It’s that time of year – the days are getting shorter and the nights cooler, which means we can start enjoying our hearth appliances. If you haven’t yet performed the yearly maintenance that ensures your unit is in good working order, please read our article on preparing for the season.
For some, it might be time to consider replacing their old unit with a newer, more efficient model. The best way to determine the age your appliance is to contact the manufacturer of the product. You’ll need to provide the full model and serial numbers directly to the company in order to obtain this information.
Model and serial numbers are key to finding information, getting service and ordering parts for your hearth product. These numbers can be found on the ‘rating plate’, a metal plate that’s usually permanently affixed to the fireplace, insert or stove. Access to the plate may require the removal of some parts and accessories.
On factory-built wood-burning fireplaces, these numbers will be on a metal plate which can be located in a variety of places, depending on your product:
- Inside the bottom of the fireplace behind the bottom louver or faceplate (the bottom louver or faceplate will need to be opened or removed)
- The bottom front of the stove, under the ash-lip (the fan will need to be removed first),
- The upper left side or right side of the firebox
- Riveted on the smoke shield behind the screen
On gas appliances and inserts, the serial/model/rating plate should be in one of the following:
- The lower cavity controls area
- The control compartment area (the decorative front and vanity panel may need to be removed)
- Below and behind the fireplace’s lower louver
- Attached to a gas line or stamped on the floor of the insert
A wood burning fireplace will need to be replaced when critical parts deteriorate and replacements become unavailable. Parts are usually available for a minimum of 7 to 10 years after the fireplace has been manufactured.
Repairs are possible with available replacement parts but some issues are not repairable and require that the homeowner replace the fireplace. This would include deterioration of the firebox or heat exchangers. These are most commonly due to lack of regular maintenance or general misuse by the operator.
Gas burning units are less prone to such failures because they are generally not used for long periods of time. Since these types of fireplaces are often used for decorative applications or zone heating, the length of time in which they are used in a season can be significantly less when compared to other products, resulting in a potentially longer life cycle.
We recommend you call a professional WETT-certified chimney sweep to clean and service your wood appliance. For gas appliances we recommend using a gas fitter for cleaning and service.
You can find specialty hearth retailers and service experts by visiting hpbacanada.org/find-a-member/retailers-and-service.