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Replacing Your Prefab Fireplace

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Your fireplace is likely part of a prefabricated or factory-built system if your home was built in the last half of the 20th century. The majority of these systems are made from metal, according to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), and they come as a complete unit, including the firebox, chimney, flashing, and other parts. You may also have heard prefab fireplaces referred to as Heatilators, a very well-known brand. A prefab fireplace is not built to last forever, and should be replaced once it shows signs of aging. Atlas Chimney’s technicians have years of experience removing old and damaged prefab fireplace systems and replacing them with a long lasting traditional masonry chimney and fireplace system or a new prefab system. Here are a couple of signs that can alert you that it is time to replace your Heatilator or another prefab fireplace.

Cracked Firebox Refractory Panels

The metal walls of the prefab chimney firebox and system can suffer from rusting and other corrosive damage. Once the smallest cracks appear in one of the refractory panels of the firebox, your safety is at risk. The extreme heat produced by a fire can transfer to the wooden structure surrounding the prefab system, igniting a fire. While Atlas Chimney can replace your cracked refractory panels in the firebox, you should consider replacing the entire system. If it is over 10 to 15 years old, system replacement is the safest route. Atlas Chimney can talk to you about the choices you have if you decide to replace your prefab system.

Occurrence of Chimney Fire or Other Destructive Event

Unfortunately, chimney fires in prefabricated systems can easily happen when operated incorrectly. If used excessively, a prefab fireplace can cause a chimney fire, especially if there is any debris in the chimney. The chimney cap and chase cover can also crack from corrosion, allowing wild animals access into the chimney to build nests. Other disasters that can cause serious damage include earthquakes, lightning strikes, and strong wind storms.

Is it time to replace your Heatilator or another prefabricated fireplace system? Contact us at Atlas Chimney to schedule an appointment for a professional chimney inspection. You can trust our CSIA-certified chimney technicians to make an honest recommendation about your prefabricated chimney system.