Older Homes Can Come with Potential Chimney Issues
Older homes are often sought after because of their uniqueness and what many feel is better construction. Modern, “cookie-cutter” homes that have sprung up since tract homes became all the rage over the past decades just don’t appeal to certain buyers. Older homes are filled with character and charm, but along with those perceived advantages,older homes comes a potential problem-chimney issues like lack of a functioning chimney liner.
Homes that are older than 70 or 80 years and have fireplaces may be at greater risk for a fire than newer homes. There is a logical reason for this.
Older homes may not have chimney liners
For centuries, chimneys have been built from standard bricks and mortar. And for centuries, homes have had chimney/fireplace fires due to cracked or otherwise deteriorated insides of chimneys. It wasn’t until the 1930s that liners began showing up regularly in newly constructed homes. By the 1950s, building codes in many locations mandated chimney liners in new homes.
Chimney liners serve several purposes including keeping gasses from entering the house and reducing the size of large-diameter chimneys. Another important purpose is to protect a chimney’s masonry from the damaging acidic by-products that are produced by fire.
Without a chimney liner, these by-products eventually begin to eat away at bricks and mortar, making them deteriorate. The process is known as “pyrolysis.” When that happens, dangerous heat and sparks within a chimney can ignite wall material adjacent to the flue.
Other problems with chimneys with no liners
- Older homes whose chimneys don’t have liners experience a far greater likelihood of deadly carbon monoxide being emitted into the home.
- By narrowing the flue, chimney liners create an environment that reduces draft. Large, unlined chimneys have significant draft issues, which reduces the heating efficiency of a burning fire.
- Many insurance policies won’t cover a house fire that originates in a chimney that doesn’t have a liner.
Evaluating the soundless of a chimney
One obvious clue that a chimney’s insides are being damaged is pieces of brick and mortar appearing in the firebox. Another way to tell is from the outside of the home when smoke can be spotted wafting from cracks in the chimney. This damage can be repaired, but repair won’t stop the problem from continuing. A chimney liner is the only answer for older homes with deteriorating chimneys.
Types of chimney liners
Several different materials are used to make chimney liners. These include clay tile, cast-in-place materials and metal. Metal liners can be purchased in straight up-and-down chimney pipe designs or as flexible components that conform to chimneys that feature a multi-angled smoke path.
It’s important to keep in mind that chimney liners, just like unlined chimneys, need regular inspection and cleaning in order to operate at optimal levels of safety and efficiency. Prevention is the best safeguard against a serious problem.
If you have an older home with a chimney with no liner, call Chimney Solutions of Atlanta today at (770) 771-5501. Our expert technicians will perform a thorough chimney inspection and advise you on what needs to be done to ensure the safety of your home and those who live in it.
Chimney Solutions, Inc.
1155 McFarland 400 Drive, Alpharetta GA 30004