Our Company Blog

Firebox Replacement

While it is built to withstand extreme temperatures and keep the rest of your home protected against the flames of a fire, the firebox may be one of the most delicate chimney components. If damaged, the firebox cannot effectively protect the surrounding building materials from the heat, smoke, flames, and gasses produced when the fireplace is in use; because of this, it is extremely important to have the firebox repaired or replaced if it becomes damaged.

What causes firebox damage?

Great Home Fire burning in the fireplace. Seasonal and holiday fire

Firebox Replacement – Seattle WA – Pristine Sweeps

Fireboxes can withstand prolonged, direct heat from flames – but this does not make them impervious to damage. The following are three of the most common causes of damage to fireboxes.

  • Water entry: Withstand heat and withstanding water are two different things; exposure to even small amounts of water can be dangerous to the refractory masonry of a firebox. Chimney leaks or attempting to use water to extinguish a fire can all cause water damage to a firebox.
  • Settling: All homes settle as they age; the footing that your fireplace was built on affects how well a fireplace will settle. Without a properly constructed base, the fireplace and chimney can shift and crack as a home settles. Large cracks in the firebox are commonly caused by settling due to improper fireplace footings. Outside, settling can also cause a chimney to shift or lilt.
  •  Incorrect construction: If a firebox is not built correctly using the right materials, it can quickly deteriorate and need to be replaced. Good fireboxes should always be built by masons – not contractors – using high quality refractory bricks and mortar. Cutting corners during construction may save money, but it can lead to fireplace performance problems and safety issues in the future.

Replacing a damaged firebox

If your firebox is damaged but the rest of your chimney system is in good condition, there is no reason to stop using your fireplace forever. Instead, firebox replacement can help you get the most out of your fireplace – without the cost of tearing down and rebuilding the entire chimney system.

Instead of taking out the damaged firebox and building a new one, a fireplace insert is often the best replacement. Inserts are easy to use and efficient heating appliances; available in a number of sizes and styles – as well as with several different fuel sources – there is the perfect insert for every family. Inserts can also be easily installed into an existing firebox, even if it is damaged. Because of the existing venting and chimney system, no additional construction may be necessary when professional installed.

Manufactured fireplaces can also be repaired or replaced. If the damage is localized to one part of the firebox, new refractory panels can be installed. Doing this can help extend the life of a manufactured fireplace when the rest of the unit is still functioning and burning safely.

If your firebox is damaged, your fireplace doesn’t have to be shut down for good. Instead, have your firebox replaced and go back to enjoying your fireplace again. For more information on firebox replacement, contact Pristine Sweeps today!

By Aaron Woodward | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

All About Your Fireplace Damper

All About Your Fireplace Damper Image - Seattle WA - Pristine SweepsMost homeowners know what their damper is and how to use it, but may not understand how it is important to the overall safety and efficiency of the chimney and fireplace.

What is a fireplace damper?

A fireplace damper is a piece of metal that acts as a barrier between the firebox and the rest of the chimney. Located at the top of the firebox, dampers are opened and closed when the fireplace is in use to prevent smoke, gas, and other byproducts of combustion from blowing back into the home. Dampers are also used to help keep moisture, animals, and unconditioned air out of the firebox and home.

Two types of dampers

There are two types of dampers that can be used in your home.

  • Throat damper: Throat dampers have been used for years and are found in the majority of homes. Sitting at the top of the firebox, throat dampers close off the firebox from the rest of the chimney, while the top of the chimney is open to outside air and protected by a chimney cap.
  • Top sealing damper: Top sealing dampers are one of the most recent innovations in the chimney industry and are beginning to be used in more and more homes. Top sealing dampers are located at the top of the flue where the chimney cap traditionally sits. Top sealing dampers are still opened and closed using levers or pulleys when the fireplace is or is not in use. When closed, the top sealing dampers closes off the entire chimney system from outside air. This can help reduce heating and cooling costs as unconditioned air in the chimney is not affecting air temperature within the home.

Signs of damper damage

Whether it’s from years of use or overexposure to heat or the elements, dampers can become damaged and need to be repaired or replaced. The following are three signs that your damper may be damaged.

  • Broken pulley or lever: Pulleys and levers are used so that the damper can be opened and closed when the fireplace is in use. If this mechanism breaks, the damper can become stuck in one position. This can impact the safety and efficiency of your fireplace system – and even prevent you from using your fireplace altogether.
  • Loss of airtight seal: If you can feel or hear air coming through the damper when it is closed, your damper has most likely lost its airtight seal. This can happen after years of exposure to heat or if the damper has been forcibly opened or closed.
  • Rust: Rust on the damper indicates that there has been a chimney leak. If the leak has already been repaired, the damper can be replaced before the rusting metal deteriorates further. If the leak is new, its source should be identified and repaired before you repair the damper; this keeps future damper damage from occurring.

The damper is an important part of your fireplace system; it protects your home from exposure to outside air while helping the fireplace to vent safely and efficiently. For more information on fireplace dampers or to schedule an inspection to check on the condition of your damper, contact Pristine Sweeps today!

By Aaron Woodward | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment