Some homeowners today are choosing to use pre-fabricated, or factory-built, fireplaces. Instead of being built and tested separately, these units are constructed and tested together to ensure safety and workability. In some cases, the existing foundation supplies ample support for the fireplace, as they are much lighter than a fireplace constructed purely of masonry.
Safety during use must be a major concern for homeowners. You should observe the same safety rules you would use for a masonry fireplace.
- Always leave damper open when fireplace is in use.
- Use a fireplace screen to prevent sparks from leaving the fireplace.
- Avoid using wet or green wood, as well as overloading the fireplace. Doing so may cause the pile to collapse, resulting in logs rolling out of the fireplace.
- Do not use accelerants to ignite fire.
- Burning excessive paper or Christmas tree branches can cause damage to interior of chimney.
- NEVER install a wood stove in a pre-fabricated fireplace and chimney. They are not designed for this type of use.
- Have the fireplace and chimney inspected annually.
One advantage of using a pre-fabricated fireplace is in the fact that it can be placed much closer to combustible materials than a regular fireplace. This presents homeowners with a much wider selection of choices and placement in their homes.
While the homeowner may select a traditional design, they will also have the option of choosing something more modern. While a wood stove is not permitted, adjustments can be made to a pre-fabricated fireplace to allow for placement of a gas log. However, ventless logs should not be used unless the fireplace manufacturer specifically states this type of log is acceptable. If this is the case, the damper is left open and the vent free set up is treated in the manner as a gas fireplace needing full venting.