The 7 Basic Parts of a Chimney
The basic parts of a chimney may never show up as a category on Jeopardy!, but they are still good to know. A chimney system provides protection for your home and family. Keeping a chimney well-maintained is a way to prevent hazardous house fires. Becoming familiar with chimney parts helps you identify when there are possible problems. Although it’s a standard safety procedure to have a chimney inspected by a chimney expert annually, it’s no guarantee that problems won’t arise between inspections. You can let your chimney expert know if one of your chimney parts becomes damaged or doesn’t seem to be working correctly. In the long run, it always saves money to address chimney issues sooner rather than later. The following is a little about each of the 7 basic parts of a chimney.
1 – Chimney Flue
The chimney flue and the chimney liner are sometimes the same thing and sometimes not, which makes these arguably the most confusing parts of the chimney system. The chimney flue is the vertical shoot through which combustion materials from fires exit the home. In old homes, there may be only the masonry bricks such as can be seen above the roof line in the flue. It has long been the law to add a flue liner. Clay tiles are the most common type of flue liner built into a new masonry fireplace, since they are long-lasting and the most economical material. If there is a flue but no liner, the next chimney part is needed, except in the case of metal chimneys.
2 – Chimney Liner
Chimney liners are very important because they protect combustible parts of a home from the intense temperatures created by fires in fireplaces and wood stoves. If even a small crack develops in a liner, it must be replaced or repaired before using the appliance again. Sometimes a liner must be added because a new stove or fireplace is being installed. The liners must be the correct fit for the appliance. Otherwise, the amount of pollution will be increased and the amount of heat produced will be decreased.
3 – Chimney Cap
The chimney cap must be added because it doesn’t come standard with a chimney. And yet, it is an essential accessory. Chimney caps prevent rain, snow, and sleet from pouring into a home. They also keep out downdrafts, debris, and animals. When hot embers rise up in a chimney, wire mesh on the chimney cap can serve as a spark guard, to prevent fires from being ignited on the roof.
4 – Chimney Flashing
The metal flashing at the point where the chimney and the roof meet prevents water from going through the roof and causing damage to your home. The components of flashing tend to rust and wear out more quickly than other parts of the chimney. The flashing should be checked routinely, to be sure there is nothing like a rusted nail. Something as simple as that can cause a roof leak that does extensive damage to your home.
5 – Chimney Crown
The crown is the cement part of the chimney at the very top. It keeps water from getting into the chimney system. If the crown becomes cracked, it needs to be repaired or replaced as soon as possible.
6 – Damper
The two metal plates just above the firebox are the doors of the chimney damper. The damper must be opened before a fire is started. After the fires go cold, the damper should be closed, to prevent heat loss up the chimney. If the damper becomes rusted or no longer maintains an adequate seal, it should be repaired or replaced.
7 – Smoke Chamber
The smoke chamber is between the damper and the flue. The smoke chamber is where combustion byproducts are compressed into a smaller space in order to exit through the chimney. Proper fireplace design facilitates the good operation of the chimney system, and it includes a smoke chamber with sloping walls.
Ask your chimney sweep
You can always ask your friendly chimney sweep at Hudson Valley Chimney, if you want to learn more about your chimney system. Contact Hudson today if you need a chimney inspection, chimney cleaning, masonry repair, any other services or further info about interesting categories related to your venting system and fireplace.