A well-built chimney can withstand years of intense heat and toxic exhaust gasses and the damage both can cause. But even the best-made chimney won’t perform optimally forever. This is why there are chimney liners. Made from several different types of materials, chimney liners offer the added protection you need to extend the life of your chimney and avoid many of the repairs that otherwise would be inevitable once a chimney passes a certain age.
If you don’t have a chimney liner, consider installing one. If you do have a liner, make sure to schedule yearly inspections with a certified chimney specialist to check for early signs of liner damage and get them fixed quickly.
Types of chimney liners
There are three main types of chimney liners:
- Clay tiles
Here’s a brief overview of each.
The most common chimney liner material, clay tiles are economical and generally perform well. However, they’re not quick to absorb and distribute the rapidly rising temperatures in the event of a chimney fire, which can cause the tiles to crack and split and leave the chimney’s masonry vulnerable.
Metal chimney liners are typically made of aluminum or stainless steel. Most often used as replacement liners for existing chimneys, these liners are highly durable when temperature insulation is included in the installation. Metal liners are perfect for use with wood and gas fireplaces.
Cast-in-place chimney liners:
This style of liner is made from a poured cement-like product installed in the flue to provide a smooth, insulated path for heat and combustion gasses. They add strength to the structural integrity of a chimney and can accommodate all fuel types.
Primary functions of chimney liners
The Chimney Safety Institute of America lists three primary jobs of a chimney liner:
1. Protect the building materials of the home proximal to the chimney. When the fireplace is operating, intense heat travels up through the flue. A quality chimney liner acts as a buffer to keep excess heat from harming parts of the home that surround the chimney. Tests have shown that woodwork adjacent to an unlined chimney can catch fire in as little as three and a half hours.
2. Protect the chimney’s masonry from heat, moisture and combustion byproducts. As strong as chimney bricks and mortar are, they eventually will deteriorate after years of intense heat, moisture and gasses. A chimney liner protects against this deterioration, which can damage a chimney to the point the entire structure must be rebuilt.
3. Create a properly sized flue. In order for fireplaces to operate at maximum efficiency, the right flue size is required. Smoke and gasses must exit the fireplace system at a specific pace to avoid excess creosote buildup from wood-burning appliances and the creation of excess carbon monoxide from gas units. Flue size in relation to fireplace output also affects drafting and burn-efficiency.
If it’s time to have your chimney liner inspected or repaired, Complete Chimneys of Pasadena, MD, is ready to help. Need a new chimney liner installed? Our certified chimney technicians will get it done safely and quickly. Call (410) 544-7600 with questions or to arrange an appointment.