Chimney liners are an important feature in all modern chimneys. Liners improve fireplace performance, help minimize fire hazards, and allow the chimney to vent safely and efficiently. Despite their important functions, many homeowners are unfamiliar with their purpose and how to take care of them.
What is a chimney liner?
The Chimney Safety Institute of America defines a chimney liner 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 primary purpose of a chimney liner is as a safety feature. The liner protects the wood, drywall, and other building materials surrounding the chimney from heat transfer from the flue. Tests by the National Bureau of Standards have shown that without a chimney liner, framing, insulation, and walls surrounding the chimney can ignite in as little as 3.5 hours when the fireplace is in use.
Another function of the chimney liner is to improve fireplace drafting. A correctly sized, seamless liner allows smoke, gas, and hot air to quickly draft up and out of the chimney. If the flue is too large or too small for the fireplace, the byproducts of combustion will not properly draft; this can cause smoke to back up into the home or the fireplace to burn sluggishly.
Types of chimney liners
There are three types of chimney liners; the type of chimney liner your fireplace needs depends on several factors including fuel source and fireplace size. The following are the three commonly used chimney liners:
- Clay tile: Clay tile liners are the most common chimney liner; they are the standard choice when new masonry chimneys are being built. Clay tile liners can last for decades when regularly maintained. However, they can be extremely difficult to repair due to their construction and location within the flue. Because of this, when clay tile liners are significantly damaged the flue often needs to be relined.
- Stainless steel: Stainless steel chimney liners are often used when relining chimneys because they are extremely durable. These high performance liners are often the best choice for homes with gas fireplaces; they can be used to reline the flue when switching fuel sources.
- Cast in place: Cast in place liners are poured directly into the flue; this means that they are fitted and shaped to your specific chimney. The strong, cement-like product creates a seamless finish that may be able to strengthen the structural integrity of a chimney.
The liner is an important component of your chimney; maintaining it through regular upkeep, such as chimney sweepings, can help your chimney liner last for years. If you have questions about your chimney liner or want to schedule your next sweeping or inspection, contact Coopertown Services today! Our expert staff can help you find the perfect chimney liner for your fireplace, fuel source, and budget.