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-> Also read our article “Is it Time to Replace Your Wood burning Prefabricated Fireplace?

The fireplace industry considers prefab wood burning fireplaces to have a life expectancy of 10-30 years. Like other household appliances, they just don’t last forever. The good news is that there are many options for upgrading to a better system when it comes time for replacement.

Keep in mind that the fireplace must be removed from either the front facing wall (inside the house), or from the rear.

  • Removal from the rear is usually the easiest method, especially when the fireplace is installed against an exterior wall and the framed chase has been covered by siding. We remove the siding and underlayment to gain access to the inside of the chase. The chimney is normally removed from the top and sometimes the chase is large enough to actually get inside to assist in unscrewing and disconnecting the chimney sections, but it’s rarely this “easy”.
  • Removal from the front of the fireplace opening commonly involves removal of the facing material (slate, marble, tile, etc.) and the mantel, resulting in a bigger mess, greater expense and more work overall. However, if you’ve always wanted a different style – say tiles or granite instead of the old slate or a new mantel — then this is the time to plan out your new look!
  • When it comes time to choose a new fireplace model to install, consider the options available to you. Commonly the original model was a “builder grade” appliance, an inexpensive model wood burning fireplace with minimal features.

New, high-efficiency wood burning prefabs that are manufactured with quality metal, tightly fitting glass doors are available. They are energy efficient combustion designs that provide burn times and heat output comparable to a wood stove. If you still enjoy wood fires then why not consider a high-efficiency model that can help provide substantial heat when needed? This classification of wood burning fireplaces also uses upgraded chimney systems meant to withstand higher temperatures.

White Gas Log Fireplace - Bless Your Hearth - Laurens SC

Gas Fireplaces provide the beauty of real flames without the work and mess associated with burning firewood. Like wood burning fireplaces, gas models are classified as either “decorative” or “heater rated”. Heater rated models have a glass window instead of an open fire, protecting against contact with open flame. Most models also work during power outages, providing excellent backup emergency heat if you’ve chosen a heater rated
fireplace. Unlike wood burning fireplaces where the type, condition or amount of wood greatly affects heat output, gas fireplaces are designed to
withstand a maximum constant heat production so over firing isn’t a concern with this class of appliance. Heater rated gas fireplaces use the gas
more efficiently and transfer that heat to your living space, providing substantial heat when desired. Better models also offer thermostat controls that modulate the flame to adjust the heat output so you’re never too warm or too cold. Direct vent models, which use outdoor air for combustion, provide versatile installation and venting options where a wood burner couldn’t be used such as venting horizontally through an exterior wall.

The expense and labor involved in a prefab fireplace replacement may lead you to consider a conversion or alteration of your fireplace, thinking that “If it’s not safe to burn wood, I’ll just convert to gas.” That’s a great idea, but you can’t take a shortcut here.

CAUTION: ABSOLUTELY DO NOT PUT GAS LOGS into a damaged or deteriorated wood burning fireplace. Vented gas logs require the fireplace and chimney to be suitable for use with wood. If it’s not safe to burn wood, it’s NOT SAFE to use with gas logs, either!

Contrary to popular opinion, ventless (vent-free, unvented) gas logs are far worse! They are designed to allow you to close the damper, keeping the heat produced concentrated in the fireplace. While this may feel like a good idea it’s making more heat right where it’s more likely to cause a problem including pyrolysis of the adjacent wood framing within the wall.

An ELECTRIC INSERT is a very inexpensive option. An electric fireplace is uniquely capable of offering you flames with no heat so you can have a romantic fire in the summer, or use with the heater option when the weather turns chilly. This at least provides you the ambiance of a “fire” with no need to tear anything out. These are surprisingly realistic looking and is an option more and more customers have chosen in recent years. Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps|Bless Your Hearth is happy to help guide you through the options for repairing, replacing or possibly just upgrading your prefabricated wood burning fireplace!

Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps|Bless Your Hearth is happy to help guide you through the options for repairing, replacing or possibly just upgrading your prefabricated wood burning fireplace!-*+


There are many reasons why fireplaces are decommissioned.

  • Dust and debris
  • Too hard to get wood
  • Allergies
  • Damaged chimneyFIREPLACE REBORN! - Greenville SC - Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps


….and then there are some folks who just believe that a fireplace is an outdated and inefficient way to get heat for your home and prefer more modern technologies and the convenience of full

house systems. While it is true that most modern built fireplace are inefficient to use as a primary heating source, many who hold these “outdated fireplace” beliefs have never really experienced the comfort and satisfaction that comes from the warm glow of a roaring fire in the hearth.

Many of us who have — are hooked! If you are among the fireplace connoisseurs of the world, there are things you need to do to get your fireplace back into service BEFORE YOU NEED IT. If you wait until the week before you want to use it or (heaven forbid) the day before a winter storm is due to hit, you may find some insurmountable obstacles impeding your frantic efforts.

  • All the good chimney service companies are booked out for 3-4 weeks.
  • ALL the chimney sweeps in the world are booked a week or more out.

In short, BEFORE IT GETS COLD is the time to get your fireplace, gas logs and chimney checked out. Here are some good steps to take NOW.

  • Have your chimney and fireplace inspected and thoroughly cleaned if it needs it. Call a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep. Lack of service is the primary cause of potentially dangerous buildup of creosote in chimneys. Chimney fires are NOT FUN and can cause costly damage to your chimney and possibly the rest of your home.
  • Make sure that your gas logs, stove fans, etc. all work well before the time comes to use them. Remember — a large part of “everyone else” will have waited till the last minute and will be vying for the same hard-to-find spots you will be looking for, if you wait.
  • Get your fuel lined up. Check your gas. Buy your wood now. Locate your pellet source.

These steps are a good idea even if you only plan to use your fireplace for special events. Remember those special times of year are pretty much the same for everybody. Let us – here at Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps and Bless Your Hearth – help you enjoy your hearth experience safely and with confidence. Schedule your fireplace, gas log and chimney services right away.

P.S. If you have an inefficient fireplace that you love and you are interested in more heat from your fireplace experience, ask us about it. There may be options for improving your hearth experience.