One of the most important components of your whole chimney and heating system is the flue and the chimney liner. Any time our technicians examine your chimney during an inspection we look closely at the condition of the chimney liner. The liner moves all the gases and smoke out of your home and allows extremely hot and toxic gases to exit your home safely. Any breaks or openings in the chimney liner can lead to serious problems, potentially allowing a spark or floating ember to escape into the area between the lining and the chimney.
The chimney needs a non-combustible lining that allows complete and efficient venting of the smoke, gases and particulate matter that drafts out of your chimney. Chimney liners can be made of many materials like clay tiles, cast masonry mix, aluminum or stainless steel.
Any small cracks, breeches or deterioration can affect the way your entire system performs. If gases or combustible materials escape into attics, walls or ceiling spaces that are next to the chimney a fire may start or smolder causing damage and life-threatening conditions.
How Do I Know If I May Need A New Chimney Lining?
If your chimney is not pulling smoke up and out of your home, you may have problems with the chimney lining. Smelly fireplaces can also mean that your creosote and soot is building up quickly and may indicate other problems with chimney liners. The inside of your chimney needs to be cleaned regularly and a qualified chimney sweep may see potential chimney lining problems during routine cleaning. Sulfur in smoke when mixed with moisture can cause a corrosive reaction and eat small holes in metal liners over time. Clay tile liners always deteriorate and develop cracks that open up the chimney to moisture and will eventually create structural problems that require expensive repairs or even rebuilding. If you see pieces or chips of your clay tiles in your firebox, you can be sure that you need to have your liner inspected for serious defects.
Any time that a customer converts to a new type of heating system, installs a new wood stove, fireplace insert or other heating appliance they need to make sure that the chimney liner matches the output requirements of the new system. Wind, snow and rain combined with freeze and thaw cycles can take a toll on your chimney. Make sure things are buttoned up and tight when it comes to your chimney lining on the inside, and you will have much longer life of the chimney structure on the outside.
The number one reason for chimney fires is because of a faulty chimney liner. Actually many older homes had chimneys built with no chimney liner at all! There are ways to upgrade these historic homes by adding chimney liners that will add years to the life of the chimney and make for a much safer operation. Today the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) requires in their code that all masonry chimneys have a liner.