Did you know that when you build a fire in your fireplace, the area where the fire sits is the firebox? Most people think this area is indestructible, as it is built with special material to withstand high temperatures. However, over time this part of your fireplace system can still wear out.
The Process of Firebox Construction
Because your firebox takes direct heat from the fire, it needs to be made of materials that can withstand it, usually cast iron or steel. Unfortunately, time takes a toll and cause the joints between the bricks to weaken and become faulty. The extreme heat cause expansion and contraction of the bricks, and this make for a weakened firebox.
Right above your firebox in your fireplace is the smoke shelf. If rain gets in your chimney, it settles on the smoke shelf. However, this water sometimes mixes with the chemicals in the smoke. Over time, this acidic rainwater drips onto the firebox to cause the mortar joints to deteriorate.
Your firebox needs to be made of bricks and mortar that are refractory, which helps them to withstand the high heat from your fires. Although many areas have codes which require refractory mortar to be used, these regulations have only been put into place recently. If this type of material was not used, then your firebox won’t last long. Even if your fireplace is made of refractory mortar and bricks, the materials can still break down over time.
Problems With a Broken Firebox
If your firebox starts to break down, the intense heat of your fire won’t be contained in the fireplace. Instead, it can escape into your home, where it could cause a fire. Other things that can escape back into your home are those harmful chemicals released from the smoke of your fire. One of the harmful chemical is carbon monoxide, which can seriously affect your family’s health negatively. Carbon monoxide is also a colorless, odorless gas that can cause headaches, nausea, dizziness, weakness, and even loss of consciousness or death.
Call in the Experts
A broken firebox is a serious problem that needs to be addressed immediately. If you’ve notice the mortar of your firebox is deteriorating or the brick joints are loosening, it’s important to call Jiminy Chimney Masonry and Repair right away. We know the proper techniques to take care of your firebox.
We use a specialized technique to restore the bricks and mortar joints without a complete rebuild, tuckpointing. This process involves removing the old, faulty mortar and replacing it with a proper mixture of refractory mortar so that it can withstand heat more effectively. If you believe your firebox is breaking down, give us a call at 847-893-0063 now!