When you think of a chimney system, you probably think it’s pretty simple. You can see the fireplace, you can see the chimney, and you use the dampers to keep the fire and smoke in control. But there is more to your chimney than meets the eye. If you look at the top of the chimney, you should see a chimney cap. Chimney caps keep animals and debris out of the chimney ad house. Where the roof meets the chimney, you should notice metal flashing. This protects the weakest area of your chimney from water leaks.
Inside you’ll the firebox which is where you build the fire. You may also tile extending on the floor in front of the fireplace. this is the hearth pad. This protects your floors from sparks and popping embers. Although there are many aspects of the system you can see, there are some that only your chimney sweep will see. Flue liners play an important role but are often forgotten about by homeowners because they cannot be seen.
What is the Flue Liner?
The answer to the question “what is the flue liner?’” is simple. It lines the flue. The first thing to understand is what a flue is. Right above the firebox, where you build your fire, is the smoke chamber. This is where the smoke enters, and it is generally funnel-shaped so that smoke is funneled up the chimney. The smoke is compacted as it moves through this chamber and then is pushed up the chimney, through the flue. From there it passes the chimney crown and the chimney cap, if you have one, and outside. The flue is usually made of clay tiles or if you have a prefabricated chimney, metal.
Early chimneys were often built without a flue liner, but if your home was built in the 1940s or later, it very likely does have a flue liner. In fact, because this is such an important part of your chimney’s anatomy, many states’ fire codes began to require that all chimneys have flue liners. The flue liner serves three very important purposes.
Purposes of a Flue Liner
First, it protects the combustible items inside your home that sit near your fireplace, stopping them from igniting and starting a house fire.
Second, if your chimney liner is properly sized, it can give you a more efficiently burning fire, which means you’ll be saving money in the long run.
The third thing your flue liner does is protect the brick and mortar of your chimney from the corrosive effects that smoke can have. When the moisture leaves the wood in the form of smoke, it contains chemicals that can actually eat away at the bricks and mortar of the chimney, and this leaves cracks and even holes in your chimney which can allow harmful gases to leak back into your home rather than being directed out of the chimney. If you burn with gas, vapors are released that can have the same effect.
Dangers of Smoke
Although smoke contains several chemicals that can cause harm to your family’s health, the most deadly is carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that can cause headaches, nausea and flu-like symptoms, dizziness, and chest pain to occur. If left undetected, it can cause you to pass out and if you are not removed from the gas soon enough, death can occur. A properly fitted, properly maintained flue liner can stop carbon monoxide from entering your home with its devastating consequences.
Types of Flue Liners
A common type of chimney liner is made out clay tiles, the same type of tile that your clay flowerpots are made of. Clay chimney liners are effective and long-lasting and offer solid protection from the effects of the deteriorating effects caused by the chemicals in smoke. Over time, however, clay tiles will deteriorate and crack and need to be replaced. Also, if creosote or other debris has built up in your chimney and a chimney fire occurs, your clay tile will likely crack from the heat.
A great option for lining your chimney is to add a stainless steel liner. Stainless steel chimney liners offer great protection from heat and smoke, and most have a lifetime warranty of 20 years. These will not crack or break, and corrosive material will not get through as long as you have your chimney inspected and maintained on a regular, annual basis.
Give Us A Call
With Christmas just around the corner, why not give yourself and your family the best present of all: safety all winter long. A chimney liner gives you an additional layer of protection when burning a fire in your fireplace or heating appliance, and a stainless steel liner will offer lasting protection for years to come. Give Chimney Doctors of Colorado a call today and let us come in and give you an estimate of the cost involved and set up a time frame for us to come in and give the gift of safety in the form of a new, stainless steel chimney liner.