Why Some Fireplaces Can Be Unsafe

Fireplace 1

Common Problems:

  • Use of "mix and match" components.
  • Unsealed gas pipe penetrations.
  • Insufficient clearances between fireplaces and combustible materials.
  • Missing or incomplete installation of fire stops between floors.
  • Use of non-approved decorative chimney terminations.
  • Insufficient chimney height

Potential Damage:

  • Fire hazard.
  • Voiding of manufacturer's guarantees.
  • Embers may escape into framed areas.
  • Inadequate fire protection.
  • Smoke may enter living spaces.
Fireplace 2

Proper Solutions/Construction:

  • Use approved laboratory-tests (i.e. Underwriters Laboratories, Inc.) components by a single manufacturer.
  • Use refractory (fireproof) cement to seal gas pipe penetrations through the firebox.
  • Follow manufacturer's installation instructions regarding required clearances from framing and other combustible materials.
  • Use only approved, listed, decorative chimney terminations.
  • Use the "2ft. in 10-ft. height rule" for chimney heights (Uniform Building Code, Section 3703(f) & Table 37-B).

Information provided by Building Analysts, a full-service architectural and engineering firm with many years of experience in construction litigation. Their services include: architectural and structural investigations, repair recommendations, preparation of exhibits and expert testimony. Contact Building Analysts Toll Free at: (800) 352-1497.