If you are looking to add a charming touch to your home, or just supplement your current heating system, you may be considering installing a fireplace. Since building a new fireplace is often costly and requires a lot of masonry work, many people are opting for prefabricated fireplaces instead.
Prefab fireplace units are nice, because they are convenient, they look charming and they work well. However, some people assume that because they already have a chimney in their home from a previous system, adding a prefab system will be easier and not require a new chimney. Generally, though, this is not true.
Most prefabricated fireplaces are sold as a unit along with an accompanying chimney, and they often will now work with another chimney system. There are a few reasons for this, such as:
- Rigorous fireplace inspections and testing is a must for each home to ensure that they are safe to use. This testing is done along with the included chimney, so both are rated as safe together. The fireplace is not necessarily tested to be safe with any other configuration.
- The specifications for air space and insulation in a fireplace are exacting, because of the volatile nature of the combustion process. Because a prefabricated fireplace and chimney are engineered to work together, you can be sure they meet the proper specifications.
- The chimney and fireplace have been designed to work together for maximum efficiency, so any other setup could affect the performance of your fireplace and therefore the warmth of your house.
- Because of the necessary clearance measurements mentioned above, wood is kept a certain specified distance away from the chimney. If a prefabricated fireplace is used with a different chimney, this clearance may be too short, which can cause chimney fires or other unsafe conditions.
Even with all this in mind, a prefabricated fireplace may still be the best option for you. It is just important to know up front that trying to save money be using an existing chimney system will not work and you are better off purchasing the whole bundle as sold. If you have any questions about your fireplace please call 2nd Generation Chimneys.