Benefits of Factory-Built Fireplaces
Getting in on the enjoyment of a cozy fire in your home during winter is possible, even if there isn’t a chimney currently protruding through your rooftop. Factory-built fireplaces not only provide the luxury of sitting by a crackling fire, they provide other distinct benefits. There are many reasons why a factory-built fireplace may be an ideal addition to your home.
Factory-Built Fireplace Basics
A factory-built fireplace is constructed with a firebox that’s enclosed within a steel cabinet. These pre-made fireplaces are built to have an insulating air blanket which keeps the outer wall cool. Only about one-half inch of clearance is needed between one of these appliances and combustible materials, such as walls. Factory-built fireplaces are also referred to as “zero-clearance fireplaces.” The minimal safe clearance requirements make it possible to properly install them just about anywhere, though manufacturer instructions should always be strictly followed. More basic information follows:
- Although very inexpensive compared to masonry fireplaces, factory-built fireplaces come as a set with the entire chimney system, the firebox, and other accompanying components. It is also possible to vent through a masonry chimney, as long as the flue and connecting pipes are the correct size.
- The lifespan of a factory-built fireplace is usually about 20 to 30 years.
- There are clearance specifications which must be strictly adhered to, which is the primary reason it is important to have your factory-built fireplace installed and maintained by a professional chimney sweep.
- Many different styles and designs of zero-clearance fireplaces are available, to fit with any décor.
- A building permit is required before installing a factory-built fireplace.
- Another reason to hire a professional chimney sweep to install your new fireplace is that a professional will be familiar with local codes and also manufacturer’s instructions and can fulfill all requirements, to help ensure safe operation of your fireplace.
Safety Tips for Using a Factory-Built Fireplace
Factory-built fireplaces are built according to strict guidelines, and they must pass rigorous testing standards. While factory-built fireplaces have an excellent safety record, following the steps below are critical for safe operation:
- Never use liquid fire starters such as kerosene, gasoline, charcoal lighter fluid, or lantern fuel; and do not store them near the fireplace. Factory-built fireplaces are built only for solid fuel.
- Always open the flue damper before lighting a fire.
- Do not overload the fireplace because the result could be that burning logs fall out.
- Do not burn a lot of paper or Christmas trees in the fireplace because these types of fires get extremely hot very quickly and can cause the metal to warp or the joints to separate.
- Keep the screen on the fireplace closed, to prevent hot embers or sparks from entering your home and possibly causing combustibles to catch fire.
A factory-built fireplace should be inspected annually, which is a recommendation of the two leading agencies on fire safety, the National Fire Protection Association and the Chimney Safety Institute of America.
If you’d like more information about factory built fireplaces or the installation of a new hearth product, contact our fireplace & chimney experts. We’ve been serving Connecticut for decades and have the knowledge and experience to help you find the best fit your for your and lifestyle.
Northeastern Chimney, Inc.
37 Cody Street, West Hartford, CT 06110