Fireplaces are a popular feature for homes and can add ambiance and value. However, they must be properly maintained in order to function safely and efficiently.
Keeping up with maintenance and regular inspections can help catch any potential problems before they become serious. For professional help, contact Fireplace Repair now!
Most prefabricated fireplaces use a series of thin, brick-like panels to form the interior walls of the firebox. These panels are made of a heat-resistant material called refractory ceramic. They are designed to withstand high temperatures and come in many designs. Unfortunately, they are not built to last forever. Even with careful use, these panels can crack, pit, and abrade over time. This can create a safety hazard for your home, as sparks could fall through the cracks onto heat transmissions or combustible materials.
Usually, minor cracks in your fireplace panels will only appear on the top surfaces. This is due to the constant heating and cooling of the refractory material. Over time, these cracks will only widen if they are not repaired. If a crack is too large to cover with a dime or it appears through the bottom surface of the panel, it is considered damaged and needs to be replaced.
The good news is that replacing these fireplace panels is very simple, especially for factory-built fireboxes. The process involves unscrewing a bracket, removing the old refractory panel, and replacing it with a new one. Repairing a masonry fireplace is more complicated and requires the services of experienced brick masons.
If you notice cracks in your fireplace’s refractory panels, contact a chimney professional right away. They will evaluate the situation and recommend the appropriate steps for repairs or replacements. Usually, small cracks can be filled with fireplace mortar. However, if they are large and expose the underlying refractory to flames and extreme temperatures, the cracks must be replaced.
If you have a prefabricated metal fireplace, it is especially important to check the condition of the fireplace panels regularly. While a few cracks are common in these types of fireplaces, if a crack grows too large, it can be a significant fire hazard. It is a good idea to have a fireplace specialist look at the panels to determine whether they are safe for further use or whether replacement is necessary. If you do decide to replace the refractory panels, jot down the fireplace’s make and model number so that a technician can find a replacement panel.
The fireplace is an essential part of many homes. It is a place to gather with family and friends to enjoy the warmth of a fire while telling stories or reading books. The fireplace is designed to withstand high temperatures for long periods of time, but this does not mean that it can last forever. Whether from poor installation, a shifting house foundation, or chimney fires, cracks in brick can occur over time. This is not only a safety issue, but it can also cause harmful gases to leak into your home.
Cracked bricks in a fireplace are not always a serious problem and do not necessarily indicate that there is an underlying problem in your foundation or other parts of the home. However, it is important to have a masonry professional take a look at the cracks and inspect the overall structure of the fireplace to make sure that everything is safe before deciding on how to repair the bricks.
If you have a gas fireplace, the cracks in the brick could be caused by a clogged or damaged thermocouple or thermopile. These are small metal devices that monitor the temperature of the flame and send a signal to the gas valve to ignite it. These can become clogged with debris and should be checked regularly for any signs of wear or tear.
Another reason for cracked bricks in the fireplace is the thermal expansion and contraction of the masonry wall. When brick is exposed to hot temperatures, it actually expands, creating pressure on other parts of the wall, which then leads to cracks over time. If you have cracks in your fireplace, it is very important to call a masonry professional and have them repaired right away.
In the case of a masonry fireplace, a professional mason can repair the bricks with mortar, which is specifically made to withstand high temperatures. They can use a trowel to apply the mortar and press it into the cracks, packing it tightly and removing any excess. This process takes a bit of time and expertise, but it is much safer and more effective than trying to fill in the cracks with regular cement, which can lead to more serious problems down the road.
Draft problems are a major issue that can lead to smoke in the home and potentially dangerous fumes. These issues can be caused by a number of factors, such as blocked chimney flues, improper construction, and bad maintenance. Whether you have an older fireplace that simply isn’t drafting well or one that was recently upgraded to create better energy efficiency, a faulty chimney can be a serious problem that requires immediate attention.
One of the most common reasons for a draft problem is an excessive amount of creosote buildup. Over time, this can cause the openings to a chimney flue to shrink to the point of being too small for a fire to properly enter. In this situation, a professional can clean the chimney and remove the excess creosote to restore proper drafting.
Another common problem that can occur is a clogged orifice, which is an opening in the burner that mixes gas with air to produce a flame. This is often the result of a damaged thermocouple, which can be fixed by a professional to restore proper flames. It’s also possible that a problem with the orifice can be caused by a low supply of gas to the burner, which can also be fixed by a professional.
Other reasons for a poor chimney draft include dynamic wind load, which can cause a vacuum effect that prevents smoke from exiting the chimney, or when fans in your home (kitchen, bathroom, and radon) overcome the chimney’s draft. These can usually be corrected by adjusting the vents in your home to ensure that there is enough “make-up air” to allow the chimney to draft properly.
Lastly, a damper that won’t open or close can be the source of a draft problem. When the damper is unable to fully open, warm air may escape and cold air may be able to come in, which will also prevent your fire from burning properly. This is a simple problem to fix, however, by having the damper repaired or replaced. Fortunately, this can be done easily and affordably by a professional.
Holes in the floor
A hole in your floor can be very dangerous, and it is a sign that you need to hire a professional for a repair job. The firebox needs a solid surface to burn, and holes are dangerous and allow smoke to enter your home. If you have a gas fireplace, the escaping gas can also create an accidental carbon monoxide leak, which is deadly and can happen quickly.
If you notice that your fireplace has a lot of white soot on it, this is another warning sign that you need to get a chimney repair company to inspect and perform repairs immediately. This soot is not normal and indicates that the ventilation system is not working properly, causing smoke to back up into your home.
If your fireplace is gas-powered and you notice that it won’t stay lit, it could indicate a faulty ignition or worn thermocouple. A licensed master plumber and gasfitter should be called to investigate and fix the problem.
The average cost to repair a metal fireplace section is between $200 and $750. Metal is a strong and reliable material for fireplace surrounds, but it can suffer damage from excessive heat exposure. This can cause stress damage and cracking, which a professional may be able to repair with a simple buff and patch.
A brick fireplace can last for many years, but it will still need repair work from time to time. Typically, this involves replacing broken bricks or mortar in the firebox. It is recommended that you have this done before the winter season begins so that any issues can be fixed before the cold weather sets in.
Some homeowners may want to upgrade their fireplace to fit in with new decor trends or to enhance the look of their home. While this is possible, it is important to remember that a replacement fireplace is a bigger investment than a repair. Plus, it can be difficult to match the existing design with a replacement fireplace. Therefore, it is best to think of replacing the fireplace as a last resort if yours is damaged beyond repair.