Avoiding Issues with Combustibles
When remodeling a home with a fireplace, certain safety issues arise if proper care is not taken during the process. Factory built (prefabricated) fireplaces all come with very specific instructions as to where combustibles can and can’t be placed. This is where having or obtaining the manufacturers installation instructions is key.
Fireplace Remodeling Step one
Step one should always be finding the installation manual specific to your fireplace. The easiest way to find your installation guide is looking inside of the fireplace firebox for the data plate. Your data plate will provide you with the manufacturer and model of the fireplace and then you can typically find the manual online. If the data plate is no longer visible, painted over, or not found, contact your local chimney professional and they may be able to help.
Fireplace Remodeling Step Two
Now that you have your manual, make sure to follow the clearance to combustible guidelines. No cheating! These guidelines have been put into place because your fireplace creates radiant heat around the system. This radiant heat can cause a fire when anything combustible is too close to the fireplace, even without a flame touching it.
Post Remodel Home Purchases
Many times a home will be purchased after a remodel has been done around the fireplace. While it may look updated aesthetically pleasing, it may not be safe. This is where it is key to always have level II inspection performed during the sale or transfer of a property. As a chimney professional, we can typically see that a fireplace has been updated and may look up or ask for the manufacturers instructions to check for proper clearances.
Safety First, Beauty Second
In summary, sometimes it may be tempting to cover certain areas of a fireplace for a cleaner look but ultimately it is not worth the safety risk. Always follow the exact manufacturers instructions and have the fireplace properly inspected if it has already been remodeled in the past.