A fireplace keeps you and your household warm when it’s chilly outside. While it’s summer right now, your chimney still deserves care and attention to keep it in good shape. Unfortunately, your chimney can be a weak point since it’s susceptible to damages caused by different elements. Below is a list of the different protective components of a chimney and how they operate and protect your Newport News, VA, home.
A flue refers to a vertical passage that allows smoke to exit your house from the firebox. Modern chimneys have flue liners that protect the bricks from destructive precipitation or smoke that may pass through your chimney. If your chimney has a flue liner, you’ll see a liner made from a thin steel sheet or tile, but steel is more common than the former.
Your flue needs regular cleaning to prevent smoke residue from caking upon its surface. Besides, smoke residue buildup can eventually result in a chimney fire and later pass via combustible materials like drywall and wood studs, leading to a house fire.
The crown is the overarching slab covering the opening found at the top of your chimney. It’s either made of concrete or mortar applied to the top layers of the bricks that make your chimney structure. The primary purpose of the crown is to protect your chimney structure from early wear and tear caused by exposure to weather elements like wind, hail, rain and snow.
Since it’s impossible to see your chimney’s crown from the ground, inspect it from the roof. If your crown is missing, cracked or damaged, contact your local chimney professional to fix it to avoid bigger and more expensive repairs. Remember your chimney’s crown can last as long as the bricks and mortar that supports it.
The cap sits at your chimney’s top, right above the crown. Since the flue is usually open, the cap fits over the opening and prevents snow and rain from getting in the chimney. That’s important because precipitation eats at the mortar and bricks in your chimney, causing internal structural damage.
The cap also protects your chimney from debris such as sticks and leaves that may clog the flue. Animals, birds, pests and other critters like to build their nests inside chimneys and other warm areas to shelter from the harsh weather during winter. Installing a cap is necessary to keep these intruders from falling inside your chimney or building their nests inside.
A chimney damper regulates the amount of air flowing inside and out of a chimney. Always leave the damper open when you have an active fire in the fireplace to allow smoke to exit the chimney and prevent carbon monoxide from accumulating in your living space. Also, remember to close your damper when the fire goes out to prevent warm air from seeping out and cold air from reentering your Newport News, VA, home.
An extremely smoky fireplace can ruin your good day, but a well-maintained smoke chamber and smoke shelf can prevent that from happening. A smoke chamber is where the soot, gases, creosote and particulate matter mix with the heat from your fire to rise your chimney. It looks like an overturned funnel, making it easy to direct smoke into your chimney’s flue.
One side of the smoke chamber wall is straight down and up, while the other is at a specific slant to direct smoke into your flue. You’ll also find a smoke shelf underneath the straight wall that prevents smoke from falling back into your fireplace. Keeping your smoke chamber healthy can help it withstand high temperatures and large amounts of creosote, soot and chemical gases without affecting the efficiency of your fireplace.
Each of these chimney protective components is essential to the proper functioning of your chimney. The first line of defense against chimney-related problems is having your chimney inspected annually to catch any minor problems before they become major issues that require expensive repairs. Contact our experts at Rooftop Chimney Sweeps to schedule a professional chimney inspection if you have any concerns about any of these components.