The chimney has a specific job and every part is important to keep it running safely and efficiently. It may seem simple, but if any part of the system becomes damaged it can affect the entire system, raise fire risk, cause health and respiratory problems, and decrease efficiency.
The Flue – The flue is the chimney itself, the opening that vents gases and smoke from the fire. It’s sometimes a stove pipe, but generally, a masonry chimney serves as the flue.
The Flue Liner – A flue liner is a vital part of the chimney system as it creates a smooth vent for the fire. It is usually sized specifically for your fireplace or appliance in order to create the most efficient ventilation. All prefab fireplaces and stoves should have a flue liner sized according to their capacity. The liner also prevents harmful gases and smoke from escaping the chimney’s masonry and entering the home, and its refractory properties prevent heat from weakening structures of the house.
The Chimney Cap – The chimney cap blocks the flue opening. It keeps the weather from entering the chimney system and causing damage, as well as keeps animals out that, could nest inside the flue causing blockage, fire hazards, and more. The chimney cap also keeps sparks and flames inside the flue. Without a cap, an unruly and dangerous fire can escape the flue opening and ignite debris on the roof or nearby yard.
The Chimney Crown – The flue liner and the chimney is not always the same size. There is often space between the flue liner and the masonry chimney. The chimney crown is a masonry slab that sits atop the flue. It covers the chimney from the flue liner to the chimney edge at a downward slope to allow water to flow off the chimney and away from the intersection of chimney and roof.
The Flashing – Multiple thin sheets of metal arranged meticulously around the chimney protect the intersection of the roof and chimney from water penetration.
The Damper – A vital component of the chimney system which can help you control your fire, close off your chimney for the off-season, and helping to light a fire. However, if water is allowed to penetrate the chimney system, the damper is almost always rusted and damaged, keeping it from moving properly which can cause blockage or allow hot flames to rise up the chimney flue.
The Firebox – The place where the fire burns is called the fire box. It endures the most abuse and gets the least attention. It should be built to certain fire code specifications using refractory fire bricks that protect the home from prolonged heat exposure. Even the well-built firebox can become damaged over time leading to weakened mortar and spalling bricks.
The science behind your chimney is one that has been studied, perfected, and regulated over the last several decades. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) strives to educate the public about chimney safety. As CSIA members, our priority at Anderson’s is the safety and comfort of all of our clients.