Potential Remodeling Hazards With Factory-Built Fireplaces
Prefabricated fireplaces, also known as factory-built fireplaces, should be given special consideration during remodeling projects. Prefab fireplaces start out as reliable appliances that have been pre-tested in the facilities where they are created. There are, however, potential hazards associated with home remodels involving these heating units. Read on for insights that will help to ensure the safe use of your factory-built fireplace after remodeling has occurred.
Beware of Issues with Combustibles
It can be safely assumed that, initially, factory-built fireplaces are correctly installed by professionals the vast majority of the time. This has to do with such matters as ensuring building code compliance and meeting insurance requirements. Homeowners’ insurance usually requires the professional installation of heating appliances so that if a fire occurs, home occupants may have the benefit of insurance coverage.
After a remodel, however, the correct fireplace positioning within the home that meets with the manufacturer’s instructions might not be as reliable. Certain types of alterations could encroach upon the buffer zone that helps to ensure the safe operation of the appliance. Basically, during the initial installation of factory-built fireplaces, great care is given to make sure that combustible materials are not situated too close to the appliance. If not installed according to the original instructions, combustible areas of the home may be altered by heat from the appliance.
When combustible materials are exposed to excessive heat for a prolonged period, a process called pyrolysis occurs. Pyrolysis changes the composition of materials and causes them to ignite at much lower temperatures than before the heat exposure.
Required Flooring Protection
The flooring underneath factory-built fireplaces doesn’t have anywhere near the crucial requirements that a masonry fireplace has. Although there is no need to add to the home’s foundation with supplemental strengthening for a prefab fireplace, there may be protective requirements. A hearth pad, for example, may be needed to protect the floors. In most cases, however, factory-built fireplaces are already positioned high enough off the floor to prevent the unit from causing pyrolysis to wood flooring, for instance. However, a hearth pad is typically recommended in case embers and sparks escape the unit.
Each prefab fireplace comes with a chimney built to fit the appliance and encourage optimal operation. There are requirements as far as how much space to leave around the chimney for the protection of combustible materials, however. This consideration is just another of the potential hazards that could occur if a home remodel involving a factory-built fireplace is not done with great care and consideration for the continued safe use of the appliance.
The absolute best approach to a home remodel in which the area around a factory-built fireplace is involved is to follow the original manufacturer’s instructions. By handling the remodel with the same care as the original fireplace installation, potential dangers can be avoided.
Purchase of a Post-Remodel Home
It is important to understand that buying a home with a prefab fireplace that has been remodeled is no guarantee that the above-referenced precautions were taken throughout the process. A chimney professional should be contacted to ensure that proper clearances are in place and that current installation meets the standards set out by the manufacturer of the factory-built fireplace.
If you are interested in adding a new factory-built fireplace during your home remodel, Yankee Doodle, Inc. Stove & Fireplace Center is a great place to shop. We have a destination showroom with multiple appliances in operation whenever the doors are open. You can see for yourself many of the options for quality prefab fireplaces. Our friendly experts at Yankee Doodle care about your safety as you enjoy your fireplace, wood stove, or electric heating appliance. For help choosing a new or replacement factory-built fireplace to add during home remodeling, give us a call today