Many homeowners install prefabricated fireplaces with the belief that they will last just as long as their masonry counterparts. While prefabricated fireplaces are a great and inexpensive way to add a fireplace to your home, they are not meant to last forever.
Homeowners are often shocked to find out that their prefabricated fireplace needs to be replaced. However, most prefabricated fireplaces are designed to be used and periodically replaced rather than lasting for years to come.
The lifespan of a prefabricated fireplace
The lifespan of a prefabricated fireplace is similar to other major appliances such as a range or refrigerator. Although they can last for as long as 20-30 years when well maintained, most masonry chimneys can last for generations.
Unlike most masonry chimneys, prefabricated chimneys tend to come with warranties. For prospective buyers, this is seen as a positive that protects their purchase if anything goes wrong. While a warranty can help in the event of serious equipment failure, most have very rigid terms and conditions that exclude a variety of damages; this is especially true of damage caused by weather conditions, which is typically not covered under warranty.
Often the main indicator of the lifespan of your prefabricated fireplace is use. Fireplaces that are used more frequently will deteriorate faster than those that are rarely used. Likewise, how often the fireplace is serviced or maintained can also impact how long it can last.
Prefabricated fireplace issues
Prefabricated fireplaces often have the same issues as their masonry counterparts. However, there are some issues that are unique to prefabricated fireplaces. Many homeowners often do not realize something is wrong until it is uncovered during a routine chimney sweeping or inspection.
Faulty or leaky chase covers are often the leading cause of prefabricated chimney damage. While a rusting chase cover can cause staining on the exterior of your chimney, it can also cause problems inside the chimney as well. Likewise, a missing termination cap is another problem that is often not found and does not display any noticeable signs. Unfortunately, issues such as this often cannot be repaired; instead, a new fireplace unit is needed.
Choosing the right fireplace
If you are looking to invest in a new heating appliance for your home, consider what purpose it will have. If you only want a fire a few times a year you will probably choose a difference heating appliance than someone who is looking for a primary heating source for their home.
Prefabricated fireplaces are a great way to save money and still get to enjoy the benefits of a fireplace. However, homeowners should be aware that they will not last as long as a masonry chimney, especially depending on how much they are used.
If you are thinking about adding a prefabricated fireplace to your home or already have one that is beginning to show signs of age, contact Magic Broom today. Our expert staff can help you find the right heating appliance for your home as well as maintain the fireplace you currently have!