Pre fab fireplace question

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Pre fab fireplace question

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Cheryl Patterson

Paramount Property Inspection
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(as of 3/25/07)
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User: cpatterson1
Posted: Dec 20, 2005 5:31 PM       Post Subject:
Hi,

This pre-fab gas fireplace had some small cracks in a 5 x 5 area in the back, do you think its a future concern?
[ Image: https://www.nachi.org/bbsystem/usrimages/P/PC200060.JPG ]
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Larry Kage

Welcome Home Inspection Services, LLC
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User: lkage
Posted: Dec 20, 2005 6:02 PM       Post Subject:
Cheryl, it's hard to see the cracks in the pic but any time I see any cracks or damage from logs, the poker, etc. in the panels of a prefab firebox I recommend repairs of/or replace the panels by a qualified professional such as a chimney sweep.

Occasionally I've seen them patch with refractory cement but more often than not they replace the panel. And somethimes the unit is just plain worn out or the parts aren't still available. Then they need to be replaced.
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Andrew Way

Keystone Residential Inspection Services PLLC
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User: away
Posted: Dec 20, 2005 6:04 PM       Post Subject:
Cheryl,
If they are just small cracks that don't look like they are opening I write them up and tell them to avoid having humongous blazing fires and that the inserts will probably continue to crack and need to be replaced at some point.

If they look like they are opening, indicating they may have probably broken entirely through the insert, I will state they need to be replaced to make sure the fire stays inside the firebox and not against the metal.

Oh I also recommend having a qualified chimney sweep do a Level I inspection before use and then annually thereafter, especially when solid fuel is used.

--
Andrew Way
Keystone Residential Inspection Services PLLC
817.441.9598
www.keystoneinspections.com

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Cheryl Patterson

Paramount Property Inspection
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(as of 3/25/07)
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User: cpatterson1
Posted: Dec 20, 2005 6:24 PM       Post Subject:
Great advice guys, thanks.
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Cheremie Kratzer

Kratzer Construction / Kratzer Home Inspections
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User: ckratzer
Posted: Dec 20, 2005 6:29 PM       Post Subject:
They are actually made that way if you are referiing to the areas where the three panels meet to form 90 deg. angles.
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Michael Boyett

Capital City Inspections
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User: mboyett
Posted: Dec 20, 2005 6:36 PM       Post Subject:
I had a similar situation a few months ago and we discussed it here on the BB I'm pretty sure but I can't find the thread right now. Anyway, the bottom line was that I had inspected a quad and several of the fireplaces had no refractory brick panels at all. I talked to the fireplace mfg about that and they indicated that it is perfectly acceptable to use the fireplace without the liner and that it does not void their warranty nor pose a fire hazard. Doesn't sound right to me but that's what they said. They indicated the refractory brick liner helps to dissipate more of the heat into the room and that it adds aesthetic appeal to the interior of the firebox. I will, however, continue to write them up if cracked or missing but I'm not as worried about it as I once was.

[ Image: https://www.nachi.org/bbsystem/usrimages/F/Firebox.jpg ]
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Tyrone Wheeler

Guaranteed Residential Inspections Inc.
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User: twheeler
Posted: Dec 20, 2005 6:53 PM       Post Subject:
I don't know if i'm reading the post wrong, but the fireplace is a gas insert. And if the liner is cracked, there is a possibility of carbon monoxide entering into the house.
Prohibitting a homeowner from having a blazing fire is not in the best interest of the purchaser.
I would recommend a licensed HVAC tech assess further.
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Gerry Beaumont

Gerry Beaumont Consulting
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User: gbeaumont
Posted: Dec 20, 2005 7:45 PM       Post Subject:
cpatterson1 wrote:
Hi,

This pre-fab gas fireplace had some small cracks in a 5 x 5 area in the back, do you think its a future concern?
[ Image: https://www.nachi.org/bbsystem/usrimages/P/PC200060.JPG ]


Hi Cheryl, I would report it as a current concern and require further evaluation and repair by a specialist contractor. One development that I am aware of had 3 fires in 1 year due to this type if issue.

Regards

Gerry
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