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Does Your Chimney Liner Need Replacing?

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Your chimney is made up of a number of different parts and components that work together to keep your fireplace burning safely and efficiently. However, many parts of the chimney are completely hidden from view; because of this, it can be difficult to know when they need maintenance.

One hidden – but extremely important – part of your chimney is the chimney liner. Chimney liners protect the building materials surrounding the chimney from smoke and heat; however, because of their location many homeowners do not know when their chimneys need to be relined.

Does Your Chimney Liner Need Replacing - Ann Arbor MI - Clean Sweeps of MI

What is a chimney liner?

The Chimney Safety Institute of America defines a chimney liner is defined as “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.”

The inside of your chimney structure isn’t open; instead, a metal pipe called a flue connects the firebox to the top of the chimney. This narrow pipe helps smoke and gas vent up and out of your home. However, in order to protect the rest of your home from the heat and gas that passes up the flue, a chimney liner is needed.

Does my chimney need to be replaced?

Because the flue is hidden inside your chimney structure, it can be difficult to know if or when your chimney needs to be relined. Oftentimes, damage to a chimney liner is uncovered during an annual chimney inspection; because changes in effectiveness or efficiency may be hard for homeowners to notice, your chimney sweep may be the first to recognize a problem with the liner. To fully evaluate the damage to a chimney’s flue liner, technology such as closed circuit cameras may be used in order for the chimney sweep to look at the entire length of the flue.

Long term use, over exposure to heat, damage from animals, or lack of being swept can all cause chimney liners to chip or crack. When damaged, chimney liners expose the surrounding building materials to heat and gas; not only can this let gasses like carbon monoxide into your home’s air supply, but in some cases it can also lead to accidental house fires.

Chimneys also may need to be relined if a new insert or fireplace has been installed. Because different fireplaces have different venting requirements, the old flue may not be the right size for the new fireplace. Likewise, switching fuel sources may require your chimney to be relined. Burning different fuel sources creates different byproducts of combustion; while a wood burning fireplace may require a thicker liner in order to handle creosote accumulation, a gas burning fireplace needs a high efficiency liner that is resistant to acidic condensation.

Replacing your chimney’s liner can improve your fireplace efficiency – as well as safety. For more information on relining your chimney, contact the chimney experts at Clean Sweeps of Michigan today!