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I had a fireplace inspection performed on a house that I'm buying. It's a "Cal-Mex" prefabricated gas only fireplace.

The fireplace inspector said that the fireplace is missing parts and is beyond its useful life and will need to be completely replaced. He quoted me $10k to have the fireplace replaced. The previous owner has used the fireplace in the past but hadn't used it in about a year. When I asked the inspector what was specifically wrong with the fireplace, he said the company is out of business and I can no longer get Cal Mex replacement parts. He would not elaborate on what specifically was missing. The only thing missing that I could see were the ceramic logs.

Can I use non "Cal-Mex" fireplace parts on this fireplace to replace defective ones?

  • The "inspector" is working for an independent agency (county, state, federal)? Or is he employed by a contractor who sells fireplace equipment? I'd be suspicious of anyone that found my appliance faulty, but could repair it for $$$$. – ojait Nov 30 '15 at 18:29
  • He sells fireplace equipment. My main concern is that the company is now out of business and I can't get replacement parts? – Sam Lee Nov 30 '15 at 18:44
  • I think the main question is still "what parts". If it needs something somewhat generic like a thermocouple, then maybe you can get it. If it needs a certain flame element that was specifically designed for that particular model, then no, you're not going to find that. If he wouldn't elaborate, get a tech (like a plumber) to look at it rather than a salesman. – JPhi1618 Nov 30 '15 at 19:07
  • Yes it is. I searched to no avail for Cal-Mex.com and the phone number I found was out of service. Before you commit to this particular inspector why don't you get at least 2 more estimates from other contractors so as to pick the one you feel comfortable with? – ojait Nov 30 '15 at 19:11
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    My daughter had problems with a tankless water heater, the person that quoted the job said it would cost 5-6K to replace as that model was no longer made. they called me and I had the exact same model the same week but the brand had changed it was now a bosch brand, for 480.00 and ~30 minutes to swap it out, so get another opinion as others have suggested – Ed Beal Dec 1 '15 at 0:01
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Certainly parts like thermocouples, gas valves, fans, fan speed regulators, spark ignitors, etc. can be found generically and installed. In many cases you might need to make a small change to the part, like drilling a new hole for mounting. In more extreme cases, you might need a specific trades person to manufacture a replacement part for you.

You mentioned that your logs are missing - these are ultimately just ceramic logs and I doubt any specific manufacture is doing something that would make them completely incompatible with another manufacture fireplace. Whether they will fit or not is really the only question here.

But I would be seriously suspicious of someone who tells you that you need to spend 10k to replace something just because the manufacture is out of business. This is very common, and unless something is seriously wrong, I very much doubt you need to replace the entire unit. Even if this were the case, I would strongly recommend you shop around and ensure you are getting a fair price.

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