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All About Chimney Liners

All modern chimneys have chimney liners. Chimney liners play an important role in helping your chimney to operate safely and efficiently, minimizing fire hazards while also improving performance. Despite the important purpose that chimney liners have, however, most homeowners are unfamiliar with their purpose and function.

What is a chimney liner?

A chimney liner is “a clay, ceramic, or metal conduit installed inside of a chimney, intended to contain the combustion products, direct them to the outside atmosphere, and protect the chimney walls from heat and corrosion.”

What is the purpose of a chimney liner?

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Chimney liners are a safety feature in your fireplace system; their primary purpose is to protect the building materials surrounding your chimney from exposure to the heat from the fireplace. Without a functioning chimney liner, tests conducted by the National Bureau of Standards have shown that framing, walls, and insulation around a chimney can catch fire in as little as three and a half hours.

Chimney liners also play an important role in fireplace function through drafting. A strong and seamless chimney liner that is correctly sized for the fireplace allows smoke and gas to easily pass up and out of the chimney. If the flue is too large or too small, byproducts of combustion may not draft properly, causing health and safety issues for you and your family. Relining the flue, however, is an easy way to ensure the size of the flue matches the size of the fireplace.

Types of chimney liners

There are three types of chimney liners. The type of chimney liner your home needs may depend on many factors including the size of your fireplace and the fuel source it uses. Below are the three most commonly used chimney liners.
  • Clay tile liners. Clay tile liners are the most common type of chimney liner and are the standard choice for most masonry chimneys. Clay liners can last for decades with regular maintenance; however, repairing or replacing the clay tiles can be extremely difficult because of their location within the flue. Because of this, damage to a clay tile liner often results in the chimney being relined.
  • Metal chimney liners. Stainless steel chimney liners are popular choice for chimney liners because they are strong, effective, and durable. High performance metal liners are often the best choice for gas fireplaces and can be used to reline an existing masonry chimney if a new insert is installed.
  • Cast in place liners. Cast in place liners are unique in that they are specially fitted and shaped to your chimney. The cement-like product is applied directly to the inside of the chimney, creating a seamless liner that can also help improve the structural integrity of a damaged fireplace.

Your chimney liner is one of the most vital components of your chimney system. If you have questions about your chimney liner or want to have it inspected, contact Pristine Sweeps today! If your chimney needs to be relined, our expert staff can help you find the right chimney liner for your fireplace – and budget.

By Aaron Woodward | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , | Leave a Comment

Water Damage and Your Chimney

Water is often your chimney’s worst enemy. Although they were built to withstand the elements, chimneys and fireplaces can be badly damaged by moisture, especially if the damage is not caught and repaired early.

Leaky chimneys and water damage can also lead to other chimney issues such as chimney odor, as well as creating a wet, ashy mess in your firebox. Fortunately, most moisture damage can be stopped with preventative maintenance, good upkeep, and regular chimney care.

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How does the water get in?

There are a number of ways that water can find its way into your chimney system. In the rainy Northwest, it is especially important that chimneys are well protected against moisture. Below are some of the most common causes of water entry.

Chimney caps: Your chimney cap is your fireplace’s main defense against water entry. By covering the top of your chimney, water is not able to enter the flue. However, if your chimney cap is damaged or missing, it leaves your flue exposed and vulnerable to water entry, as well as debris and animals finding their way into your chimney.

Flashing: Flashing is the weatherproof stripping that seals the space when they chimney and roofline meet. Flashing may loose its seal over time, allowing gradually larger and larger amounts of water in; this can damage not just your chimney, but also your roof, ceilings, or frame. Likewise, flashing that is incorrectly installed may have nail holes that let in small amounts of water.

Masonry damage: Bricks and mortar are naturally porous. However, if they are cracked or chipped, additional water may be able to seep into the masonry. As this water freezes it expands, further damaging the bricks and allowing more and more water into the bricks. This causes the masonry to chip, crack, and even break away and fall off when left unrepaired. This freeze-thaw process is typically the main cause of masonry damage to a chimney structure.

Preventing water damage

Because water damage is a gradual process, it can often be spotted early and repaired before major damage occurs. The best way to prevent serious water entry is through having regular annual chimney cleanings and inspections. During a chimney inspection, a certified chimney sweep will inspect all accessible interior and exterior portions of the chimney for signs of water entry or damage.

Many homeowners choose to have their chimneys protected using a specially designed waterproofing product. At Pristine Sweeps, we proudly offer ChimneySaver waterproofing products to our customers. Unlike latex paint or other sealants which can trap moisture and gasses inside the masonry, ChimneySaver, forms a vapor-permeable moisture barrier. This keeps the water out but allows dangerous or harmful gasses to still pass through the brick.

If your chimney is leaking, finding the cause can be a difficult process. However, at Pristine Sweeps we are experts at finding the cause of and fixing leaky chimneys. If you are struggling with water entry or damage and your chimney system, contact Pristine Sweeps today. Our expert staff is ready to help by fixing the water damage and preventing it from happening again.