Need A Prefab Wall Or Screen Replaced? We Can Help!
Prefabricated or factory-built fireboxes are lined with refractory panels – which are firebox walls that are designed to withstand the high heat issued from your fires. These usually look like they’re made of masonry materials, but they’re not actually built with stacked bricks and mortar: Instead, they’re four separate panels (a bottom, back wall and two side walls) of refractory cement material. The panels are similar to masonry materials, though, in that stress cracks can and do develop, creating safety and efficiency issues.
Without the protection provided by the refractory panels, heat can transfer to the metal enclosure and warp it, or worse, transfer to combustible building materials in your walls and potentially lead to a fire. To return your prefabricated fireplace to the expected level of safety, you’ll need to have those damaged refractory panels replaced with properly-sized, properly-installed new panels.
How Do I Know If My Prefab Wall Panels Need Replacing?
The Chimney Safety Institute of America’s guideline is to have refractory panels replaced if cracks reach the thickness of a nickel, or if the panels have worn back at least a quarter inch from their original thickness. During a chimney inspection, Old Hat Chimney Service’s technicians can tell you whether the wear on your refractory panels is posing a potential fire hazard or damaging your prefab system. But cracks that thick are relatively easy to notice, so be sure to give us a call if you notice any damage when preparing to use your fireplace.
Can I Stop My Refractory Panels From Getting Damaged?
There are ways to lengthen the service life of your prefabricated fireplace with smart use and regular maintenance, but you can’t completely “stop” refractory panel damage from happening. The immense heat will gradually cause the refractory material to abrade — they’re not built to last forever, which is why replacement panels are available.
One surefire way to avoid shortening the life of those panels in your wood-burning unit, though, is to make sure you’re always using the best fuel: seasoned or kiln-dried hardwood. Burning green wood or yard clippings can increase the levels of creosote build-up (along with the probability of smoke or toxic gases seeping into your living area), and cardboard and other trash can create fires that get too hot, too quickly, hastening the development of stress cracks.
We Also Replace Fireplace Screens!
Spark screens can be a great addition to your fireplace — they’ll keep embers from getting out of the firebox, which makes sitting around the fire a lot more enjoyable. They also come in a variety of styles and colors, and can add visual appeal to your entire prefab unit. If your screen is looking the worse for wear, or if your mesh screen has gotten stuck on its track, we can recommend and install a functional, beautiful replacement screen.
Have you noticed cracks in your prefab fireplace’s firebox? Or is your fireplace screen in dire need of replacement? Call Old Hat Chimney Service at 770-529-2654 to make an appointment with our certified technicians! You can also schedule an appointment online!