Your chimney may look like nothing more than a brick structure standing on your roof; however, it’s a complex system that ensures your fireplace operates efficiently and safely. This post examines every part of your chimney and why it matters.
Think of the bricks as the backbone of your chimney. If they deteriorate or become damaged, it can cause the entire structure to collapse. Damaged bricks allow moisture into your home, potentially causing water damage, mold, and mildew growth. It’s essential to keep your bricks and mortar joints in good condition through yearly maintenance and upkeep.
The chimney flue and liner are often confused as the same thing, while they serve distinct purposes. The flue is a vertical passage that allows the fire’s combustion byproducts to flow out of the house. Today’s building codes and regulations require you to have a flue liner to protect against a chimney fire.
As mentioned, the flue liner is a tube that runs the entire chimney length. Flue liners can be made from clay, metal, or cast-in-place. Most homeowners opt for clay tile liners because they’re inexpensive, but may not last as long as stainless steel or cast-in-place liners in certain climates.
Chimney caps provide a shield protecting debris, rainwater, snow, and animals from entering the chimney. They also prevent downdrafts, which can negatively affect your fireplace’s performance. Some chimney caps use wire mesh guards to stop sparks from falling onto the roof, putting you at risk of a fire.
If you have a manufactured chimney, the chase cover fits over the top to keep water and debris out. Chase covers are typically made of copper, aluminum, stainless steel, and galvanized steel. However, galvanized steel is prone to corrosion and should only be used as a temporary solution.
Chimney flashing is typically made from vinyl, copper, or steel and is installed where the chimney meets the roof. Flashing seals the gap and protects against water infiltration, which can damage the roof and cause mold and mildew to grow in the house.
Many people confuse the crown with the cap; however, the crown is a cement slab that covers the top of the chimney, whereas the cap covers the flue opening. Both components are vital to protect your chimney and home against water damage.
As you can see, every component is essential to the entire system’s operation and safety, which is why you must keep up with routine maintenance and repairs.
How often you should hire a cleaning professional depends on various factors, including how frequently you use your fireplace, the type of fuel you burn, and how old your chimney is. However, the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends annual inspection and maintenance to ensure your system is safe and to identify and repair minor issues before they worsen.
Moreover, the CSIA says it’s necessary to schedule a full inspection by a trained professional after significant events, such as a fire or severe weather (lightning strikes, high winds, and heavy rainfall), to ensure there’s no damage.
It’s also essential to schedule chimney cleaning at least once a year to remove creosote buildup. Creosote is highly flammable and is one of the primary causes of chimney fires, and it can make your home smell like an ashtray.
Chimney Solutions is the number one chimney service company, serving homeowners in Atlanta and Indiana. People trust us because our technicians are certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America, and we’re members of the National Chimney Sweep Guild. Our experts can handle everything related to your fireplace and chimney, including repairs, inspection, cleaning, repair and rebuilding, liner installation, and more.
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