You may enjoy your fireplace as the focal point of your living room, but it's important to know when the time has come to replace it. Continuing to use a damaged fireplace poses a major safety risk.
1. Chimney Leaks
Leaks most often occur where the chimney meets the roof or siding of the home. Water will seep between the chimney and fireplace and the rest of the home, which can lead to water damage in the attic or in the ceiling and walls adjacent to the fireplace. In some cases, the water may also leak into the chimney and fireplace itself. If the leak isn't addressed promptly, the moisture can cause irreparable damages to the fireplace, which means it will need to be replaced.
2. Collapsing Masonry
Your fireplace likely has masonry for the exterior chimney, the interior fireplace, or both. Over time, the mortar can crumble away and the bricks will begin to collapse. The result is a leaning chimney or crumbling bricks. If caught early, the mortar can be replaced and the masonry can be repaired, but if extensive damage has occurred then replacement of the chimney and fireplace may be necessary.
3. Liner Damage
Most fireplaces have a liner that goes around both the firebox and the chimney. The liner may be made of tile, clay, or even metal. Tile and clay liners will crumble and crack when they age, while metal is more prone to issues from rusting or corrosion. If a liner is damaged, it must be replaced or it can pose a hazard since a damaged liner can allow smoke and sparks to escape the fireplace and enter the walls of your home.
4. Chimney Fires
A chimney fire is a real danger if your fireplace or chimney is damaged and at the end of its useful life. Even a small fire that doesn't escape the chimney can flood your home with smoke. Further, it will cause major damage to the firebox and the chimney liner, and a replacement may be a better option than restoration so you can ensure future fires don't occur.
5. Fuel Upgrade
If you're tired of splitting wood for your fireplace, upgrading the fireplace to an electric or gas model is a must. Pellet stove fireplaces are another option. Both electric and gas fireplaces can be turned on with a switch, so there is no need to build and tend a fire. Gas fireplaces in particular will also help keep your home warm and cozy.
Contact a fireplace installation service to learn more about your new fireplace options.