Heating with a manufactured fireplace

Manufactured Chimney FailureAs most everyone is aware, the surprise snow storm left a lot of people without power and without heat. Such a freak storm, one for the record books I suppose, dumping a heavy wet snow on us, and raking havoc with the power lines.

So what are people to do when they have no power, no heat, no lights? Many Massachusetts homeowners purchased a house with a “zero clearance” fireplace, or what a masonry contractor calls a “wooden chimney”. We don’t like them, and I personally think they are, shall I say, Ugly too!

Many people through out Massachusetts and New England were scrambling for wood to burn in their fireplaces with a chance of producing some heat to warm up next to. Like so many other things that are marketed to us to perform one way, but in actuality perform much much worse. These chimneys are dangerous, I will never stop saying it, and on November 2 a Northborough homeowner found out just how potentially deadly these chimneys can be!

Wednesday morning fire crews responded to a home in Northborogh where the owners were trying to heat their house with their manufactured fireplace and chimney. The fireplace almost burned down the entire house. It has been estimated the damage is more than $50,000. This prompted the Fire Chief making a statement warning people not to use these chimneys to heat their homes! He is quoted as saying: “It’s designed for a ceremonial or a pleasure fire at the holidays, not for hardcore, heavy-duty heating,” Northborough fire Chief David Durgin said.

That is a very unsettling warning coming from the Fire Chief. Not quite the same sales pitch people are given when they are looking for a home to buy, or a builder to build a family their dream home now is it?

Why is it nothing performs the way it is advertised? Well…, I shouldn’t say nothing. Massachusetts Fireplaces built by JB Mohler Masonry have a reputation of delivering as advertised. Our custom built Rumford fireplaces produce enough heat to make your eyebrows melt! I guarantee it! Ok, end commercial.

A time honored tradition of heating a home with wood clearly is shown to be a value that must be guarded and protected! Time and time again our fireplaces and chimneys are called upon in a time of need, when the chips are down, to bail us out of terrible situations. Why would anyone want a “wooden chimney” that will fail us when we need it the most, or will under deliver, and in the most horrific of situations, catch your house on fire!

It is a shame that home builders in an attempt to shave a couple of dollars off the cost of building a house, will put these chimneys on the side of a house and with a smile assure prospects the chimney is A-OK.

I admit there are millions of these chimneys that don’t burn houses down, that don’t produce dangerous levels of carbon monoxide and are commonly used the way they were meant to be used, at Thanksgiving and Christmas. If you are the other type of wood burning homeowner, the kind who likes to hear the snapping and popping of wood every night, the smell of oak burning in the air as you are out in the yard, the warm even heat produced by a decent fireplace, then you will not be happy with anything but a real masonry fireplace, built by hand one brick at a time.

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