Fireplace Types: Identification & Maintenance
Not all the appliances we call “fireplaces” are the same, and neither are the fireplace repair and maintenance tasks required to keep the units running safely and efficiently.
Let’s look at some popular fireplace types and outline their maintenance needs.
Traditional masonry fireplaces
Masonry fireplaces often are built when the home is being built and feature brick or stone work along with a chimney, which is usually made of bricks. These fireplaces burn wood, and while they look stunning in any room, they don’t conserve much of their heat for use in the home.
Maintenance for a masonry fireplace includes annual chimney cleaning to remove creosote, soot and drafting obstructions; annual inspections of the fireplace and chimney and their components; and periodic cleaning of the firebox.
Gas-burning prefab/zero-clearance fireplaces
Prefab gas fireplaces are made in a factory and come ready to install. They’re more efficient than masonry fireplaces in producing heat, and burn much cleaner. A zero-clearance fireplace is ultra-insulated and safe to install close to combustible building materials.
Maintenance for gas prefab fireplaces includes the occasional wiping down of the firebox and a yearly inspection by a licensed chimney/fireplace inspector to check the gas lines, the vent system (if there is one), the burn efficiency and other specifics. Cleaning of the venting component is minimal.
Gas-burning fireplace inserts
Gas fireplace inserts, as with prefab fireplaces, are built in a factory. The difference is, they’re designed to fit right into an existing masonry fireplace’s firebox, bringing the same lovely aesthetic but with much more heat production and efficiency. Gas-burning inserts use their own vent pipe, which runs up the chimney.
Maintenance for gas fireplace inserts is similar to that for prefab gas fireplaces.
Wood fireplaces and inserts
Zero-clearance fireplaces also come in wood-burning models, as do fireplace inserts. If you love burning real wood, you’ll find these appliances gorgeous to look at and highly efficient in sending heat into your home. Wood prefab fireplaces and inserts outperform open masonry fireplaces by a significant measure.
Maintenance for wood fireplaces and inserts focuses on keeping the system clean. Any flue pipe or chimney connected to any wood-burning appliance must be professionally cleaned to prevent fires caused by ignited creosote buildups. Annual cleaning along with timely repairs and regular professional inspections are all very important.
Gas logs/log sets
Gas logs are the most convenient way to bring the beauty of real flames into your fireplace. Commonly made of durable ceramic to resemble actual cut wood, gas logs are placed in the open firebox of your masonry fireplace and hooked up to a natural gas or propane supply. They’re not great for heating, but they’re a fine choice for visual beauty.
Maintenance for gas log sets includes periodic cleaning/wiping down along with a proper inspection once a year. Like all gas-burning systems, gas logs leave virtually no mess behind.
Atlanta-area chimney professionals
The overview here gives you some general tips on maintenance for the most popular types of fireplaces. Chimney Solutions of Alpharetta, GA, can give you more information on maintenance, care and safe use when you have us service your appliance.
Get licensed chimney sweep services along with complete chimney and fireplace repairs and inspections for all gas and wood fireplaces, stoves and inserts.
Talk with a local Atlanta-area chimney expert today at (770) 255-1300.