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.
Chimney Flue Liner
A flue refers to a vertical passage that allows smoke to exit your house from the firebox. Modern chimneys have flue liners that ensure a proper draft to prevent creosote buildup and chimney fires. If your chimney has a flue liner, you’ll see a liner made from a thin steel sheet or tile, but tile wears out over a few decades where stainless steel is much more durable.
Your flue needs regular cleaning to remove the creosote buildup that leads to chimney fires. It's also important to have the flue inspected to insure that all creosote is left behind and the flue is properly protecting the rest of the home in the event of a chimney fire.
The crown is the overarching slab covering the opening found at the top of your chimney. It’s made of concrete 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, it should be inspected 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. The cap fits over the flue 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 home.
An extremely smoky fireplace can ruin your good day, but a well-maintained smoke chamber can prevent that from happening. A smoke chamber is an upside down funnel where the soot, gases, creosote and particulate matter are directed from the fireplace into the chimney 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. Ensuring your smoke chamber is well built and in good condition will not only help create the best draft, but also prevents heat and creosote from building up in the smoke chamber, which is the most common cause of chimney fires.
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.