Fireplaces continue to be one of the most sought after home features in real estate. However, masonry fireplaces are often too cost prohibitive for many families. Prefabricated fireplaces serve as a more cost-efficient heating option for both new construction and existing homes.
While prefabricated fireplaces have many of the benefits of their masonry counterparts, they have a significantly shorter lifespan. Because of this, your prefabricated fireplace may need to be replaced as soon as every 20-25 years depending on condition, maintenance, and upkeep.
Thankfully, replacing prefabricated fireplaces can be a relatively simple and painless process. By working with a fireplace professional you can find a replacement fireplace that meets your home size and heating specifications – that also won’t break the bank when installing it.
How often do prefabricated fireplaces need to be replaced?
While prefabricated or factory built fireplaces are by no means flimsy, they simply do not have the same lifespan as masonry built fireplaces. Most prefabricated fireplaces will have the lifespan similar to major appliances such as refrigerators or ranges; with proper care and regular maintenance prefabricated fireplaces last on average between 20 and 30 years before they need to be replaced.
The main predictor of the lifespan of your prefabricated fireplace system is used. The more the fireplace is used, the faster it will deteriorate; a fireplace that is used every day during the winter will need to be replaced much sooner than one that is only used once or twice a year. Likewise, how often a chimney is swept and inspected can also impact the longevity of the prefabricated fireplace.
Many prefabricated chimneys, however, come with warranties that may help cover the cost of repairs or replacement. While warranties differ from manufacturer to manufacturer, most cover broken fireplace or chimney components in the event of equipment failure. However, the terms and conditions can be extremely strict depending on the individual warranty.
Choosing a replacement fireplace
One of the most common causes of damage to prefabricated chimneys is water entry from the chimney chase cover. These metal tops can rust after years of exposure to the elements, allowing water into the chimney and fireplace. Water entry can cause damage throughout the fireplace system and in severe cases may require the replacement of the prefabricated fireplace.
If your prefabricated is damaged, deteriorating, or you simply want to upgrade to a newer unit, now may be the perfect time to find a replacement fireplace. Instead of driving to a big box store and buying the first fireplace you find, consider the purpose of your fireplace; a fireplace that is used as a primary heat source is significantly different than those built to be used once or twice a year.
Whether you want to install a new fireplace or need to replace an existing unit, prefabricated fireplaces are a cost-effective option to help heat your home. For more information on replacing prefabricated fireplaces, contact the experts at ChimneyTEK today!