Here are some of the most frequently asked questions posed to our customer services team.
Who should install the fireplace?
As each fireplace installation has specific requirements, it is strongly advised to use a qualified installation professional that knows the standards and regulations in force. Work carried out by certified professionals is often guaranteed for up to ten years. In certain countries, there may be tax credits available for installing high-efficiency fireplaces. Contact the Focus partner–retailer in your area for further information about the options where you live.
Are the fireplaces efficient for heating?
Yes. Our metallic fireplaces are designed to radiate and diffuse heat. Although Focus’s primary aim is aesthetic, the very nature of the materials used and their high quality enables performance to be allied with style. Steel is an excellent heat conductor. Depending on the model, a contiguous volume of up to 350 m3 can be kept warm by a Focus fireplace. The quality of the wood burned and the position of the fireplace in the home are important considerations for optimum heating efficiency.
Can you burn yourself?
A stove or a metal fireplace can reach high temperatures when a fire is burning and should not be touched with bare hands. However, the high heat generated by the unit is sufficient warning for both adults and children that the fireplace is hot to the touch. It is not advisable for very young children to be left alone in a room in which a fire is burning in any type of fireplace.
Since 1970, the date when Focus was founded, we have no knowledge of anyone suffering a burn from any of our fireplaces (Ref. AXA Insurance Policy No. 283412004).
Do the glass panels get dirty?
The pyroceramic glass panels on certain Focus models resist very high temperatures. As with any glass, it is necessary to clean it regularly. The frequency depends on several factors.
• Adequate ventilation of the glass panels can limit build-up; if the fireplace is used with the combustion air control or the damper in a position that is too closed, this can accelerate the darkening of the glass. It is essential to find a good compromise between economising on fuel and ensuring good ventilation. As you use your fireplace in different atmospheric conditions, adjust the draught controls accordingly to achieve the right balance.
• The quality of the wood and its moisture content are also important factors. We strongly advise against using conifer wood (pine, fir, larch, etc.). The gases and smoke from the burning resin of these woods rapidly accumulate on the glass panels and the interior of the flue, blackening the former and reducing the width of the latter considerably, which could be dangerous.
• Wood with a moisture content higher than 20% will emit more and denser smoke and cause the glass panels to darken more rapidly.
• If the chimney is not swept regularly, this can also lead to a build-up of tarry residue on the glass.
Which is the best wood to use?
Different types of wood have different calorific values and they do not all burn in the same way.
• It is preferable to use hard woods such as oak, birch, beech, ash, etc. These produce robust flames and a substantial bed of embers that stays incandescent for a long time.
• To avoid noxious fumes and to care for your fireplace, its glass panels (if it has them), the flue, the environment and your health, NEVER burn the following materials:
- resinous woods such as pine, fir, spruce and other conifers. These generate a lot of heat, but they burn quickly, throw off sparks, and the resin they contain builds up inside the hearth and flue.
- salvaged wood (timber, beams, planks, etc.)
- treated or painted wood
- chipboard offcuts (plywood, etc.)
- crates and pallets
- books and newspapers (except for lighting purposes)
- cartons with plastic or any plastic-derived products
Don’t confuse your fireplace with your rubbish bin. Waste and rubbish can rapidly transform the former to an incinerator producing unpleasant odours, not to mention the release of toxic gases into the atmosphere.
What moisture content is recommended for firewood?
For the optimal performance of your fireplace, it is essential to burn dry wood. The maximum moisture content for a log ready to burn is 20%. Depending on how it is stored, wood can be burned 18–24 months after it is cut. The storage conditions for wood are very important. Wood should be stacked in a dry and well-ventilated location. Ideally it should be stored under a cover, with the sides left open for sufficient ventilation. Do not place logs directly on the ground, but on pallets or wooden planks to allow air to circulate around them. If wood is not stored properly, it can become moist and thus burn less efficiently and emit pollutants as it burns.
Can you cook food in the fireplace?
Yes! Focus fireplaces strive to combine both the aesthetic and the practical advantages of fire. Many of our customers use their fireplaces for cooking. We regularly receive new recipes they have come up with. These have been compiled in a Focus recipe book that we provide free of charge on request.
Are the built-in fireplaces a fire risk?
All our fireplace models designed to be built into walls have an incombustible framework and are well insulated with high-quality materials. We require that these integrated fireplaces be installed by professional engineers. The structure the fireplace is built into must also be incombustible and the interior insulated (preferably with mineral wool).
These models must be correctly ventilated, so air vents are essential. For obvious aesthetic reasons, if possible, these should be positioned where they are not visible. We would be happy to advise you based on your particular situation.
When should the chimney be swept?
In order to avoid the dangers of poisoning, to protect from the risk of fire, and to control air pollution, the fireplace and the flue must be kept clean. Chimney sweeping involves the manual cleaning of the interior of the flue as well as the hearth in order to eliminate soot and remove all obstacles from the length of the flue. Manual chimney sweeping consists of passing a metal or nylon brush through the flue several times in order to remove all deposits.
French regulations require that chimneys be swept once a year. We recommend chimney sweeping twice per year, at least once during the period of use, for fireplaces that are used regularly.
The use of fire or explosive substances for cleaning flues is expressly prohibited. Sweeping and inspections must be carried out by the installation engineer or by qualified chimney sweeps, who are obliged to provide a certificate to the effect that the work has been carried out. Many insurance companies insist on such a certificate in the case of an accident. We have very serious reservations concerning chemical flue cleaning or so called vacuum sweeping. In our judgement, not even an industrial vacuum cleaner is capable of sweeping a flue properly without previous manual cleaning. These methods should not be used as a substitute for chimney sweeping and do not result in an official certificate. As for the maintenance of flues in apartment buildings, the landlords of rented properties are responsible for ensuring that flues are clean when the tenants move in. Thereafter, the responsibility for proper maintenance lies with the tenants.
Is there a guarantee?
In France, the buyer is protected by laws guaranteeing product conformity (art. L211-4 and following of the French Consumer Code) and entitling them to a warranty in the case of any defects in the sold product (art. 1641 and following of the French Civil Code). Article 1792-3 of the French Civil Code stipulates a guarantee of satisfactory operation for two years.
From the date of delivery and for 2 years, each of our models offers:
- a guarantee of satisfactory operation, which only applies if the installation procedure and conditions comply with the applicable standards (including EN 13384-1: calculations for flue dimensions), as well as the regulations and rules in force in the country where the fireplace is installed and if the use and maintenance of the fireplace conform to the guidelines set out in the technical notice of the model, the Installation Manual and the User’s Guide. This guarantee is also conditional upon the use of an adequate and appropriate fuel (e.g. for wood-burning models: exclusively firewood with a moisture content of less than 20%).
- a guarantee against any fault in design, structure or manufacture, with the formal and unconditional exclusion of all cases of indirect damage, of parts subject to wear and tear (base plates, refractory components, seals, bearings, etc.) and of accidental damage such as broken glass.
For our indoor wood-burning fireplaces, we have extended this warranty period to 5 years (excluding surface finish issues such as paint retouching, etc…).
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