Answers To 3 Common Questions About Chimney Liners

More than any other part of the chimney, the liner is responsible for protecting your home against the ever present danger of a fire. Yet many people lack even a basic understanding of the liner's role and importance. If you own a fireplace that sees regular--or even sporadic--use, read on. This article will provide answer to three common questions about chimney liners.

What are chimney liners?

The easiest way to think of a chimney liner is as a chimney within your chimney. In other words, the smoke that passes up and out through your chimney never actually comes in contact with the bricks and masonry you can see extending from the top of your roof outside. The principal role of a chimney liner is to contain the heat of the smoke, soot, and other flue gases, thus protecting your walls, framing, and other combustible elements.

What are chimney liners made of?

There are a variety of different types of chimney liners available today. The oldest, but still the most commonly encountered, are clay tile liners. As their name would imply, these consist of a series of rectangular clay tiles joined together with mortar. Clay's natural properties make it especially resistant to heat, corrosion, and other forms of damage.

Metal chimney liners are becoming increasingly more common, and can be broken down into two common classes: rigid and flexible liners. Rigid liners are commonly installed in chimneys that are straight all the way up and down, where as flexible liners are used for chimney that contain bends or off-sets. The relative installation ease of metal liners make them a great option when replacing an older, worn out liner.

How can I tell if my liner is in bad shape?

As clay liners age, they tend to develop cracks. Eventually, when these cracks become severe enough, the clay will begin to crumble away, often leaving small deposits inside of the fireplace grate. This is a strong sign that your liner is no longer offering an adequate degree of protection against the risk of fire.

Liner problems also often manifest as a markedly reduced draft. Because the smoke is not drawn upward out of the chimney at an appropriate speed, it will tend to waft into the living area. Likewise, a chimney that gives off a strong odor--especially when you don't have a fire going--may have developed dangerous build-ups of soot and creosote.

Regardless of whether or not you have noticed any of these signs and symptoms, annual chimney inspections by a professional should be a mandatory part of your maintenance efforts. That way you can nip any developing problems in the bud with a thorough chimney repair. To learn more, contact a company like Clean Sweep