturer’s installation instructions to the last detail.
Differences Between a Factory-Built and a Masonry Fireplace
The following are some of the things about factory-built fireplaces that set them apart from masonry fireplaces:
- When a factory-built fireplace is built, the chimney system is engineered to work with that particular unit. The fireplace and chimney are tested together, and it’s important to install the chimney designed for the particular fireplace purchased.
- Factory-built fireplaces are metal and have insulated walls, glass doors, and air-cooled pipes. Many also have blowers that help to circulate heat into the room.
- Concrete foundations are not necessary for factory-built fireplaces, though they are for masonry types. Because of the way factory-builts are constructed, the back of the units can safely be positioned nearer than masonry fireplaces to combustible materials.
- Masonry fireplaces are far more durable than factory-built fireplaces, though they are also far more expensive to eventually rebuild than it is to replace a factory-built.
Fire Safety Tips for Factory-Built Fireplaces
It is a critical issue to operate factory-built fireplaces safely and efficiently. The following are important guidelines to follow:
- Fully open the damper before starting a fire. Leave it open until the fire has gone completely out.
- Do not overload the fireplace because there are a number of hazardous consequences that could develop. Logs could roll out, for example.
- Use only seasoned firewood because green wood cannot burn efficiently or cleanly and it causes a buildup of flammable creosote in the chimney.
- Never use liquid fire starters such as gasoline or kerosene in a factory-built fireplace.
Anyone who is considering having a factory-built fireplace installed should understand that maintenance is important. During an annual inspection, chimney professionals check every aspect of the chimney and fireplace to ensure that the unit is safe to use. Many homes have more than one factory-built fireplace because they can safely be installed just about anywhere.
There are many designs and styles of factory-built fireplaces. The appliances can be versatile; in many models, a gas fireplace can be installed inside of an existing unit.
For help choosing a fireplace for your home or for an annual fireplace and chimney inspection and cleaning, contact one of our member stores today.