Factory built, or prefabricated fireplaces, are relative newcomers to the fireplace scene, commonly available only for the last 25 years or so. Unlike traditional site-built masonry fireplaces, most factory built fireplaces are made of metal, and come from the factory as complete units with a firebox, a specific chimney system, and all miscellaneous parts. With proper installation and maintenance, they can give years of service, but there are some special considerations owners of these systems should be aware of.
But in spite of all the glowing aesthetics, there are some practical considerations. When your dealing with an element as capricious and potentially dangerous as fire, knowledge really is power, so please read on to learn how to make your fireplace both safer and more enjoyable.