As a homeowner, if you have a fireplace, you have an amenity that increases the value of your house. This is true whether you have a masonry fireplace or a factory-built fireplace. There are numerous benefits to having a pre-fabricated fireplace in your home, including the fact that a masonry chimney is not a necessity. In an existing home that lacks a chimney, it is especially exciting for many homeowners that they can still enjoy a warm fire in the winter, thanks to the versatility of factory-built fireplaces.
What is a Factory-Built Fireplace?
As the name implies, a factory-built fireplace is constructed / pre-fabricated at a factory and then installed in homes. These fireplaces are extremely well-insulated and have an air blanket built in which keeps the outer wall cool. The amount of clearance needed between these fireplaces and combustible materials is only about one-half inch, which is why they are also known as “zero-clearance fireplaces.”
A zero-clearance fireplace comes complete with the firebox and the entire chimney system. They can be vented through a masonry chimney, though the flue and connecting pipes must be the size required by the manufacturer. One of the most important aspects of a factory-built fireplace is that it should be installed by a professional, such as a trained chimney technician. The following is more about installation:
- The primary reason to go with professional installation of a zero-clearance fireplace is that clearance specifications must be adhered to strictly, and ongoing maintenance is also important.
- Professionals are familiar with manufacturer’s instructions and local codes and are able to fulfill all requirements which will ensure safe operation and avoid unwanted surprises about improper installation, in the event of a home inspection. A building permit is a requirement, when installing a zero-clearance fireplace.
A factory-built fireplace typically has a lifespan of 20 to 30 years.
There is a huge selection of styles and designs of factory-built fireplaces. You can find a style to match your home, no matter what kind of décor you have. There are many stunning designs.
Annual inspection of zero-clearance fireplaces is recommended by both the National Fire Protection Association and the Chimney Safety Institute of America*.
Factory-built fireplaces are built to meet strict standards, and they pass rigorous testing standards. The appliances have an excellent safety record, but safe use of the fireplace is essential.
- Liquid fire starters such as gasoline, charcoal lighter fluid, lantern fuel, or kerosene should never be used. In addition, these types of products should not be stored anywhere near a fireplace. These appliances are built for the purpose of burning solid fuel only.
- The screen on the fireplace should always be closed, to prevent sparks or hot embers from entering the home and possibly causing combustible materials to ignite.
- Before lighting a fire, always open the flue damper.
- Never overload the fireplace because burning logs could fall out.
- Do not burn Christmas trees or a lot of paper in the fireplace because these types of fires are extremely hot and can actually cause joints to separate or metal to warp.