Most fireplaces in homes built before 1970 are masonry and will probably last as long as the house still stands. But homes built after 1970 usually contain prefabricated fireplaces. Prefabricated fireplaces were (and still are) less expensive than building a masonry fireplace. The downside of prefabricated fireplaces is their lifespan. According to industry standards, prefabricated fireplaces have a lifespan of only 10 to 30 years. Not to mention that some manufacturers use cheap “tin” materials to construct the fireplaces. Even if installed properly they are not built to sustain wear and tear for numerous decades.
Types of Prefabricated Fireplaces
Here are some options when considering a new prefabricated fireplace:
- Woodburning fireplaces: For those who enjoy wood fires. These prefabricated models are made with energy efficient combustion designs with upgraded chimney systems that can withstand higher temperatures and provide substantial heat when needed.
- Gas fireplaces: Prefabricated gas fireplaces are easier to maintain and won’t leave you with the messy cleanup that wood burning fireplaces do. They have a modern, contemporary look and still give off real flames as the wood-burning fireplaces. What’s more, they work during power outages, and you’ll always get the same consistent amount of heat whereas the heat output on the wood-burning fireplaces depends on the amount, condition and type of wood being used. Another great feature of the gas fireplace is that they are designed for maximum heat production, so there is no chance of over-firing. Some of the higher end models come with thermostat control to regulate the flame to adjust the heat so that you are always comfortable. Direct vent models use outdoor air for combustion and provide venting options that a wood-burning fireplace wouldn’t.
Fireplace Safety Concerns
Whether you have a masonry fireplace or a prefabricated fireplace, you must have your chimney inspected and swept every year. If it’s time for you to replace your prefabricated fireplace, make sure you have a certified professional install your fireplace. Improper installation can result in fires and damages to your home.
If your fireplace needs maintenance or replacing, contact us today for a free estimate.