Many fireplaces have these thermal panels that have developed a crack over time. The purpose of the panels are to act as a heat shield or a thermal barrier in the fireplace.
These panels are usually about three quarters of an inch thick or little thicker and they are designed to help protect the sheet metal panels behind them from extreme heat, say from a roaring fire.
These panels in the fireplace may become cracked if a fire is built to big or is left burning for a long period of time. Sometimes these panels crack merely because someone started building a fire in the fireplace when it was brand-new and the panels had not cured properly; they just couldn’t wait. Occasionally a panel gets cracked due to a mechanical impact; such as an iron poker hitting against the panel accidentally. Burning the raw materials in a fireplace, such as papers, 2×4’s and green lumber, cardboard or brush, may cause a fire to become excessively hot, thus resulting in the cracking of the panel
Replacement of panels
There are a number of manufacturing companies which specialize in panels built to replace cracked or damaged panels. There is usually a left side, a right side, and a backside. Usually only one panel is needed but occasionally all three sides are needed.
Repair of panels
Depending on the extent of damage or cracking, there may be some repair kits with approved compounds to fix minor cracks or damage. The use of refectory mortar or other approved repair materials may be used at times. Some manufacturers indicate that if the crack is wider than that of a nickel on edge, that the panel should be replaced. ( READ MORE ABOUT REPAIR OF PANELS )
Remember – If you have a house fire, you have only minutes to escape
The time you have to escape a house fire has dropped tremendously compared to 30 years ago. Having smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors has helped reduce the loss of life; however house now burn lots faster and hotter than 30 or 50 years ago. Knowing what to do in today’s house fires is critical and may save your family’s life.