Traditionally, fireplaces were built on the home site and made of masonry materials. Factory built fireplaces are a result of the increase in technology in demand for the ambience and warmth they are so well known for. There are advantages and disadvantages for both pre-fabricated and masonry fireplaces, so it’s up to you to make the decision!
History of Factory-Built Fireplaces
Now making up about 75% of all fireplaces, factory-built fireplaces are engineered and based on a design, which eliminates any problems with masons not doing a proper job building a chimney on site. The company Heatilator first introduced them in the 1950’s as a way to eliminate the tedious construction process. They quickly gained popularity for their ease of installation and lower costs. Other technological advancements made it easy to install a fireplace anywhere in your house.
Benefits of a Factory-Built Fireplace
Factory-built fireplaces are built and tested extensively due to regulations put into place. Brick and mortar can deteriorate over time if not taken care of, so repairing masonry can be expensive, especially if you do not have regular maintenance by a professional. Pre-fabricated fireplaces are also relatively easy to install, while masonry has to be done at the location. There’s no building a masonry fireplace in a controlled area and then transporting it to the site.
Problems with having a Factory-Built Fireplace
You have to be very careful when installing to check to make sure the fireplace is compliant with the chimney system that you have. Not doing so could be extremely dangerous. Also, because they are appliances that are installed, they should be given a lifetime of around 10 to 15 years. This life expectancy doesn’t take into account issues that might pop up like water damage or chimney fires. Masonry fireplaces can last many decades if properly taken care of. There are unfortunately more rules when caring for a prefab fireplace. Any fire starters in liquid form are highly discouraged; they are built for only wood products. It is imperative that the fireplace not be overwhelmed with wood and that the screen stay shut at all times to keep burning wood from falling and sparks from flying.
As the weather gets colder, it’s a good time to schedule a sweeping for your chimney, as well as have it inspected. If you have any questions about the differences between the two types of fireplaces don’t hesitate to call us. At Clean Sweep of Anne Arundel County Chimney Repair and Maintenance we make chimneys healthy!